Two major science review committees in California have approved a study that administers MDMA to autistic adults to examine its effects on social anxiety.
The Research Advisory Panel of California and the Institutional Review Board at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute approved the research study.
The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) plans to study 12 autistic adults under MDMA therapy.
MDMA is a common party drug called “ecstasy” or “molly,” which are cut with other substances.
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It is known to reduce the fear of emotional harm and promote feelings of social acceptance. It creates a sense of intimacy with other people, which has made it the subject of other clinical trials to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
A rape survivor told CNN that MDMA helped her learn to control her thoughts and actions by looking at things differently.
Despite having some psychedelic effects, researchers believe in a controlled setting it can help people with social disconnection.
The amphetamine is a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin, marijuana, and LSD.
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MAPS received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in early April, but it still requires the approval of the Drug Enforcement Agency before it can begin the study.
Researchers also have to raise more than $250,000 to carry out the study because major foundations and organizations do not want to fund a program to give MDMA or other psychedelics to humans, SBWire reported earlier this year.