MDMA was developed in 1912, by the pharmaceutical Merck company, an unplanned by-product of the synthesis of Hydrastinin, a medicine. In the 1950s it was briefly researched by the U.S. Government as part of the CIA’s and the Army’s chemical warfare investigations. The first reported recreational use was in the 1960s. In the middle 1970s, it was rediscovered by the psychedelic therapy community and began to be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy by psychiatrists and therapists who were familiar with the field of psychedelic psychotherapy.
Reports on therapeutic use
It is reported that MDMA – or to chemists 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine – better known as the dancefloor drug ecstasy, can help ease anxiety in terminal cancer patients. Trials involving people suffering from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are under way . The therapy is intended to help patients to open up and get the most from conventional counselling.
MDMA is listed as a controlled substance under the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971
The dangers of ecstasy remain uncertain. In 2003, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine led by George Ricaurte were forced to retract claims that a single tablet could cause irreversible brain damage and even death in monkeys after they discovered a labelling mix-up meant they used the wrong drug in their experiments.
Significant doubts over the long-term risks of MDMA remain: animal studies show that it can lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is difficult to judge whether similar changes occur in the brains of human users – though there is indirect evidence to suggest they do – and there is little evidence on what long-term effect, if any, this could have.
[History of MDMA
>http://www.neurosoup.com/schedule1/mdmahistory.htm], by Neurosoup.com
Research on MDMA, by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelci Studies
Treating agony with ecstasy, article in The Guardian, UK, by David AdamRepublish