This paper describes the use and the pharmacology of the drug MDMA. Some positive and negative effects of the drugs are discussed. MDMA or Methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine is a synthetic substance. MDMA is normally known as ecstasy. There are also many other substances which are included in this class of substances. Merck Chemical Company in 1912 developed this substance. Though its use in psychiatric counselling is common but its use in therapeutic is exceptionally limited. Many of the common tablets of MDMA are produced in Europe. This drug has property of producing weak hallucination and acts as stimulant for Central Nervous System. This means that this drug can increase the sensory awareness. This drug is internationally controlled drug. MDMA is member of phenethylamine family and the derivative of the CNS stimulant amphetamine. There are many other homologous compounds which have largely analogous effects.
Slight central stimulation, euphoria and increased sensory awareness can occur due to intake of MDMA. MDA or methylenedioxyamphetamine is a lower homologue of MDMA. MDMA is less hallucinogenic than MDA. MDMA has some socializing effects and the terms entactogenic and empathogenic are used for describing these effects. MDMA is released unchanged in urine after the intake of the most of the MDMA dose. Mostly it is used orally in the tablet form but it is also inhaled, injected or snuffled in its powder form. The latter form is used for recreational ecstasy. 1
Many studies suggest that cognitive impairment is known to be linked with the MDMA use. Toxic effects of MDMA use vary. There are many factors on which MDMA toxicity depends. One such significant factor is vulnerability to the MDMA use.
MDMA was patented two years later after its synthesis by Merck in 1912. It felt to the history annals until when Alexander Shulgin with many other chemists of USA started manufacturing MDMA in 1970. MDMA was known to invoke the euphoria feelings and soon came into the streets. Safrole precursor was used to synthesize the MDMA. Safrole is taken out from the root-bark as an oily liquid obtained from the fruits of Sassafras tree. There are many synthetic pathways to get the final molecule. MDMA ingestion after 1.5 to 3 hours reaches to its increased concentrations in the blood. MDMA users feel high for a few hours. There are many receptors in the brain which release three main neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin receptors are mostly affected by MDMA which results in the release of the chemical. According to the chemists MDMA is not a very complex molecule. However, there is a complicated sociological history behind its simple structure. MDMA has resulted in the despair as well as ecstasy to many of its users. 2
There is another ecstasy drug named GHB that is not MDMA. Low levels of GHB has similar effects as that of alcohol. A type of coma or temporary sleep for 1-4 hours, is often experienced by the users of GHB if taken in high doses. Overdose of GHB causes unconsciousness and vomiting. However, MDMA does not causes blackouts and act as stimulant. MDMA users may feel sublime or preternatural but not weird. The influence of the drug is controllable. Self-identity sense of the users gets enhanced due to MDMA use. The use of MDMA causes the “softening of the ego-boundaries”. Depersonalization occur rarely however, derealisation to some extent may occur due to the use of MDMA. Due to its hug-drug features, MDMA has got the title of date-rape drug. People using MDMA enjoy being close to each other as they experience increased feelings of empathy and sense of touch. 3
The use of MDMA is illegal in America since 1985. It was a therapeutic drug used for patients who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Healing abilities of MDMA has been discovered in many findings unlike its toxic effects. Possibility and definite chemical and neurotoxic effects caused in human due to this drug are declared uncertain due to its illegality. Many reports support the negative and positive effects of the drug. Most of the research conducted on the MDMA use is biased. This drug is mostly sold in black market. 20 dollars to 30 dollars is the usual cost of the pills. Misleading information about the real effects of this drug is due to the rumors. According to the tests by Dancesafe.org, 1 out of 3 MDMA pills does not contain pure MDMA as expected.
Methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine or MDMA is drug used in psychiatric counselling. There are many positive and negative effects of the MDMA drug. Though this drug is mostly considered dangerous, however there exist a balance between problems and its advantages associated with this drug. According to many recent researches for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, MDMA could be a used as a potential drug. Traditional psychotherapy combined with the drug in a clinical trial was used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in the patients who had shown treatment resistant. In a study, 19 participants were tested with the MDMA use. The results suggested that MDMA helps in improving the condition and symptoms for chronic PTSD sufferers. MDMA increases the access of subjects to their emotionally disturbing memories. Meanwhile is also lessens the emotional response. Consequently practicality of the therapy session is improved as an overall effect.
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- Simon, H. MDMA https://www.chemistryworld.com/podcasts/mdma/7838.article (accessed Apr 20, 2018).
- faculty.missouri.edu. MDMA http://faculty.missouri.edu/~glaserr/210w04/mdma/mdma (accessed Apr 20, 2018).