The Healing Effects Of MDMA & MUSHROOMS For PTSD And Other Trauma Conditions
I bet you never thought that drugs made illegal by the United States federal government would suddenly be at the center of a rising interest in the treatment of mental health conditions. Yet, it’s true: the chemicals present in many Schedule I controlled substances are at the forefront of new research about treating the symptoms of PTSD, depression, and other mental health challenges.
In particular, drugs like MDMA and magic mushrooms are helping people with serious illnesses work through their problems and find relief under the close watch of their psychologists. If you suffer from PTSD or another trauma condition, you might want to look closely at the new studies emerging regarding these new substance treatments.
Psilocybin is Turning the World of Psychology Upside Down
Psilocybin is the trending word in today’s psychology studies surrounding illicit substances. This chemical is the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” which is a psychoactive substance that causes hallucinations. In controlled doses, however, researchers are finding that the drug can create positive effects on those with mental illnesses or stuck in negative thought patterns affecting their daily life.
Academics once attempted experiments with drugs such as this to study the effects on the brain, but frequent errors and missteps in the processes caused many studies to shut down and the government to tighten up controls. Recently, many U.S. cities have been decriminalizing these drugs in order to open up opportunities for more research and allow those suffering from mental health conditions to find relief. As more studies have shown amazing results, the government has been approving more research requests. In 2016, only two studies occurred regarding the use of illicit drugs, but by 2020, there were 17 trials including LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin as the majority victor.
For example, one trial included a car accident victim with a history of traumatic experiences and a worsening mental health condition. Struck with PTSD, the patient began visits at Imperial College London with his psychologist and neuroscientist. During his visits, the scientists sought to break the negative thought patterns in the patient’s mind by dosing him with psilocybin while laying down and listening to music. The patient began experiencing benign hallucinations, allowing his mind to work through his emotions so he could break through the walls of his PTSD.
As more and more studies pop up surrounding psilocybin, States are beginning to decriminalize and allow it for the use of research and psychological treatment. Results have been astonishingly promising for those who have tried just about every other treatment on the market and have not found any relief for their major depressive disorder, PTSD, addictions, and even eating disorders. For example, in November 2020, one of the studies showed that over 70% of the participating patients taking psilocybin felt more than 50% reduction in their major depressive disorder symptoms over the course of only 4 weeks. Further, 50% of those patients entered total remission. When researchers followed up after the study with those participants, the results promised lasting benefits.
Does Ecstasy Harm or Help Mental Health?
Aside from magic mushrooms or psilocybin, MDMA is at the forefront of mental health research as well. MDMA, also known as molly or ecstasy, names which typically illicit judgment from those who shun street drugs. In fact, the U.S. government has also shunned MDMA as a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no benefits with a high rate of addiction or abuse. Many psychiatrists and researchers are now saying that that categorization is false.
It’s still very controversial whether MDMA can help or hurt. As a rule of thumb, doctors only prescribe medications whose benefits outweigh the risks. MDMA has a history of worsening mental health for heavy users, but many researchers are saying that that is not necessarily MDMA’s fault. One argument is that ecstasy is typically mixed with other drugs when taken illegally. Another argument is that heavy use of any substance is harmful, but in controlled amounts, users can experience benefits safely.
To fully understand, you need to know exactly what MDMA does to a user’s body. Ecstasy is both a stimulant and a hallucinogen, so its effects come in two parts. It raises or alters the levels of three chemicals in your brain: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The first two, serotonin and dopamine, are well known for affecting your mood and behavior. The last one, norepinephrine, affects the rate of your pulse and your blood pressure. If you take large amounts of MDMA, the effects will eventually wear off and lead to a drop in serotonin and dopamine, which can be linked to depression.
Psychiatrists argue that taking MDMA in a safe environment with controlled doses under the supervision of doctors and psychologists will allow those who suffer from trauma and mental health conditions to find relief much faster and more efficiently than with other treatments.
Current trials are studying the effects of MDMA dosing on patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. For those with PTSD, trials are still ongoing yet are showing promising preliminary results when dosing is paired with psychotherapy methods. A 2015 study promoted MDMA as a more effective option for the treatment of depression due to its immediate effects in comparison to currency available medications that take a long time to start working. Despite promising results, prescribing MDMA as a prescription drug as a treatment for mental health conditions is still illegal.
What Else Can MDMA and Mushrooms Do?
The science slowly being revealed behind how effective MDMA and psilocybin are as mental health treatments are groundbreaking. Beyond mental health, what other benefits are there to legalizing the use of these substances? Closest to my heart is their long history of helping people open up their minds and hearts to knowledge and experiences beyond their daily life.
Hallucinogenic substances across the world have elevated the human spirit and mind for centuries. Some populations still use these drugs today to carry out their religious and spiritual ceremonies and rituals. For example, the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica used psilocybin for healing and divine inspiration, even as far back as prehistoric times! Art from so long ago depicted these mushrooms and the effects that they had on the people.
Further, academics have been studying the use of Peyote by Native Americans for a long time as well. A famous psychiatrist from Harvard, John H. Halpbern, has been visiting tribes in America to attend their religious ceremonies. The U.S. government has allowed the use of Peyote only in the context of the Native American Church, and Halpbern as well as journalists have documented just how integral these hallucinogenic drugs are to the Native Americans’ spirituality.
In Africa, the iboga plant is a hallucinogenic substance used for religious experiences as well. The Babongo people pulverize it and use it to receive otherworldly knowledge. The effects are known to cause a blending of the senses, visions, and euphoria. In South Asia, Kava is a popular substance consumed for religious ceremonies to strengthen kinship in the community and open up channels of communication with divine powers.
While Kava, Iboga, and Peyote aren’t necessarily MDMA or mushrooms, their basic function and effects are the same: they tap into the mind and help it to break down its barriers and normal structured function so that the user can experience new things beyond this realm. If you’re looking for a way to elevate your spiritual practices, these are certainly an answer!
You might also enjoy my Free Resources pages, as they offer many prayers and rituals that can heal, illuminate, and change your life.
BLESSINGS TO YOU! STAY GRATEFUL!
There is no “Other.” There is only you experiencing yourself.