A group of scientists is launching the world's first clinical trial of a combination of two psychedelic drugs, LSD and MDMA, to treat mental health conditions.
The New York City-based firm Mind Medicine will kick of its trial of the two compounds in January 2021.
It's the latest study in a bold and growing body of research looking to employ drugs' tendencies to increase feelings of empathy, connection and positivity to help treat disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD where other medications have failed.
Already, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a nasal spray form of ketamine, another party drug, to treat depression. MDMA - a compound known as 'ecstasy' or 'Molly' on the street - was given the FDA's 'breakthrough' designation for treating PTSD.
But the new trial will be the first to combine MDMA and the infamous psychedelic drug LSD (a pairing known as 'candy-flipping' by hippies and ravers) in an effort to treat crippling mental disorders.
A new clinical trial by New York City startup Mind Medicine will be the fist to test whether the combination of party drugs LSD and MDMA could safely treat mental health disorders (file)
The study has enrolled 24 patients. At various points in the study, random groups within the trial cohort will get 100 μg of LSD (also known as acid) plus a placebo, the same dose of acid and 100 mg of MDMA, 100mg of MDMA and a placebo or placebo versions of each drug.
In total, the trial is slated to take one year.
LSD has been tested for many years to treat anxiety, depression, addiction and PTSD.
It is known as a 'serotonergic hallucinogen,' meaning that it can help to make more of the 'happy' neurotransmitter, serotonin, available to the brain.
Scientists have been testing the compound since the 1970s but, in recent years, researchers have gotten more serious and designed studies by more strict and serious protocols.
Some of these have suggested that people with anxiety or depression not only found relief that pharmaceutical treatments had failed to give them, but that the shift was 'robust' and long-lasting.
But critics have noted that the benefits were also seen in the placebo groups from some of those trials.
And while the wild hallucinations are thought to improve connections in the brain that promote empathy and feelings of interconnectedness, the psychedelic experience is not the same for everyone.
'Psychedelic substances like LSD may also cause unpleasant subjective effects like negative thoughts, rumination, anxiety, panic, paranoia, loss of