Autistic people are the subject of a new proposed trial for MDMA, the active ingredient in what’s commonly known as the street-drug Molly or Ecstacy. It’s not so much that doctors believe that the drug will cure autism, but they believe that it may reduce the crippling anxiety that often goes hand-in-hand with autism. Traditional medicines used for anxiety disorder have proven to be ineffective on autistic patients.
The reasoning behind these MDMA trials is that autistic people are often withdrawn. MDMA is a drug that increases energy, boosts confidence, increases awareness of social cues, and uplifts the user. The hope is that with the help of the drug, people with autism may open up about themselves, which could reduce social anxiety.
The drug has already been used in studies on people with PTSD, often with favorable results. Scientists insist that the clinical version the drug would be much safer than the street version.
“The MDMA used in the study is safer than Ecstasy and Molly because it is pure,” according to Alicia Danforth, a co-investigator from a team of Los Angeles researchers. “The street drugs are usually contaminated, with only 20% of Ecstasy pills even containing MDMA in some samples, and can be harmful. The pure form has rarely had serious adverse effects in lab studies.”
The researchers are still in the process of recruiting 12 participants with the following prerequisites: The subjects must have completed two years of college and be over the age of 21.
The participants first attend therapy sessions “to help them get ready and for the shift in consciousness,” Danforth explained.The MDMA is then given to eight of the subjects in monitored sessions over the period of a month. Four of the subjects receive placebos.
Six months after the MDMA sessions, the subjects return for “integrative therapy” while researches take notes on their progress. The subjects who received placebos are then given the option of taking MDMA as well.
Doesn’t quite sound like a party, does it?