The Federal Drug Administration has approved a study on the examination of the drug ecstasy, and its potential affects on those suffering from social anxiety.
It is a first-of-its-kind study, as it sets out to discover the benefits of a drug that has been considered a Schedule I controlled substance since 1985.
"The study could start enrolling subjects in several months," Brad Burge, communications director at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies said. "However, it could be six months or more depending on how long the [International Review Board] review process takes, how long it takes to set up the study site at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center, how long it takes to recruit subjects, and other factors. I estimate it will be four to eight monist."
Ecstasy is known for being a clubbing drug, as it produces feelings of euphoria and mild hallucinations. Since it also promotes feelings of social connection, researchers hope it will help those with social anxiety.
Though the street version of the drug often has other dangerous contaminants, scientists aim to study the purest form of the drug.
They are planning on studying it on 12 autistic adults as well.
"This study will be the first time MDMA-assisted therapy has been explored in a clinical trial for social anxiety, and the first time it's been explored to help adults on the autism spectrum," Burge said. "The many case reports collected by study co-investigator Alicia Danforth in her recently submitted doctoral dissertation indicate that it is likely to provide at least some benefit."
“Existing research also shows that MDMA is safe enough for use in clinical research,” he added. “It’s a promising area of research, and indicates a real shift in how the public sees MDMA and other psychedelics.”