On August 25, 2020, MindMed and Liechti Lab announced a partnership to conduct the first-ever clinical trials combining MDMA and LSD. This study stands in contrast to other clinical trials using only a single psychedelic compound, such as COMPASS Pathways’ using pure psilocybin and a MAPS clinical trial using pure MDMA.
MindMed is a psychedelic pharmaceutical company, and Liechti lab conducts research on psychedelic compounds. Back in May, Psychedelic Science Review reported on the newly-formed partnership between the companies.
Details on the Clinical Trials
According to a press release, the clinical trials are combining MDMA and LSD with psychedelic-assisted therapy to investigate reducing the side effects that users experience when taking LSD alone. The researchers are examining whether using both drugs simultaneously will bring out the best effects of each drug and result in a more positive experience overall with longer-lasting effects.
Dr. Matthias Liechti, head of Liechti Lab stated, “The potential of MDMA-LSD is to create a psychological state that may have the benefits of both substances and have longer-lasting effects than standalone psilocybin or LSD. Inducing an overall primarily positive acute response during psychedelic-assisted therapy is critical because several studies showed that a more positive acute experience is linked to a greater therapeutic long-term effect in patients.”
According to the study details, when taking LSD alone, some users experience “negative effects such as anxiety, paranoid thinking or loss of trust towards other people…” The researchers state that, theoretically, MDMA should help balance out some of LSD’s adverse effects. MDMA has been shown to produce desirable effects such as “positive mood up to euphoria, comfort, empathy, and feelings of trust.”
The phase 1 clinical trials will begin later this year in Basel, Switzerland, where Liechti Lab is located. The study will last approximately one year. The clinical trials’ design is double-blind (neither the participants nor the researchers know who is receiving what treatment) and placebo-controlled with four sessions and four different treatments.
- 100 μg LSD + MDMA placebo
- LSD placebo +100 mg MDMA
- 100 μg LSD + 100 mg MDMA
- LSD placebo + MDMA placebo
A New Way of Approaching Psychedelic Drug Research
MindMed and Liechti Lab are creating a new paradigm in psychedelic research with this important clinical trial. Instead of using one psychedelic compound like current trials, the research team will investigate the therapeutic effects of a combination of two psychedelics. The results of the study will reveal if MDMA can help reduce some of the unwanted side effects of LSD.
Understanding how LSD and MDMA can be formulated to work together to optimize psychedelic therapy could have a significant impact on drug development and therapeutic outcomes. Also, additional research may find that formulations of two or more psychedelics provide more effective treatments across the board.