3, 4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine or MDMA is the key chemical present in the “rave” drug ecstasy. This recreational drug is categorized as a stimulant which also features string hallucinogenic effects.
Although the origins of MDA can be traced back in Germany, its popularity as a club drug has spread all across the globe. In the United States alone, the number of ecstasy users has spiked from zero to nearly 3 million within a span of 50 years.
The rise in the utilization of MDMA as a recreational drug can be observed in Europe and Asia as well. Despite its notoriety in the underground community, there is very little research to establish MDMA’s true mechanism of action, and how overdosing can result in disability and death.
This is a historical review of MDMA and all the developments it went through since it was created during the first half of the 20th century.
History of Molly – MDMA Timeline
The chemical compound, MDMA was patented during this year by German pharmaceutical giant, Merck. Patent number 274.350 was originally sold as a diet pill, despite claims that it did not indicate such use at the time of patent. Merck later on decided not to proceed with marketing the drug. There were also claims that Merck indicated that MDMA is a powerful drug that would hopefully control bleeding problems in humans.
A few years after successful filing of patent Merck performed several experiments to note the effect of MDMA on animals. Studies reveal that intake of MDMA feature similarities to the effects from high adrenaline concentrations.
Rumors abound that the US Army launched animal experiments to determine its effects on the brain. Conspiracy theorists suggest MDMA and other structurally similar chemicals were used to discover their potential as non-lethal chemical weapons and interrogation tools. It is said that the US Army used MDMA for the much talked about truth pill.
It was in 1959 when Merck conducted yet another research on MDMA, this time to check its potential as a powerful stimulants. There were rumors saying Merck did test MDMA on pilots to evaluate of the drugs can keep them alert during flight. Despite this allegation, there were no filed human experiments found at the time of research.
It was sheer curiosity that promoted chemist Alexander Shulgin to perform his research to detect of MDMA has psychoactive properties. It was during his tenure at Dow Chemicals that he conducted his study of MDMA. Despite the long period of time he performed his tests, he never tried out the effects of this compound at this time. Shulgin was a renowned chemist working for Dow Chemical and was granted to conduct his research on any field of industry he sought to pursue. His curiosity with MDMA as a psychoactive drug opened the doors for exploration on MDMA, one of the most powerful drugs to date.
One of the subjects of Shulgin’s research led him to try the drug as well. it was his first time to try out the drugs and was amazed with the effects and experience he had upon taking MDMA.
During the 70s, there were rare appearances of drugs in the club scene. For instance, a man in Chicago was caught by police authorities while under the influence of MDMA.
It was in 1977 that MDMA was discovered by people from the field of psychology. Shuglin gifted a small vial of MDMA to a friend, the psychologist Leo Zeff prior to his retirement. A few days after being given to Zeff, he reported a renewed sense of self which made him decide to proceed with his practice as a therapist. The use of MDMA quickly spread among 4,000 therapists within a short span of years.
MDMA was formally dubbed ecstasy by former seminary student, Michael Clegg in Texas. The use of MDMA among chemists and therapists was able to remain underground for a few years, but some users seem to have spread it in mainstream society. Michael Clegg was so amazed with MDMA that he openly sold it to the public. With a convenient toll free number that people can call, Clegg was able to distribute at least 500,000 pills per month within the vicinity of Dallas, Texas.
The increasing number of people using the drug alarmed the Drug Enforcement Agency, which in turned pushed them to place ecstasy under Schedule 1 drug. It was in 1984 that ecstasy was tagged under the restrictive drug section by the DEA.
Due to the fact that many medical professionals and men of science were using MDMA as a beneficial drug, there were several government hearings that centered on the Scheduling of MDMA for a time.
Judge Young ruled on the safety and efficacy of MDMA when used under medical supervision. For a time, MDMA was categorized under Schedule 3. This ruling was later overturned when the DEA protested that Young was biased with the decision he released after a lengthy hearing.
The drug was then again reassessed and was again placed under Schedule 1. Ecstasy never left the Schedule once category since March 23, 1988.
The alarming increase in the use of MDMA of the general public prompted the DEA to make the distribution of MDMA ten times more severely punished by yet another prohibited drug, heroin.
During the same year, scientists pursued the approval of the FDA to make MDMA a valid drug to be administered among people with PTSF or post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study on the effects of MDMA as a recreational drug was finally revealed. It showed test subjects suffered from brain damage and Parkinson’s likes symptoms never happened among animal subjects. Lethal doses of MDMA however revealed extensive brain damage and eventual death.
The first dose of MDMA was administered to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Molly In “The Scene”
The Popularity of MDMA as a psychoactive drug skyrocketed in late 90s within the electronic dance music scene. The psychedelic effects of the drugs made the experience of rave parties in clubs and dance parties more enjoyable for both the young and the old who are considered regular participants of this scene.
The most popular form of MDMA which can still be seen as commonplace in the rave scene is Molly. Simply put, Molly is MDMA in pure powder form. Capsules which remain rampant in the country contain 100mg of pure MDMA. What makes Molly the preferred MDMA form is the clean roll that it delivers to users. There are also Molly capsules that contain other types of stimulants such as caffeine, meth, and piperazines.
The effects of Molly and uncut ecstasy seem to be similar. The only difference is that Molly can be mixed with other inactive ingredients. This can be viewed in two ways. For one, Molly is more powerful stimulant. The risk of overdosing on Molly is known to be higher than those who use ecstasy most of which are laced with other ingredients which make it less effective in delivering psychedelic effects. This may seem desirable especially those who crave for the indescribable euphoria and freedom that MDMA claim to deliver.
Another effect induced by intake of Molly is that of hyperactivity. Since MDMA is categorized as a hyperactive drug, it causes users to feel hyper. Physiologic changes that occur after administration are muscle cramps, nausea, blurred vision, increase heart rate and blood pressure. All of these symptoms contribute to the alert or hyper feeling that users feel when taking Molly.
There are also cases reported wherein MDMA and Molly cause users to feel the opposite of hyperactivity and alertness. One potential side effect of increasing levels of Molly and MDMA is that of depression. Feelings of sadness and anxiety among others are reported to last a few days or even weeks after taking these recreational drugs.
Molly has been around the rave and electronic dance music scene for more than 10 years now, making it one of the strongest recreational drug mainstays. To date, the number of Americans who use ecstasy has skyrocketed to a 123% since 2004. The most common age group that take Molly are those between the ages of 18 and 29. This is an alarming findings considering that recent studies on the potency of MDMA and its side effects can potentially harm the brain in more ways than one.
Are there any positive benefits to be gained from MDMA?
There are of course claims that MDMA and Molly feature positive effects on the human body and consciousness. Long-term users of ecstasy report improvements in self-awareness, boost in self-esteem, openness, and successful insight into personal problems.
There are also ongoing studies on the therapeutic value of MDMA as the best treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Although studies are very promising, the lack of research on the extent of brain damage caused by chronic abuse of MDMA makes it relatively difficult for its advocates to push for a change in its scheduling as a safe and beneficial substance for the human body.