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Elation greets FDA's reassessment of MDMA (ecstasy)

Back in the 1980s, the rise of psychedelic and electronic dance music fueled the popularity of raves: music-fueled parties that sometimes lasted all night or longer. At the height of the rave phenomenon, MDMA (also known as ecstasy) was popular, giving users a sense of euphoria and heightened sensations as they danced the night away.

The federal government's Food and Drug Administration recently gave Americans a reason to take another look at MDMA. The FDA extended the Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) for use in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

MDMA has been shown to offer significant relief of PTSD symptoms, the FDA said. The agency had looked at use of the drug in several PTSD clinical trials, Forbes reported this past summer.

The designation means the FDA recognizes that MDMA has a significant advantage over some currently available medications used for PTSD treatments and that the agency plans to fast-track and help develop treatments making use of MDMA.

The reassessment of MDMA comes at a time when other illicit substances are getting second looks as well. Medical cannabis is used as an effective treatment against headaches, as well as a pain medication for cancer treatments, and for people who suffer from glaucoma or nerve pain, too.

A researcher writing in Scientific American hopes "that within the next decade the effects of the 'war on drugs' will start to fade and give way to a more comprehensive and fact-based understanding of all bioactive substances."

In that way, we can have objective analyses of possibly useful and helpful properties of substances that were tossed aside because they were once illegal street drugs. At the same time, the writer urges both the health care industry and consumers to be aware of the effects of addictive opioids and similarly harmful drugs.

People prevented from working by PTSD can apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits with the help of an attorney skilled in SSDI appeals. 

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