Ecstasy (drug)

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Usually Ecstasy is sold as tablets

MDMA or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which is also known as Ecstasy, E, X, or XTC, is a psychoactive drug in the amphetamine class. MDMA can cause feelings of euphoria (extreme happiness). Bad side effects include insomnia and nausea. MDMA is thought to have a possible use in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and its use during therapy .[1] In most countries, MDMA is an illegal drug under a United Nations agreement.[2] Possessing, making or selling MDMA in these countries could result in criminal prosecution and a possible prison term.[3]

Effects[change | change source]

MDMA has many effects on the human body and brain. It makes the brain release the chemicals serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.[4] During MDMA use the body also makes more of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.[5]

All these effects together can make MDMA dangerous to use.[4] The change in body temperature and the tendency to dance for hours on end can make users dehydrate if not enough water is drunk during this time (an example of dehydration and hyperthermia). Lots of dancing can also put pressure on the heart. People with existing heart conditions are vulnerable to these negative side effects.

Around 7 people die out of every million that use MDMA.[6] Mostly this is due to overheating and dehydration. However, it is possible to drink too much water,[7] swelling the brain and causing death. Many people have died from this after taking MDMA. Another factor is the hormone vasopressin, which is released during MDMA use. Vasopressin restricts the body's urge to urinate, which helps to get rid of excess liquid in the body before it becomes a problem.[8]

No current legal use[change | change source]

Ecstasy is illegal in the United States and is a "Schedule I" drug. Schedule I drugs have no official medical use and are highly addictive. More recently, some scientists believe Ecstasy should have been moved to"Schedule III" (a drug with medical uses), because it may be useful in therapy. Ecstasy has been shown to reduce fear, and would therefore be useful in psychotherapy when remembering bad memories.[9][10][11] It may also have potential for dying patients to help come to terms with their death. It could also be used for other mental illnesses such as depression or drug addiction.

References[change | change source]

  1. Turner, Amy (May 4, 2008). "Ecstasy is the key to treating PTSD". The Sunday Times (London). Times Newspapers Ltd.. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  2. "Where is Ecstasy legal?". Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  3. "MDMA: Legal Status". Erowid. December 16, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "What does MDMA do to the brain?". National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Drug Abuse. March 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  5. Forsling ML, Fallon JK, ‘’et al.’’ 2002. "The effect of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) and its metabolites on neurohypophysial hormone release from the isolated rat hypothalamus". British Journal of Pharmacology 135 (3): 649-656. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0704502. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  6. "Ecstasy: Dangers". Your Guide to Drugs, Addiction, and Treatment. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  7. "Hyponatremia". Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. May 18, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  8. Bowen, R (December 26, 2006). "Antidiuretic Hormone (Vasopressin)". Colorado State University. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  9. Greer G, Tolbert R. In Peroutka SJ (ed.) (1990). “The therapeutic use of MDMA.” In Ecstasy: The Clinical, Pharmacological and Neurotoxicological Effects of the Drug MDMA. Holland: Kluwer. pp. 21-36. ISBN 978-1461314868.
  10. Doblin R (2002). "A Clinical Plan for MDMA (Ecstasy) in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Partnering with the FDA.". Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 34 (2): 185–194. PMID 12691208.
  11. Sessa B and Nutt DJ 2007. "MDMA, politics and medical research: Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater?". Journal of Psychopharmacology 21 (8): 787-791. PMID 17984158.