Ecstasy

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Ecstasy (or #109 MDMA; MDM; ADAM; ECSTASY; 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is a drug providing diminution of inhibitions.

Ecstasy, or MDMA, was first patented on Christmas eve 1914 by the German pharmacutical company Merck, two years after its first synthesis. Despite many rumours, the drug was never used as a diet suppressent or as a stimulant for armed forces during war time. MDMA was first brought to public attention through Dr. Alexander Shulgin in the 1960s who recommended it for use in certain therapy sessions.

The drug became mainstream in the late 1980s and is increasing rapidly in popularity.

Ecstasy as a recreational drug

Known in its related subcultures as "E" or "dropping pills" its use has increased markedly with the popularity of dance music. Its primary effects generally go well with modern clubbing where it enhances the enjoyment of dancing to the repetative rhythms of modern music. It also instills a general feeling of well-being and companionship with the people surrounding the user.

It's usually ingested in pill form which come in a variety of "brands", usually identified by the icons stamped on the pills. The pills themselves are rarely have only MDMA as the active ingredient, many pills contain varients such as MDEA, MDA and MDBD. Pills are also known to have additives such as LSD (acid), Amphetamines (speed) and Ketamine (Special K).

Apart from the dangers on impurities the general risks of E come from allergic reaction (quite rare) and dehydration (usually aided by the fact the user is dancing for long periods of time without drinking). However there have been a number of cases of users paranoid about becoming dehydrated drinking too much and suffering from hyponatremia (causing the brain to swell).

Most users will experience the come-down the following day which usually takes the form of tiredness and mild nausea (not wanting to eat anything). A bad come-down can last several days.

Longer term effects are still unknown however some experiments indicate that continuous use could lead to the serotonin receptors in the brain getting worn out, probably due to over use (MDMA stimulates heavy serotonin release). There is some experimental evidence indicating that long-term ecstasy users experience memory difficulties - however, such research is problematic as ecstasy users are much more likely than control subjects to have taken other drugs.

Ecstasy and the Law

Use, supply and trafficing of Ectasy is illeagal in most countries

See also recreational drug use

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External links

  • UK National Drugs Line factsheet on Ecstasy [1]
  • Amercican Council for Drug Education factsheet on Ecstasy [2]
  • www.ecstasy.org [3]