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Ecstasy: A Dose of Generation X
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Psycology Today, Vol 27 (No 3) 16-17
May/June 1994


For the first time, the FDA has formally approved for research use in
humans the hallucinogenic agent Ecstasy.  Researchers believe that
Ecstasy, technically known as MDMA, may relieve the pain and
emotional distress of terminal cancer patients and speed the recovery
of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dubbed "the love drug" for effects that include profound feelings of
empathy and a nirvana-like contentment, Ecstasy was outlawed by the
Drug Enforcement Agency in 1986.  But the same effects that have made
it a popular underground agent make it of interest to psychiatrists
today.  MDMA may acceleralte the therapuetic process of psychotherapy.

"Between 1977 and 1985, roughly half a million doses were
administered for the treatment of depression, anxiety, rape-related
trauma, and even schizophrenia," reports Richard Doblin, a doctoral
student at Harvard University who leads the Multidisciplinary
Association for Psychedelic Research.  He charges that "politics over
science" stifled proper funding and recognition of MDMA research
thereafter.

What's more, he laims that in giving the signal for formal research
on MDMA only now, the FDA has "failed to recognize the successful
results of the past."  So the drug must undergo "lengthy and
expensive testing in order to establish what we already know -- that
MDMA is safe for clinical use."

Studies to establish basic human safety, now underway at the
University of California at Los Angeles by psychiatrist Charles Grob,
M.D., must be completed before any clinical trials of MDMA can begin.
 The drug's effect on brain chemistry is also being examined.

 Ecstasy is know to be safer that LSD, the hallucinogen famed for
producing psychotic episodes in the '60s.  However, there is concern
about MDMA's effect on the neurotransmitter serotonin, the levels of
which are closely linked to depression and sleep regulation.  In one
study, heavy MDMA users reportedly experienced a 30 percent decrease
in serotonin levels.  However, they did not experience the impulsive
and hostile behavior other studies have linked to lowered serotonin
levels.

                            -----Paul Glanzrock


There is also an insert that reads:

The FDA Opens Its Mind

The FDA has recently approved the research use of a number of other
psychedelic agents.  Observers attribute the loosening up of the
agency to key personnel changes and pressure from activist groups.

** Marijuana, for the treatment of epilepsy, Huntington's chorea, and
appetite loss and psychological trauma in HIV-positive and AIDS
patients.

** The African root ibogaine, which has psychedelic properties, to
reduce dependency in cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and nicotine addiction.

** Research into LSD as an addiction-busting agent has been resumed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Kelley Miley, Lab Manager
Long Island University/Southampton College
kmiley0a@sand.liunet.edu