MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly: Coming soon to a therapist near you

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Several pills of MDMA sit on a white table. MDMA releases serotonin rather than mimicking the effects of serotonin, explains psychiatry professor Matthew Johnson. Photo by Shutterstock.

LSD and Ecstasy were once the hippy-trippy illegal substances for concerts, raves, and parties. Now these psychedelics are back in the news — this time for their positive impact on trauma and depression. 

Today nearly one in five American adults lives with a mental illness, and PTSD will affect an estimated 7.7 million Americans at some point in their life. That’s according to NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness. 

Over the past 30 years, researchers and psychotherapists have discovered the transformative benefits of treating trauma, depression, anxiety and drug addiction in controlled therapy sessions using methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA). 

KCRW explores how psychedelics and specifically MDMA have shifted the paradigm when it comes to the treatment of trauma, and what the de-stigmatization and medical legalization of these drugs could mean for future treatments of mental disorders.  



Andrea Brody