By Debbie Gregory.
MDMA, better known as ecstasy, is showing promise as a tool for treating PTSD. And now, the Pineapple Fund plans to donate $4 million to the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to complete the third phase of clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. The only catch is that it’s a matching grant, and MAPS must raise another $4 million before March 10 to receive the funds.
The Pineapple Fund was started in December by an anonymous donor who goes by the nickname “Pine” and claims to be among the 250 largest holders of Bitcoin in the world. The fund aims to give away $86 million worth of Bitcoin.
Pine has given to MAPS once already – 59.89 bitcoin valued at $1 million — to fund the MDMA trials.
“MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has shown great promise,” Pine said in a written statement. “We’re offering the matching grant because we think the psychedelic and cryptocurrency communities can work together to finish funding Phase 3 clinical trials.”
Why Pineapple Fund? According to his website, Pine explained, “I really like pineapple. Did you know that pineapples contain high levels of bromelain, which has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, and digestive aid?!”
MDMA transiently increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature in a dose-dependent manner that is generally not problematic for physically healthy individuals. Serious adverse events involving administration of MDMA in MAPS studies have been uncommon and non-life threatening.
The Phase 2 clinical trials demonstrated that MDMA can reduce fear and defensiveness, enhance communication and introspection, and increase empathy and compassion, enhancing the therapeutic process for people suffering from PTSD.
In MAPS’ completed Phase 2 trials with 107 participants, 61% no longer qualified for PTSD after three sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy two months following treatment. At the 12-month follow-up, 68% no longer had PTSD. All participants had chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD, and had suffered from PTSD for an average of 17.8 years.
Phase 2 trial results are currently being prepared for publication.