Clinical trial MDMA for people with autism

MDMA is more than just a party drug that makes people feel all mellow. When the famous 'love drug' was introduced, it was intended for use in therapy. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) continues to try and get it back in its original therapeutic setting.

Some time ago, we reported on trials with MDMA to help treat PTSD. Now MAPS is exploring the use of MDMA to help alleviate some of the social disorders commonly experienced by people with autism.

Psychologist Alicia Danforth, co-lead on the study, emphases that this is not about treating autism, but rather to see if MDMA may assist people in coping with their crippling social anxieties.

One key player is Nick Walker, an autistic scholar, writer and speaker, whom Danforth met through a mutual acquaintance. Walker disagrees with those who worry that giving MDMA to people with autism could be hazardous. "MDMA was never harmful for me; drugs have been nothing but good to me."

Therapeutic effects of MDMA

The study doesn’t involve regular MDMA doses or 'prescribed' MDMA to take home. Rather, participants take the drug twice in a therapeutic setting, complete with all the normal paraphernalia of a psychologist’s treatment room, from card games to art supplies and headphones 'for introspection'.

"The critical distinction is that these are not drug studies," says Danforth. "Other than safety considerations, the pharmacological drug effects are irrelevant: this is about the therapeutic effects of an altered state of consciousness."

Azarius welcomes studies and initiatives such as this one. Hopefully one day proving to the world that an altered state of consciousness can be an invaluable tool for self-improvement.

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Motherboard.vice.com - A clinical trial is exploring how MDMA could help people with autism.