Club-drug 'ecstasy' harmful to first-time users

By Euphoric · Nov 1, 2007 · Updated Nov 4, 2010 · ·
  1. Euphoric
    Even small amounts of the drug ecstasy can harm the brains of first time users, a new study shows.

    Researchers took brain scans and gave memory tests to 188 people who had never taken ecstasy (MDMA). The tests and scans were repeated 18 months later, and differences could be seen in the brains of 59 people who had tried small amounts of ecstasy in the intervening period. On average, those who had newly tried it had taken just six pills.

    "We found a decrease in blood circulation in some areas of the brain in young adults who just started to use ecstasy," says Maartje de Win, who led the study at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. "We also found a relative decrease in verbal memory performance in ecstasy users compared to non-users." There was no evidence of damage to neurons or alteration to mood, however.

    Ecstasy is an illegal amphetamine, which is taken by clubbers for its euphoric effects. The drug increases the amount of a neurotransmitter, called serotonin, in the brain. Serotonin is involved in regulating several brain functions, including mood and memory.

    Previous studies have shown that long-term or heavy use of ecstasy can damage neurons and cause depression, anxiety, confusion, difficulty sleeping and decrease in memory.

    However, this is the first study to examine the effects of low doses of ecstasy on the brain, the researchers claim. The study did not look at the long-term effects of ecstasy's low-dose effect on the brain, and so they were not able to say whether the effects would be permanent.

    The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago.

    28 November 2006 by New Scientist and AFP

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  1. Jatelka
    Studies like this are old "News"

    There's an awful lot of stuff being done on "Ecstasy" and memory, and a lot of the more recent stuff is finding that it isn't necessarily MDMA that is the problem, but amphetamine, concurrent cannabis and other drug use and other confounding variables.

    There's a nice paper in the archive here...

    which I think covers it well

    And there's another one here...

    I particularly like the fact that the authors point out that:

    "open trial studies of recreational drug users suffer from many confounding variables... including uncertain dosage, purity and the chemical composition of illegally purchased drugs"
  2. Mint boi
    All I can say is at least my ferret isn't a first time user!
  3. brunobrookes
    I myself have abused MDMA once and can wholeheartedly say that it has damaged my short term memory, created problems with thinking clarity and had negative effects on my general intelligence. Sure, MDMA probably won't damage your brain if you take a "recreational" first time dose, but if you do happen to overdo it on one occasion it can have pretty nasty longer term effects. The difficult thing is knowing the difference between a safe "recreational" dose, and an unsafe, neurotoxic dose. However, provided you are sensible there shouldn't be too many problems - I just wasn't very sensible unfortuantely......
  4. brunobrookes
    Shit, I meant to say SWIM - can't edit it now.....
  6. Lettish
    Swim concurs with brunobrookes. Swim is a novice E/MDMA user and has only had a few experiences using it, but Swim thinks if Swiy are just careful and sensible about it, Swiy will have a good time, with no long-term side effects. Less is more, as they say. Swim reckons just do it once a month or something, and don't take ten lol.

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