Ecstasy, Molly, MDMA, E. The drug goes by many names. But a new name for it is “medication.” And we don’t mean the bad kind of self-medicating. We mean real, bona fide, FDA-approved medication. Crazy, right?! But it turns out that ecstasy has been shown in studies to be successful at relieving the symptoms of PTSD. In one study, more than half the participants reported feeling better after only three doses, and by the end of the study, two-thirds of the participants didn’t even meet the criteria for PTSD anymore. Wow. This could be seriously huge.

This is a huge pile of colorful tablets drugs.

To put some numbers to it, we looked at statistics for PTSD in the US alone. According to the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, approximately nearly eight percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Women are twice as likely as men to develop the disorder. About four percent of American adults between 18 and 54 (about 5.2 million people) experience symptoms of PTSD during the course of a given year.

Ecstasy tablets on black background

There is understandably some concern about using the illegal party drug as a medication. Some people will unfortunately interpret it as “ecstasy can fix my problems,” when in reality (read: when not prescribed by a licensed physician), it often just causes problems. However, the benefits seem to greatly outweigh the risks. The current medications for PTSD work only slightly better than placebo drugs. Yikes! C.J. Hardin, a man who participated in a trial, told the New York Times that after his three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, his PTSD led to alcoholism, divorce and suicidal thoughts, but “the MDMA sessions showed [him] a light [he] could move toward. Now [he’s] out of the darkness and the world is all around [him].”

If all goes well, physicians could be prescribing medical ecstasy to patients as soon as 2021.

What do you think of this new development in modern medicine? Tell us @BritandCo!

(h/t The Verge, photos via portokalis/Getty + UroshPetrovic/Getty)