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Drugs 101: XTC. Crank up the dance music and break out the glowsticks

Author: Philippe
Posted: 23 May 2004

Good morning cats and kittens, and welcome to another drugs-made-easy article by your good friend Philippe.

Crank up the dance music and break the glowsticks out of the freezer, because today we're venturing into the exciting and sometimes confusing world of Ecstasy.

MDMA (or if you really want to get anal about it, methylenedioxymethylamphetamine) was invented about 90 years ago as an appetite depressant. A chemical cousin of Mescaline, it's a fast-acting psychedelic that comes with all the fun of acid but without those nasty flashbacks of torturing children in Vietnam which plague my dreams nightly. The screams! I can still hear the...ermm. right. It's a psychadelic.

In the seventies, someone took a look at MDMA and said to themselves "Well that was fun, but how do I make this about a thousand times better (or worse depending on how you look at it)?" The answer of course was taking MDMA and adding an amphetamine (speed) and voila: Ecstasy was born.

And then almost immidiately banned once it was discovered that there was absolutely no medical goodness that's gonna come from it. Some psychologists noted that it made their patients open up and feel more relaxed (well no shit) but still, in 1985 the FDA banned all use of the drug for research purposes.

And if the FDA banned it, then surely it's deadly. Well...

Experiments in rats show MDA and MDMA lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Even though the rats recover and there is no evidence that low serotonin levels are dangerous in humans, this had led many journalists to spread the "Ecstasy causes brain damage" myth.

Of course you can get screwed up (severe anxiety, depression and paranoia) on even a relatively safe drug like Ecstasy if you try really hard (10-15 doses per day like some idiots in San Francisco did), and taking it as often as three times a week is probably abusing it. A very small number of people have died in a heat-stroke reaction after taking MDMA because they were allergic to it. Although allergic responses can be a problem with common medicinal drugs, e.g. aspirin or even peanuts, this will no doubt be used as propaganda against E. Another media favorite is to describe MDMA as a sex drug. In fact, a side effect of the drug is to make ejaculation difficult. Users have described it as a "love drug" which can make intercourse unnecessary. Perhaps it is the ideal drug for the post-AIDS generation.

Many people seem to use MDMA together with LSD. In general, mixing drugs is a bad idea since many have a synergistic effect on each other, but this is said to be a good combination. I would expect very strong trips to be the result.

The biggest problem with the drug, however, is the age-old "What's it cut with?" question. Pure E is fine, but if heroin gets mixed in their you could fuck yourself pretty quickly. So, as always, if you're going to experiment with this or any drug, make sure you trust the person who's dealing it. It wouldn't hurt to use moderation, either.

So there you have it, folks, Ecstasy explained.

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