Rave at Work, Rave at Home.
Known for increasing euphoria, sensory intake, sociability, and sexual drive, MDMA has been a popular party drug for decades.
First developed by Merck in 1912, MDMA underwent years of medical tests before being used by the US Army for behavioral and toxicity tests in the 1950s. In the ’70s, the effects of MDMA were researched in laboratory settings, which helped scientists understand the drug’s physical, emotional, and psychoactive effects in humans, describing it as causing “an easily controlled altered state of consciousness with emotional and sensual overtones.”
In the following years, as psychotherapists and others informally conducted further experiments and spread news of the drug in hopes to keep it legal, MDMA found its way to the streets and became the choice party drug of the ’70s, ’80s, and especially during the ’90s with rave culture. Due to media sensationalization and damning reports from the World Health Organization, MDMA was classified as a Schedule I drug by the DEA in 1985, amidst Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign.
Now, decades later, professionals are revisiting the drug in hopes of finding medical use for it.
According to some experts, current research may make MDMA totally legal in as few as 5 years…
Even as MDMA—commonly referred to as ecstasy and molly—was criminalized and made illegal by various governments in the 1970s and 1980s, mental health experts fought for its continued use in studies and academic settings.
In one famous case, Harvard psychiatrist Lester Grinspoon sued the DEA for ignoring MDMA’s potential medical uses and for classifying it as a Schedule I drug even though the judge who presided over the DEA hearings recommended that it be a Schedule III drug.
Grinspoon was successful in court, but the DEA administrator John C. Lawn reclassified MDMA as a Schedule I drug less than a month later, citing that documented cases of the positive therapeutic effects of MDMA usage were not published in medical journals.
Now, researchers at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) are trying to change way people look at MDMA.
In their work, the scientists have paired MDMA with psychotherapy to help treat the lasting effects of PTSD. This non-traditional therapy has shown success rates while simultaneously providing patients with an alternative to prescription drugs and the risk of becoming dependent on them.