What is MDMA, and how might it help the treatment of PTSD?

Written by By Hadas Gold, CNN

Timothy Caulfield has been curious about the effects of opiates since he was 12, and the Canadian journalist says this week’s announcement about ecstasy (or ecstasy) could finally help him put his curiosity to work.

Following a review of seven clinical trials, researchers at the University of Toronto say ecstasy may have a role to play in treating individuals affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), helping them to feel a sense of calm and calmness.

Caulfield, a journalist and the director of research at HealthMedia, a blog for journalists, says a drug addict with PTSD could benefit from ecstasy. Credit: RZA

Timothy Caulfield, “night side” Charlie Sheen addiction expert, author and journalistic activist

“There is real and well-researched evidence of an effect,” says Caulfield, who is also the co-author of “The Clinic: A Liberal’s Guide to the Medicinal Uses of Cannabis.”

Drugs with the effect of giving people “a healthy sense of calm and focus” are often referred to as “fifth industrial revolution drugs.”

Creativity, social skills and the balance between a positive mental outlook and negative emotions are also part of the mix. MDMA — ecstasy — has also been linked to creativity, creativity, social skills and the balance between a positive mental outlook and negative emotions.

The impact of ecstasy on PTSD is likely to be different in each case, says Caulfield, but ecstasy could be “a paradigm shift in the way we think about it.”

“There is a ton of scientific rationale for the idea of a shift in thinking,” he adds.

Drug/Human interaction: What happens?

One of the human trials was carried out at the Ottawa Mental Health University Institute. The researchers recommended that an MDMA-assisted PTSD treatment be administered by a third party — likely a psychiatrist, says Caulfield.

Caulfield said medical practitioners tend to be “the experts with experience and the ethics as well as the moral compass that can best suit individuals in this difficult situation.”

The journal Ethicon Psychiatry will publish two studies of effects of MDMA on PTSD later this month, and others have been published.

Caulfield, who is also the co-author of “The Clinic: A Liberal’s Guide to the Medicinal Uses of Cannabis,” said he was interested in ecstasy — much like he was attracted to drugs like coke or heroin — because they allowed him to think about difficult topics in new ways.

He received some funding, partly from Google for Donors Choose (GDD), a campaign that gives donors the option to choose one non-profit to receive their contribution. The program matches individual gift amounts to contribute to a greater total, with the intent that the donated money will create better, more impactful ways of learning.

“There are a couple of programs that I don’t feel are effective, including the Bible school to learn the values of being nice to children.”

She’s a little bit nervous, but she has an excellent work ethic. Tim Caulfield, journalist and leading author on the use of psychedelics

Caulfield said he wants the “GDN experience” to have some urgency to it. He would recommend MDMA to young people who feel they need a “wake up” call, to complete degree courses, or to work towards a higher-education degree. MDMA is also something that could be used at work.

Caulfield said MDMA would be ideal for volunteers such as Charlie Sheen, the actor who was treated with MDMA after suffering from sex addiction, but also past presidents, world leaders and celebrities.

Caulfield said he hopes — over time — that MDMA will become part of the arsenal used to help tackle addiction in the same way that medications such as Valium and Xanax have become part of the arsenal used to help treat chronic pain.

He and Graham Byrd, a fellow researcher and the co-author of “The Clinic,” said they were also working on a book on psychedelics.

As to where the potential for drug reform lies in Canada — which has two per cent of the world’s population but “tens of billions of dollars” spent on prescribed drugs annually, according to Caulfield — Caulfield believes it’s very good.

“We can go ahead and legalize it (with or without the federal government’s approval),” he said.

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