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Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:19 PM

A ‘Party Drug’ May Help the Brain Cope With Trauma

Another reason we need to examine our drug schedules to allow more controlled studies and access for medical use in safe, therapeutic settings.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/health/ecstasy-treatment-for-post-traumatic-stress-shows-promise.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Hundreds of soldiers have contacted a husband and wife research team.

The soldiers have no interest in traditional talking cures or prescription drugs that have given them little relief. They are lining up to try an alternative: MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, a party drug that surfaced in the 1980s and ’90s that can induce pulses of euphoria and a radiating affection. Government regulators criminalized the drug in 1985, placing it on a list of prohibited substances that includes heroin and LSD. But in recent years, regulators have licensed a small number of labs to produce MDMA for research purposes.

In a paper posted online Tuesday by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Michael and Ann Mithoefer, the husband-and-wife team offering the treatment — which combines psychotherapy with a dose of MDMA — write that they found 15 of 21 people who recovered from severe post-traumatic stress in the therapy in the early 2000s reported minor to virtually no symptoms today. Many said they have received other kinds of therapy since then, but not with MDMA.


(Work from this same couple appeared in 2010)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719082927.htm

Here's the latest one- jop.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/08/29/0269881112456611.full

...Given the scarcity of good treatments for post-traumatic stress, “there is a tremendous need to study novel medications,” including MDMA, said Dr. John H. Krystal, chairman of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. A handful of similar experiments using MDMA, LSD or marijuana are now in the works in Switzerland, Israel and Britain, as well as in this country. Both military and civilian researchers are watching closely. So far, the research has been largely supported by nonprofit groups.

“When it comes to the health and well-being of those who serve, we should leave our politics at the door and not be afraid to follow the data,” said Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, a psychiatrist who recently retired from the Army. “There’s now an evidence base for this MDMA therapy and a plausible story about what may be going on in the brain to account for the effects.”


The MDMA enhanced treatment found standard measures of PTSD symptoms were more than twice as effective as psychotherapy alone - with a 75% reduction in anxiety, depression, hypervigilance and arousal and nightmares.

More info at the link.

We cannot allow our prejudices to keep useful treatment from vets and other people who may find relief from suffering in substances that initially scared the powers-that-be.

19 replies, 2210 views

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply A ‘Party Drug’ May Help the Brain Cope With Trauma (Original post)
RainDog Nov 2012 OP
leftlibdem420 Nov 2012 #1
Nevernose Nov 2012 #3
FrodosPet Nov 2012 #15
RainDog Nov 2012 #17
FrodosPet Nov 2012 #19
LineReply .
Go Vols Nov 2012 #2
RainDog Nov 2012 #8
SomethingFishy Nov 2012 #12
Nevernose Nov 2012 #4
NoOneMan Nov 2012 #5
RainDog Nov 2012 #6
NoOneMan Nov 2012 #10
Puregonzo1188 Nov 2012 #7
bigwillq Nov 2012 #9
YayArea Nov 2012 #11
RainDog Nov 2012 #13
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #14
RainDog Nov 2012 #16
cliffordu Nov 2012 #18

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:24 PM

1. MDMA should be legal

 

It's far less dangerous than alcohol and is considered by British scientists to be less dangerous than marijuana (a claim I find dubious, but anyways). Most "risks" associated with "MDMA" occur because people do street ecstasy with Wellstone-knows-what in it because they can't get the good stuff.

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Response to leftlibdem420 (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:28 PM

3. Every rave death I've heard of

Has been heat stroke related.

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Response to leftlibdem420 (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:10 PM

15. Can they make it without destroying a fragile ecosystem?

I guess it is OK because it makes people feel great, so Eff the Cambodian rain forests

- http://www.fauna-flora.org/news/latest-raid-on-ecstasy-oil-factories-in-cambodia/

- http://www.irinnews.org/Report/79340/CAMBODIA-Ecstasy-tabs-destroying-forest-wilderness

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- http://www4.ncsu.edu/~rjdoming/#T3

Deep in the Cardamom Mountains and Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in western Cambodia clandestine factories are distilling safrole oil to be used for the production of ecstasy. As a result there is a growing price being paid by the local environment. Trees containing the viscous, fragrant, safrole oil are cut down during the manufacturing process. Their oil-rich roots are mechanically shredded and boiled in large cauldrons. The resulting mixture is then distilled over fires that require enormous quantities of firewood to fuel them. Safrole oil manufacturing is a big business, and as a result, severe deforestation and erosion scar the mountainous areas around the factories. The ramshackle, ad-hoc distilleries are perilous at best, and explosions are not unknown. Nearby streams that provide water for processing are soon fouled by factory waste, their delicate ecosystems poisoned. Even the oil itself is carcinogenic. Though small-scale production of safrole oil for traditional remedies has been going on for centuries in Cambodia, the industrial production of oil destined for the narcotics trade has been ebbing and flowing since the late 1990s. In recent years, authorities have taken action against the safrole industry with some recent high-profile raids highlighting the issue. A June 12, 2009 raid, led jointly by conservation NGO Flora and Fauna International and the Cambodian authorities, captured 142 barrels containing 5.7 tons of sassafras oil. Seized from a secluded house in the isolated village of O’ Kambou in the western Cardamom mountains, the haul could have produced 44 million tablets of Ecstasy with a total street value of $1.2 billion.

Most safrole oil distilleries are found in the Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located in the Cardamoms and is where the majority of oil-bearing trees remain. The western Cardamoms are part of southeast Asia’s largest mainland contiguous rainforest and serve as the last refuge for more than 80 of the world's most threatened species, including Asian elephants, Indochinese tigers and Siamese crocodiles. Safrole oil, which is also used in the production of cosmetics and in the traditional Khmer remedies, is produced from the aromatic oil of a tree known in Khmer as Mreah prew phnom, which experts think is Cinnamomum parthenoxylon. The species is generally considered rare, and in Vietnam, it is classified as critically endangered. It has no common name in English and no one knows how many of the trees are left in the world. Four Mreah prew phnom trees are needed to produce a single, 40-gallon barrel of safrole oil. An additional six trees of lesser value are felled to use as firewood in the processing of a single Mreah prew phnom tree. Workers who distill the oil deep in the jungle also often rely on poaching rare animals (tigers, pangolins, peacocks, pythons and wild cats) for food or for extra income on illegal wildlife markets. Poaching threatens the livelihoods of the estimated 12,000-15,000 hunter-gatherers who live in the wildlife sanctuary.

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But as long as club kiddies get to see colors and feel groovy, all is cool!

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Response to FrodosPet (Reply #15)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 02:14 AM

17. What does PTSD and club kiddies have to do with one another?

This article talks about the therapeutic value of MDMA for help with treatment-resistant PTSD. There are very few effective treatments and people with PTSD are at high risk for suicide.

Please don't diminish the value of this research by equating it with what went on 30 years ago in a club somewhere.

The ecological issues are, of course, important.

But you have really missed the point here.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #17)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 02:44 AM

19. I suppose your right

Plant and animal species go extinct all the time. Why worry about a few more? The treatment value outweighs the ecological damage to one little part of the world.

It would be cool if this could be made with a strong, prolific plant, and without so much boiling though. Maybe there's a way to make it with kudzu!

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:26 PM

2. .

I remember legally buying this stuff in bars back in the early '80's when I lived in Texas.

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Response to Go Vols (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:42 PM

8. I don't have any experience with MDMA

How would you describe it from your experience?

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Response to RainDog (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:11 PM

12. Johnson's Baby Acid...

Thats how I would describe it...

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:30 PM

4. Wait, is this that evil shit

That causes empathy, conversation, and dancing? Sounds like the work of Lucifer, I tell ya.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:31 PM

5. Why is this news?

 

People like Sasha Shulgin have been saying this for decades.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:38 PM

6. Our culture has a negative opinion of substances that bring peace of mind

We have a blame culture, from our Puritan past, and every bad thing inflicted upon someone is somehow that person's fault - even trauma.

We also don't understand trauma very well - it's hard to explain what this trauma is like to someone who has never known it. Just as "depression" has become a commonly used word for sadness, not a clinical state of bodily dysfunction - "trauma" has been minimized or stereotyped as someone who goes off and does something socially harmful.

The reality is that most of the harm is internal.

And our culture has waged a war on altered conciousness - for whatever reason, unless that drug increases employee productiveness or decreases the need for sleep, etc. Therefore - cigarettes, coffee, energy drinks.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:48 PM

10. For good reason

 

At least personally, all my experiences with altered states has led me to not only be less productive, but to question the very value of productiveness as intrinsically good. I feel that if many people experimented, they will reach an existential state that denies the very necessity of our way of life--a way of life that just so happens to be destroying the earth and damaging the human condition. Drugs like LSD and Psilocybin heal the schism between man and nature by illuminating the absurdity of civilization that has torn us apart.

This powerful experience can undermine both civilization and the religions that manifest within it, IMO, thereby freeing people from the system. For a system that is intent upon self-preservation, this is not a good thing.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:38 PM

7. MDMA was used as a pysc drug before it was a "party drug."

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:47 PM

9. I enjoyed using MDMA.

I believed it helped me figure how who I was and how I wanted to live my life. It made me see situations from different perspectives. I only had good experiences from using it.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:06 PM

11. I read up on this stuff a couple years ago in science journals.

Now it's made its way to the mainstream media.

I tried ecstasy - made me less of an asshole, even after it wore off.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 09:32 PM

13. From the 2010 work

From the second link in the OP-

South Carolina-based psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer, MD and colleagues, conducted a pilot Phase II clinical trial with 20 patients with chronic PTSD persisting for an average of over 19 years. Prior to enrolling in the MDMA study, subjects were required to have received, and failed to obtain relief, from both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.


I wanted to especially note this because I had one person here on DU tell me that PTSD clears up in months. I knew that was bullshit - but here's confirmation from a study that it's bullshit. It's really horrid for someone to come on to this board and make statements like the one I saw here. The person was very pro drug war - maybe that clouded his perception.

Participants treated with a combination of MDMA and psychotherapy saw clinically and statistically significant improvements in their PTSD -- over 80% of the trial group no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, stipulated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV-TR) following the trial, compared to only 25% of the placebo group. In addition, all three subjects who reported being unable to work due to PTSD were able to return to work following treatment with MDMA.

The trial centred on two eight-hour psychotherapy sessions scheduled about 3-5 weeks apart, where 12 subjects received MDMA, and eight took a placebo. Subjects were also given psychotherapy on a weekly basis before and after each experimental session. A blinded, independent rater tested each subject using a PTSD scale at baseline, and at intervals four days after each session and two months after the second session. The clinical response was significant -- 10 of the 12 in the treatment group responded to the treatment compared with just two of the eight in the placebo group. During the trial, the subjects did not experience any drug-related Serious Adverse Events (SAEs), nor any adverse neurocognitive effects or clinically significant blood pressure or temperature increases.

After the two-month follow-up, subjects in the placebo group were offered the option to participate in the treatment process again, to receive MDMA on an open-label basis, acting as their own controls. Seven of the eight placebo subjects elected to receive MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, with successful treatment outcomes similar to the subjects initially randomized to MDMA.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 09:53 PM

14. It was one of the best drugs I have ever taken. I took it before it was illegal and it was known

as Adam.

http://www.testcountry.org/from-adam-to-ecstasy-how-the-drug-known-as-mdma-got-its-names.htm

From Adam to Ecstasy: How the Drug Known as MDMA Got Its Names

Psychotherapy in the 70s: Adam

Because of the known psychotropic properties of MDMA, a number of scientists became interested in exploring the usage of the drug in psychotherapy. This prompted the chemist Dr. Alexander Shulgin to synthesize the drug on his own in 1976 and distribute it to his friends who work in the field of clinical psychiatry.

The usage of MDMA in a clinical setting was reputed to be a success. The drug made the patient more introspective, as well as more willing to communicate and participate in the psychotherapy process. The success rates experienced with MDMA prompted Dr. Deborah Harlow and her colleagues at the Earth Metabolic Design Laboratory to host a meeting regarding the use of MDMA in therapy. It was agreed in that meeting that MDMA will be used but its usage will be kept quiet due to the events that surrounded the illegalization of LSD. Here, they named the drug “Adam” as an expression of what they called primal innocence as well as union with all life.


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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #14)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 01:10 AM

16. Thanks for that history

I don't know much about MDMA at all, but I did read the studies in the OP and some links to other studies.

One Norwegian team of researchers talks about how it may help, too. And it's not something you would need to take repeatedly to have the success rates this early research has shown.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 02:36 AM

18. I took a bunch back in the early '80's

I have PTSD - on an extreme level back in the day.....This eased the symptoms. Greatly.

It made a world of difference in my life reconnecting with other humans.

I was just trying to get fucked up and dance at the time. But it REALLY made a difference.

As usual with any anecdotal post, YMMV.

If you suffer from PTSD, try this in a safe place, with someone you love.



I will not discuss this any further.

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