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[P]
The agony and the ecstasy

By nobbystyles in MLP
Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 12:46:37 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

The BBC is showing an Horizon programme tonight on the remarkable effects of ecstasy (MDMA) on one particular sufferer of Parkinsons disease. There is also an article on it here. Basically under the effects of the drug, he can perform gymnastic feats which are pretty impossible for any Parkinson disease sufferer. Doctor's seemed to be mystified as Ecstacy does not work on the dopamine levels, a low level is associated with Parkinson's, but heightens the Serotonin levels which they previously thought had no connection to Parkinson's. Of course this is only one person so is a bit statistically suspect.


It just shows the increasingly blurred line between so called 'Evil' drugs like MDMA and cannabis and therapeutic drugs. Maybe we'll see Mummahed Ali, the most famous sufferer of Parkinson's, going to a few raves.

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The agony and the ecstasy | 67 comments (65 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
Doesn't mean all drugs should be legalised. (2.90 / 11) (#1)
by Herbert PagetPaget on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:12:40 AM EST

The thing that must be remembered is that most people are not qualified to make this kind of decision. Ecstasy is a fun drug, I know from experience, however a big part of its appeal is that it is illegal. As the drug laws in Britain are meaningless, and any fool can get a hold of some Ecstasy, this means that the law in this area has become part of the fashion, adding a frisson of illicit delight, rather than being any effective deterrent.

If Ecstasy were made illegal the joy of taking it would be removed, in many respects, for many people. I can't say I have ever been much of a fan of Ecstasy though, certain other drugs are my recreational first choice (cocaine especially. I wonder if it has any medical benefits? An interesting thought).

--Not a moronic #kuro5hin quote.

No, but they should be for another reason (3.85 / 7) (#2)
by twl on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:17:37 AM EST

...namely that any laws against them are unenforcable, expensive and impractical; generally making the law look like an ass.

Much good could have been done with the hundreds of billions of dollars which have been ploughed into the 'war' on drugs.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (4.50 / 6) (#5)
by Seumas on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:34:45 AM EST

Like, give it back to the taxpayers.

As a taxpayer, I have to say that I'm not satisfied with the results (or lack thereof) that my considerable funding has provided. I wouldn't keep sinking cash into a lousy doctor or keep eating at a restaurant that couldn't boil water without burning it, but we do keep dumping money to fund ineffective rhetoric.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

But would you... (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by retinaburn on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:08:10 AM EST

If you had/have children and because you worked needed a babysitter so they were not alone. You get the only babysitter in town, turns out she's only minutely better at keeping you kids safe. Do you let your kids roam the neighborhood while your not there, or do you keep paying a babysitter that does very little.

This was covered on the West Wing on Wednesday (and less recently Traffic) (enough W's for ya). Its hard to just take the money out of the war that you have been fighting for so long. Its easy to say when you don't have any involvement and millions of people breathing down your neck.


I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Re-education required (none / 0) (#64)
by twl on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 07:31:38 AM EST

If you've been lying to your populace for that many years then yes, maybe you'll have to start telling them the truth before you can extricate yourself.

However, we're not really talking about the government just stopping the 'war': most legalisation scenarios have some element of governments bringing controlled substances under their direct control, thereby gathering taxes, restricting sale to groups they consider appropriate, etc. Look at the sale of alcohol and tobacco, for example.

If the money saved (and raised as tax revenue on drugs) came back as a tax cut I don't imagine there would be much complaining -- especially if drug (supply) related crime plummets as it likely would.

[ Parent ]
Enforcement (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by JonesBoy on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:14:41 AM EST

I think the problem is enforcement of current laws. Right now, people are getting high with little or no risk of criminal prosecution. I have never been to a rave, but it seems like drug sales at these types of "clubs" is rampant and open. Perhaps if people were getting busted, there wouldn't be this illicit delight, and people would stay off the stuff.

Medical benefits of cocaine?! Codine (sp?) is used widely as a painkiller, and coca extracts are used to prevent nausea. I am sure there are many more examples. The thing is, cocaine is a natural chemical that is manipulated to suit good uses. Ecstasy is a compound DESIGNED to make people feel funny. One is inherinly bad (e), and the other is used for bad things (coke).

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
How much you believe propoganda. Here's mine ;-) (5.00 / 3) (#25)
by Mashx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:58:48 AM EST

I can't decide whether you are naive or blatently trolling here.

I have never been to a rave, but it seems like drug sales at these types of "clubs" is rampant and open.
As you graciously admit, you haven't been to this type of club. Drug sales might be going on there, but rampant and open? I think not. They happen, without dispute, but the illegality is not the reason: it's because they actually add to the enjoyment of the place and music. Enforcement of current laws would not stop the Million or so doses that is often cited as being taken every weekend in the UK for example.

Ecstasy is a compound DESIGNED to make people feel funny.
Although it is labelled a designer drug, Ecstacy was not designed to make people funny. If you want a simple history of the drug look here. Note also the line:
Since MDMA had already been patented in 1913, it held no profit potential for a drug company,
I also point you to this which sums up quite nicely why it was made illegal.

I wouldn't necessarily put Cocaine in a better light than Ecstacy, for one simple reason: Cocaine is very physically addictive, and has destroyed many more lives than ecstasy. I am NOT saying it is safe, but I do think there is far too much propoganda flying around, and some you seem to have bought into.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

Sorry. (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by JonesBoy on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 10:52:57 AM EST

Nope, not trolling.

>As you graciously admit, you haven't been to this type of club. Drug sales might be going
>on there, but rampant and open? I think not. They happen, without dispute, but the
>illegality is not the reason: it's because they actually add to the enjoyment of the place
>and music. Enforcement of current laws would not stop the Million or so doses that is often
>cited as being taken every weekend in the UK for example.

Wait. One million sales per weekend in the UK alone, and you are telling me sales are not rampant? I guess a few rich people discover these close knit underground dealers and buy a couple thousand bucks at a time? I have friends who are into it, they go there and then find a dealer. They don't even have to worry about not finding a dealer, they know they will find it. Sounds open and rampant to me.
Oh, and I would imagine taking any halugenogenic drug would make Ishtar, not to mention music, more entertaining.

Last I checked, most people dont buy their E from a pharmacist. From what I have heard, you don't always get MDMA, but sometimes MDMA cocktails with other drugs. About 8 years ago, I was talking to some people who had E and told me their pills had coke and other fun things in it. They were doing and dealing stuff, and I am not implying they are reliable, but knowing stuff on the street, it is usually not pure or 100% real.

My point of posting was that there is hardly any procecution going on. You said it yourself, one million sales a weekend in the UK. This is not even in inner city/high-crime/drug infested areas that you expect sales to flourish. These sales/use are in specific areas to specific people. If people were getting busted at every rave, don't you think use would begin to decline? It seems like the police are not even concerned with the problem.


Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Long reply (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by spiralx on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 11:33:32 AM EST

Wait. One million sales per weekend in the UK alone, and you are telling me sales are not rampant?

Well I think there are a quarter of a million people who go clubbing each weekend. And then there are people who do it at home, down the pub, in parties etc. etc. Okay so it's fairly rampant in one sense - the UK takes more ecstacy per head than any other country in the world. Actually we're either only just behind the US or ahead of the US overall in drug consumption per capita.

I have friends who are into it, they go there and then find a dealer. They don't even have to worry about not finding a dealer, they know they will find it. Sounds open and rampant to me.

It's not that open though in most clubs. Some clubs it's next to impossible to find anything, in others it's a piece of piss. It all depends on the club. Bare in mind that in America there isn't a club scene as such, it's more underground parties where they don't have to worry about licenses and stuff.

Oh, and I would imagine taking any halugenogenic drug would make Ishtar, not to mention music, more entertaining.

Yes, but if you're not having a good time to start with they won't help. They're not "magic happy pills".

Last I checked, most people dont buy their E from a pharmacist. From what I have heard, you don't always get MDMA, but sometimes MDMA cocktails with other drugs.

Yup, usually amphetamine or MDEA. You do find other stuff though.

About 8 years ago, I was talking to some people who had E and told me their pills had coke and other fun things in it.

You won't find coke in a pill - it's more expensive than ecstacy. Why would a dealer lose out on money that way? Answer - they won't. If it's cut, it's cut with something the same price or cheaper.

They were doing and dealing stuff, and I am not implying they are reliable, but knowing stuff on the street, it is usually not pure or 100% real.

Being so close to their point of origin (Holland and Belgium) the quality is usually pretty good here. The stuff I've been getting recently has uniformly been of an extremely high quality, definitely containing very good quantities of MDMA (100mg+).

My point of posting was that there is hardly any procecution going on. You said it yourself, one million sales a weekend in the UK. This is not even in inner city/high-crime/drug infested areas that you expect sales to flourish. These sales/use are in specific areas to specific people. If people were getting busted at every rave, don't you think use would begin to decline? It seems like the police are not even concerned with the problem.

So they raid all of the several hundred clubs around London then? Each of which is dark and crowded, and as soon as the police arrive a) the dealers stash their stuff (or in some clubs, get let out the back by the bouncers) and everyone else hides whatever they've got on them. And you couldn't really arrest 250,000+ people, or even try to. I'd say in London alone there are 100,000 people clubbing each weekend (less than 1% of the city's population, quite reasonable I'd say). The Metropoliton Police has far better things to do with their time.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

A question for Spiral X (none / 0) (#60)
by nobbystyles on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 11:45:36 AM EST

What's always mystified me is that most 'E's come from Holland and Belgium but the biggest European market is in the UK. Why don't they produce them here?

Are our British illegal drug chemists not up to the job or is it more difficult gettting hold of the precursors here?

[ Parent ]
Not sure... (none / 0) (#61)
by spiralx on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 11:52:40 AM EST

I'm not entirely sure about why. Part of it may be that the precursors are easier to get hold of on the continent where they can be bought in from Eastern Europe. I don't actually know the reason.

Apparently the manufacturing process stinks to high heaven, making it somewhat risky in built-up areas. Not that this has anything to do with why it's made in Holland, it's just a little factoid :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Reasons... (none / 0) (#66)
by Mashx on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 05:56:59 AM EST

A lot of pills are made in Holland and to a lesser extent Belgium and Germany, but the majority of pills are made much further East than that, over towards the ex-Soviet bloc countries. The reasons for this are as Spiralx said that the pre-cursors are *much* easier to obtain, but also for economic reasons: one lab in Lithuania was producing that many that when it was eventually closed down, they had just missed a shipment out, and still confiscated over thirteen million pills. This government lab was producing the pills simply to obtain currency, which was severly lacking after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Safrole, the most often used precursor, is not a pleasant substance to work with, and having read the account of someone that actually spent six months assembling the equipment, and then obtaining small amounts of the precursors who then tried to produce it in a basement flat without proper ventilation, and nearly ended up blinding himself, I can see that it ain't easy to make. There isn't really anywhere remote enough to make Ecstasy in any quantity in the Uk, except maybe Scotland.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

The possibility of jailing up 'em all (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by dabadab on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 11:38:26 AM EST

As you said, one million doses per weekend.
That's a few hundered-thousand people taking E.
That's a few hundered-thousand people busted.
That's a few hundered-thousand more jails needed.
That's a few hundered-thousand people out of work.
That's a lot more money needed and a lot less money produced.
That's economical catastrophe.
To what end?
--
Real life is overrated.
[ Parent ]
Maybe Shorter Reply (none / 0) (#67)
by Mashx on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 06:29:52 AM EST

One million sales per weekend in the UK alone, and you are telling me sales are not rampant?
No, apologies if I wasn't clear, I meant that sales are not rampant inside clubs. They really aren't. You have to remember that the British Police, councils (for licensing), and other officials have been addressing Ecstasy and dance music together for a lot longer than in America, even though it was used in America beforehand. The reason is once it was brought to the UK, use just exploded, in a way that America is only now matching. What is also a point to note here is that whereas ten years ago pills were coming down to 10-15 ($15-22), now I can get them for 3-5 ($5-8), and that is a single pill, not per thousand. It doesn't take rich people.

knowing stuff on the street, it is usually not pure or 100% real.
Couldn't agree with you more: The Major downside of enjoying something that has been declared illegal. But more than likely it is going to be cut with either chalk, caffeine, or glucose, as these are all cheaper. But I have 'trusted' dealers, who I am more sure than not won't palm me off with anything crap.
If people were getting busted at every rave, don't you think use would begin to decline? It seems like the police are not even concerned with the problem.
To be frank, most police are more concerned with the armed robbers, the muggers and crack barons, i.e. the violent misery making criminals than those dancing around enjoying themselves, most of whom don't cause any trouble. If people were getting busted at every rave, first of all there would have to be a lot of new police recruits, and secondly I don't think use would decline at all: if anything it would cause people to start having illegal parties in places the police couldn't find them. I have been to parties in disused slatemines, all sorts of places, just so that the police wouldn't come spoiling the party. There was even had a driver standing by in case anyone collapsed. 'We' care that people enjoy themselves, because Ecstasy is an emotion enhancer, not just a Proyac type happy pill.

A case in point for you to consider for your idea of raiding clubs: a club called Shindig in Newcastle, UK, was raided by the police and when they raided the club with a police helicopter overhead, and 80 officers, there was something like thirty arrests. Twenty five of those was for assaulting police officers, which isn't really THAT surprising seeing as if I was dancing in a darkened club and all of a sudden I am being manhandled by police in riot gear (as they were), I would get upset. The raid cost over 40 000 and the amount of drugs seized? around 1300 irc.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

MDMA was designed as an appetite suppressant (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by spiralx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:08:19 AM EST

Ecstasy is a compound DESIGNED to make people feel funny.

It was first designed and patented by a German company Merck in 1913 IIRC. They designed it as an appetite suppresant, but it was never used on humans.

The fact that it has already been patented means no-one else can, and explains why pharmaceutical companies aren't interested in it.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Illegality making it fun... (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by ucblockhead on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:59:08 AM EST

I don't know about that. It hasn't been my experience. I went to college right when X first hit the scene, but before it actually became an illegal drug in the US. I saw no effect at all when it actually became illegal. (And really, the laws were driven by the popularity, rather than the other way around.) In my circle, we all switched from other, more illegal drugs, to X when it first became popular. (Though I personally tired of it. It is fun, but all the cloying sweetness got to be a bit much.)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Cocaine does have medical benefits. (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by Captain_Tenille on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:38:44 PM EST

In the US, it's Schedule II (Schedule I is for drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, etc. -- drugs that have no redeeming qualities). Schedule II contains drugs like cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, and other drugs with valid medical uses, but are considered too dangerous to be uncontrolled. IIRC, cocaine is an especially good local anaesthetic (especially for nose injuries ;-) ).
----
/* You are not expected to understand this. */

Man Vs. Nature: The Road to Victory!
[ Parent ]

Ahh Cocaine (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by retinaburn on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:03:23 AM EST

The have a cocaine nasal spray for cauterizing in hospitals, I also believe they can use it on other wounds ...like a hangover ;)


I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Incomplete (3.44 / 9) (#3)
by duxup on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:20:32 AM EST

I can't help but recall a chemistry experiment that I did in high school.

We were supposed to mix several chemicals in the proper order to get some sort of interesting color/temp changes in the liquids we were mixing. Sadly we could not get it to work. After several tries we got frustrated and took our failed concoction and mixed in several unknown chemicals. To our surprise we got the proper color changes, temperature effects, and the experiment seemed to be a success. Then it erupted into noxious fumes, the lab was evacuated, fire department, and eventually a hazardous materials team was called in.

I'm not surprised at all that people with Parkinson's disease would show improvement on ecstasy. Possibly many other such drugs would improve the lifestyle of people with exceptionally debilitating diseases.

Does this mean ecstasy somehow is now "good?" I never saw it as "evil." It's a chemical. A chemical that is potentially devastating to those who use it in good heath, and part of an incomplete study on people with Parkinson's disease. I find any further propaganda and exceptionally far reaching.

Missing the point (3.50 / 2) (#14)
by TheEye on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 09:35:53 AM EST

I guess you're missing the point here. The programme is not about a random chemical having an effect on Parkinsons', but the specific effect of xtc on the disease. I think (though I haven't seen the programme, but will do tonight) the point is that the cause of Parkinsons is rather cloudy, and the effect of xtc might shed light upon the workings of the diseaseand their effects on the human body...

[ Parent ]
Just don't use it to justify stupidity. (3.57 / 14) (#4)
by Seumas on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:32:00 AM EST

Glad to know it might have some good uses -- though I'm not surprised. Lots of stuff has potentially helpful benifits.

You know what really gets me is that now you're going to have a bunch of fourteen year old candy ravers running around justifying use of ecstacy because "it has medical uses" just like the potheads who run around justifying hemp because of "textile value".

Hey, if you wanna smoke-up, smoke-up; if you wanna take X, take X. I really couldn't care less as long as you aren't holding me up at gunpoint to get the cash or breaking into my home to find something to sell for your habit. Anything, but don't run around justifying your personal use or abuse of a substance because it has potential benifits. A sharp knife has potential benifits too, but not when I'm stabbing someone in the skull with it. Besides, people like that just sound stupid. They'd be more credible if they just came out and said "man, I love riding on X".
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

lol (4.20 / 5) (#11)
by ODiV on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 08:24:15 AM EST

I was just imagining potheads running around.
Thanks for the laugh.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Euphemism? (4.33 / 3) (#12)
by rusty on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 08:39:00 AM EST

I think by "running around" he meant "sitting on the couch eating Cheez-Its". :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
I won't get to see this... (3.00 / 12) (#6)
by MisterX on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:36:10 AM EST

Since I'm in Germany and am flying off to Sri Lanka tonight for a vacation. Damn.

I'm fascinated by this type of "pseudo-positive" media coverage of illegal drugs. Seems to me that whenever a potentially positive use for an illegal drug is reported (a rare occurrence in itself), the counter-balancing "well known" negative properties are over-emphasised.

For legal drugs, the converse seems to be true; positive effects are highly emphasised, negative effects are dismissed or glossed over.

But then, I'm a terrible cynic. I distrust the established media.

That said, I have a great deal of time for "Horizon" - it has been a source of interesting, balanced information to me in the past. I hope that this programme continues that standard.

(I haven't seen Horizon for a long time now. Does it still maintain the same high quality or has it become another "Tomorrow's World"?)

I'm ignorant of MDMA having never taken it. I would like to learn more.

If anyone would please summarise the broadcast and post to k5, I'd be grateful. Or do the BBC make transcripts available on the web?

Interesting link. +1 to section from me. Many thanks.

Horizon (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by nobbystyles on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:45:52 AM EST

It has got more 'populist'in terms of subject matter over the years but on the whole has maintained its reputation for balanced and well researched scienitific documentaries.

A friend of mine works at the BBC and I shall ask him if it is possible to get hold of a transcript. If this is possible then I shall be willing to post here.



[ Parent ]
Transcript will be available after broadcast. (4.75 / 4) (#8)
by Morn on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 07:13:18 AM EST

The BBC posts transcripts of the programmes on the Horizon web site.

[ Parent ]
Thanks (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by MisterX on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 07:32:20 AM EST

Good news! And a link! You're a star.

[ Parent ]
re: Horizon (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by MisterX on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 07:38:02 AM EST

Ah.. excellent news.

I have no particular objection to 'populist' subject matter. I don't really have the background to fully understand some of the more edgy science anyway.

I care about the balance and quality. It would be sad indeed if a programme which has enlightened me so much during my teenage years through adulthood had "sold out".

As for the transcript: thanks for the kind offer. Another reply has the website link.

[ Parent ]
Have you ever known a habitual user of MDMA? (3.81 / 11) (#13)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 09:22:54 AM EST

I've had good friends that (unbeknownst to be) were habitual ecstasy users.

The closer I got to them, the more I noticed their paranoid and schizotypical tendencies. After they got busted and we found out about their drug use. They were paroled awaiting trial and moved into our basement for lack of other living arrangements. As time rolled on I began to notice the permanent damage that was the legacy of E.

What was once a brilliant and sociable woman became a raving paranoiac that believed everyone who didn't agree with her views was out to get her. After speaking with her family, it became readily apparent that she had lost a good deal of her natural mental brilliance and had a good deal of trouble making logical connections.

I haven't really followed research into use of MDMA, but I know that there are some studies that show a correlation in the behavior I noticed in my friend and users of MDMA.

My conclusion is that if MDMA is helpful to some people in some situations, there had better be a pretty big benefit and much research done into long term effects. What good is a reduction of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease if the whole world turns against you as a result? Drugs that effect the psyche need to be very well studied before given to cure other problems.



I know lots of them (3.75 / 4) (#15)
by nobbystyles on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 09:36:53 AM EST

Depends on the person really. I know some people who take loads of E every week and they are pretty rational at least by my standards. I know some that end up being pretty fscked up by them. I have never known anyone being put in hospital by the drug.

Then again I know lots of people who drink alcohol and smoke cannabis. Some of them have problems with these substances, some don't....



[ Parent ]
Every week is too often to take Ecstasy (4.50 / 4) (#16)
by Paul Crowley on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 09:57:10 AM EST

Ecstasy does interesting things to your brain chemistry to achieve the effect it does, and your brain needs time to settle back into normal cycles before you take it again. If you're taking it every weekend, you're starting to use it to counteract its own ill effects, and that's the path to getting seriously fucked up.

If you find the good effects of E are worth the occasional "blue Wednesday", then go for it, but don't use E to overcome the mild downer you might feel next weekend.
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]

I take it most weekends... (4.33 / 3) (#23)
by spiralx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:39:54 AM EST

I take ecstacy probably 2-3 weekends every month, sometimes more if there's a special occasion and we go out on Friday and Saturday nights. On average I'll probably take 4 on a night, although sometimes it's less and occasionally more. I've been taking for five years, although it's only the last six or seven months that I've been taking it this regularly, before that was a period of a couple of years where I did it occasionally and before that I did it regularly again, if perhaps somewhat less.

You know what? I don't get depressed midweek. In fact, I feel happier for having had an excellent weekend. Sure, it's a grind coming back to work on Mondays, and I think a lot of people don't handle the contrast very well, but there aren't any real side effects except for feeling knackered :) I'm not the only person who doesn't get depressed either, and I don't know anyone that gets really bad during the week...

My reason for using it is, well, I love taking it :) And going out has made me a lot happier in the last half year... whether the ecstacy had anything to do with this is something I don't know. To be honest, I think just going out helped me more.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Here is some more "Wisdom" from Dr. Drew (none / 0) (#40)
by kagaku_ninja on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 05:06:35 PM EST

here and here

The site seems to contain some good advice, mixed with heaps of FUD. The Doctor clearly works for the man.

[ Parent ]
Whoops (none / 0) (#41)
by kagaku_ninja on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 05:07:45 PM EST

Replied to the wrong thread...

[ Parent ]
for what duratioin (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:07:58 AM EST

I know some people who take loads of E every week and they are pretty rational at least by my standards.

How long has this behavior persisted? To be honest, I don't really follow the research, so I'll be the first to admit that my understanding of the effects of ectasy might be invalid. But from what I've seen and from what little I've read on the topic, I'd be surprised if anyone that uses ecstasy long term in the manner you describe doesn't develop neurotic and/or psychotic symptoms.



[ Parent ]
A Couple Of Years (3.66 / 3) (#24)
by nobbystyles on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:50:08 AM EST

Thenm they get bored of it or prefer to do something else or have kids. I myself have done ecstasy on and off for the last ten years and I am not in the funny farm yet.

It's just one aspect of my life. I go through phases of taking regularly and then not taking for up 12 months at a time. It's not physically addictive fortunately.

[ Parent ]
My personal experience (4.75 / 4) (#27)
by Mashx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:10:37 AM EST

Upfront: Last summer, around the beginning of August was my tenth anniversary of taking Ecstasy. In those ten years, I have done all my exams at school, college and University, and come out, got a damn good job, and apart from the odd axe murder, there has been no bad side effects. [For the humour impaired: :)]

Seriously, I have seen some people affected by it, mainly because they didn't respect it, and they took more and more, (upto thirteen in one session!!) but I also know a lot more people that it has had no adverse side-effects on except at the most a blue Tuesday.

What you describe in terms of neurosis can certainly come from Amphetamine or Cocaine, but not so much in my experience from Ecstasy.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

Personal experiences (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by aphrael on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 08:54:55 PM EST

I've only done X a couple of times, all within the last year --- but I'm *much* happier now than I have been ever in my life, and I don't think i could have come out yet if I hadn't taken it.

[ Parent ]
Sounds familiar (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by Mashx on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 04:01:55 AM EST

This is basically what happened to me. My friends were going and getting some Carling Special Brew or Tennants Extra (about 9% irc, and the choice of pissheads) and going to a park or somewhere similar, being only fifteen or sixteen, and getting pissed, generally acting like pissed teenagers, and ending up fighting or going home bruised anyway from falling over.

This didn't interest me, and having been listening to Pirate Radio (esp. Sunrise and Fantasy) in London, decided to go to one of these partied with this amazing music. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of all these really happy people who were more interested in the music and making friends than fighting, and it continued from there. No longer was I sat in my bedroom at night just listening to the music, but I was getting out and enjoying myself with new friends.

One thing that is important and I am sure you don't: don't rely on it. There is no point getting dependent on it: everything has tolerance levels.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

Relying on it (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by aphrael on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:19:07 AM EST

Nah, I won't do that. I did it at Halloween, and again at New Years, and want to do it again --- but the time has to be right, you know? I take it from your comment, tho, that you've seen people rely on it and get burned?

Halloween was one of the most incredible experiences i've ever had, and the up mood lasted for more than a week, by the end of which time i'd started coming out to people. The combination of the two has left me, while occasionally stressed, still in a happier mood on average than ever before in my life, four months later.

Haven't managed to get a bunch of new friends yet, tho, but that's primarily a reflection of (a) shyness and (b) business.

[ Parent ]

Relying on it. (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by Mashx on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 06:31:00 AM EST

Not really burned, just that I have seen people go out, taken their pill, or two, or three, it not given them the feeling that they were expecting, and then had a shitty night, and made all those around them feel bad as well. To me, I have a good night, and then have a pill or two to enhance that night, and if it doesn't do anything, then I am not having a bad night, I am just having an okay night. Like having pepper on a steak enhances it, but not having pepper doesn't make it a bad steak. Hmm, where did that analogy come from! Must be hungry.

Those that rely on it tend not to feel like this and also tend to put it down to weak drugs, and thus do more.. I have done this, so know that it is the wrong thing to do.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

Death By E (not the WM) (none / 0) (#62)
by mauftarkie on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 12:30:57 PM EST

I know some that end up being pretty fscked up by them. I have never known anyone being put in hospital by the drug.
Well, here's a victim for you. Happened recently, too.


--
Without you I'm one step closer to happiness without violence.
Without you I'm one step closer to innocence without consequence.


[ Parent ]
Not technically ecstasy (none / 0) (#65)
by spiralx on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 07:31:15 PM EST

From the article...

"Many who attended the rave the night Peter Vu collapsed have said that the club was too hot and too crowded, but Gunson insists such an environment did not contribute to Vu's death"

Although the ecstacy was obviously the thing that contributed to the death, the person actually died from overheating. When you take ecstacy you have to watch out for this - as a derivative of amphetamine it does cause overheating. To combat this you need to keep your body temperature down, and clubs without adequate heating aren't doing enough to prevent this kind of accident.

So it's not the ecstacy, it's the heat. The ecstacy makes you more vulnerable, but knowing this means you can deal with it...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Anecdotal evidence (4.60 / 5) (#19)
by Ludwig on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:13:08 AM EST

Anecdotal evidence -- positive or negative -- is just that, anecdotal. The problem is that legitimate scientific medical research (to say nothing of personal experimentation) into illegal substances is one of the casualties of the War On (some) Drugs. Here's an experiment: Submit one grant proposal to study the therapeutic effects of MDMA, and another one to study the connection between MDMA and, I dunno, juvenile delinquency. See which one gets funded.

This is probably different outside the U.S., but we do have an unfortunate policy of forcibly exporting our drug policies wherever possible, along with all the other cultural flotsam.

[ Parent ]

I agree (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 10:24:02 AM EST

Perhaps my disclaimer about not having done any research was not strong enough, but I actually agree with your assessment. My point was meant to be that my anecdotal experiences lead me to believe that serious research ought to take place before considering psychoactive substances for treatment of diseases like Parkinson's.

A powerful illustration of this would be the real story behind the drug L-DOPA, profiled in the movie Awakenings. MDMA has some very real side effects. It might be that it can be safely used in treatment. It might be that it cures Parkinson's only at a prohibitive cost to the mind of the patient. Until research is done, we won't know.

[ Parent ]

Research/treatment (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by Ludwig on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:29:49 AM EST

I took it that this particular treatment was done as research. It doesn't always start with lab stuff and then expand to clinical trials. Obviously it shouldn't be doled out willy-nilly to every Parkinson's sufferer out there, but it'll be a whole lot harder to do the research on MDMA than if the drug in question were aspirin.

[ Parent ]
Problem is... (4.50 / 2) (#43)
by Robert Gormley on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:15:30 PM EST

... not being medical researchers, 99.9% of the population really only have anecdotal evidence to work with. In this guys case he at least was knowledgable enough to state that he didn't assume that this was a global effect/symptom.

Anecdotal evidence is just that, no "real" substitute for empirical, but it's alsothe kind of evidence that we rely on far more than empirical, being that is something we have experienced ourselves, and most people's experiences affect their judgment, for better or worse.

[ Parent ]

Drug use and paranoia (4.60 / 5) (#33)
by ucblockhead on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:53:31 AM EST

You have to be very careful about claims that the use of a drug causes paranoia because in a society where drugs are illegal, drug users have a very real reason to think people are out to get them.

I had a friend in my younger days who had given up dealing cocaine because it was making him paraniod. Not the cocaine itself, but sitting in his apartment with $50,000 on his coffee table and hearing police helicopters overhead.

-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
reminds me of marijuana.. (3.42 / 7) (#28)
by rebelcool on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:11:03 AM EST

which, for you skeptics out there *has* been proven to be very useful in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

All in all, i think "bad" drugs such as mdma and marijuana mainly suffer from the propaganda of the governments. MDMA has never been cited as the cause of a death (rave deaths typically occur from dehydration, caused by dancing for hours and hours..not from X, or from fake tablets that arent really X. Which is why organizations such as DanceSafe exist)

But anyway, if its useful in treating any kind of disease, go for it. Don't let the government's propaganda keep you down.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Recent case here in CO (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by Erbo on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:33:02 AM EST

Here in Colorado, we've had the case of Brittney Chambers, who died after taking a hit of Ecstasy at her 16th birthday party. Apparently, she became very thirsty, and drinking water did nothing to relieve her thirst. She drank so much water, in fact, that it thinned her blood and caused her brain to swell, which put her in a coma that only ended when she was removed from life support. Her death was attributed to "complications of amphetamine ingestion."

Eric
--
Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
[ Parent ]

hmm.. (2.33 / 3) (#31)
by rebelcool on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:38:56 AM EST

id be suspect if it was mdma..there are many fakes out there. Or it could have been laced with something else. Real MDMA is a weaker version of prozac.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Austrailia (4.00 / 3) (#32)
by spiralx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 11:44:39 AM EST

An amusing fact (for non-Austrailians anyway :) is that 90% of pills sold as ecstacy in Austrailia are fakes, probably because it's so far from Holland and Belgium where most are made.

There have been several cases of police making a raid, arresting loads of people and then being unable to charge them because the pills they seized weren't anything illegal :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

it depends on what they're made of (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by rebelcool on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 03:57:32 PM EST

some pills are just sugar..so its not bad. Others have different chemicals that are cheaper to produce than MDMA, and *those* are deadly. Which is what dancesafe tests for.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

PMA (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by spiralx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 04:28:04 PM EST

PMA is the dangerous one that caused a load of fatalities in Florida late last year. I wrote a story on it for Smokedot - see here...

Apparently it's been found here in the UK in Mitsubishi Turbos. And I've also heard stories about CK1s - pills which contain ketamine and crack... I think that's a load of BS though :)

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

nah (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by rebelcool on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:40:51 PM EST

crack isnt cheap enough to put in a mass-produced pill.. ketamine is pretty expensive too.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

I know :) (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by spiralx on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 04:17:25 AM EST

Sorry, maybe I didn't make it clear enough I thought it was a load of shite... ketamine isn't particularly expensive here though, and I've had it in pills before...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Considering the story... (none / 0) (#63)
by cr0sh on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 03:38:56 PM EST

Does anyone think the girl may have actually been on prozaq, and the MDMA exacberated the effect (of "unquenchable thirst"). I am not saying I think the X killed her - even the ME doesn't think so. I had to be water poisoning - but the ME isn't going to put down "killed through ignorance"...

[ Parent ]
That's not ecstacy killing someone.... (3.75 / 4) (#35)
by SvnLyrBrto on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 01:08:02 PM EST

... that's an example of one person being an idiot.

As anyone who's done even a modicum of research knows, drinking TOO MUCH water, can lead to hyponatraemia or water intoxication.

Overhyderating yourself can be just as dangerous as dehyderation (which, along with hyperthermia, is the REAL cause of most "ecstacy realted" illness). Note, that this is not just an isssue with ecstacy, or any other drug. But it is a well documented medical FACT that this condition occurs. It also affects athletes, people who run into trouble camping in the desert, people fished out of the sea a few days after boating accidents, and basiclly ANY other circumstance when you might drink water faster than your kidneys can process it.

Pretty much ALL of the on-line resources on the topic (lyaceum, erowid, DanceSafe, etc.) warn of this risk. That's ONE of the reasons you use a soother, like jolly ranchers, or chewing gum, or a pacifier if you're a kandy kid.

Really, it IS tragic that this girl died. But risk management is all about informing yourself of the possible hazards. And it you're too damn lazy to do even minimal research BEFORE putting a foriegn substance into your body, how do you expect to mitigate those risks? And how is it MDMA's fault that you failed to do your research?

The exact same thing can happen if you don't bother to INFORM yourself about perfectly LEGAL drugs.

Alcohol is a diauretic and can lead to dehyderation... so drink some plain water after happy hour

OTC decongestents give ME that same "unquenchable thirst" feeling. I don't chug water nonstop tho.

DXM (active ingredient in robotussin) supresses your ability to sweat, so don't overexert and overheat yourself if you're fighting a cough (or if you get a bad ecstacy tablet).

etc.

john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

It happened in the UK (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by Mashx on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 04:31:28 AM EST

Just over five years ago, the same thing happened in the Uk. The case was that of Leah Betts, on her 18th birthday. It was used to great effect by the UK Media and government, and was the cause of some ill-thought out laws as well. It was such a big story that there has even been analysis of the reporting of her story.

I remember seeing the billboards (the best I could find is here at the top right of the page) around the country of Leah on life support, with 'Sorted' and 'Just one ecstasy tablet took Leah Betts' underneath. It didn't work for the majority of people already doing Ecstasy because they learnt that she had died from water poisoning, and that it wasn't her first pill. I felt so sorry for her parents, but their refusal to face facts made them look like fools, and to this day her step father still insists it was the Ecstasy that killed her and not the huge amount of water she drank after collapsing.

What it did do though was educate a large part of the populous that drinking too much water was just as bad as not drinking enough. Ignorance is never a good thing to have.
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

Its like a gun and a bullet (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by retinaburn on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:20:20 AM EST

Say you put the revolver with 1 bullet to your head and pull the trigger. If it fires is it the gun that killed you or the massive trauma to your brain that caused it. Technically its the bullet that caused the damage, but its the gun (and obviously stupidity) that killed you.

Its the same in this case (as i see it). A person took a drug, and because of altered mental status did harm to themselves. The drug wasn't the reason they died, but it was the cause.

Could also look at a 50 yr old alcoholic that dies from liver failure...sure he died cuz his liver went kaput, but its the drinking that 'killed him'.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


[ Parent ]
Knee jerk reaction (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by slakhead on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 04:49:32 PM EST

Any drug that causes irreversible brain damage is bad. From what I know of ecstasy, it can have many of the same effects as LSD. And no you don't have to believe a drug is "bad" because "the government" says so. Be aware however that just because research is done by the government does not mean it is wrong. If you want to take your chances you can of course but first read this and this for a little more information on the matter from non-government entities.

As far as MDMA never being cited as cause of death, just check another reply to your message by Erbo. Just because it isnt the final cause of death does make it a positive drug. It is still a catalyst to negative ends.

[ Parent ]

Brain damage (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by spiralx on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 05:18:37 PM EST

The trouble with current work on neuronal damage due to ecstacy is that it isn't able to differentiate between actual neuronal damage and neuronal plasticity. Despite it appearing as though there's a lot of damage when using techniques like silver staining, it may actually be that the neural pathways have been altered rather than destroyed...

Of course, with studies from places like NIDA, you don't hear this. It's all spun to make it seem like there's definite proof of damage.

And ancedotally I can say that all of the people I know that have been taking it for years are some of the happiest people I've met...

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

the thing is... (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by rebelcool on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 06:45:36 PM EST

thats the thing though, not much research has been done, and that which has is inconclusive. What *is* known is that MDMA is a weaker cousin of the popular drug, prozac. Now granted that prozac is doled out by prescription, however its a bit stronger, and had to pass all sorts of tests (including abuse tests) to get on the market. Makes me think that the govt's propaganda about how "terrible" the drug is rings just as much overblown as the argument against marijuana.

As for your second point, I can kill myself in my car by being a moron. The same is true for anything else. Including spoons. Those evil tools of metallic (and sometimes plastic) death.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

MDMA does effect dopamine (4.80 / 5) (#37)
by hupp on Thu Feb 15, 2001 at 04:16:39 PM EST

I point you towards a very recent publication that was part of a study exploring the percieved effects of certain specific antagonists on MDMA. They found that administration of a dopamine subtype 2 (DA2) antagonist substantially reduced the mood altering effects of MDMA, but not perceptual (hallucinogenic) effects. This could possibly point towards parkinsons being caused by a lack of a specific sub-type of DA, instead of a loss across the board. Or maybe an across the board loss masks the fact that DA2 is the only one that effects muscle degeneration. Who knows, but this opens up alot of possiblities.

Liechti ME, Vollenweider FX (2000) Acute psychological and physiological
effects of MDMA ("Ecstasy") after haloperidol pretreatment in healthy humans
European Neuropsychopharmacology 10(4):289-295

(haloperidol is a DA2 antagonist)

The other 2 papers that came out of the study said that SSRIs reduce MDMA activity in all areas, and 5-HT2a (seratonin subtype 2a ) antagonists reduce only hallucinogenic effects. Neither of these is a surprise, as they are nicely consistent with current theories of MDMA and hallucinogen action.

On another note, I personally feel that the "brain damage" findings are by no means as complete or as catastrophic as is the popular perception. The main points to remember are:

(heavy) MDMA users in the memory studies did indeed perform lower on the memory tests overall, but were all still within normal ranges. Some performed extremely well, far above average. Use obviously does not cause a catastrophic loss.

Most of the animal studies have been done with extrordinary doses, and the human subjects were (necessarily) heavy poly-drug users.

There _appears_ to be simple, reliable ways to prevent whatever neurotoxicity is there, i.e. SSRI 6 hours post dosing, low (but reasonable) environmental temperature, and at least one antioxidant (albiet in heroic doses) all prevent any neurotoxicity (in rats).

Just some things to keep in mind. My guess is we will find some damage, which can be prevented with a little extra care.

-Adam

MDMA does not lead to increased dopamine levels (3.50 / 2) (#51)
by nobbystyles on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:00:31 AM EST

Saw the TV programme last night. They took brain scans of the guy without any drugs alone and with Ecstacy alone There were no differences in the level of Dopamine between the two.

There were some doctors at Manchester University who beieved that Parkinson's was not just caused by the failure of the dopamine producing cells but also involved another neurotransmitter in a small part of the brain but were unable to decide which one it was.

After this guy found out that MDMA helped with his condition, they found that Serotonin was this elusive other neurotransmitter.

[ Parent ]
The agony and the ecstasy | 67 comments (65 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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