What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is the layman’s term for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. It’s a drug that belongs to the amphetamine and the phenethylamine class and is considered as an entactogen. This means that it affects our emotional and social actions.
Merck started it all in the hopes of coming up with a compound that stops abnormal bleeding. Their competitor, Bayer, already beat them to it with the patented hydrastinine. They didn’t want to give up so Otto Wolfes and Walther Beckh instructed their in-house chemist named Anton Köllisch to come up with something similar. In 1912, he was able to synthesize MDMA and a couple of patents was applied for it in December 24, 1912.
However, it didn’t rise in popularity and no one really paid notice, including Merck itself. This went on for the next 65 years. Although there are records of company researchers checking it out every now and then, they didn’t really exert a lot of efforts for it. This is even after Max Oberlin issued his observations that MDMA affects a person’s smooth muscles and blood sugar. He commented that these effects are similar to the effects brought upon by ephedrine.
In 1973, a previously classified report was published regarding the effects of MDMA in animals. The study was commissioned by the US Army and was conducted in 1953 to 1954. The publication co-incided with the rising popularity of MDMA as a recreational drug in the 70s. A lot of users have sworn on its good effects, including a student who said that it cured him of his stutter. Alexander Shulgin became curious and in 1976, he successfuly synthesized the drug so he can try it himself. In a report that he published two years later, he described the experience as having an “altered state of consciousness with emotional and sensual overtones”. He became a known recreational-user of the drug for relaxation purposes, calling it his “low-calorie martini”.
Ecstasy is a known party drug and this trend started in the early 80s when MDMA was known as Adam. It was very popular in nightclubs, particularly the gay clubs. The rave scene quickly caught up and by the late 80s, it was being used in raves all over the US. It was then given its present name – ecstasy.
The Drug Enforcement Administration quickly went to work and by July of 1984, they proposed scheduling for the drug. By May 31 of the following year, it became a Schedule I controlled substance. By virtue of the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; usage, selling and making ecstasy is illegal.
What Slang Names Is Ecstasy Known As?
Ecstasy is already a slang name for MDMA. But owing to the fact that majority of users are young and hip, several other slang names were developed including the following:
- Love drug
- Hug drug
- Scooby snacks
What Effects Does Ecstasy Has?
The effects can be classified as either short-term or long-term. Short-term effects usually happen when users take it in moderation while long-term effects happen to heavy users.
- Improved senses especially the sense of touch
- Extreme dehydration especially when paired with alcohol
- Involuntary clenching of the jaws
- Tense muscles
- Either chills or sweating
- Extreme depression
- Sleeping issues
- Extreme anxiety and paranoia
- Memory loss
- Death (If taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
Who Makes Ecstasy?
There are countless of underground laboratories all over the world packed with chemists that are making ecstasy. Making it involves chemicals and this is the reason why chemists usually make them.
Where is Ecstasy Made?
These underground laboratories are often found in areas where the rave culture is thriving like in Europe. According to intelligence reports, 100 tons of PMK are smuggled into the European Union each year. PMK or piperonyl methyl ketone is a raw material that’s used in making MDMA. There are also dubious chemical companies that are based in China that converts oil from the tree bark of the sassafras into piperonyl – another raw ingredient of MDMA. Of course, making it is not entirely illegal since piperonyl has a lot of legal uses like in perfume.
North American countries are also part of the ecstasy trade. However, they usually don’t synthesize their own ecstasy. What they usually do is they import them in powder form and they pack them into pills, ready to be sold.
It’s very easy to learn how to make MDMA. This is why these underground laboratories don’t have a monopoly in making ecstasy. There are now underground home laboratories where users and dealers are making homemade ecstasy.
What is Ecstasy Made From?
It’s important to note that ecstasy pills are not 100% MDMA. MDMA is made from chemicals like PMK and piperonyl. This will result to MDMA powder. However, it cannot be packed into pills in its pure form. This is why they’re often packed with additives. The pills contain less than 50% MDMA and additives like caffeine, aspirin or other medications are added. Sometimes, other dangerous drugs like paramethoxyamphetamine are also added.
How To Make Ecstasy
It all starts with the sassafras plant. The bark of its roots, or sometimes its fruits, are taken and oil is extracted from it. This gives you safrole. Once you have the safrole, there are various synthetic roads that you can take. One option is to use the piperonyl acetone intermediate. A popular method is to follow the Wacker process that involves oxidizing safrole to the MDP2P intermediate. Afterwards, it needs to undergo reductive amination. Additives are then added before packing the powder into pills.
While skilled chemists and synthesizers shouldn’t have any troubles making the drug, first-time users may encounter a few troubles along the way. Here’s a comment of a manufacturer when asked about his experiences during his first attempt:
“It was much harder than we expected. Even following instructions to the letter, some reactions simply did not happen while others were so violent they that broke the apparatus.” Source: http://www.ecstasy.org/info/manufacture.html
What Does Ecstasy Look Like?
It’s usually in the tablet form although it can also be in the pill form. But being the designer drug, the tablets are often stamped with different brands like the Playboy bunny or the Nike swoosh. The color also varies.
What is a Standard Dose Of Ecstasy?
The standard dose is something in between of 80 and 160 milligrams. However, doses in between 40 and 60 milligrams are known to aid meditation and therapy.
There’s no established lethal dose for ecstasy. However, consuming it with monoamine oxidase inhibitors can be deadly. In addition, people suffering from high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes should also be careful about consuming ecstasy.
How is Ecstasy Taken?
Since it’s in the pill or tablet form, it’s usually taken orally. However, users have developed several ways of taking it. Some user wrap tissue paper around the pill before pounding on the pill to pulverize it. They will then consume the powder together with the tissue paper since they believe they will feel the effects quicker. There are also reports of users taking the drug by “plugging”. This is when they insert the drug inside the butt.
Where is Ecstasy Taken?
It’s usually taken inside dance parties. Users comment that the effects benefit them while they’re partying especially during rave parties that run for the whole weekend.