A just-published study led by a UCSF neurologist and psychiatrist shows MDMA is safe and effective for treatment of PTSD, and there are efforts underway to get the hallucinogen FDA approval for legal, medical use.

Those of you who follow narcotic news are well probably aware that state Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to decriminalize magic mushrooms, DMT, and mescaline has passed the state legislature, and is currently sitting on Gavin Newsom’s desk hoping for a signature. But that bill would only decriminalize those substances, not legalize them. Whereas legalization could be on the horizon for MDMA, commonly known in the clubs as molly or ecstasy, as a newly released study shows its effectiveness in treating PTSD, according to the Chronicle.

And the lead researcher on that just-published paper is a UCSF neurologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Mitchell. The study could help pave the way for MDMA, which has been illegal since 1985, to gain full FDA approval for the medical treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The study on MDMA treatment for PTSD was published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature Medicine, which has published the whole study online for free, not just the abstract.

The study had 104 subjects with PTSD, either veterans or people who’ve lived through severe natural disasters. And it did use a placebo group (who were not given the drug), and found that 71% of the MDMA group lost their PTSD symptoms with therapy, while only 48% of the placebo group were able to shake their symptoms with therapy.

“These data suggest that MDMA-AT reduced PTSD symptoms and functional impairment in a diverse population with moderate to severe PTSD and was generally well tolerated,“ the study concludes.

Parenthetically, where do I sign up for one of these clinical trials?

I kid, as PTSD is a serious disorder, and one that’s proven difficult to treat with common antidepressants and conventional therapy. But MDMA causes the human brain to release serotonin and oxytocin, stimulating neurotransmitters that facilitate bonding, empathy, and a sense of joy. And this study could help pave the way for the FDA to sign off on MDMA as a clinically effective, safe treatment for those who've experienced severe trauma and whose brains haven't recovered.

“This is basically the last step prior to asking the FDA for approval, which is an enormous landmark in mental health treatment,” Mitchell told the Chronicle. “That opens the door to a new type of therapy.”

But that approval is not a slam dunk. Researchers not involved with the study point out that the “controlled environment” provided to the subjects of this study would be difficult to replicate with large-scale use. Moreover, insurance companies are unlikely to be receptive to subsidizing molly in their coverage.

Those drawbacks aside, we could theoretically see FDA approved specifically for treatment of diagnosed PTSD as early as next year. The organization Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which was involved with this study, plans to submit an application by the end of 2023.

Related: Test Confirms San Francisco's Molly Is Better Than New York's [SFist]

Image: MDMA or Ecstasy pills on fabric background (Getty Images)