Bitcoin Billionaire Backs Ecstasy Treatment for PTSD


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.

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Ecstasy (MDMA) Moving Through FDA Approval Process for PTSD


By Debbie Gregory.

The active ingredient in the drug ecstasy, MDMA, is set to be studied in large-scale clinical trial as a treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the use of MDMA, better known as the illegal drug ecstasy (or Molly) in the treatment PTSD.

Researchers at the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland, California presented the results from trials involving the treatment of 107 people diagnosed with PTSD. The FDA has recommended that the researchers move forward with the next phase of the trials, the final stage before potential approval of the drug.

About 8% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

“The results I’ve seen so far with MDMA are so much better than anything I’ve seen so far,” said Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist in Charleston, South Carolina, and a principle investigator in the MDMA trials.

As early as the 1990s, scientists showed that MDMA was reasonably safe when taken a few times in a controlled setting. The FDA permitted researchers to move forward with clinical trials exploring the drug as a treatment for PTSD.

Researchers believe that MDMA reduces the fear response and triggers the release of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that induce a feeling of well-being.

“MDMA provides a sweet spot where therapeutic change can happen,” says Mithoefer. “It affects neural networks so that people’s experiences are not hijacked by fear.”

Researchers hope to expand the enrollment of up to 300 people with PTSD to participate in the upcoming phase III trials.

The researchers will spend this year training therapists from 14 clinics across North America and Israel to deliver the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

The non-profit organization that is sponsoring the trials, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), is also sponsoring trials studying MDMA’s effects on social anxiety in adults with autism.

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