3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine (MDMA), otherwise known as “ecstasy” is a “psychedelic amphetamine” that has gained popularity the past twenty years because of the feelings of comfort, empathy, and connection to others it provides for the user. MDMA is considered an illicit substance in the United States, as it is in most other countries. MDMA was first synthesized in the 1890s, and it wasn’t until the 1970s and ‘80s that it was used as a psychotherapeutic tool and also started to become available on the street. Its growing popularity resulted in it being made illegal in the United States in 1985; since then the drug’s popularity has continued to increase. The issue of MDMA’s neurotoxicity is very complex, including debate about what constitutes neurotoxicity, but almost all experts now agree that MDMA is a neurotoxin. Keywords: MDMA, Ecstasy, XTC, neurotoxin, illegal, amphetamine, psychedelic
MDMA most frequently comes in tablet form, although it is also found in capsules or as a powder. It is most commonly used orally and rarely snorted. MDMA use is usually associated with the rave scene throughout the world, but was also used by therapists in experimental psychotherapy. Ecstasy’s demand usually exceeds supply, which creates the opening for certain individuals to sell virtually anything as “ecstasy”. This is why ecstasy pills are notoriously unreliable in content, more so than most other street drugs. The most common substitutes for MDMA are caffeine, ephedrine, amphetamines, MDA, MDE and DXM. (Julie Holland, 2001) A standard oral dose of MDMA is between 80 – 150 mg. Most good quality pills contain somewhere in this range, generally 80 – 120 mg. A large percentage of users find that there is a “sweet spot” in MDMA dosage. Once this spot is found, higher dosages are not particularly desirable as they do not increase the sought after effects or duration. (Julie Holland, 2001) MDMA is criminalized in most...
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