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Israel’s Health Ministry has launched a pilot study to determine whether MDMA, the psychoactive component of the party drug “ecstasy,” may be useful in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The third and final phase of trials in a multinational study currently studying the efficacy of MDMA as a treatment for PTSD began in the second half of this year. But according to the research team in charge of the Israeli sector of the study, massive demand exceeded the minimal 14 slots that were available for participants in the Jewish State – which is how the Health Ministry became inspired to launch its own study.

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Dr. Bella Ben Gershon, director of the unit in charge of trauma at the ministry, said the decision was made from a “humane and responsible” standpoint, in order to try to help those who suffer from PTSD that has been resistant to other forms of treatment. The treatment with MDMA involves 12-15 intensive psychotherapy sessions attended by a male and a female mental health professional, together with use of the medication.

A cohort of 50 participants has been recruited for the trial, which was launched after officials saw the overwhelming response to the multinational study, which is being conducted under the auspices of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Dr. Keren Tzarfaty, a psychologist who trains therapists for MAPS in Israel, has facilitated the training of 30 Israeli therapists so far to work with MDMA, according to a report published by Arutz Sheva.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.