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MDMA vs. PTSD
February 15, 2011 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Can a Single Pill Change Your Life? Oprah Magazine examines recent studies on the use of MDMA (the main ingredient in Ecstasy) to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
posted by mannequito (104 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
MDMA's side effects are mostly benign if you dont count all the tacky lens flares.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:03 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oprah Magazine examines recent studies on the use of MDMA

. . . and determined that PTSD is caused by vaccines.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:15 PM on February 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


Seriously though, I've heard rumblings about LSD therapy as well. With LSD the irony is that one of the reasons cited when it was outlawed in 1966 was that not enough study had been done on it. Of course, in the act of making it illegal, it became illegal to conduct studies on it too.

Some more stuff about Mithoefer's MDMA study,
posted by IvoShandor at 10:32 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone should try MDMA and mushrooms / LSD at least once in their life.
posted by MillMan at 10:43 PM on February 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


Great article. Interesting read. Kind of fascinating that she took it herself. And quite a poetic description of the experience.
posted by hippybear at 10:43 PM on February 15, 2011


I think that a lot of the hallucinogens and pseudo-hallucinogens can have a wonderful therapeutic effect. It's more about breaking the cycle of thought, and becoming aware of yourself from a different perspective - though of course what that perspective is will be different from drug to drug, person to person, and time to time.

Experiences like this should be treated with respect, and not abused.

Note that SSRIs will reduce the effect of Ecstacy.
posted by Xoebe at 10:49 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hi. PTSD sufferer here. Could someone please point me to an MDMA study I can take part in? Big thanks.
posted by item at 10:54 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


item, see the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (maps.org). They will have all the information on trials in the US (also in a few other countries).

Also, pedantry: ecstasy is the slang name for MDMA. If you buy 'ecstasy', you should get pure MDMA. Because it's illegal, you often don't (see ecstasydata.org for more)
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:08 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is such an absurdly written article. Totally. Absurd.
posted by phaedon at 11:28 PM on February 15, 2011


MDMA used to be used for marriage therapy back in the day...they stopped doing it.

And now Oprah just got her PhD from the University of Jenny McCarthy.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:38 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I imagine salvia would be much more effective against PTSD, or LSD for that matter. I feel that mdma is more pleasant than anything else but at the same time its effect is much more fleeting. It shows a whole lot but isn't a teaching experience.
posted by rainy at 11:39 PM on February 15, 2011


Ugh. The more I think about this the more disgusted I get.

Can a Single Pill Change Your Life?

What does this phrase even mean? What the hell is up with those images?

Yet despite the decades of bad publicity, illegal MDMA therapy—to treat PTSD and just about anything else—remains in quiet demand. It's especially popular in pockets of northern California, where, judging by anecdotes from the clinicians and patients with whom I spoke for this article, an MDMA journey or two is virtually a rite of passage in many upscale, well-educated circles. "I have lawyers, appellate court judges, doctors and surgeons, teachers, Stanford graduates, Harvard graduates," says a West Coast therapist whom I'll call Beth. "I've had rabbis and priests. I had a 75-year-old nun. It's not just the hippies. It's often people high up in their fields, very centered professionals who have come to a place in their lives where they're stuck."

Wow. "It's not just the hippies." Go science.

But even the drug's fiercest advocates will say that for MDMA to save a marriage, it has to be a marriage worth saving—the substance can unearth buried love, but it can't create love from scratch. It can't implant an empathy chip in a sociopath or strip the egotism from a narcissist. "I don't think MDMA can give you access to an emotional experience that's not already within you," Ot'alora says. "It's not a miracle drug."

Huh? So MDMA saves marriages worth saving, but not those that are not worth saving? Talk about a great back door for therapy sessions that don't work out. And besides, where are these distinctions even coming from?

In the weeks that follow, I read voraciously, I see more of my friends, I crave exercise. Junk food holds no appeal; nor does Facebook or other online time-wasters. I don't duck away from mirrors. When a colleague seems irritable, I wonder if she's having a bad day, rather than racking my brain for what I've done to upset her. Friends keep saying, "You're just different." Riding my bicycle through the park, I find myself engaged in a dopey interior monologue: "Hey, legs! You're doing a great job, legs! Go, go!" MDMA has turned me into a dork, and I like it.

My God. People get paid to write this shit?
posted by phaedon at 11:44 PM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


This month in Oprah's book club, Phikal.
posted by wcfields at 12:34 AM on February 16, 2011 [24 favorites]


Oprah Magazine is now officially bat country.
posted by unigolyn at 12:39 AM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I imagine salvia would be much more effective against PTSD, or LSD for that matter. I feel that mdma is more pleasant than anything else but at the same time its effect is much more fleeting. It shows a whole lot but isn't a teaching experience.

Haven't read the article (I don't look to Oprah magazine for info on MDMA, I'm afraid) but I'm familiar with some of the literature around this. Pretty sure that MDMA is generally used as an adjunct to therapy, not as the therapy itself.

I think that the idea is that the drug rapidly breaks down barriers and establishes a sense of empathy and safeness that allows people to start doing the therapeutic work faster than they'd normally be able to.

Disclaimer: I'm personally sceptical of the very idea of therapy, never mind MDMA assisted therapy. Simply reporting what the literature says here.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:13 AM on February 16, 2011


I thought Ketamine was the Big New Thing for this. Or maybe that's just for depression?

It shows a whole lot but isn't a teaching experience.

Experiences with altered states are so person-dependent that I don't believe you can make a general statement like this in a meaningful way.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm familiar with some of the literature around this. Pretty sure that MDMA is generally used as an adjunct to therapy, not as the therapy itself.

One thing I've wondered: a lot of what I've read about the early days of MDMA--assisted therapy seems very anecdotal (I'm talking back in the 70s, when Shulgin had passed MDMA to some therapists, who then went on to use it as an adjunct to therapy before it was criminalised). Do you know if there was anything scholarly published back in the day? Can you recommend any articles in general?
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:32 AM on February 16, 2011


I thought Ketamine was the Big New Thing for this. Or maybe that's just for depression?

Also, back surgery;
posted by mannequito at 1:36 AM on February 16, 2011


Everyone should try MDMA and mushrooms / LSD at least once in their life.

I know a few people who have been severely damaged by this type of psychedelic cheerleading. Everybody's mind is not stitched together in the same way. Sometimes you meet that person who happily admits that "they got high once, or drunk once and it just wasn't their thing", and it's easy to want to reply that maybe they just weren't doing it right. But some of those people know themselves better than you think they do.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:36 AM on February 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Man, Leary was writing about this ages ago in the Politics of Ecstasy.
posted by Joe Chip at 1:41 AM on February 16, 2011


I imagine salvia would be much more effective against PTSD, or LSD for that matter.

Is this hamburger or do you have some evidence? Salvia is quite different, both chemically and in effect, than MDMA or LSD. LSD can be unpredictable, but it has been used therapeutically for decades for alcoholism and other addictions and to treat cluster (really nasty) headaches; MDMA has been the subject of recent and very promising research on PTSD. Salvia is mainly known for making teenagers freak out.

Man, Leary was writing about this ages ago in the Politics of Ecstasy.

Some say, and it's my opinion, that Leary's irresponsibility led to the criminalization and the ending of research into LSD and other tryptamines. This set things back nearly 50 years.
posted by tommyD at 4:12 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every! Body! Gets!... Glowsticks!
posted by Rock Steady at 4:29 AM on February 16, 2011 [14 favorites]


But even the drug's fiercest advocates will say that for MDMA to save a marriage, it has to be a marriage worth saving—the substance can unearth buried love, but it can't create love from scratch. It can't implant an empathy chip in a sociopath or strip the egotism from a narcissist. "I don't think MDMA can give you access to an emotional experience that's not already within you," Ot'alora says. "It's not a miracle drug."
Huh? So MDMA saves marriages worth saving, but not those that are not worth saving? Talk about a great back door for therapy sessions that don't work out. And besides, where are these distinctions even coming from?


So the article quotes someone saying that a drug can't create a happy marriage out of thin air, and thus conclude it can't be good for the thing they say it is good for? Turn the absolutism and snark dials back a bit.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:32 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that salvia can be a cause of PTSD.
posted by Splunge at 4:32 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Some say, and it's my opinion, that Leary's irresponsibility led to the criminalization and the ending of research into LSD and other tryptamines.

I tend to blame bad policy on the architects of that policy.
posted by IvoShandor at 4:57 AM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh yes, lets give Ecstasy to combat vets suffering PTSD, so that their descent to homelessness and hopelessness can be accelerated. They could give it out at the VA, cheaper than therapy, save the government more money.

I would rather get medical advice from "My Friend the Witch Doctor" than Oprah or anything she is associated with." OO eee oo ah ah/ ting tang walla walla bing bang......"
posted by mermayd at 5:18 AM on February 16, 2011


Oh yes, lets give Ecstasy to combat vets suffering PTSD, so that their descent to homelessness and hopelessness can be accelerated. They could give it out at the VA, cheaper than therapy, save the government more money.

I'm all with you on your feelings about Oprah but seriously? This was an FDA approved study. And it shows real promise. I don't think the glib dismissal is warranted at all simply because of the messenger.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:30 AM on February 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


Why do you assume that giving them ecstasy will accelerate their "descent into homelessness and hopelessness"?
posted by creasy boy at 5:31 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh yes, lets give Ecstasy to combat vets suffering PTSD, so that their descent to homelessness and hopelessness can be accelerated. They could give it out at the VA, cheaper than therapy, save the government more money.

Oprah or not, this is based on some serious academic research that has been ongoing for most of the past decade. In the US, Canada, Israel, Jordan and Switzerland. See MAPS, as I mentioned previously.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:32 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do remember reading about this in the conclusive study by Dr. Ebeneezer Goode
posted by Damienmce at 5:46 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a former Marine and former MDMA user I absolutely 100% support research into therapeutic uses of the drug, especially for relationship therapy, PTSD, and especially end-of-life care.

A single pill will not change your life, but a single event may change the course of it... MDMA will not fix the hardwiring of the brain, but it could open a person up to empathy and understanding in a way where they may see beauty in the even the simplest things again.

I can tell you this, if I or somebody very close to me fell terminally ill, I would most certainly acquire some for at least a couple more nights spent helpfully lost in the beauty of everything, without any of the pain that comes with being a dying organism.
posted by sneakyalien at 5:49 AM on February 16, 2011 [22 favorites]


hippybear: "Kind of fascinating that she took it herself."

I assumed the she was Oprah. hippybear tricked me into reading nine pages of an article on oprah.com.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:57 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imagine salvia would be much more effective against PTSD, or LSD for that matter. I feel that mdma is more pleasant than anything else but at the same time its effect is much more fleeting.

The effect is much more fleeting than SALVIA? Salvia lasts literally about 10 minutes. I really don't understand what you're trying to say there.

Also, many of the people I know who have experimented with strong salvia doses have found the experiences powerful or personally resonant, but also unsettling or overwhelming. I think the feel-good MDMA vibes are specifically part of what make that drug so useful in PTSD therapy.
posted by hermitosis at 5:57 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it okay to give E to animals if they look sad?
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:04 AM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I know a few people who have been severely damaged by this type of psychedelic cheerleading. Everybody's mind is not stitched together in the same way.

Not everyone has perfect kidneys and hearts to put up with some of the shit MDMA is cut with far too often, either. I speak from a fun "Oh, it's time to go to the emergency room" experience. But I guess the upside is that the ER paper bed coverings are fun to rub with the back o' your head?
posted by Gucky at 6:08 AM on February 16, 2011


Not everyone has perfect kidneys and hearts to put up with some of the shit MDMA is cut with far too often, either.

The FDA isn't dealing with street-grade MDMA; it's pure stuff. And if you are using MDMA recreationally, you should ALWAYS use a test kit. Responsible drug use may be improbable to many people, but it is possible.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:16 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Having experience with salvia, shrooms, LSD and weed, but not MDMA, I can at least say that there is no way in hell salvia is good for anything but drooling on yourself in a chair for 3 minutes. How the hell do you work on your issues or explore yourself in 3 minutes? Shrooms and LSD, however have a lot more promise.

Also, this:

I know a few people who have been severely damaged by this type of psychedelic cheerleading. Everybody's mind is not stitched together in the same way.

Is complete and utter bullshit. You anecdotally know several people who after ONE experience with a psychedelic have been 'severely' damaged? I don't believe you.
posted by spicynuts at 6:25 AM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Seriously though, fuck Timothy Leary. It would be hard to find a worse ambassador for "drug culture" than that self-involved, pretentious, power-hungry prick.
posted by nasreddin at 6:32 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read Salvia as Saliva - much confusion ensued...
posted by zeoslap at 6:57 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am glad this study has made progress.

For all the squares bitching about hocus pocus and making zingers about Oprah magazine, can you please take a second and take a breath and cotemplate what MDMA might mean in a THERAPEUTIC ENVIROMENT for a PTSD sufferer? Ignore the OP article and check out the earlier links, please.

No, not one pill, and I swore I recall reading a more recent update on the studies -- it is very promising stuff.
posted by cavalier at 7:14 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


phaedon: honestly have no idea what problems you are trying to point out. You just quote and article and pretty much say "OMG GROSS!" It doesn't really make any sense.

Also the idea that giving people with PTSD will cause them to become homeless seems really bizarre. It's not a very addictive subtance, as far as I know.
posted by delmoi at 8:02 AM on February 16, 2011


New study finds no cognitive impairment among ecstasy users
"...a team of researchers has conducted one of the largest studies ever undertaken to re-examine the cognitive effects of ecstasy, funded by a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published today in the journal Addiction. The study was specifically designed to minimize the methodological limitations of earlier research.

In contrast to many prior studies, ecstasy users in the new study showed no signs of cognitive impairment attributable to drug use: ecstasy use did not decrease mental ability."
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:03 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imagine salvia would be much more effective against PTSD, or LSD for that matter.

I find salvia much scarier. MDMA encourages empathy and opening up of emotions for many people.

Experiences like this should be treated with respect, and not abused.


Different people define use/abuse differently. I think any time you are proceeding carefully, heeding your body, and setting out with the intention of being kind to others, you are respecting all the important things that need to be respected. A fun party can be just as much of a teaching experience as a spritual retreat.
posted by mai at 8:04 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]



In contrast to many prior studies, ecstasy users in the new study showed no signs of cognitive impairment attributable to drug use: ecstasy use did not decrease mental ability.


Some of those prior studies are now discredited because the wrong chemicals were administered or at the wrong doses.
posted by mai at 8:05 AM on February 16, 2011


There had been a study showing brain damage caused by ecstasy, but it turned out the lab had been using Methamphetamine instead of MDMA.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 AM on February 16, 2011


It shows a whole lot but isn't a teaching experience.

Speak for yourself. The things I've learned during my sadly-all-too-few experiences of this kind have improved my life so much, especially in the ways I think and feel about myself and the ways I treat others.
posted by jtron at 8:14 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is complete and utter bullshit. You anecdotally know several people who after ONE experience with a psychedelic have been 'severely' damaged? I don't believe you.

Fine. don't believe me. I obviously can't prove to you the circumstances of every person I've ever met in life.

But I'm not sure of the logic in claiming that these substances are universally good for everyone. Is that based on anything more than your anecdotal experience? And your response is pretty much the opposite of the open minded understanding that most proponents of psychedelics seem to be aiming for. I know a person this happened to. And through that person (who sought my advice because of my positive experiences) I met other people they had come across with similar stories. Sorry that offends your worldview so.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:14 AM on February 16, 2011


I'm pretty sure a lot of the damage kids doing ecstasy at raves do to themselves comes more from the side effects of the drug being combined with strenuous physical activity in a setting where it is more difficult to keep your body balanced, something already difficult to do when you're on the drug.

In a therapeutic setting, where you're not bouncing at 140bpm and waving glow-sticks around but instead are doing quiet visualizations and having conversations and have plenty of access to water and are in a climate-controlled environment, you're not going to overheat (the main problem with raver-users), and you're going to be more conscious of the state of your body.

Having done MDMA more than a couple of times, in quiet settings with good friends, I can say that it has great use when it comes to overcoming obstacles to communication, especially exploring those things between people which are normally too fraught with fear to even approach.

I can see where it could be greatly useful in therapy. I cannot speak to how it would work with PTSD, but it seems to be being studied, and I support that.
posted by hippybear at 8:30 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I'm not sure of the logic in claiming that these substances are universally good for everyone.

I think you can say that about any drug, legal, illegal, OTC, whatever. My sister is severely allergic to Tylenol; her throat closes up. So, I agree, MDMA is probably not the best for every single person on earth. But under a doctor's supervision? It might be worth trying if it's indicated.
posted by bluefly at 8:31 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm seen bad things happen with MDMA and every single time it was because the person was dehydrated. I don't know enough about the stuff to determine whether or not it has therapeutic promise (though I strongly suspect it does), however I do know that it dries your body out. I knew someone who didn't like "that sloshy feeling" you get when your tummy is full of water. This person had a very, very bad experience with MDMA. I think all MDMA cheerleading should come with a mandatory "drink a half gallon of water" warning.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:42 AM on February 16, 2011


There had been a study showing brain damage caused by ecstasy, but it turned out the lab had been using Methamphetamine instead of MDMA.

Indeed, Ricuarte's study (though he looked at monkeys not humans). There have been other studies that showed some moderate cognitive impairment in MDMA users, even after a period of abstinence. But the key word there is "moderate", and what's interesting about this new study (from what I've seen, I've only read the abstract) is that it controlled for a lot of other variables (e.g. people who take ecstasy at raves are also staying up all night and have disrupted sleep, which in itself will cause cognitive impairment; they also controlled for use of other drugs, and for pre-existing differences in their sample and control groups). It looks like a really impressive study - has anyone read the whole thing?

(on preview: Baby_Balrog: of course, drinking too much can be highly dangerous, as well).
posted by Infinite Jest at 8:44 AM on February 16, 2011


Everyone should try MDMA and mushrooms / LSD at least once in their life.
posted by MillMan at 1:43 AM on February 16


I'd be all for this if it wasn't for the fact that the entire drug market incentivizes adulteration instead of purity. Where the hell would I get these things with 100% confidence that I'm not getting borax or powdered gasoline or heroin instead?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some of those prior studies are now discredited because the wrong chemicals were administered or at the wrong doses.

There had been a study showing brain damage caused by ecstasy, but it turned out the lab had been using Methamphetamine instead of MDMA.

There have been numerous studies examining the effects of MDMA on animal brain tissue (a good review can be find here). And yes, one of these studies was famously retracted due to the accidental use of methamphetamine rather than MDMA. That's not a good reason, however, to dismiss the possibility of MDMA-induced neurotoxicity outright. There's a lot of mixed evidence, and plenty of other studies have found evidence for neurotoxicity in rodents and primates.

There are a lot of people who want very much to believe that MDMA is frying the brains of innocent children everywhere, and plenty of other people who want to believe that the drug is completely harmless and has the power to change the world. Here's the truth: neuropharmacology is hard. Conflicting studies are the rule rather than the exception. There are rarely any simple answers. Pointing to one or two studies as conclusive evidence of anything is usually a mistake.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Can a Single Pill Change Your Life?"

Is it jagged?
posted by Eideteker at 8:55 AM on February 16, 2011



Seriously though, fuck Timothy Leary. It would be hard to find a worse ambassador for "drug culture" than that self-involved, pretentious, power-hungry prick.
posted by nasreddin at 9:32 AM on February 16


To be fair, the "drug culture" itself is what marginalized and criminalized drugs. No politician wants people taking drugs to drop out of the system. On the other hand, if you define mental illness the way the DSM does--as any mental condition serious enough that it prevents you from being able to go to work--then the government will be more than happy to allow you to advertise and sell Ritalin, Prozac, Effexor, Xanax, Wellbutrin, Paxil, etc.

And let's not pretend that "science" has any clue how any of these drugs actually treat the conditions they are prescribed for. The side effect of social anxiety drug Paxil is excessive and uncontrollable yawning. What the hell is that about?
posted by Pastabagel at 8:59 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Could an Acid Trip Cure Your OCD?

+1 for anecdata. It worked for me. ("Cured" being subjective, I would say.)

This month in Oprah's book club, Phikal.

I know, everybody clicked on the link and knows it's actually spelled Pihkal, but I can't help it.

Where the hell would I get these things with 100% confidence that I'm not getting borax or powdered gasoline or heroin instead?

This is really the biggest shame of the war on drugs (well, excepting all those people in prison). OK, *one* of the biggest shames. There *are* people who would benefit from psychedelic therapy. It really is "medicine" just as much as marijuana or tylenol or paxil.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2011


I don't have a lot of patience for Oprah-sponsored medical regimens, but the experiment seems legit. Even more, it seems intuitively sensible to me: having experienced PTSD a few years ago (in the aftermath of a car accident), I can well imagine that MDMA might have eased and hastened my transition back to normal life, by reminding me what it feels like to feel safe and happy.

It only now occurs to me that MDMA obviously helped me overcome the traumatic effects of abuse by a boyfriend in my youth: in the months after I left him, taking Ecstasy with friends helped me feel safe and loving even when being touched, cuddled, and caressed. That feeling of safety carried over into my daily life. It seems absolutely obvious to me now that MDMA helped with that transition.
posted by Elsa at 9:19 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where the hell would I get these things with 100% confidence that I'm not getting borax or powdered gasoline or heroin instea

Well as far as LSD goes by far the most common chemical you are getting is probably LSA. The thing is that the effective dose of LSD is so small that trying to adulterate it with anything is going to end up not really causing any ill effect. Surely there are some things that are harmful at the tiny effective doses of LSD but they sure aren't many. So all the bullshit you heard about rat poison and whatnot is just that, bullshit. I think a common one is that strychnine is used to bond LSD to blotter paper and causes ill effects in the user. The LD50 of strychnine is what 2 mg/kg or something in humans. Not gonna fit that on a little tiny piece of blotter paper. I suppose there is more risk with crystalline form of LSD but you never see that on the street, at least not in my experience. As for drugs like E, there are test kits available, I think someone linked some of them above. Mushrooms, well shit, I dunno. I've never known anyone who got some poisonous mushrooms in lieu of the real thing.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2011


Primetime did a report on MDMA a few years back that was pretty informative about the drug, how it rose to popularity and how it became illegal in the first place. It can be found on YouTube here.

Oh yes, lets give Ecstasy to combat vets suffering PTSD, so that their descent to homelessness and hopelessness can be accelerated. They could give it out at the VA, cheaper than therapy, save the government more money.

Drugs don't automatically equate to abuse, junkies and homelessness, despite what popular media can lead you to believe.
posted by girih knot at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2011


phaedon: honestly have no idea what problems you are trying to point out. You just quote and article and pretty much say "OMG GROSS!" It doesn't really make any sense.

Turn the absolutism and snark dials back a bit.


What dephlogisticated said times ten. You'd think an article attempting to answer the question "can a single pill change your life?" might want to dive into whether or not the therapy is safe or not, how exactly it works, but it does neither of those things. You'll notice the author discusses the "scar" that is PTSD in detail, talks about different parts of the brain and how they interact and are damaged, but not a word on the actual physiological effects of MDMA.

In the meantime it's got fancy Space Odyssey pictures of the pill beaming in a woman's hand as she is about to ingest it, it has an author who eats up whatever this "underground clinician" Beth feeds her - I've got lawyers taking stuff you! You hear me? Harvard Graduates! - and then wraps up her pitch with a story about her dopey interior monologues while riding a bicycling? It even uses the phrase "innocent beginnings" to describe MDMA's discovery in a lab. What exactly is an innocent beginning? I understand the author is trying to dispel the "rap" that MDMA has as a crazy brain-killing drug, but this swings the pendulum way too far in the opposite direction.

Listen, I'm all for MDMA therapy and research, and it seems intuitive to me that something like Ecstasy would help people with PTSD, but I don't think my Ecstasy use in college and the fact that well-to-do people are now starting to do it counts as "an examination" (per the OP) of anything. I have a bigger problem with the untrustworthy way in which this article "packages" MDMA to its target audience than I do with the actual study at hand.
posted by phaedon at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2011


And let's not pretend that "science" has any clue how any of these drugs actually treat the conditions they are prescribed for.

It's true that current knowledge regarding the mechanisms of psychopharmaceuticals is very limited. We know a lot about the effects these drugs have on the brain, but since we don't know how the brain works, we can only guess at how the physiological effects are related to the subjective effects of the drug.

I'll say it again: neuropharmacology is hard. The human brain is a black box we can't really open and examine, and it's complicated as all hell. Animal models are very limited in what they can tell us about human disorders.

Imagine trying to reverse-engineer a modern CPU without knowing anything about computers. You're not allowed to take it apart. You're limited in how you can interact with it, and every test you do costs thousands of dollars. You're given a few individual transistors and a simple microchip from a calculator that you can play with, as if that will help. Best of luck to you!
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:29 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The critical factor I think is the ego loss, or the "drop", as it were, that moment when you lose your personal identify and feel part of something larger, i.e the mystical experience, or the "uncorrupted consciousness" the article mentions. It allows for an exploration of your deep, personal crises and traumas that sometimes isn't possible during standard consciousness.

In the case of MDMA, it makes sense that the pleasurable feelings would also enable an ability to work through traumas or other difficult issues. "full body analgesic" is a good characterization. Anyway, I'm all for it. More research!

All those slagging the article, think about the audience. And the editor.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know, everybody clicked on the link and knows it's actually spelled Pihkal, but I can't help it.

Tryptamines need love too, ya know.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be all for this if it wasn't for the fact that the entire drug market incentivizes adulteration instead of purity. Where the hell would I get these things with 100% confidence that I'm not getting borax or powdered gasoline or heroin instead?

As mentioned, there are test kits available. Testing data has shown 1 pill, ever, to contain heroin, so I'd say that's not really a risk (see ecstasydata.org for the best US data). Adulteration is a real concern, though in the case of ecstasy it seems to be more other psychoactive drugs that aren't as good (caffeine, piperazines, etc) more than something that's harmful.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:33 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"...however I do know that it dries your body out. I knew someone who didn't like "that sloshy feeling" you get when your tummy is full of water. This person had a very, very bad experience with MDMA. I think all MDMA cheerleading should come with a mandatory "drink a half gallon of water" warning."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:42 PM on February 16 [+] [!]

half a gallon of water? no mate, MDMA is an anti-diuretic and you can die from drinking too much water. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leah_Betts

"An inquest determined that her death was actually not directly due to ecstasy consumption, but rather the result of the large quantity of water she had consumed, apparently in observation of an advisory warning commonly given to ravers to drink water to avoid dehydration resulting from the exertion of dancing continuously for hours."
posted by marienbad at 9:35 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pastabagel: "To be fair, the "drug culture" itself is what marginalized and criminalized drugs. "

Um, what?
posted by gingerbeer at 10:05 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I expected to hear from empath in this thread. In case anyone missed it, empath made this comment last year about his positive experiences with MDMA.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:00 AM on February 16, 2011


I'd be all for this if it wasn't for the fact that the entire drug market incentivizes adulteration instead of purity. Where the hell would I get these things with 100% confidence that I'm not getting borax or powdered gasoline or heroin instead?

First of all, I'm not sure how you could adulterate mushrooms. They're mushrooms. They look like mushrooms.

With LSD, you're talking about very minute quantities, usually on paper that had been soaked in a solution and dried. It would be really difficult to get any other drug in the paper and there's no reason to 'adulterate' it, as you could just sell blank paper.
posted by delmoi at 11:41 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Regarding psychedelic cheerleading: it's helpful to remember that people advocating sane, safe and legitimate (therapeutic/medical/whatever) use of psychedelic drugs are rowing upstream against decades of propaganda, paranoia, disinformation and a general public with a boatload of negative knowledge concerning this topic (lots of people know that LSD accrues in your spine forever, for instance...). If it weren't such a taboo in our culture, I don't think anyone in this thread would jump from reading about MDMA therapy to assuming that means just giving people MDMA and sending them on their way. Psychedelic therapy is pretty clearly not for everyone, and advocates might overdo it sometimes, but they're fighting against vastly institutionalized ignorance and that may be, um, why.

On the Leary tangent: Leary, Metzner and Alpert's The Psychedelic Experience is one of the better practical manuals for how to do psychedelic assisted therapy. The framing wouldn't work for every therapist, but the hearts of the book are the clear guidelines for safety and ensuring that the patient's experience is beneficial. I'm not a tremendous fan of Leary, I think his irresponsibility did do a great deal of harm and I sort of lament the kind of cultural icon he's become, but I don't think demonizing him does much good, either.

On the salvia divinorum tangent: I am extremely curious why someone would think salvia to be a better therapeutic drug than MDMA. Salvia seems to be one of the most unpredictable psychedelics, and while a certain kind of person might find it very useful to be exposed to the weirdest things possible, I can't see salvia being useful in a general therapeutic context.
posted by byanyothername at 11:52 AM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I took MDMA quite a bit as a youngster. I had a great hookup- I knew the girl who was making it. She had a master's in chemistry, her other job was as an adjunct at a big ten school.

Of all my drug experiences, these were the most positive, by far.

I can completely understand how it would help PTSD.
posted by Leta at 11:59 AM on February 16, 2011


Dittoing the bizarreness of the salvia proposition. Salvia is some fucked up shit, which is apparently why it's still legal. It's a powerful high, but it really kinda sucks.

empath's old comment about psychedelics (or "entactogens") being demonized because they are "fun" makes a lot of sense to me.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:00 PM on February 16, 2011


I knew the girl who was making it.

Speaking of making, has anyone ever done it?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:02 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. SSRIs are legal and widely prescribed, but they're pretty much designer drugs created to have a psychoactive effect. Granted, it's a mild and not very fun one.

Why are they legal, but MDMA is not?
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:28 PM on February 16, 2011


Because MDMA is fun and makes you feel good and we can't have that, no sir, people might forget about the important things like working at a desk for 8 hours a day for the rest of their lives and producing children to take up the reins when they die so that society can keep on churning. But hey, it isn't so bad, we've got this beer over here you can drink and it makes you feel good some of the time, and you can always just buy a new television or save up and take a nice vacation if life really has you in a rut. Just sit down, tune in, relax, and don't worry about those silly pills (I hear they can give you parkinsons anyway).

Really though there's no damn reason why MDMA is illegal except that it's a drug that people enjoyed.
posted by girih knot at 12:34 PM on February 16, 2011


Why are they legal, but MDMA is not?

I can't quote the history of events, but I expect that MDMA is illegal because it escaped the confines of laboratory trials and clinical uses and became a recreational drug, which scared a lot of square cultural influencers, so they moved to have it made completely illegal regardless of any possible real benefits the drug may have.
posted by hippybear at 12:35 PM on February 16, 2011


I'll say it again: neuropharmacology is hard. The human brain is a black box we can't really open and examine, and it's complicated as all hell. Animal models are very limited in what they can tell us about human disorders.

You don't need to tell me that neuropharma is hard. My point is that their lack of really understanding what is going one hasn't prevented them from advertising it in such a way that makes the layperson think that the companies know exactly what they are doing.

As mentioned, there are test kits available. Testing data has shown 1 pill, ever, to contain heroin, so I'd say that's not really a risk

Actually, InfiniteJest, I was being flippant about the heroin. I was really saying that when you are buying things off the street, how so you know you are getting what you are supposed to be getting. I couldn't tell ecstasy from excedrin. And as for adulterating mushrooms, with my luck they could sell me a mushroom off the bark of a tree or from the grocery store and I wouldn't know what the hell I was getting.

In these situations, I'd need to be able to trust the seller, because I don't know what the product is actually supposed to look like, or what the reputable sources are.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2011


Oprah Magazine is now officially bat country.
...
Oh yes, lets give Ecstasy to combat vets suffering PTSD, so that their descent to homelessness and hopelessness can be accelerated. They could give it out at the VA, cheaper than therapy, save the government more money.
...

Wow, there are a lot of snarky comments in this thread.

During the DEA scheduling hearing on MDMA, there were dozens of experts who testified that it had therapeutic and medical use. Despite this, the DEA still classified it as a Schedule I, with no known medical uses. Which also outlawed further research on the drug, thereby making making it illegal to gather additional evidence of its positive effects.

Is this article a little wishy-washy? Yeah, but it's written to Oprah's audience. She's righting a wrong she made decades ago with her scare stories. Good for her.

We are finally seeing a change towards science-based decision making in drug policy.

Snark all you like, but also realize that you're eventually going to sound like the old guy who claims marijuana causes reefer madness.
posted by formless at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I know a few people who have been severely damaged by this type of psychedelic cheerleading. Everybody's mind is not stitched together in the same way. Sometimes you meet that person who happily admits that "they got high once, or drunk once and it just wasn't their thing", and it's easy to want to reply that maybe they just weren't doing it right. But some of those people know themselves better than you think they do.

The normal disclaimer for psychedelics is don't use them if you have a history of mental illness in your family.

Beyond that - if you have a real tightly constructed narrative about yourself and your life that does not mesh well with reality, I can see people falling apart post-trip when the experience leaves said person unable to reassemble that narrative. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who has a load of unexamined or outright denied childhood abuse, for example.

With e, other people have made the appropriate counterpoints. Lack of purity is an argument for legalization, and the rest of the health issues are related to heat and lack of water.

Personally - my first time using e came after several years of depression and poor living, and it was a beautiful reminder of how good life can feel, and that it worth working my way back to a functional life, maybe even a happy life.
posted by MillMan at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really though there's no damn reason why MDMA is illegal except that it's a drug that people enjoyed.
posted by girih knot at 3:34 PM on February 16


Again, the drugs that help you get back to work are always legal. The drugs that make you want to skip work are illegal.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2011


Again, the drugs that help you get back to work are always legal. The drugs that make you want to skip work are illegal.

Right. It's sad. This is purely anecdata, but one intense psychedelic trip did more for treating my depression than 10 years of SSRIs. The illegality and paranoia surrounding "recreational" drugs will always frustrate me to no end.
posted by girih knot at 12:47 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Again, the drugs that help you get back to work are always legal. The drugs that make you want to skip work are illegal.

Other than cocaine, although caffeine is pretty close to weapons-grade too.
posted by MillMan at 12:47 PM on February 16, 2011


Why are they legal, but MDMA is not?

I can't quote the history of events, but I expect that MDMA is illegal because it escaped the confines of laboratory trials and clinical uses and became a recreational drug, which scared a lot of square cultural influencers, so they moved to have it made completely illegal regardless of any possible real benefits the drug may have.


Yes, a major part of the reason it became illegal is because it escaped the confines of informal clinical use. Also, some idiot indie marketers decided to start calling it "ecstasy". Also, some bullshit scans show that it left holes in the brain.

But even after that, many of the psychiatrists and therapists still supported it's use. The DEA chose to classify it as schedule I despite strong evidence it had medical uses.
posted by formless at 12:48 PM on February 16, 2011


Pastabagel: fair enough, and I do agree with your general point about adulteration. (The heroin thing is kind of a sore point because it's an incredibly pervasive myth, and I've spent a fair bit of time trying to refute people who were arguing it very seriously).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:53 PM on February 16, 2011


To be fair, the "drug culture" itself is what marginalized and criminalized drugs.

You'll get a lot of shit for that, but I partly agree. there are enough ignorant, selfish or irresponsible drug users who cause problems for themselves or others that the panicked reaction of the establishment to a psychedelic wave sweeping the nation is not really surprising, with hindsight. Considering the general lack of harm awareness and access to technical data back in the 60s, and a culture which used to be considerably less exercised about everything from road safety to rape, a nation-sized hangover after a multi-year party was almost inevitable.

Sadly, in the ~40 years which have passed since, the establishment has largely remained in panic mode. It's much easier and more politically rewarding to introduce new rules than it is to relax or repeal them most of the time - and with the advent of asset seizure laws and the resulting windfall for law enforcement departments who get a share of the proceeds, the governments of many countries effectively ended up in the organized crime business while remaining convinced that they were acting in the public interest. It's not exactly a winning strategy for a politician to come out and say 'Ah...you know all those public health campaigns and what not that we've all known since we were kids, and a whole bunch of our laws...um...well looks like we were completely wrong on that one. Also, I think we need to let hundreds of thousands of people out of prison, possibly a lot more. What can I say, shit happens. I hope I can count on your vote.'

Ideally, this is the kind of situation where the judicial branch takes a deep breath and has a serious grown-up talk with the executive and legislative branches, and indirectly with the public at large: a talk about thinking things through, taking responsibility for one's mistakes, balancing legitimate concerns about safety and public health with equally legitimate concerns about civil rights, evidence-based policymaking, and the process of collective problem-solving for the greater good. but it's difficult, because there are so many different laws, often reinforced by international treaties, and so many different agencies invested in both the operation and mitigation of a failing law-enforcement regime.

That doesn't mean they've just shrugged off the problem. Justices of the Supreme Court, whether in dissent or in the majority, have repeatedly pushed back against various drug war laws and policies which offend our common sense. Judges in the federal appeals courts have done so to an even broader extent IMHO (I'm pretty sure, but don't want to spend an hour digging up stats just now). The Supreme Court is easier to report on the TV news and in the daily press, though, so the circuit courts' jurisprudence is disproportionately underreported, even in law reviews. Of course, the judiciary could push back much harder, in theory - but courts only address the cases that are actually brought before them, and over the last 40 years there have been a great many other social changes, and associated legal problems, to occupy the judicial branch's time. Women's roles and rights in society and the workplace have changed radically, the US and most other developed countries have become far more safety-minded, issues such as pollution and other tragedies of the commons have altered the regulatory environment enormously, and technology's impact on all aspects of the economy - from medicine to finance to pillow talk - has brought about more social changes in a few decades than had occurred in the whole previous century.

Courts have been busy: no matter where you place yourself or members of the judiciary on the political map, the drug war is far from the only big change in society. As it happens, some of the most stereotypically conservative judges have been deeply opposed to drug war policies, because they doubt the wisdom of granting the state so much power in the name of public safety. I've mentioned before that liberal thinkers ought to give Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas a bit more credit for challenging things like mandatory sentencing guidelines or federal interference with state-level medical marijuana laws, respectively. we would do well to move the idea of judges as all good or all bad depending on which party's president appointed them, as if the administration and evolution of law was some sort of political football game played on Manichean fields.

There have been many sincere and principled responses from senior figures in the judicial branch over the years, but the reality of biannual general elections and an ever accelerating pace of life means that politicians' gestural policymaking gets a lot more coverage than the analytical opinions of judges (or those of their clerks). When an election campaign is on the horizon and The Kids are into some Scary New Thing on the news every day, most politicians will treat this as an opportunity to introduce some 'tough new law, that will crack down on evildoers while protecting our children blah blah blah.' Republicans and Democrats in the US, both Conservative and Labour parties in the UK, and it's probably the same everywhere else. Though I haven't done a rigorous statistical analysis, I get the feeling that ever-toughening drug laws and ever-toughening sex offender laws probably move in tandem, so that when the public has had its fill of one anxiety lawmakers can pivot smoothly to the other and proclaim it's been neglected recently.

It will go on for a while yet, though who knows how long. The institutions of law making and law enforcement have, in my view, become hopelessly corrupted; you might say they're the worst drug abusers of all.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:28 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


while a certain kind of person might find it very useful to be exposed to the weirdest things possible, I can't see salvia being useful in a general therapeutic context.

This. Something ain't right about that shit.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:32 PM on February 16, 2011


Previously: 2010 2009 2008. It's been emotional.
posted by yoHighness at 1:46 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]




True enough, and the way they did so was arguably illegal. But ultimately, the DEA are the hired hands, and presidential appointments are just as politicized as in any other agency. Because of Nancy Reagan and the 'just say no' campaign, and the previous history stretching back to the Nixon administration and that President's phobia of hippies, it's tempting to brand the drug war as a Republican party product, and fits with the socially conservative viewpoint held by many grass-roots members.

But I can't recall the Democratic party ever displaying much leadership on this issue, other what is becoming almost a ritual admission of youthful indulgence during presidential election campaigns. When the Democrats were in the middle of their long legislative winter after the 2000 election, they came up with...the RAVE act. When even conservative pundits at Fox 'News' pointed out the inanity of entering glow sticks into evidence, the bill died in committee. Like many other bad ideas, a quick name change and a procedural move later, and it rode into law, without a vote, on the coattails of the PROTECT Act.

You know what I would like to ban? Legislative backronyms, that's what.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:11 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


half a gallon of water? no mate, MDMA is an anti-diuretic and you can die from drinking too much water.

This is a total derail, but half a gallon's not that much, is it? It's what you're supposed to drink every day: eight 8oz. glasses. Maybe not in 10 minutes, but over a few hours I'd think it's plenty fine. As long as you're peeing!

According to the official inquest (per your wikipedia link) Leah Betts drink 7 liters of water in 90 minutes. That's ... ~1.8 gallons. That's a lot. But you are right. Also Anna Wood and Brittney Chambers. Water intoxication is for real.

/derail
posted by mrgrimm at 2:53 PM on February 16, 2011


I wouldn't recommend it to someone who has a load of unexamined or outright denied childhood abuse, for example.

But ... isn't that the whole point?
In 2008 Emily did a single session of MDMA with the guidance of an underground therapist. "I took myself through the rape and I felt the trauma deeply, but I also stepped outside of it," she says. "I had what they call the 'God view' in a computer game. I saw it objectively, and with compassion. I wasn't thinking, I shouldn't have been there or I'm a piece of crap or This is all my fault."

After her own MDMA experience, Marcela Ot'alora says, "instead of avoiding triggers—which is impossible, they're everywhere—I asked myself, How should I take care of myself when I get triggered?" An omnipresent tripwire was people behind her, whether at the supermarket checkout or standing on a bus. "I would start sweating, the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up, my legs would shake, and I'd have to sit down," Ot'alora says. "If I went to the movies, a friend would have to stand in line for me, and we'd have to go early to make sure we got seats in the back row.

"I used to think, I'm a broken person. I'll never be able to do this simple thing. But after my first session, I thought, Well, it's okay not to stand in line. It's okay to go early. I stopped judging myself, and I didn't avoid my life anymore. Which was wonderful."
I am certainly not an expert, but it seems like the whole point is facing your trauma and not letting it continue to (often subconsciously) drag you down.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:57 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


anigbrowl: Justices of the Supreme Court, whether in dissent or in the majority, have repeatedly pushed back against various drug war laws and policies which offend our common sense.

Seriously? The SCOTUS has consistently upheld, with few exceptions, overreach of the Fourth Amendment, the expansion of the Commerce Clause, and various prosecutorial tools employed in the WoD, mostly under the guise of "compelling public interest" that the WoD supposedly represents.
posted by daksya at 8:17 PM on February 16, 2011


This is a total derail, but half a gallon's not that much, is it? It's what you're supposed to drink every day: eight 8oz. glasses. Maybe not in 10 minutes, but over a few hours I'd think it's plenty fine. As long as you're peeing!

I heard that's B.S. And while drinking a huge amount of water in a short period of time can kill you, I think I've heard that simply drinking too much water day in, day out can result in vitamins being flushed out. You don't really need to drink 64 ounces of water per day.
posted by delmoi at 4:02 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Wow, there are a lot of snarky comments in this thread."

Mine was a Hunter S. Thompson reference made in jest, and I've done more E in my life than you've missed cultural references.
posted by unigolyn at 5:13 AM on February 17, 2011


Actually, if you think Oprah Winfrey is an advocate for science-based medicine, maybe you've done way more drugs than any of us.
posted by unigolyn at 5:15 AM on February 17, 2011


You don't really need to drink 64 ounces of water per day.

Of course you don't need to, especially if you are consuming water in other forms. But is it healthier to do so? I usually feel much better when hydrated.

For active teenagers, e.g. athletes in season in summer, 2 gallons a day while practicing is not uncommon. Obviously, circumstances, particularly temperature, dictate.

You don't even need to think about your water intake if you are drinking water regularly. Is your piss clear? Then you're good.

Actually, if you think Oprah Winfrey is an advocate for science-based medicine, maybe you've done way more drugs than any of us.

Jeez. I'm not a fan either, but you're being silly. Criticize the arguments, not the presenter.

Mine was a Hunter S. Thompson reference made in jest..

What's the reference? I didn't get it either. I didn't really think you were serious (although I'm still not altogether sure), but I didn't see Hunter Thompson there.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:37 AM on February 17, 2011


"I used to think, I'm a broken person. I'll never be able to do this simple thing. But after my first session, I thought, Well, it's okay not to stand in line. It's okay to go early. I stopped judging myself, and I didn't avoid my life anymore. Which was wonderful."


After one session? Remember when weekend seminars for self awakening were the thing? Anyone? They became popular because people thought they were so awesome and meaningful but they haven't demonstrated to actually make the kind of change in peoples lives that they were (and still often are) advertised. One persons one session life change is certainly no basis for assuming this is safe and effective, although I'm always down with research on whatever.

I have serious concerns about therapists recommending people go through abuse issues while on MDMA ---- research is fine, but hallucinogens can really mess people up.

I'm personally skeptical of the entire "pharmaceuticals are the best way create psychological health" movement myself, using a recreational drug doesn't less my concern about the long term affects.

I haven't done MDMA so maybe I wouldn't be concerned if I knew how awesome it is. I've done acid a number of times and can not fathom talking to someone about sexual on acid. Holy shit.
posted by xarnop at 7:50 PM on February 17, 2011


xarnop: hallucinogens can really mess people up

MDMA is not a hallucinogen. There's no perceptual distortion or psychic jumble of the sort as with acid et al.
posted by daksya at 8:15 PM on February 17, 2011


Jeez. I'm not a fan either, but you're being silly. Criticize the arguments, not the presenter.

I will exactly criticize the presenter, because the presenter is engaged in science via sound bites. Oprah presents all medical information with the same uncritical, sensationalist approach, whether it be MDMA advocacy or anti-vax lunacy or the fucking Secret.

One study does not a scientific fact make. The very idea of science-based medicine is that it's not just evidence-based, but that evidence has to be rigorously tested in accordance with the scientific method. Oprah is not in the business of promoting rigorously tested medical interventions, she's in the business of shouting loudly about the snake oil du jour.

MDMA may well have therapeutic benefits, but this kind of shitty "journalism" is to be vilified, not praised, even if it supports your personal hobby horse. People with no knowledge of the matter should not give medical advice, or promote unproven treatments, period.

Through her constant support of pseudoscientific garbage, and retards like Jenny McCarthy, Oprah has arguably done more to damage science-based medicine in the western world than anyone alive.

"What's the reference? I didn't get it either. I didn't really think you were serious (although I'm still not altogether sure), but I didn't see Hunter Thompson there."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_Country#Background_and_content
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8gAtTxWhUY
posted by unigolyn at 11:51 PM on February 17, 2011


MDMA is not a hallucinogen. There's no perceptual distortion or psychic jumble of the sort as with acid et al.

You obviously haven't taken 4 at once.
posted by unigolyn at 11:52 PM on February 17, 2011


P.S. In case you aren't joking, you may have taken pills containing MDA, instead of (just) MDMA.
posted by daksya at 12:31 AM on February 18, 2011


I have serious concerns about therapists recommending people go through abuse issues while on MDMA ---- research is fine, but hallucinogens can really mess people up.

...

I haven't done MDMA so maybe I wouldn't be concerned if I knew how awesome it is. I've done acid a number of times and can not fathom talking to someone about sexual on acid. Holy shit.


MDMA is very calming and can be euphoric, and can increase feelings of empathy. I think it is absolutely a good drug for use in treating PTSD, especially if administered by a good therapist. It is nothing like acid. Equivocations like this between illegal drugs are kind of weird -- we don't assume caffeine pills are anything like ibuprofen. Even if MDMA were a hallucinogen, not all hallucinogens act similarly, either. See above derail about salvia.
posted by girih knot at 1:17 AM on February 18, 2011


Girih knot--- but what about long term side effects? Are they going to do research on long term side effect before they start advocating therapists treat people with this?

And what if a therapist says "This will be good for you" and person says, "I really don't want to do this" and the therapist says, "No way it will be good for you" and then the person goes along with and it's a terrible experience?!

What if?!!

I'm just imagining some person who doesn't even want to do MDMA being told "this is how you get cured, if you care about yourself you'll do this"

Then again I jut don't trust mental health workers in general. One more thing to get people vulnerable and exposed in front of them pisses me off. What I mean in saying that is---- laying out my personal bias.

I don't trust them to really research the long term affects and educate people about what they are. They don't seem to do a good job of that with any other drug, why would they with this?
posted by xarnop at 6:51 AM on February 18, 2011


I don't trust them to really research the long term affects and educate people about what they are. They don't seem to do a good job of that with any other drug, why would they with this?

So your argument is against the use of any pharmaceutical as an option in therapy, or what? Brains are complicated and no drug is a cure-all for everyone, but some drugs can be extremely helpful for some people. And current research has shown that MDMA poses little long-term risk with moderate use.

Then again I jut don't trust mental health workers in general. One more thing to get people vulnerable and exposed in front of them pisses me off. What I mean in saying that is---- laying out my personal bias.

I don't know what experiences you've had to give you this huge distrust of therapy, but vulnerability in a trusting relationship with a therapist leads to progress. You open yourself up and become honest about your problems and your feelings towards them. It's a healing process when administered correctly.
posted by girih knot at 11:32 AM on February 18, 2011


Is that proven? It has little long term risk with moderate use?

Yes I realize this is quite grumpy and distrusting of me--- I've just had so many people tell me to do things like this-- also the same people who offer to do reiki and then suddenly spring sexual chakra energy work ok me when I'm in the middle of dealing with panic attacks--- get away from me reiki-ing my vagina dousche bag!

I'm skeptical of getting people with abuse issues to be more trusting and loving. Being trusting and loving was part of what got me into trouble in the first place. You SHOULDN"T trust everyone and you shouldn't even trust everyone automatically just because they are a professional.

I get weary of people trying to break down those walls because they can be protective. My nature is to love and trust everyone, everyone has good in them somewhere and I prefer to see the good in people, rather sometimes I just can only see the good.

I have to create kind of arbitrary walls because if I listen to my instincts then I'm hanging out with everyone and loving everyone and suddenly bad things are happening.

Maybe if I did this MDMA therapy I would be less grumpy and skeptical and untrusting LOL--- but I don't trust this idea at all! : )
posted by xarnop at 11:45 AM on February 18, 2011


Oprah presents all medical information with the same uncritical, sensationalist approach, whether it be MDMA advocacy or anti-vax lunacy or the fucking Secret.

But she didn't even write or edit the article ... Or do you think she's that hands-on with the editing at her magazine?

MDMA is not a hallucinogen.

I am not an expert, and the "categories" of drugs have always seemed fuzzy to me, but MDMA seems to be a psychedelic drug, no? Maybe not a classic hallucinogen, but it certainly has hallucinogenic properties (if, as unigolyn notes, you take enough.)

Having said that ... neither marijuana (much at all) or MDMA (just a little) have the same sensory hallucinogenic properties as LSD, that's for sure.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:48 PM on February 18, 2011


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