A Canadian study claims that psychedelic drugs like ecstasy may decrease suicidal thoughts and reduce suicide risk. The specific study analyzed data pertaining to 800 female sex workers over the course of four years. Psychedelic drugs like ecstasy, according to the data from this new study, may be effective at easing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The study was, according to Daily Mail, the brain child of Elano Argento from the BC Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Reportedly, Elano wanted to see how various drugs affected suicidal thoughts. So, in order to control the study, Elano eliminated women from the study if they had already experienced suicidal thought or attempted suicide. The number of women that remained was only 290 women. These 290 women were the women tracked in the research. The female sex workers were tracked from 2010 to 2014. They answered questions about their drug use and mental health. They were specifically surveyed about suicidal thoughts and tendencies. During the next four years, 11 percent of the sex workers experienced suicidal thoughts at some point. The interesting thing is that for all the women, whether they reported contemplating suicide or not, the use of psychedelic drugs like methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also called MDMA and associated with the street drugs molly and ecstasy) reduced risks.
— MAPS (@MAPS) May 11, 2017
On the flip side, the women who took the sedative drug known as meth were more likely to think about killing themselves.
The Inquisitr reported earlier that Dr. Bronner’s, the family-owned company that manufactures the popular natural brand of soaps, pledged $5 million to a nonprofit organization after the FDA approved the organization’s request to begin Phase 3 drug trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. This therapy would treat treatment-resistant PTSD. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the nonprofit organization, wishes to develop MDMA into an FDA-approved medicine.
— MAPS (@MAPS) June 17, 2017
Ecstasy has been banned in the United States since 1986 and is ranked on the drug schedule alongside heroin. The drug may one day be used to treat a number of psychological disorders and some symptoms of autism. According to Daily Mail, “researchers at Stanford University claim the substance could give autistic people a powerful psychological experience that could help them connect better with their therapist.” In fact, two Stanford researchers did write a commentary about ecstasy that was published in Cell. Though researchers still aren’t exactly sure how MDMA works to make people feel better, Stanford researchers Drs. Rob Malenka and Boris Heifets believe that MDMA has more potential for teaching neuroscientists about empathy than any other compound. The pair described the drug as an empathogen. They said it helps people experience positive social feelings and it promotes feelings of empathy.
“Its actions of enhancing positive social interactions and empathy are entirely unique, making it unlike any other known psychoactive substance.”
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, like the therapy currently being tested by MAPS, could be a legal reality by 2021.
The specific type of psychedelic drug used wasn’t specified as part of the research. MDMA is often found in the street drugs called ecstasy or molly, but these may contain additional adulterants that could be dangerous. Street versions may also contain an unknown amount of MDMA. Still, given all of the information coming out of MDMA research, it’s not shocking that ecstasy may also help reduce suicidal thoughts.
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