Last night I attended a Dallas fundraiser for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where MAPS President Rick Doblin was very excited about a feature story in the March issue of O magazine. It is not hard to see why. O Senior Editor Sarah Winter offers a balanced yet highly sympathetic account of research on the psychotherapeutic potential of MDMA, focusing on Charleston, South Carolina, psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer's MAPS-funded work with people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Winter acknowledges the controversy surrounding MDMA (a.k.a. Ecstasy), carefully distinguishing between the drug's real and apocryphal hazards, and notes the limited nature of existing evidence in favor of its effectiveness in therapy. But the general thrust of the piece, which features compelling portraits of people who have benefited from MDMA and closes with a description of Winter's own MDMA-enhanced therapy session, is to encourage an open-minded look at a taboo substance. The article is well worth reading in its entirety as a model for journalism that implicitly questions current policy without setting off anti-drug alarm bells.
Previous coverage of Mithoefer's research here.