Thank you! In just 50 days, more than 420 contributors from 19 countries helped raise over $44,000 out of our ambitious $50,000 goal.
A total of $28,799 was raised on Indiegogo, which inspired a $10,000 matching donation, a $5,000 bitcoin donation, and additional funding raised offline.
For study updates and research news, sign up for our Email Newsletter. You can also still donate at maps.org to help complete this study.
MAPS' government-approved research shows that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for people who do not respond to traditional therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our ongoing study in U.S. military veterans, firefighters, and police officers is halfway complete, and early results are promising.
We need your help to complete this study and spread awareness about the need for more effective treatments for PTSD.
Every gift moves us closer to completing the vital research needed to make MDMA-assisted psychotherapy a safe and legal treatment option for people suffering from PTSD.
"When it comes to the health and well-being of those who serve, we should leave our politics at the door and not be afraid to follow the data. There's now an evidence base for this MDMA therapy and a plausible story about what may be going on in the brain to account for the effects."—Retired Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, founding director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
Powerful Evidence, Promising Futures
In a recently completed study, 83% of subjects receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy no longer qualified for PTSD, and everyone who received a placebo and then went on to receive MDMA-assisted psychotherapy experienced significant and lasting improvements. These results were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. These subjects had suffered from PTSD for an average of 19 years.
A long-term follow-up of subjects receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy revealed that overall benefits were maintained on average for 3½ years or more.
A Swiss study published in 2013 also found clinically significant improvements in PTSD symptoms after MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
Healing the Trauma of War
Your contribution directly supports our ongoing study for U.S. military veterans, firefighters, and police officers suffering from chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD.
- On average, 7,000 military veterans commit suicide every year, or about 22 every day
- According to the U.S. Veterans Administration, over 240,000 service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD
- A Pentagon report released in May said around 26,000 military personnel may have been sexually assaulted in 2012
About the Study
Download the protocol for this study.
- Investigators: Dr. Michael Mithoefer and co-therapist Annie Mithoefer, BSN
- Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA
- Subjects: 24 veterans, firefighters, and police officers with chronic, treatment-resistant, service-related PTSD
- Protocol: Randomized, triple-blind
- Treatment Method: Weekly standard psychotherapy sessions and three experimental day-long psychotherapy sessions, scheduled three to five weeks apart. Subjects are randomly assigned to three dose conditions: standard, medium, and low dose (active placebo).
How Your Gift Helps
Your gift helps pay for study costs—including therapist time, subject travel, and data analysis—necessary to complete our ongoing study.
- Heal psychological and emotional trauma caused by war, sexual assault, natural disasters, violent crime, and other causes
- Discover new evidence for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a safe and effective treatment
- Provide a cheaper, more effective treatment option for people suffering from PTSD
To thank you for helping us transform the lives of veterans and others suffering from PTSD, we are offering unique rewards for supporters of this campaign, including vinyl stickers, live webinars, infographic posters, and a signed research collection.
Each unique handmade Dichroic Glass Pendant contains subtle variations with a shimmering MAPS logo embedded in sturdy blown glass. These pendants have been specially commissioned and are only available as rewards for those giving $125 and above to this campaign.
TIP: When pledging, you may enter an amount larger than listed if you would like to contribute additional support for this research.
PTSD—It's Not Just Veterans
PTSD can have many causes—including war, sexual assault, childhood abuse, torture, violent crime, accidents, natural disasters, and other severely stressful events.
- PTSD affects over 7.7 million Americans
- There are over 200,000 rapes and sexual assaults every year in the U.S., or about one every two minutes
- Over 3,000,000 cases of child abuse are investigated every year in the U.S.
Your contribution helps everyone struggling with PTSD—not just those living with service-related trauma.
What Is MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy?
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy combines talk therapy with the use of MDMA, a drug that may enhance the effectiveness of psychotherapy for PTSD.
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic compound recognized for its ability to decrease fear and defensiveness while increasing trust and empathy. MDMA may increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy by strengthening the alliance between therapist and patient, and helping subjects feel more comfortable discussing difficult memories and emotions.
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study treatment room
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy isn't just for reducing symptoms of PTSD—instead, it can help people uncover what's causing their symptoms and make lasting changes. Conventional pharmaceutical treatments require patients to take drugs daily for months, years, or even their entire lives. In MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, MDMA is only administered a few times, and even a single session can have a profound effect.
With MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, subjects only take the drug two or three times—not every day for years, like current prescription treatments.
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy isn't like currently available prescription treatments for PTSD—study participants don't take the drug home. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is administered in a therapist's office, and subjects are required to stay the night.
We Need a More Effective Treatment
Over a third of PTSD patients do not respond adequately to established psychotherapies. Cognitive behavioral therapies such as prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy, psychodynamic therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and other psychotherapeutic treatments for PTSD are all similarly ineffective for some patients.
Two selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—paroxetine (Paxil®) and sertraline (Zoloft®)—are currently marketed as PTSD medications in the U.S. These drugs must be taken every day for a long time and even then are often ineffective, increasing the prevalence of side effects.
Even after treatment with existing therapies and medications, one out of three PTSD patients still have symptoms.
"Beyond waging the wars we are in, treatment of our wounded, their continuing care, and eventual reintegration into everyday life is my highest priority...I consider this a solemn pact between those who have suffered and the nation that owes them its eternal gratitude."—Robert Gates, former United States Secretary of Defense (2006-2011)
Reduce the Human and Economic Costs of PTSD
A single diagnosis of PTSD can cost up to $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded benefits over a service member's lifetime.
In 2011, the U.S. Veterans Administration spent about $5.5 billion on PTSD disability payments to approximately 275,000 veterans, with costs and numbers of veterans with PTSD continuing to rise.
We can find a cheaper and more effective solution for former service members suffering from PTSD—please make a gift today and help spread the word.
What Are the Risks of MDMA?
MDMA can temporarily increase body temperature and heart rate, and may also produce modest changes in immune functioning lasting up to 48 hours.
MDMA has been administered to over 780 human subjects in clinical studies. In laboratory studies, pure MDMA has been shown to be sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.
MDMA for an ongoing clinical study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy
How Your Contribution Helps
Your contribution helps pay for the costs of administering MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in our ongoing clinical trial for veterans, firefighters, and police officers.
This study is part of an international research program to develop MDMA-assisted psychotherapy into a prescription treatment for PTSD. Through contributions from individuals and private foundations, we have already raised almost $900,000, almost two-thirds of the total estimated study cost of $1.4 million, with just $500,000 left to raise to complete this study. Of that amount, we are seeking to raise $50,000 through this campaign to enable a wider group of people to participate in and raise awareness about this historic study, which will motivate the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Administration to get more involved.
By making a gift and sharing this campaign, you're helping raise awareness for PTSD while providing vital funding for research that is transforming lives.
Data from this and other Phase 2 studies will be used to plan the larger Phase 3 studies necessary to demonstrate to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is a safe and effective treatment option for PTSD. We estimate that it will take $2.3 million and three years to complete Phase 2, and an additional $15.8 million and five years to complete Phase 3 and establish MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as a legally available treatment by 2021. Learn more about drug development research.
Every gift—no matter the size—makes a difference.
Q: How can I become a subject in a study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD?
Learn more about current opportunities to participate in research.
Q: What is the difference between MDMA and the street drugs known as Ecstasy or Molly?
Over half of the substances sold in unregulated criminal markets under the names Ecstasy and Molly contain no MDMA at all, and often contain mephedrone, MDPV, ketamine, caffeine, BZP, or other more dangerous adulterants.
The risks of MDMA also significantly increase when combined with intense exercise, dehydration, or exhaustion; when consumed in excessive or unknown dosages; and when combined with other drugs, including alcohol.
Founded in 1986, the Multidisiciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.
Thank you for your support!
Dr. Michael Mithoefer, psychiatrist and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy researcher