This edition has an added 26-page piece on MDMA. It describes how MDMA was
scheduled in the most dangerous category of drug because of scares
regarding a previous "designer drug" called China White which caused
Parkinson's disease, and the false assumption that MDMA is similar to MDA
which had already been scheduled. These drugs were confused in the press.
Rick Doblin, president of MAPS, is accused of making well-meaning but
misguided attempts to publicise the benefits of MDMA. The strong opposition
to the scheduling of MDMA failed to prevent the drug being scheduled. It
would be too expensive to challenge MDMA's status again.
MDMA has little abuse potential because it exhibits tachyphylquaxis - rapid
build up of tolerance - so that repeated use over a short period leads to a
loss of the desired effects.
A tiny proportion of people are hypersensitive to such compounds as MDMA
and so it is best to try a low dosage first.
MDMA has an unusually consistent response compared to psychedelics. Set and
setting are far less important. According to Claudio Naranjo, it gives a
"brief, fleeting moment of sanity".
Stafford also mentions a meeting of therapists enthusiastic about Ecstasy
in March 1985 at Esalen, a psychotherapeutic centre in California. The
combined total clinical experience of using Ecstasy among those present was
several thousand sessions, and they reported uniformly positive reports.
The drug was found to reduce defensiveness and fear of emotional injury,
thereby facilitating a more direct expression of feelings.
Problems encountered in using Ecstasy therapeutically were raised at the
meeting. The main problems aired were that an Ecstasy trip would not fit in
with the standard 50 minute therapy session, and that conventional
psychologists might regard the ecstatic effects as pathological. Quick
insights may not be absorbed as well as the slower approach.
Stafford points out that when pure, MDMA consists of white crystals 2-3mm
long. A brownish colour indicates incomplete synthesis.