The Medical University of South Carolina is Launching a Psychedelic Research Center

Scheduled to open in 2021, the new center will study the therapeutic potential of MDMA, psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline.


The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has announced that it is partnering with MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) to create a psychedelic research center to study the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs on mental illness. The center will be located offsite from the MUSC campus. Clinical trials will be conducted on campus once the center is open.

Research Using Several Psychedelics Along With Therapy

Heading the psychedelic research center will be Dr. Michael Mithoefer of the MUSC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Mithoefer became interested in finding new options for treating people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) when he was a resident at MUSC.

I saw that we needed better treatments. And I was aware there were some case reports about MDMA. It was used with therapy by maybe several thousand therapists and psychiatrists before it became illegal in 1985. A couple of the psychiatrists published case reports talking about how MDMA could help people not have so much fear of talking about their experiences.

Along with MDMA, the MUSC research center plans on investigating naturally-occurring psychedelics such as psilocybin, mescaline, and DMT. If everything goes according to plan, MUSC and MAPS hope to open the research center in about 18 months.

Growing Interest in MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for Treating PTSD

In 2011, Dr. Mithoefer and his research team (including MAPS founder Rick Doblin) published a paper in Psychopharmacology on their pilot study testing the use of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating PTSD.The success of the pilot study led to randomized, double-blind, dose-response, phase II clinical trials, the results of which were published in Lancet Psychiatry in 2018.2 Overall, nearly 70% of the study participants who received the full dose of MDMA no longer met the criteria for having PTSD. Dr. Mithoefer says there is a growing understanding of how MDMA works in the brain:

MDMA, the way we see it, is acting as a catalyst for psychotherapy. It allows people to feel they can process their trauma without being overwhelmed by their anxiety. What we know from imaging data is that, very interestingly, MDMA decreases activity in the amygdala, the fear center of the brain, and it increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is kind of the higher processing center.

In the last several months, other psychedelic research centers have been announced, including one at Johns Hopkins and another at Imperial College London. Also, Field Trip Ventures recently announced its psilocybin research laboratory, which will be located in Jamaica.

Barb Bauer Headshot

Barb is the former Editor and one of the founders of Psychedelic Science Review. She is currently a contributing writer. Her goal is making accurate and concise psychedelic science research assessable so that researchers and private citizens can make informed decisions.


Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

How can we sign up to do clinical trials?

3 years ago
Reply to  Ximena

Would like to know where to sign up.

Kirk M. McGowan
3 years ago

If you decide to research the application to control or abate obesity, I would be interested in volunteering.

Ed Love
3 years ago

I am a retired veteran with serve PTSD, I’m willing to give anything a try. Please contact me to let me know how I can be a part of this study, please. I live in Columbia, SC.
Thank you

Last edited 3 years ago by Ed Love
Karie Larner
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Love

Did u find anything out, my dad needs to try this bad.

Mandy L Bayne
3 years ago

I suffer from childhood complex 43 years old and still jump when the phone rings at work even though it’s rings all the time. I’d be delighted to take part in this.

George Cooper
3 years ago

I am a Gulf War Veteran with PTSD and Chronic anxiety and depression. I would be interested in taking part in this study. Please let me know how I can connect.

Steve Brackney
3 years ago

My psychiatrist recommended that I look into this. I am a 65-year-old male, with complex PTSD. Let me know how I can sign up for the study. Thank you

3 years ago

I would love to volunteer as a research subject.

Pam Harrell
3 years ago

College educated 52 year old female, chronic pain, multiple spine surgeries, Opiate dependent for decades, clean now for 3 years (one outpatient withdrawal 2014 and one in-patient withdrawal treatment 2018). I am now suffering from what I call “brain death” – my thoughts are stuck. Currently receiving Ketamine – which has been life changing in a good way. I have been illuminated and my thinking is starting to recover. I realize the potential of all psychedelic medicines and see them as the future of mental health recovery. Also see them solving all types of brain and neurological diseases. I also… Read more »

Mitchell Smith
3 years ago

I’m suffering with anxiety and depression, and would love to take part in a clinical trial.

Curious Mom 40
3 years ago

I would also like to join this study. I have complex PTSD from childhood. I’d like more info about effects.

3 years ago

I would love to join the study

Janet Del Real
2 years ago

What is the progress with opening up this program? (article states it was slated for mid 2021, but I can’t find anything about it having opened yet or what the progress is) 8/19/21

Gwen John
2 years ago

Ptsd is so bad nothing has worked, tried emdr, meds, tapping; domestic violence survivor. Pls let me know if there are trials.

Angela coleman
2 years ago

I’m an interested veteran. I’ve heard good evidence based research on psilocybin. Considering my background I think I’d be a good candidate. What’s next?

Last edited 2 years ago by Angela coleman
Katie concha
1 year ago

Is this still happpening,I want to know [email protected]

Kim Guillory
1 year ago

My daughter committed suicide 10 years ago and I am still stuck. I’ll try anything.