American soap company Dr. Bronner’s will donate $5 million to help fund research conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to get MDMA approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The organization will donate $1 million a year for the next five years, and comes as the largest gift to NGO partner from the family to date.
MDMA was recently approved to enter Phase 3 of testing in psychotherapy trials in the U.S., after having focused on patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and victims of sexual assault.
CEO David Bronner described the impetus behind his company’s new effort.
“There is tremendous suffering and pain that the responsible integration of MDMA for treatment-resistant PTSD will alleviate and heal. To help inspire our allies to close the funding gap, my family has pledged $1 million a year for five years – $5 million total – by far our largest gift to an NGO partner to date. In part, we were inspired by the incredible example of Ashawna Hailey, former MAPS Board member, who gave MAPS $5 million when she died in 2011.”
In other news, researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center presented preliminary findings of MDMA-related testing on patients with autism last week at the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland, California. Their data suggests that MDMA may help adults with the disorder manage disabling social phobias.
11 participants completed trials and were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or MDMA during two treatment sessions spaced a month apart. While those who were given the placebo showed moderate improvement, those who took MDMA experienced a significant drop in levels of anxiety while in social encounters.
One patient described the feeling while on MDMA.
“I’m now more me,” they said. “I’m less thin-skinned and allow myself to be more accepting of it.”
As the researchers move closer to a final analysis of their findings, they hope the results will encourage other researchers that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has the potential to help those with autism or social anxiety.