Ben Sessa, MD
IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON
MDMA-ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ALCOHOLISM: THE WORLD’S FIRST MDMA-FOR-ADDICTIONS STUDY
I will be presenting the preliminary data in an ongoing open-label safety and tolerability proof of
concept study exploring the potential role for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy in treating patients with alcohol use disorder. At this stage, fifteen participants have completed the full 8-week MDMA-assisted psychotherapy course, including two therapy sessions each with MDMA.
This talk focuses on the developmental aspects of child maltreatment and abuse, and the trajectory into adult mental disorder, particularly addictions. The talk will highlight the ongoing safety and tolerability MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study. So far, there have been no serious adverse events to MDMA, no unexpected physiological responses to the MDMA sessions or changes to blood results or electrocardiograms, measured before and after the 8-week course. I conclude that the treatment is well-tolerated and I will discuss future plans for the Bristol psychedelic therapy team.
Ben trained at UCL, London, graduating in medicine in 1997. He works clinically and academically in Bristol and at Imperial College London University, with an interest in the developmental trajectory from child maltreatment to adult mental health disorders. In the last ten years Ben has been a study doctor and a test subject administering and receiving legal doses of pure LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, DMT and Ketamine. He is currently conducting, in Bristol, the world’s first clinical study using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat alcohol addiction. And in the coming year his Bristol clinical psychedelics team are planning to expand their repertoire to include psilocybin-assisted therapy, DMT-assisted therapy and a medicinal cannabis dispensary.
Ben authors peer-reviewed articles in the mainstream medical press and has published several textbooks on psychedelic medicine and a novel. An outspoken critic of the current system by which drugs are prohibited, he believes a more progressive policy of regulation would reduce the harms of drug use, increase access to services and provide more opportunities for psychedelic research. He is a co-founder of Breaking Convention.