Scientific American: Psychedelic with Therapy Significantly Improves PTSD Symptoms

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impacts about 3.5% of all adults in the United States every year, while nearly 10% will get diagnosed during their lifetime. People across all demographics may develop PTSD after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event and symptoms can vary over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people who go through a terrifyingly traumatic event have a temporary difficulty adjusting immediately. Effective treatment can be crucial to effectively coping and improving function. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s extremely important to educate folks on the prevalence of mental health issues and to put an end to any remaining stigma that may prevent people from seeking treatment. Scientists are starting to discover psychedelics’ role in treating PTSD and other mental health conditions, and as Scientific American reported, MDMA combined with therapy appears to improve symptoms:

“A long-awaited study is making worldwide headlines for finding that the outlawed psychoactive drug MDMA is startlingly effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But researchers and study participants say the substance itself, while extremely powerful, catalyzes healing rather than working on its own: MDMA treatment also requires dozens of hours of therapy—before, during and after the drug experience—with professionals whose special training is expensive and intense.

“Researchers hope the new study, published this week in Nature Medicine, will help this treatment gain regulators’ approval for clinical use within a couple of years. Many therapists and patients are thrilled: About two thirds of PTSD sufferers do not respond to other treatments. And MDMA had shown tremendous promise in earlier, smaller studies.”

“PTSD is a difficult nut to crack—one main reason being that traumas become stuck,” explains Jennifer Mitchell, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the study. “But with MDMA, things that had really crystallized become more flexible, and this gives you the chance to shake the tree and let all the nuts fall out.”

Just as countless lives have benefitted from the medicinal use of cannabis, it appears that psychedelics may be on a similar path towards more scientific discoveries that can unlock mental health benefits. Drug policy reforms and research are going hand-in-hand to educate the public, reduce stigma, and open up new avenues for important studies. The passage of Measure 109 and 110 in Oregon have set the stage for potential legislation in California, and other states will utilize the latest evidence to make informed decisions around important drug policy decisions. As more research is conducted, the medicinal use of psychedelics will become more mainstream across our nation and the globe.

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Psychedelics in Recovery Form a Promising Community for Healing and Growth

The medicinal psychedelic revolution is in full swing and the early reports are extremely promising. A recent Johns Hopkins study found psilocybin mushrooms an effective treatment for depression while researchers at the University of California have found MDMA an effective PTSD treatment. With Johns Hopkins creating the first endowed psychedelic professorship on the planet, it’s easy to imagine more and more positive research coming to fruition over the coming years. With depression, drug overdoses, and suicide plaguing far too many people in our nation, we can expect more people to seek out psychedelics as more scientific advancements are made and the general public is made aware of psychedelics’ efficacy. Psychedelics in Recovery (PIR) co-founded by Dimitri M. and based upon the 12-step tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous has exploded in popularity during COVID times, providing those seeking to end their harmful drug use, a community of like-minded folks that considers psychedelic treatments as acceptable, as Rolling Stone reported:

People from across the world began showing up, people in all stages of life and recovery, some even joining from treatment facilities. At the beginning of 2020, PIR consisted of a single weekly online meeting and occasional in-person meetings in New York or San Diego. By the summer of 2020 it had grown to 17 meetings per week with as many as 40 people in a single group.

An average meeting can veer into how a DMT trip might inspire a member to realize the existence of a higher power, or how a Peyote experience may remind a member of the people they hurt during active addiction. Dimitri believes that this is no accident, that psychedelic treatment and the 12 steps were meant to be used in tandem. He says the purpose of both is the pursuit of becoming “a mensch.”

With over 20 veteran suicides everyday, and states tragically breaking overdose records, it is imperative that we seek out all safe treatments for addiction and all mental health issues. Unfortunately, the Drug War has stigmatized psychedelic treatments, denying people from beneficial medical treatments for far too long. Thankfully, the truth is setting psychedelics free, step by step.

Texas Cannabis and Psychedelics Legislation Advancing Along

Step by step, state by state, we are making progress against Reefer Madness prohibition and the failed Drug War overall. While West Coast states and others with the initiative process have led the way in positive reforms, it’s imperative that we continue to make progress all across the nation and in states where legislatures are the only recourse to improving our laws. As more people become educated about the benefits of cannabis legalization and other drug policy reforms, it’s only a matter of time before dedicated, hardworking advocates win important victories across our nation. Each state just adds more ammunition to our battle of ideas in the halls of Congress, as well as more political allies willing to cast important votes, such as implementing the SAFE Banking Act and ending federal prohibition altogether. Everything is bigger in Texas, so any positive reforms secured in the Lone Star State will reverberate throughout the land. As Marijuana Moment reported, there are some important developments taking place:

The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana concentrates—and lawmakers separately advanced legislation to require studies on the therapeutic potential of certain psychedelics for military veterans.

The cannabis concentrates measure would make it so possession of up to two ounces of those products would be downgraded to a class B misdemeanor. The bill cleared the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee earlier this month, and now it’s been approved on second reading in the full chamber, with a final vote to send it to the Senate expected as early as Wednesday.


Meanwhile, the psychedelics research legislation from Rep. Alex Dominguez (D) passed in the House Public Health Committee on Monday. The panel approved amendment that includes changes limiting the scope of the state-funded study to focus on military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rather than a broader list of conditions attached to the initial bill.

Reducing criminal penalties associated with cannabis possession is obviously a step in the right direction while the  psychedelics legislation could be a real game changer. The Texas psychedelics proposal require the state to study the medical risks and benefits of psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for veterans while mandating a clinical trial into psilocybin for veterans battling post-traumatic stress. Helping veterans that have sacrificed so much for our nation is the least that we can do and demonstrating success treating PTSD will surely open the doors for further research and important policy changes throughout the United States.