Ecstasy May Benefit Veterans, Rape Victims And Others With PTSD

Listen Now
Ecstasy Therapy
In MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, participants lie on a couch, sometimes with eye shades and headphones listening to music. A male and a female therapist sit on either side of the patient for the 8-hour session.

Ecstasy -- also known as Molly -- has been used for years as an illegal party drug. But researchers say the purified active ingredient in it, called MDMA, can help people who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

A Food and Drug Administration-approved clinical trial of the drug is underway in Boulder, Colo. Studies so far indicate the drug is nine times more effective in treating PTSD than current psychiatric medications, and that results can last for several years.

The study focuses on victims of child abuse, sexual assault, violent crime as well as men and women who have fought in the military. Psychotherapist Saj Razvi, who is with the Denver-based non-profit Trauma Dynamics, is helping lead the study. His patient, Brenda, who didn't want her last name used, was sexually abused by her father as a child and took part in the study. They spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.