Schizophrenia Research

Two world-renowned schizophrenia researchers (John Kane and Stephen Marder) are collaborating on two studies examining the tolerability and efficacy of MDMA in this patient population.

I recently co-authored a paper with John Kane’s group, outlining a rationale for using MDMA to treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia (a pervasive and disabling poverty of thought, speech, and social motivation). In 2001, I published several case histories of people with schizophrenia experiencing a temporary respite from their symptoms and a chance at some cognitive flexibility while using MDMA recreationally.

We know MDMA manipulates serotonin, dopamine, and has some adrenergic activity as well.

We know MDMA enhances pre-pulse inhibition in healthy normals. (This marker is diminished in schizophrenia).

We also know that MDMA quiets the amygdala, enables fear extinction, decreases response to social threat and increases oxytocin availability. Trust and bonding are primed, along with an exquisitely neuroplastic state, mimicking adolescent sensitivity to social cues in particular. It is possible therapeutic alliance would be enhanced, as well as an opportunity to spend some time dismantling cognitive structures.

At the end of my book chapter, there are brief synopses of four patients. Also, please note the first three references by my friend and colleague Burt Angrist, who gave amphetamine to patients with schizophrenia with some positive effects (MDMA is a ring-substituted amphetamine). For many people experiencing this altered state, there is a sense of a "quiet mind."

I believe that with strict entry criteria and supervision, a small pilot study is feasible.

Negative symptom-laden, unmedicated participants with family support would be ideal initially to reduce risks of behavioral activation/destabilization.

This pilot study with twelve participants, will be conducted at the Zucker Hillside Hospital, affiliated with Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Fully tax deductible donations can be made to this 501c3 organization:

Alternatively, you can mail a check to:

Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research
350 Community Dr, Manhasset, NY 11030

Please "earmark" your contribution for John Kane/MDMA study.

dr. holland

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