MDMA is a synthetic stimulant drug of the central nervous system (CNS) that alters mood and perception and is derived from amphetamine.

It shares a chemical structure to stimulants (methamphetamines) and psychedelics (mescaline) and produces feelings of euphoria and increased energy, and experiences of emotional communion, such as oneness, relatedness and empathy. MDMA was granted “Breakthrough Therapy” status by the FDA, which means that due to clinical evidence which shows that the substance may offer significant improvement over existing treatments, the FDA will expedite the substance’s development and review process.

In MDMA’s case, it is now in Phase III clinical trials for use as a therapeutic aid in the treatment of PTSD, which is being administered by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and involves a few administrations of the drug alongside guided professional therapy. Many patients are war veterans with treatment resistant PTSD, and the results of the therapeutic sessions reveal that MDMA therapy helps them to achieve a greater sense of acceptance, warmth and compassion when mentally approaching their past trauma, which is providing them with the opportunity to cope and heal.

MDMA has also shown promise in treating social anxiety in individuals with autism and clinical anxiety in patients with life-threatening illnesses, helping the patients to shift their anxiety toward openness, introspection and compassion. The MDMA therapy sessions are accomplishing these encouraging results for these conditions with infrequent or even single doses, eliminating the need for frequent administration and mitigating adverse side effects and costs associated with longer-term, more involved therapies.