ecstasy history, ecstasy discovery, early ecstasy use till now.
MDMA synthetised by Merck labs in 1912
MDMA was synthetised by Merck laboratories in 1912 with military
oblectives: Amplify certain amphetamine effects.
MDMA was first patented on Christmas eve 1914 by the German pharmaceutical
company Merck, two years after its first synthesis. At the time, Merck
was systematically synthesizing and patenting a wide variety of chemically
related compounds which could be potentially used in human health, and
MDMA remained largely forgotten for many years.
Contrary to many rumours, the drug was never used as an appetite suppressant
or as a stimulant for armed forces during wartime. The U.S. Army did,
however, do lethal dose studies of it and several other compounds in the
mid-1950’s. It was given the name EA-1475, with the EA standing for Edgewood
Arsenal. The results of these studies were not declassified until 1969.
MDMA was first brought to public attention through Dr. Alexander Shulgin
in the 1960s who recommended it for use in certain therapy sessions, naming
the drug ‘window’ (he discovered it while searching for compounds that
might have a similar psychoactive effect as other compounds contained
in nutmeg). It was widely used therapeutically by US psychotherapists
(especially on the West Coast) because of its empathogenic effects until
its criminalization in the late 1980s, and a small number of therapists
continue to use it in their practices today. (See below for 2001 FDA approval
and DEA licensing for use in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.)
Ecstasy has never obtained authorisation to be marketed. MDMA was used
in psychiatire in the 70s in California. However its use was stopped due
to the damage it caused. From the 70 in the USA and more recent in Europe
MDMA has been used as a recreative drug, especially during rave parties.
Until the mid 1980s, MDMA was not illegal in the United States. Recreationally,
it first came into prominence in certain trendy yuppie bars in the Dallas
area, then in gay dance clubs. From there, use spread to rave clubs, and
then to mainstream society. During the 1990s, along with the growing popularity
of the rave subculture, MDMA use became increasingly popular among young
adults in universities and later in high schools. It rapidly became one
of the four most widely used illegal drugs in the US, along with cocaine,
heroin and marijuana.
MDMA used as a recreative drug
From the 70 in the USA and more recent in Europe MDMA has been used
as a recreative drug, especially during rave parties.
The primary effects of MDMA include openness, euphoria, empathy, love,
and heightened self-awareness. Its initial adoption by the dance club
sub-culture is probably due to the enhancement of the overall social and
Taking MDMA or Ecstasy is referred to as rolling or dropping. Known in
its related subcultures as E, “Eccies”, X, pills, tabs, disco
biscuits, biccies or beans, MDMA use has increased markedly since the
late 1980s and spread beyond the original sub-cultures to mainstream use.
Prices have also been falling since its introduction, with an evening’s
drug use often costing less than an equivalent evening drinking alcohol.