The Download: MDMA for PTSD, and Boeing’s rearranged space flight

Mike Powers
The Download: MDMA for PTSD, and Boeing’s rearranged space flight

MDMA has been banned in the United States for more than three decades. But now, this potent mind-altering drug is poised to become a badly needed therapy for PTSD.

On June 4, the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee will meet to discuss the risks and benefits of MDMA therapy. If the committee votes in favor of the drug, it could be approved to treat PTSD this summer.

The approval would represent a momentous achievement for proponents of mind-altering drugs, who have been working toward this goal for decades. And it could help pave the way for FDA approval of other illicit drugs like psilocybin. But the details surrounding how these compounds will make the transition from illicit substances to legitimate therapies are still foggy. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the upcoming hearing.

—Cassandra Willyard

If you’re interested in how mind-altering drugs are being used in medicine, why not check out:

+ What do psychedelic drugs do to our brains? AI could help us find out. Why the words people used to describe their trip experiences could lead to better drugs to treat mental illness. Read the full story.+ Psychedelics are being scientifically researched now more than ever. This time, women might finally benefit.+ VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence. On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms. Read the full story.

+ One patient in a trial describes his “life-changing” experience with MDMA-assisted therapy.
+ But there is a danger that mind-altering substances are being overhyped as wonder drugs.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Boeing has rescheduled a historic space flight for Wednesday
The company’s first crewed flight was canceled at the last minute on Saturday. (Reuters)
+ The flight was grounded after a faulty ground power unit was uncovered. (CNN)
+ Boeing has been trying to fly astronauts into space for years. (The Atlantic $)

2 Adobe has ceased selling Ansel Adams-style images generated by AI
The late photographer’s estate has been trying to get them taken down for months. (The Verge)
+ This artist is dominating AI-generated art. And he’s not happy about it. (MIT Technology Review)

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