Last week, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies (MAPS) made a very big announcement: it had raised $30 million to complete its promising study of MDMA (ecstasy; molly) for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has granted MAPS “breakthrough therapy” approval based on earlier trials. With its recent cash infusion, MAPS will now move into Phase III trials. That’s where its scientists will evaluate how MDMA works in comparison with existing medications for PTSD (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) MAPS anticipates good results, including FDA approval as early as 2022.
If you’ve followed the story of psychedelic drugs in the U.S., then you know about MAPS: the nonprofit has been around since 1986. The outfit actually began in response to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scheduling MDMA, more or less, which happened on an “emergency” basis in 1985 (you can view MAPS’ impressive archive and play-by-play on all of that here). Prior to MDMA coming under federal control, it was commonly administered in psychiatric and counseling studies. The drug caught DEA’s ire when recreational use proliferated. Fortunately, by criminalizing MDMA, DEA was able to stamp out its use entirely, as it did with cannabis