E HAS NEVER BEEN MY DRUG OF CHOICE, AND PEOPLE ARE SO ANNOYING ON IT. NO, PLEASE PUT YOUR SHIRT ON AND STOP HUGGING ME. NOW. CHEERS.
Recreational use of Ecstasy — the illegal “rave” drug that produces feelings of euphoria and emotional warmth — is associated with chronic changes in the human brain, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.
The findings, reported online Dec. 5 in the Archives of General Psychiatry, add to the growing evidence that Ecstasy produces long-lasting serotonin neurotoxicity in humans, said Ronald Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry.
“Our study provides some of the strongest evidence to date that the drug causes chronic loss of serotonin in humans.”
The neurotransmitter serotonin, a critical signaling molecule, has roles in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, learning and memory.
The current study is important, Cowan said, because MDMA (Ecstasy’s chemical name) may have therapeutic benefits and is now being tested as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety associated with cancer.
“It’s essential that we understand the risk associated with using Ecstasy,” Cowan said. “If news keeps coming out that MDMA is being tested therapeutically and is safe, more people will tend to self-administer the drug. We need to know the dose at which this drug becomes toxic.
“Our studies suggest that if you use Ecstasy recreationally, the more you use, the more brain changes you get.”