Hi, I thought I'd present some interesting information on the use of a drug which some people may be unaware of. The drug I am going to talk a bit about is MDMA, commonly known as Ecstacy. I have a very strong interest in drugs, both legal & illegal, I have studied the subject at university, I have read a number of books and lots of information on MDMA, the main source of what I'm going to recall now is from a book called Pihkal, written by the 'godfather' of MDMA Alexander Shulgin & his wife. I am in no way advocating the use of MDMA or any other drug, but I believe we should all have the freedom of choice to make informed decisions in our lives if things are carefully researched and considered and are not spur of the moment decisions. I have posted this in the drug abuse forum, but really it is about drug use. MDA was an infamous love drug around in the 60's but it was eventually superceded by the N-methylated analogue, MDMA. Alexander Shulgin had synthesised it before but never realised it's effects until a girl named Marie Kleinman (I think), told him about MDMA, and just said of the experience it was very emotional. One of the best ways to study the mind, is to look at the effects that drugs have upon it. This was Shulgin's area, he is a famous pyschonaut, like Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of LSD. MDMA is a class of drug known as a Phenylethylamine, Pihkal is a book which details classes of these compounds, the most famous being MDMA. He has also authored a book called Tihkal, which is about tryptamines, i.e compounds like LSD. Shulgin is the person who basically spread the knowledge of MDMA, but even he was disappointmented at the mindless rave culture who embraced the drug and eventually caused the drug to be made illegal. MDMA, like LSD is one of the most profound drugs on the planet. It is extremely potent, a small amount does basically nothing, but once a threshold is reached the magic can occur. MDMA is not the sort of drug you would want to take regularly. Tolerance is quickly built upto MDMA and people soon end up taking larger and larger doses to achieve the relative effects. MDMA can be toxic to serotonergic neurones and like any drug, overuse can cause a downregulation of neurotransmitter signalling pathways. The brain exists in balance, if that balance gets tipped the brain will try to compensate to restore normal functioning. I read somewhere that Alexander himself said 4 times per year should be maximum, although I can't remember reading him saying that in Pihkal. So instead of taking a measured dose of 120mg, pill poppers end up taking 20-40 pills per night once a week to get high off their dance drug, not a very good strategy to maintain mental health. So what does MDMA do then, what is it like? MDMA is quite possibly the post potent empathogenic drug which will ever be discovered. It's chemistry is unique, the bulky methyl group attached to the amino group prevents fast deamination by monoamine oxidase enzymes, and the magic occurs at the methylenedioxy bridge. It effects various neurotransmitter levels mainly Serotonin, but also acts strongly on other systems such as dopamine, norepherine, oxytocin , vasopressin, etc. The molecule ends up recycling Serotonin across synapses, it pumps it in and out of the cell causing a loop creating very high serotonin levels. It is an extremely potent love drug, it will make you feel so much love you will want to explode. Love that you never thought was possible, where the world seems like the place it should have been, full of friendly caring people. Hate & violent thought becomes non existent, replaced by a serene sense of love for everybody & everything. You could basically meet a stranger and feel like you’ve known them your whole life, mistrust completely vanishes. Music sounds amazing, like you could never imagine, which was why it was taken up as a popular dance drug worldwide. I have taken MDMA before, as well as many other drugs, mainly during my youth, but I last had it about 12 months ago. The experience was wonderfully pleasant, and I had chance to reflect upon myself and make some important decisions to help move me forward through my depression. After my wonderful experience, then followed ‘suicide Tuesday’, a time when the serotonin dip hits very hard and makes you tearful & depressed. You feel like you’ve been dropped from utopia back to the shit society we live in, from a truly massive height. That is something to be very wary of if you’re already feeling down anyway, ironically the people who fall in love often end up falling out of love during this time. After this time I felt elated for months afterwards, like a different person after being in such a deep depression, I could still remember the way the music sounded even months after the experience and just thinking about it would put a big smile on my face, I emerged with a very positive outlook, although now the experience has somewhat faded into the distance again. MDMA was used very successfully in psychotherapy for many years. While it was legal Shulgin would spread it amongst psychotherapists who used it very successfully in sessions to help people suffering from emotional trauma. MDMA was eventually made illegal, Shulgin was given a license to continue to do research but when he released the book Pihkal telling the world how to make it in a chemistry laboratory and printing all his research on the other PEA’s, the DEA busted him for some paperwork misdemeanour. One very sad story from this concerns a certain psychotherapist, I can’t remember his name, but he continued to use MDMA to help his patients even after it was made illegal. He helped many people with this amazing drug, but eventually he was discovered by the authorities and he committed suicide. The DEA effectively ceased any use of this drug to help people suffering from mental illness. If anybody wants to read further on the subject, there is lots of information on the web, and in Pihkal on the therapeutic benefits of MDMA in psychotherapy.