Dancehalls to Doctor’s Offices: Have you seen Molly?

People might think that using psychedelic drugs, like “Molly” or “Ecstasy” for medical treatment is insane, but what they may not know is that MDMA was first synthesized to this end.  The popular dancehall drug got its starts in the science lab.  MDMA was actually created by a pharmaceutical chemist at the German pharma giant Merck in 1912 as medicine to help blood to clot and stop bleeding.  

mdma molly ecstasy used as a treatment

So what happened?  When did MDMA become more recreation than medicine?  While some studies have been carried out since the early 1900’s on the substance, most have been halted by its classification as a Schedule 1 drug. 

More and more studies point to certain psychedelics having the potential for legitimate uses in the treatment of various illnesses – especially mental health disorders, but research of these uses has been very difficult to conduct.   Because most psychedelics remain classified as Schedule 1 drugs, drugs which have a very high potential for abuse, using them in research to explore possible clinical uses has been virtually impossible.

Times, however, may be changing.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has just given the go-ahead for a clinical trial by California-based non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to investigate the use of MDMA in treating anxiety in those with life-threatening illnesses. The trial will involve 18 seriously ill patients, monitored closely, who will be given a few months of psychotherapy and occasional doses of MDMA in some sessions.

The hope is that the MDMA will improve the effects of therapy and also allow the patients to face their disease with more understanding, and lesson stress and anxiety associated with coping. They are also hoping to raise around $20 million to make MDMA into an FDA-approved prescription drug by 2021.  The company is a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to the development of medical and legal uses of psychedelics.