How MDMA is being used to treat PTSD | The Economist

I loaded a Beretta nine millimeter. I put it to my temple and
I pulled the trigger and the greatest peace that I
felt was when that hammer fell because I knew it was gonna be over. It was only a microsecond
but when you spend day in and day out suffering, a microsecond
of peace is an eternity. Since I’m sitting here you obviously know that the gun didn’t go off. That happened twice. Different ammunition. I tried to overdose once and twice I tried to slit my wrists. In America, around 22 military veterans kill
themselves every day. John served in Iraq during
the second Gulf War. His experiences left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The mental suffering has been so great that he was suicidal for eight years. One of the things we never
realized was that a lot of us would be asked to
give our life for our country, not in Iraq, not
in Afghanistan but far, far from the battlefield
at home, alone in the dark. Combat takes an emotional toll. Not only the things you see,
not only the things you do. But the base I was on got mortared thousands of times in a year. There’s guys on my base
that never went outside the wire, that are suffering
from extreme PTSD just from the constant fear of raining bombs. An estimated eight million Americans suffer with
PTSD and war veterans are only a fraction of this number. It’s a public health disaster costing billions of dollars to treat. There are treatments
available but the drugs prescribed are only
successful in 20% of cases. For those who don’t
respond to the available treatment, there may be
an alternative, MDMA, the active ingredient in
the party drug ecstasy is being touted as a
miracle cure for PTSD. The FDA has labeled MDMA
a breakthrough treatment and tests of the drug show
that it’s highly effective. In a recent study, over 60%
of patients no longer met the clinical criteria for
PTSD after the MDMA treatment. For John, conventional
treatments hadn’t worked. He saw the trial as his last hope. I’d never taken any psychedelics,
I’d never taken MDMA. I kind of thought it was
gonna be like The Matrix where instantly things
were gonna get magical. Is it like gradual rise and gradual fall? Hopefully, it’s waves where
you start to notice something. Sometimes people report a lot of thoughts. And then it kicked in
after about 30, 40 minutes. No anxiety. Geometric patterns. And I remember thinking
to myself, I completely get why people take this now. For John, the treatment was a revelation. It was probably the greatest
therapeutic experience I have ever had in my entire life. What are you experiencing? It disconnects the
amygdala, that fear response in the brain, that fight
or flight and you can talk about the trauma without
having a panic attack. Thinking a lot about. In Iraq? He lost his leg. Part of him getting hurt was my fault. The MDMA puts the brain in a
place where the therapy can work and people always ask
describe it, describe it. The best description I
have come up with is, it’s like doing therapy while
being hugged by everyone who loves you in a bathtub full
of puppies licking your face. MDMA was used in psychotherapy in the 1970s but became
popular as a party drug in the 1980s and was made illegal. It wasn’t until the early
2000s that the drug began scientific testing in
America to treat PTSD. Testing is now at the
final stage of FDA approval where around 300 subjects
will participate. If this is successful, then the drug could become a medicine. Rick Doblin has been at the forefront of this research since the 1980s. And one of the veterans that was in our study was John Lubecky. He served 12 years. We give MDMA only three
times, one month apart, with 12 90 minute non-drug
psychotherapy sessions and each of the sessions last eight hours. The current treatments for
PTSD flattened out people’s emotions and they are requiring
people to take these drugs every day for months or years
or a lifetime basically. An estimated 20% of former military personnel suffer with
PTSD in America alone. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs spends about $400 million
annually on treating PTSD and other mental health conditions. When you take MDMA, it floods the brain with hormones and
neurotransmitters that evoke feelings of trust and wellbeing. Researchers say this allows patients to reexamine traumatic memories. Of all the bad shit in Iraq, the worst thing was coming home. Like any drug, MDMA has side effects and there’s a
moderate risk of addiction but it is less harmful
than alcohol or tobacco. A small nonprofit is funding
the trial as MDMA is not patentable so big pharmaceutical
companies have steered clear of the treatment as
it will not make them money. For sufferers of PTSD, this new treatment could be a lifesaver. If hadn’t have gone through this, I’d be in Arlington cemetery. I have a stepson and if it
weren’t for this treatment, he probably would have been
handed the flag off my casket and somebody would have
had to explain to him why. Especially knowing that
treatments are available. They made it so that my stepson
will get the flag off my casket when he’s old and gray
and I’m old and gray and after I’ve watched him fall in love
and graduate high school, college, get married, bounce
a grandchild on my knee. Those are the things that
this treatment provides for veterans and everyone rather
than a life cut short.


  1. First…


  3. If you are interested in the topic, check out Rick Doblin on the Joe Rogan Podcast (JRE #782). He goes in depth on the current studies and legalities of psychedelics as a treatment.

  4. If you're interested also check out! It's the website of the psychedelic research association in the US. Some countries also have national research institutes that are often connected to maps.

  5. Awesome, I would party at that research. But you know how to solve the veterans problems? Stop going to fucking wars you psycho assholes.

  6. MD doesn't create visions. I don't understand why he saw patterns…

  7. It only works for about a forthnight after taking MDMA

  8. DUUUUUUHHHHH you're about 20 years too late, just like cannabis. You failed.

  9. I hate that our service people have inadequate support to help them transition to civilian life. Unacceptable. We owe them quality, effective help.

  10. I used to do it in the late 00s and the best experiences I had were when we all just hung out talking to each other

  11. Se have to find s better solution. We owe it to our veterans.

  12. Use to love me a bit of mandy lol!

    They even had a debate on it on Channel 4, saying things like horse riding is more dangerous bla bla bla! I think the problem lies in the fact that if u buy a pill u never know what's in it!

  13. The best cure of PTSD is stop fighting stupid wars.

  14. Lets invade Iran.

  15. Bad idea. Prolonged MDMA use kills serotonin in the brain which cant be reproduced. Stick to cannabis

  16. So that's party drug therapy ..

  17. Can meditation have the same effect? Wish an experienced meditator like @GaryWebber could answer.

  18. well as in the case of Kanye West he (and others) has been committed against his will treated with dangerous drugs and procedures also against his will . His crime? whistleblowing about bad things going on in the music and entertainment industry and for supporting the candidate of his choice President Trump.
    this is NOT OK!!! expose such torture and evil attempt into silencing people.

  19. involuntary mental health treatment is barbaric and is torture depriving victims of their health, life, liberty, and deprivation of property and ruining a persons good name forever. Just for supporting a political candidate "they" do not like and to cash in by medical billing for totally unnecessary and illegal treatments and procedures.

  20. Some Veterans became drug addicts legal and illegal drugs. Consent by such unfortunate people is doubly suspect, as their minds are already compromised.
    Leave our Veterans, widows and orphans alone, demon rats totalitarian MK Ultra brain wash psychobabble evil war criminals.! You all need to HANG or be sent to Gitmo!! Exodus 22:22 23 , 24

  21. PTSD is the CAUSE, read C-A-U-S-E of so called medical treatment and use of drugs legal and or illegal, along with MK Ultra Brain washing of decent people. Please spread the word and STOP these Monsters , who are nothing but a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Enterprise permeating and have infiltrast be treated as WAR Criminals which they are!!! in all areas of our Nation,

  22. Nicely done, remind me how many times The Economist, without question my favorite magazine, has supported all these military actions that are the cause of PTSD?

    You do have a long record of being anti Drug War, however, for which I am grateful.

    When will you be brave enough to begin pointing out legalizing all opioids including heroin is the only possible solution to the overdose epidemic? After 100,000 more deaths? 200,000? Maybe a million?

    Because you know it is, and I know you know it is.

  23. Please The Economist, put english subtitle (CC) in your videos, please.

  24. So let me guess, you murder innocent people over sea in the name America and the land of freedom . Now you having guilty of consciousness. I hope you motherfucker kill each more every year.

  25. my cousin could take this, my neighbor from downstairs, and many other dudes I went to school with

  26. What about the seriouss long term brain damage which destroys the mind and the emotions of the user? Isnt this a bit drug propaganda, which engourages people to use it at home? But I am actually for using it in therapy, in pure, limited and controlled form, if its neccessary.

  27. PTSD is terrible and causes as much harm as being there.

    Fighting unneccessary wars is great for the military industrial complex. Life long addiction costs massive amounts – great for the economy.

    This way of existing as a nation is not sustainable for the people of the Nation. But it is great for those who own shares in the military industrial complex, and the pharmacutecial industry.

  28. Less harmful than, tabaco and alcohol, interesting.

  29. "Pharmaceutical companies are not funding trials as MDMA is not patentable and it would not make them money". Something to think about. I wonder how many other solutions we are missing out on because it will not make pharmaceuticals money.

  30. It’s the betrayal they feel inside but they’ve been so much conditioned they can’t absolutely realise it but deep in them they feel it. That’s what PTSD is, they’ve been used like pawns.

  31. Effective Treatment isn't the same as "Cure"

  32. Semper fiedelis


  34. Sure, drugs make you feel good, but then u depend on them, pick your poison. Just promote drugs don’t piggyback on PTSD, snakes.

  35. I’m 10 years old I didn’t see the video yet sorry I have PTSD and so does all of my family, it’s from abuse from my mother (I’m safe now don’t worry) but MDMA can kill you and I would rather live with my PTSD then take that horrible drug.

  36. I had ptsd from Afghanistan youndont need the government giving you drugs you need the love of Jesus. Don't buy in to this crap.

  37. Not a vetran but i suffer from ptsd and dabbled in drugs at a redicoulously young age, doing mdma made my PTSD, panic disorder worse and so much more.

  38. Blame the good old US government

  39. Isn't LSD more effective for this?

  40. So, PTSD isn't correlated to the intensity of armed conflicts. Compare Iraq and Afghanistan to WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam. For the most part, Afghanistan and Iraq were rather one-sided conflicts, with very few American casualties. Yet still, with absolute advantage in firepower, training, intelligence, air superiority and unrivaled logistical support, soldiers get PTSD just the same, even when they are the ones shooting others up.

  41. I heard of a better cure with a 100% success rate. Its called “no more war” . done

  42. Drugs are bad. Except the ones from a doctor

  43. Short term cure? Surely taking pure ecstasy is not a long term cure lol

  44. As some one who has PTSD, MDMA taught me how to feel love again, but magick mushrooms took my depression away.

  45. I'd be weary of touting something as a miracle cure till I see many independant studies substantiate the claim under good scientific conditions.

  46. Thank you

  47. If this therapy can say one war veterans life, its worth pursuing!! I take DeX amphetamine for chronic depression and anxiety! It has saved my life!!!! My doctor has to say I have ADHD, just to get my Dex? Why aren't they using these drugs for people like me and soldiers? I don't understand why!

  48. Best drug in the world , u have zero worries an love everybody u see ,

  49. Me I no a different kinda of hell bit hell physical and mental no it well like I now without free press it's over all need is free press to stop much of this shit and we fucked without . Why I give a shit is because I always loved my country and don't want them fucks to shit all over it burn it to ground and then they fucked . No country no shit but from geometry you say I been looking at wall for year know been doing a lot of knowing not thinking I know or first sign of need more thinking don't know shit . I were telemarketing er to and almost shit when disabbled vet called my information gather # was crazy . Said they these fucks make you do this shit to burns my ass ahhaahgvyhhhj

  50. Now that most states are legalizing weed you are dipping into mdma if most of you guys are aware thats the shit they put in mollys that suppose to make them a more pure form of the drug the shit they try to give you

  51. If you can't handle the job don't enlist, be a man and stand up.

  52. After years of nightmares, time has healed me with God's help.

  53. Or you could use something natural like cannabis. My mom suffers from PTSD, and marijuana changed her life. But yea, let’s give people MDMA.

  54. Some people diagnosed with PTSD actually have Complex PTSD — far, far more… well… complex to treat.

  55. Marijuana also helps with ptsd

  56. And schizophrenia

  57. And depression

  58. Definitely should be done in a controlled setting with controlled doses…

  59. less harmful than alchool and tobacco IF dosed properly…otherwise it is neurotoxic

  60. Big pharma doesn't care because they can't make money. That tells you all u need to know about them

  61. Mdma and DMT saved my life not from military PTSD but I'm a ginger I grew up with no real friends being harassed beaten and molested as a child my emotions turned me into a drug addict to dull the pain I'm now clean and off methadone and living one day at a time my only close friends now that I'm an adult have mostly all died and at 32 I was sick of it I tried mdma it helped with loving myself because I couldn't even stand to be alone with myself although the real healing started with the DMT it got me to have the mental fortitude to sty strong and no everything's ok I just applied for the kentucky ayauasca show 2 weeks ago hoping I get to go

  62. These big pharma corps want to maximise profits so they'll keep selling useless medicine to grow profits and people never get cured

  63. I have PTSD very bad, I hide it the best I.can but it’s a struggle! I feel for the soldiers coming home to the sorry state of affairs we have going on nowadays

  64. So priority is the 358 alright is either them or Im gonna kill myself this cant go on either that son of a bitch dies or I wrists I fucking took all heat and I not even get a fucking cent no hommie sooo I better see that guy suffer and hear news it got killed or Im killing myself I DONT NEED TO MERRY AND LEAVE KIDS HELL NO

  65. I want retaliation NOW

  66. MDMA, Ketamine, mescaline… Many substances with unknown benefits that can help but our archaic criminal drug system causes more harm than good.

  67. You forgot the most important part, how are companies going to make money? Otherwise they'll keep it illegal

  68. Taking MDMA and listening to music on a good headphone. Oh Man.

  69. Medical treatment is one way to use drugs. But did you know that the War on Drugs and their Criminalization has caused more damage to society than being legal? Everyone who is informed about this topic realises that we need new drug policies. Seriously. It can help.

  70. That is a really powerful message

  71. Wow that's a such interesting documentary ! For next time, I would an other more long 🤓

  72. How about sit the f** home instead of going killing other then suffer such trauma

  73. Amazing video!!

  74. I live in canada i need this badly 🙁

  75. Lets lobby for legalization.

  76. ya I know all about it. The drugs that are given doesn’t work and killed all emotional feeling. So I stopped and switched to something that does work.
    Cannibis Going strong and still working

  77. What about the dopamine depletion from regular use? How is that going to play a role in treatment

  78. where's the full video?

  79. Be very careful with the drugs, if you are seriously considering this, please do it with lots of professional support and with emergency medical access if something goes wrong.
    For some, these types of therapies for PTSD and even drug/alcohol addiction may assist you with positive results, and the best of luck to you, but it is not for everyone and you must still be vigilant about your health ongoing.
    But for a few, these therapies can cause disastrous consequences. If you are sensitive to drugs in general, are taking any drugs for any reason, or can not tolerate drugs consider EMDR therapy, it is non-invasive but takes a lot of time and work.
    For someone like me with mental health issues psychedelic hard drugs have had disastrous cognitive effects, I was never been able to tolerate them as a youth in the 70s, 80s.

  80. Before anyone runs out and tries psycedelics please look up HPPD. Remember the patients are in a controlled setting which is very good harm reduction. Just want ya to know of possible negatives HPPD is hell. That being said I truly do believe in the powers of these medicines.

  81. As a war veteran who is happily married and is a manager in the tech industry, I can say that mdma transformed my life. It's like your brain is a big mush of tangled hair and mdma is the comb that de-tangles all of the knots in your brain. It's like 100 therapy session mashed into one. The key point is that it makes you intensely sensitive but also detached at the same time. This enables you to be honest with yourself in a way that is impossible without it. The reason we can't be honest with our selves is because the truth is painful, many folds times more if you have ptsd. In my 33 years I have taken it 3 times because I am in such awe of it. Once every few years. There is no point in doing it often, as there isn't so much to process in the consecutive months.

  82. The AYAHUASCA remove PTSD forever, and in just one take

  83. I have C-PTSD and MDMA taught me how to love again and showed me who I was before all the shit happened to me. We need to define the line between helpful and harmful drugs in society.

  84. MDMA doesn’t seem like it would help. But that’s just me

  85. Its been shown that long term use of MDMA in recreational users can cause anxiety and depression so how do we know that after a long time these PTSD suffers wont feel that effect ?

  86. How bout no longer engaging in wars for Israeli religious fanatics so we don't have to take party drugs invented by Jewish chemists and pushed by Jewish psychotherapists?

  87. as someone who lived a life plagued by the after-mark of PTSD, MDMA for therapeutic treatment is helpful beyond words. Once we remove stigma, look at the reasoning and science behind these tools, a lot can be done to help so many others.

  88. Harvard as of 2020 is bringing attention to the use of microdose amounts of controlled MDMA, ketamine alongside other psychoactive medicinals including psilocybin for psychopathy. Remove the stigma and look at how the chemicals react in a brain scan. Would only be done solely in the setting of a controlled laboratory and clinically certified psychologists.

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