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Pearl Psychedelic Institute receives MDMA PTSD treatment authorization

Pearl Psychedelic Institute receives MDMA PTSD treatment authorization

The Pearl Psychedelic Institute, a non-profit organization based in Waynesville, is the first of 10 clinics to receive authorization from the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with MDMA-assisted therapy through the FDA-regulated Expanded Access program.

MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD has been designated a Breakthrough Therapy by the FDA and is currently in the final stage of the regulatory approval process. The FDA is expected to review and consider approval of the treatment for PTSD sometime in 2023.  

MDMA-assisted therapy uses the psychedelic drug as a catalyst for trauma-focused therapy. MDMA has an excellent safety record when administered under clinical supervision as a part of a specialized therapy protocol designed to treat PTSD.  

PTSD is the result of exposure to traumatic experiences such as interpersonal violence, accidents and racial trauma; the thousands of people in western North Carolina suffering from PTSD include Veterans, physical and sexual assault survivors, first responders, law enforcement officers and accident victims. It is a debilitating and often life-threatening condition and conventional treatments are only effective about 50% of the time.  

MDMA was generally well-tolerated with short-term increases in vital signs; adverse events that were generally rated mild to moderate and included muscle tightness, decreased appetite, nausea, hyperhidrosis, and feeling cold. There was no increase in suicidality adverse events in the MDMA group and serious suicidal ideation was minimal and occurred mostly in the placebo group.

Grant funding from the local Evergreen Foundation and support from the 30th Judicial District Alliance allowed the Pearl Psychedelic Institute to send a small group of clinicians through the 100-hour MDMA Therapy Training Program and assisted with furniture and equipment costs to establish the treatment space.  

“It has been a long four-year process being able to launch this much-needed work in western North Carolina and we could not have done this for the community without the support of the Evergreen Foundation and the Alliance,” states local clinical psychologist and Executive Director of the Institute, Dr. Raymond Turpin. 

To be considered for the Pearl Psychedelic Institute’s limited MDMA-assisted therapy program, candidates must be at least 18 years old and have a diagnosis of PTSD, in addition to meeting other inclusion and exclusion criteria typical for clinical trials.  Visit their website at to learn more about this treatment and to register for consideration for the program. Another way to register is to send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you will receive instructions on how to complete the registration form on the website. Although the number of patients allowed for treatment currently is small, interested patients are encouraged to register so that Pearl staff can identify and contact those potential patients as this treatment hopefully becomes more available.

Turpin reports that one of the central missions of the Institute is to provide training and community education. 

“The field of psychedelic medicine actually has a long history and the current research is suggesting that these medicines could provide some innovative and effective treatment for some stubborn mental health and addiction issues,” he said 

If your group is interested in scheduling a presentation regarding MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD or learning more about this resurgence of clinical research of psychedelic medicine, please contact the Institute’s administrator, Laura Pate, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for scheduling and more information. 

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