The psychoactive drug MDMA, or “ecstasy” as it is commonly known, is illegal in most countries under an agreement with the United Nations. In America it is classified as a Schedule I illicit drug, while in the UK it is considered a Class-A drug. In both countries, there are heavy penalties in place for the possession or supply of the drug. However, recently there has been some interest from the scientific community about the use of ecstasy for certain types of medical treatments.
The Effects of Ecstasy On The Human Body
Ecstasy causes the brain to release serotonin, along with other chemicals like orepinephrine and dopamine. In addition, hormones like vasopressin and oxytocin are also made in increased quantities by the body when ecstasy is taken. Most of the deaths attributed to ecstasy use are caused by overheating and dehydration. Since vasopressin is a hormone that can restrict the urge to urinate the body is also not able to get rid of excess liquid, which means users can drink too much water leading to swelling of the brain. Other side effects include depression, anxiety, confusion, and paranoia.
Why Ecstasy Is Of Interest To Doctors
Due to its classification, ecstasy is considered a drug with no official medical use. However, some doctors believe that because of its unique effect compared to other psychoactive substances there is good reason to study it closer. The feelings of empathy that ecstasy inspires towards others is of particular interest. Before MDMA became an illegal substance, it was in fact used by some physicians who gave it to patients in the hope of helping them with post-traumatic stress disorders and extreme social anxiety.
Of course, due to the dangers of ecstasy, opinions on whether it should be used as a treatment has been polarizing. It does appear that those who use ecstasy recreationally cannot expect the same benefits as when it is used in a therapeutic setting. What is certain is that if the go ahead is ever given for further studies, the use of reputable and well established clinical staffing solutions such as http://www.gandlscientific.com/ will be essential.
Whether ecstasy really does have any use as an empathy drug or simply makes users think they feel more empathic will only become clear after more studies.