Ecstasy is a Schedule I narcotic, meaning the federal government believes it is a highly dangerous drug, worse than meth and cocaine, with absolutely no medical benefits. Someone probably should've told that to the Food and Drug Administration, because they just called ecstasy a "breakthrough drug" for treating PTSD.
The FDA announced their approval of the use of MDMA for PTSD and are pushing to begin clinical trials as soon as possible. The FDA gives drugs a "breakthrough" status when a medication provides significantly better results than anything else currently available. So not only are they saying ecstasy is ok to take, but they're saying it's better than literally anything else imaginable.
Anyone who's ever gone to a EDM concert or music festival is probably not surprised to learn about its effectiveness to treat PTSD. After all, the drug is called "ecstasy." When MDMA enters the bloodstream, it releases a massive amount of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, giving the user a euphoric feeling and enhances all of the body's positive sensations.
Patients suffering from PTSD do so because recounting a particular scarring memory triggers a negative reaction from the body. Therefore, any time that memory is thought of, a negative reaction occurs. To counter this with MDMA, scientists give the patients ecstasy and then have them recount their scarring memory. Because the body is flooded with serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which triggers the euphoric feeling, the scarring memory doesn't trigger the same negative reactions it usually would. As patients recount the memory more and more while using MDMA, the body's natural negative reactions to that memory begin to fade away, which allows them to recount the memory without suffering from PTSD symptoms even when not under the influence of ecstasy.
Multiple studies have confirmed these findings about the ability of MDMA to treat PTSD. One study found that 67 percent of patients had no signs of PTSD after just three sessions of taking ecstasy, as opposed to only 23 percent in the non-ecstasy control group. Another study followed 16 people with PTSD that could not be cured by other forms of treatment. After using MDMA as treatment, two relapsed back into PTSD symptoms, but the other 14 were considered clinically cured.
But just like with marijuana, the illegal status of MDMA will possibly hinder people from accessing the treatment. Despite the seriousness of the conditions it can help, the federal government's antiquated drug laws will keep people from getting the medications they need. But perhaps if the FDA pushes hard enough, that could be resolved.