Q&A: How Often Can I Use MDMA Safely?

QUESTION

this morning at 1 am someone gave me someone gave 70 mg. of mdma to me for doing them a favor.  I then had an impulse to do 8 hits of LSD.  I also did another full dose mdma (120 mg) at the time, thinking to stay awake all day for the Marc Emery rally downtown.

During the afternoon and early evening I did another 3 doses mdma. I had a lot of fun no side effects yet and spent time socializing/politicing.

This is the first time I have been on a binge instead of just finishing off with a trip before you do more. I normally wait one week or more between psychedelic trips, but something made go all out today! How much mdma can one safely do before, getting serious side effects?

Bud Oracle

ANSWER

Good question Bud, and one that is of great of importance to MDMA enthusiasts like yourself.

While psychedelic drugs like LSD and psilocybin do not cause structural changes in the brain—that’s not the case with MDMA.  Even one dose has been shown to deplete serotonin and cause structural changes in serotonergic neurons.  This damage appears to be dependent on both the dose and total number of times the drug is taken, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

What’s not clear is how these changes affect the actual functioning of the human brain…and whether or not they’re reversible.  Ecstasy users often report side effects like anxiety, depression, memory impairment and sleep disturbances following periods of heavy use.  These effects may not set in until a few days–or even weeks–after using, though many people feel them immediately after the drug wears off.  While not everyone has noticeable side effects, many heavy users find themselves unable to achieve pleasurable effects from the drug, a phenomenon known as “losing the magic”.

As with all things in life, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of harm when taking MDMA.  According to Erowid.org, taking antioxidants and serotonin-boosting supplements like 5-HTP before and after ecstasy use may help protect against neurotoxicity.  Avoiding hyperthermia by keeping core body temperature low may also reduce the damage done, though these techniques have not been proven effective in humans.

The only way to avoid any risk of harm is by abstaining from MDMA use altogether.  In general, I advise MDMA users to avoid taking the drug more than once a month (or once every 2-4 months to be on the safe side).  Because of its short history of use in humans, information is lacking about its mechanisms of action and the possible consequences of excessive use.

If you begin noticing side effects like anxiety or depression after using MDMA, I suggest taking a lengthy—if not permanent–break from the substance to prevent further damage.  After all, no high is worth causing potentially permanent harm to your most vital organ…

…and yes, I mean your brain, for those who need clarification.

Ecstatically Yours,

Mary Microgram

National Institute on Drug Abuse:

http://www.drugtext.org/library/research/mdma/archive/11/default.htm

Erowid:

http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/mdma/mdma_neurotoxicity1.shtml#reducingrisk

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