MDMA for PTSD – Extended Interview with Karen, PTSD Survivor

Karen - MDMA for PTSD Study Participant

Karen – MDMA for PTSD Study Participant

This is an exended interview with a survivor of treatment resistant post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.  Karen says she is cured of her PTSD now, thanks to a treatment that includes lots of psychotherapy, plus three times when she took a dose of the psychoactive chemical, MDMA.  MDMA is classed as a federally illegal drug.  However the FDA has approved the drug for use in clinical trials of an intense psychotherapy protocol that includes MDMA.  Now here’s Karen’s story.

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MDMA for PTSD – Extended Interview with Marcella Ot’Alora – Principal Investigator

Boulder Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

Principal Investigator for Boulder MDMA for PTSD study, Psychotherapist Marcella Ot’Alora

This is an extended interview with Marcella Ot’alora.  Ot’alora is a Boulder psychotherapist, and the principal investigator for the Boulder branch of the FDA approved, nationwide studies of using MDMA in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.  MDMA is classed as a federally illegal drug.  However the FDA has approved the drug for use in clinical trials of an intense psychotherapy protocol that includes MDMA.  Now here’s more detail, from Marcella Ot’alora.

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MDMA for PTSD – Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

Boulder Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

Boulder Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

In the years ahead, doctors across the U.S. might be prescribing a currently illegal drug as therapy for the hard-to-treat condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The new “medicine” would be MDMA, an ingredient in the party drug ecstasy.  The treatment is showing success for many of the study participants (go here for an extended interview with a study participant named Karen).  The lead funder of these FDA approved studies is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, also known as MAPS (go here for more about MAPS, plus how to enroll or learn about the studies). 

The Principal Investigator for the Boulder studies is psychotherapist Marcella Ot’Alora (go here for an extended interview with Ot’Alora.)  On Ot’Alora’s team is Boulder psychiatrist Will Vanderveer  How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender shares this in-depth interview with psychiatrist Will Vanderveer.  

Host: Alejandro Soto
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Contributors: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Clinical Trials Test MDMA as PTSD Treatment

Artwork credit: MDMA trial participant Allison Heistand-Phelps

Artwork credit: MDMA trial participant Allison Heistand-Phelps

This week on How on Earth host Susan Moran interviews two investigators of FDA-approved clinical trials testing the efficacy and safety of the illegal drug MDMA — known in an altered form as Ecstasy or Molly — as a treatment (along with psychotherapy sessions) for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Our guests are Marcela Ot’alora and Bruce Poulter, investigators of the Colorado trial. Marcela is a licensed psychotherapist and Bruce is a registered nurse with a masters degree in public health

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that affects up to one in 12 people in the United States, and it’s at least as common in some other countries. It is a serious, and costly, public health problem. If the trials are successful,  MDMA, which has its critics, could become commercially available as a medically prescribed treatment by 2021. The trials are being funded by a nonprofit organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which promotes careful and beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:

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