A preliminary study conducted by researchers at the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at the Imperial College London has found significant potential for the use of MDMA (ecstasy) in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD):
MDMA treatment was well tolerated by all participants. No unexpected adverse events were observed. Psychosocial functioning improved across the cohort. Regarding alcohol use, at nine months post detox, the average units of alcohol consumption by participants was 18.7 units per week compared to 130.6 units per week before the detox. This compares favourably to a previous observational study (the ‘Outcomes’ study) by the same team with a similar population of people with AUD.
This study provides preliminary support for the safety and tolerability of a novel intervention for AUD post detox. Further trials to examine better the therapeutic potential of this approach are now indicated.
This is notable because modern medicine still does not have any other viable, reliable therapy for alcoholism.
While US trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy are moving forward, and the FDA has given MDMA a breakthrough drug designation, it is anticipated that it will still be a few years before MDMA is rescheduled and made legally available through physicians.
In Missouri, state representative Michael Davis (R-Kansas City) has filed legislation that would allow for MDMA and other psychedelics through the existing Right to Try framework (House Bill 1176).
Psychedelic psychotherapist Michael VanderWaal LMSW of Moss and Main says "MDMA assisted psychotherapy has great potential in helping people with alcoholism by addressing trauma-related issues that often underlies alcoholic behavior. Missouri lawmakers should take action to make this therapy available to people who have life-threatening alcohol use disorder."