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MAPS Is Pushing For FDA Approval Of MDMA-Assisted Therapy

MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), an arm of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has made big strides recently encouraging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider approving MDMA, also known as molly or ecstasy, for MDMA-assisted therapy. 

If it passes, it will revolutionize the current state of psychedelic-assisted therapy nationwide. MAPS is hoping to demonstrate MDMA-assisted psychotherapy’s efficacy in treating mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it may eventually be beneficial for other mental illnesses and traumas as well. 

The Current State Of Psychedelic Therapy 

Understanding the current laws surrounding psychedelic therapy in the United States can feel a little confusing, particularly as states like Oregon and Colorado work to decriminalize magic mushrooms and other substances. Colorado recently passed legislation allowing for “healing centers” utilizing shrooms to start opening as soon as 2024, and Oregon is trending in a similar direction. 

These healing centers will be operated by licensed facilitators, but this is not quite the same as medically sanctioned healthcare like that provided by a psychiatrist or therapist. However, therapists can seek out specialized training in psychedelic-assisted practices. 

Other areas that have begun decriminalizing or deprioritizing enforcement of one or more psychedelic substances include: 

  • Seattle, WA
  • Washington, D.C. 
  • Santa Cruz, CA 
  • Ann Arbor and Detroit, MI 
  • Somerville, MA 

Currently, a variation of ketamine is the only psychoactive substance legalized for use in therapeutic settings across the country. An increasing number of clinics have been providing these services in recent years, and some health insurance providers are beginning to cover this form of care. 

How MAPS Plans To Help 

MAPS has been at the forefront of psychedelic research for decades, funding studies, seminars, and conferences to promote proper education and harm reduction about a myriad of substances. 

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Their studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ketamine, and MDMA, particularly for people with treatment-resistant depression and other mental disorders. FDA approval could trigger a cascade of new regulations and rules by reclassifying MDMA from its current Schedule I status, the most tightly controlled drug class.

It would essentially be the first approved form of psychedelic-assisted therapy available in the United States. There is hope for the future, but rescheduling MDMA and subjecting it to rigorous testing and policy considerations are still necessary steps.

Potential Benefits Of MDMA-Assisted Therapy 

MAPS has been studying the potential benefits of MDMA for around 30 years and has collected some fascinating information and research along the way. 

MDMA, when used in conjunction with talk therapy, has demonstrated benefits in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with PTSD, depression, and anxiety, although the FDA approval would primarily be targeting PTSD treatment. 

As psilocybin therapy also becomes a popular topic of discussion, some researchers have studied using MDMA and mushrooms together for mental health treatment. They have found that MDMA helps make the experience go more smoothly and leads to a more positive outcome after a therapeutic session. 


The continued growth of cannabis as a medical treatment has helped spur the growing movement calling for decriminalization and the use of other naturally occurring substances in healthcare. There is still a long way to go, but progress is being made faster than ever before. 

MAPS is hoping to fast-track FDA approval for MDMA-assisted therapy in just six months, but the FDA has 60 days to determine how quickly they would like to move forward with the process. The agency has recognized the therapeutic potential of MDMA in the past, so they may decide to fast-track approval. 

If the measure passes, MDMA will make history as the first psychedelic approved for pharmaceutical use.

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