May 28, 2024 – Lori Tipton is among the growing number of people who say that MDMA, saved their lives. Raised in New Orleans by a mother with untreated bipolar disorder who later killed herself and two others, Tipton said she endured layers of trauma that eventually forced her to seek treatment for crippling anxiety and hypervigilance.

Then she answered an ad for a clinical trial for MDMA-assisted therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Tipton said the results were immediate, and she is convinced the drug could help a lot of people. But even as regulators weigh approval of the first MDMA-based treatment, she’s worried that it won’t reach those who need it most.

“The main thing that I’m always concerned about is just accessibility,” the 43-year-old nonprofit project manager said. “I don’t want to see this become just another expensive add-on therapy for people who can afford it when people are dying every day by their own hand because of PTSD.” MDMA is part of a new wave of psychoactive drugs that show great potential for treating conditions such as severe depression and PTSD. Investors are piling into the nascent field, and a host of medications based on MDMA, LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, ketamine, the South American plant mixture ayahuasca, and the African plant ibogaine are now under development, and in some cases vying for approval by the Food and Drug Administration.