The popular rave drug, MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) or ecstasy, has had a fascinating history dating from the 1910s to the present. This designer drug was originally used as a diet pill and later in psychotherapy. The recent use of MDMA recreationally has increased interest and research on the drug and its effects on humans. MDMA has been used for beneficial purposes in the past, and can also be in the present. This paper is an attempt to illustrate the history, uses, effects, research and positive aspects MDMA has on human kind.
From its beginnings as a diet pill to its resurrection in therapeutic use, MDMA has had a short but interesting history. MDMA was first created in 1912 and then started off as a diet drug patented in Germany by the pharmaceutical giant Merck in 1913. This ring-substituted phenylisopropylamine with amphetamine-like stimulant effects was quickly taken off the market, due to its inconclusive testing. Since these were not mentioned in the patent; MDMA research increased at this point in time.
In 1953, MDMA came into light when the US army tested a number of drugs for military applications-there were unconfirmed reports that MDMA was tested as a “truth drug.” In his own lab, Shulgin (known as the Step Father of MDMA) continued to test new compounds for many years and discussed his research with colleagues and friends, many of whom were psychotherapists. It was because of this that MDMA entered its “golden age” between the years of 1977 and 1985. MDMA was tried on patients by a few psychotherapists who felt that the drug was a powerful psychotropic (drugs that have an altering effect, like tranquilizers, hallucinogens, etc.) with great potential. MDMA could be used in a variety of therapies whether the therapy session consisted of a single person, a couple, or a family. MDMA made the patient more relaxed, it connected them, without inhibition, to their therapist and others, and deep introspection was promoted. It could be used as an antidepressant or an analgesic; it facilitated creative visualization, reduced stress, and maybe even enhanced the immune system without addiction (WWW 2). With so many positive attributes for the psychiatric field the government is still protesting the legality of MDMA. Is it because they are scared that it could become a ?social norm? and thus tarnish the USA?s no tolerance for drugs?