Ecstasy, also known by its chemical mnemonic, MDMA, is one of the family of hallucinogenic drugs. It is not, however, a straight-forward hallucinogen, like LSD but provides an alteration in mood and perception of the world about one.

MDMA has its natural origins in organic substances, such as nutmeg, dill, parsley seed, saffron and crocus. Development of its present, synthesized, form began in l914, when German scientists developed MDMA as an appetite suppressant for troops. U.S. chemical warfare researchers employed the substance in experiments on animals, from the early 1950's but no reports of the recreational use of MDMA appeared until 1976. It has been used regularly on the drug scene in the U.S.A. since the early 1980's and has been used in the U.K. since 1988.



The chief effect of MDMA is to alter mood and perception of the world. Users describe overwhelming feelings of peace and empathy with man and nature. It seems to increase people's ability to be at ease with themselves and with others. Tactile appreciation of objects is enhanced. Appreciation of sexual activity is enhanced but not stimulated by MDMA. Female orgasm and male erection may be inhibited. The drug has a “hangover” characteristic and users may feel tired and depressed for a few days . Chronic use can lead to anxiety, feelings of panic, confusion, insomnia, psychosis and hallucinations.

Taking MDMA could be dangerous for people who have a predisposition to heart disease, hypertension, glaucoma, epilepsy, or who are in a poor mental or physical condition.

There is some evidence linking use to brain damage in rats. Very high doses in humans have been associated with brain damage and heart malfunctions.

Regular users report increased susceptibility to throat and respiratory tract infections.

MDMA will promote any latent or actual problem in the female genito-urinary tract. There is no record of foetal damage arising.



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