Category Archives: mdma

Ecstasy: Spirituality or Just Getting Bolloxed?

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By the way, Happy 2013 all and sundry! (you know it don’t mean jack).

As G-Fly from “Tuned In, Mashed Out” put it: “Brand New Year, Same Ol’ Bull. Gotta charge ahead anyway, right?”

Perhaps 2013 would bring the Ascension millions of new agers were desperately pining for. Perhaps I’ll be abducted by aliens and subsequently hired to translate intergalactic warnings for numbnut politicians. But anyways, back to the subject. I stumbled across this fab article I’d love to share with you. It’s an e-mail written by Peter Douglas from 1996 titled, “Ecstasy; Spirituality or Just Getting Bolloxed?” Especially brilliant is his “Prayer To The Pill” near the end. Enjoy!

From: Peter_Douglas@intermedia.co.uk (Peter Douglas)
Subject: Ecstasy; Spirituality or Just Getting Bolloxed?
Date: 01 Jun 1996 01:48:56 GMT

Like every other controversial issue, the e debate isn’t black and white. It’s not either “I discovered a new way of being because of MDMA and it made me a beautiful person” or “I got so fuckin trollied I couldn’t talk and then dabbed a gram of whizz and talked everyone’s arse off then drank 5 pints of Guiness so I could get to sleep”. E is used for both purposes, sometimes by the same person at different times. Personally I was appalled when I arrived in the UK to discover that MDMA was used as a dance drug. To me it was anathema to have loud music blasting away while under the influence of a drug that facilitates such straight-up communication, free from the bullshit games that people play in normal conversation. How on earth can you have a real connection with another human being if you have to bellow in someone’s ear to make yourself heard?

Then I discovered that the MDMA induced freedom from ego allows people to dance without self-consciousness, to achieve a Zen state of “ecstasy” where only the moment is experienced and all the baggage that comes with living in this twisted society is left behind. I understood (I think) why it had become the intoxicant of choice for the current dance scene.

I’d love to see some statistics on “crimes against the person” perpetrated by a given population before and after that population starts using MDMA on a fairly widespread basis. Nicholas Saunders has provided some anecdotal evidence for suggesting Ecstasy use has attenuated violence in football fans, and in the Irish Catholic/Protestant conflict. I’ve seen a marked difference in “attitude” between clubs where the dominant drug is alcohol and where Ecstasy is the pervading influence, and in the short-term range it looks to me like MDMA has a far more preferable effect on personal interactions. What I’d be interested to know is whether the empathy and all-round “niceness” people display while e’d up carries over to everyday life, with fewer assaults and general nastiness showing up in the crime stats.

I believe MDMA has a valuable potential to show users a new way of being. Once the brain has discovered that it is possible to be a little more tolerant and, dare I say it, loving without losing face, maybe it’s just a little bit easier to act the same way without being chemically predisposed because those neural pathways have been tracked at least once.

If I was Supreme and Divine Emperor of This Green and Pleasant Land, I’d probably impose some quasi-religious ceremony as a co-requisite of MDMA use, with no apologies to you heathens who deplore the “new age weirdy beardy spiritual crap” that some of us rather like thank you. At certain times in the E-cumenical calendar there would be a Critical Mass, where participants would intone the Prayer of the Pill before necking a known dose of pharmaceutical quality MDMA and losing it bigtime to some wicked stompin repetitive beats.

* Prayer of the Pill * or * The Spirit of Ecstasy * (nothing to do with Rolls Royce 😉

O Spirit of Ecstasy
Make still my troubled mind in the Peace of the Eternal Now
and let the commonly accepted crap fall away.

Release in me the unconditional Love for my fellows
so that I may care for them and see that no harm befalls them,
and share with them the water of life.

Expand my soul as well as my grin,
radiating out to join with those around me
that we might dance as one,
United by our concurrent existence in this spacetime.

Help me to see the beauty and humanity that we all share
That I might Respect all others
Even the bouncers and beer monsters
O miraculous molecular mind morpher.

And when this bright vision of Perfection
  begins to fade
Help me to carry the vibe as I go out into the world, 
surprised and blinking in the light of dawn.

And please, Thou Essence of Plur -
Don't let the bastards grind me down.

Amen, Bom Shankar, Whatever.

plur
pd
– waxing lyrical, or just ear wax – sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Source: http://hyperreal.org/raves/spirit/caring/Spiritual_Ecstasy.html

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HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY MDMA!

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Source: fkinghateit.blogspot.com

Image: fkinghateit.blogspot.com

It’s Christmas Eve, a time when a significant number of Earthlings happen to be feasting, fighting and fucking under the mistletoe. I would think by now, dear reader, that you would be happily engaged in some festive gangbangery but if you happen to be reading this article, mo’ power to you!

Fuck Santa and his Merry Elves. There is no way I could live with myself if I didn’t give a MASSIVE BIRTHDAY SHOUTOUT TO MDMA – THE WONDER DRUG THAT’S HERE TO STAY !!! HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!!!

Now I’m curious to know as to whether any of you, during all of your pill popping, jaw clenching escapades ever thought, “Dude, like, where does MDMA come from? And who invented it?” If you answered yes, then it means you weren’t freakin’ high enough.

Until fairly recently, I thought MDMA might have been invented in the 80’s. So I was blown away to discover that in fact, it has been around much longer.

Let’s travel back in time to early 1912, Darmstadt, Germany. Native scientist, Dr. Anton Köllisch, is commissioned by drug giant Merck to come up with an alternative to hydrastinine, a styptic (blood clotting agent) previously patented by Bayer. While experimenting with methylhydrastinine, a similar compound (so as not to infringe on Bayer’s copyright), Köllisch discovered an intermediate chemical which he considered rather interesting. He subsequently named it 3,4-Methylendioxy-N-methamphetamine. Köllisch brought this bastard baby to the attention of his superiors. They weren’t altogether sure exactly what to do with it, but they thought the discovery was significant enough to file patents, which they did on December 24th 1912. So if you want to get technical, MDMA’s birthday was back in May. However, I thought it would be fun to celebrate MDMA’S 100 birthday on Christmas Eve. You do see the delightful irony in this right? The timing  is highly symbolic, as Merck’s actions heralded the dawn of a new era in chemically induced self-exploration. There was no way they could have predicted the huge impact MDMA would have on millions in the not too distant future.   

 

Ecstasy - the happy result of MDMA

Ecstasy – the happy result of MDMA

Despite the nefarious efforts of the Anti-Fun Brigade to banish the main ingredient to Ecstasy, it’s definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. Hell, even my grandchildren might end up dabbling in the thing. I’d much rather smack a cigarette out of their hands than discourage them from using Ecstasy, that’s for sure.  As a matter of fact, E is currently enjoying a surge of popularity in England. Manufacturers have apparently exploited a loophole in accessing the precursors to making Ecstasy, which have allowed them to produce pills of high quality for the first time in decades.

It’s like giving the royal finger to authorities, who’ve embarked on a major Ecstasy smear campaign over the last little while. If anything, prohibition is the problem, not MDMA/ Ecstasy itself. It is obvious that it’s time for governments everywhere to reconsider their hardline stance towards psychoactives in general. As of November 2012, legislation has been passed in Colorado and Washington, U.S.A., legalizing marijuana for personal use, albeit with some restrictions. It’s not perfect but at least, it’s a step in the right direction! Let’s hope that one day, MDMA will be recognized for its medicinal value, and be given the respect it deserves in like manner.

Source: E, the Incredibly Strange History of Ecstasy by Tim Pilcher.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

MDMA Use in Psychotherapy: Switzerland

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Despite ongoing attempts by mainstream media to demonize MDMA as a dangerous drug, there is plenty of evidence demonstrating its effective use in psychotherapy. During the 70’s, MDMA was used in marriage counseling and on individual patients by a small circle of pioneering psychiatrists, most notably Ann Shulgin and Philip Wolfson. They were impressed by MDMA’s ability to help several patients achieve “breakthroughs” where conventional therapy failed. However, this innovative experimentation came to a halt when MDMA was banned by the U.S. government in 1986. According to Nicholas Saunders,“In December 1985, a group of psychotherapists in Switzerland obtained permission to use psychoactive drugs in their work including MDMA, LSD, Mescaline and psilocybin. They formed The Swiss Medical Society for Psycholitic Therrapy, and besides treating patients with these drugs, members take one of the drugs together at twice yearly meetings.” Say what? The doc doses too? But of course! The general consensus was that doctors administering psychotropic medicine had to be thoroughly acquainted with its effects, though they did not do this while treating patients simultaneously.

The following is an excerpt from an interview conducted by British author Nicholas Saunders with Swiss psychotherapist, Dr. Marianne Bloch, from his book, E for Ecstasy. In my opinion, it is one of the most balanced, truthful, fascinating books ever published about the benefits, effects and dangers of Ecstasy. It was considered so controversial that it has been banned in Australia since 1995. Saunders was a social activist and entrepreneur, having started the successful enterprise of Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden. He also self-published and distributed “Alternative London,” an encyclopaedic guide for young people living in London with tips on squatting, communal living, creative budgeting and alternative thinking. After his tragic demise in a car crash in 1998, Saunders legacy lives on in his work, providing factual information so that people are empowered to make informed decisions in their quest for self-knowledge.  

Introduction Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved.

Italics: Nicholas Saunders  Normal: Dr. Marianne Bloch

Do you use LSD as well as MDMA?

No. Although I have permission to use LSD, and use it for myself, I have decided only to use MDMA with patients. LSD lasts too long, both for the patient and myself. In my own experience, I like LSD much better in a one-to-one setting. I don’t like LSD in a group, and therefore I don’t want my patients to use it in a group either.

What is the problem with using LSD in a group?

I become too sensitive. There were too many stimuli for me – I guess it depends on one’s personality. The more I was able to allow things to come through, the more difficult it was for me to handle them. In a one-to-one setting it was OK, but I don’t want to do it with patients.

Do you do individual work with MDMA or just group work?

I do both. Mostly I use MDMA in a group, but when there is a patient who needs complete attention I use it individually.

What are the particular advantages of using MDMA? For instance, is there a particular character type or problem that it is suitable for? Is it perhaps only suitable when clients reach a block?

I use it with patients who are in an intense psychotherapeutic relationship with me. I usually start after six months or a year of ongoing therapy. Most of my patients come every week for individual therapy, and monthly to my Grof holotropic breathing weekends.* Among them are a few who I select who I select for MDMA therapy as well. These are mostly patients who have difficulties with their feelings…so they are mostly character-armoured people.

Aren’t all patients character-armoured people?

Yes, but there are some who have much weaker armour. For instance, oral people.* Their armouring is not as hard to get through.

So you use MDMA with the people with the hardest character armour.

Yes, I prefer to work with MDMA with people who have very hard character

Nicholas Saunders Photo: Anja Saunders

armour. These are, for instance, women with bulimia and some compulsive characters and depressive patients.

What about other groups such as people who have suppressed a memory of a trauma? 

Yes, that is another group. For instance I had a woman patient whose problem was Bulimia, but then it came out that she was abused by her father, although she had no recollection of it beforehand. With MDMA she said, “Oh, there is some incest problem,” and I was very surprised as she had not mentioned it before, and now with the MDMA it comes out clearer and clearer. This person is completely out of her body, how shall we say it, yes completely detached from her body feeling and her emotional feelings.

Does the MDMA help her to become more integrated?

Yes, it helps a lot. It’s the method that helps her most to integrate and to get into her body. She is much less armoured in normal life than she was before, but she is still armoured and this blocks her from feeling her body. Very often she says, “I can’t feel my legs,” but on MDMA she says, “I feel good, I can feel my body.” It seems to have something to do with energy flow.

If you had not used MDMA with this client, presumably she would have made some progress just with the body work, massage, touch and expressing emotions?

 Yes, but I am not sure that I would have come to that deep knowledge about her background, the incest problems with her father. It was so deeply covered, she had no idea it existed.

Did it take a long time to come out? Was it in the first MDMA session?

It was in the second. She had MDMA sessions alone because she was so frightened, and later she had sessions in the group.

How often do you run an MDMA group?

Twice a year.

That is very infrequent. Is that a policy or is that because it takes so much time?

I decided that because of the toxicity patients should not take it more than four times a year.

Now that new research shows that MDMA is not so toxic, do you think you might give it more often?

No, for me it is enough. Actually I don’t want to use more drugs than I have to. I also get results with breath work and body work. With some patients, these methods work well. It is the hard core ones who sometimes need a push.

Before the [legal] restrictions were put on, how many people were there in your MDMA groups?

Twelve. I didn’t want to take more. And I always work with my colleague, another woman therapist.

What doses do you give people?

125 mg.

You don’t vary doses according to body weight?

Earlier, yes, there were some small patients and they got 100 mg.

Do you find MDMA is much stronger for some clients than others?

I don’t find so much difference, no. Some take a longer time to get into it.

Do you give it in one does?

Yes.

Do you take it yourself, or does your assistant?

No.

Do you take it in a ritual way?

We just pass it around and take it. And then we eat some chocolate.

Oh! Chocolate?

Yes, it speeds up the effect of the drug.

Really? How is that?

Albert Hoffman [the discoverer of LSD} told me about it with reference to LSD, and he said that there are some receptors that it speeds up, and now we do it with MDMA and it seems to me that it works. They always have to take their orange juice, their pills and the chocolate. I think it has something to do with endorphins.

How long does it take to come on?

About half an hour. After they have taken the pills they lie down and my co-therapist continues to play the monochord.

Do you have any rules or agreements about how clients interact with one another or with yourself? How do you run a group?

Mostly I say that the patients are by themselves. They lie on the mattresses in their space; it’s something that has to do with internal work and they have to stay by themselves. But lately I have started to say, “Why don’t you mix a bit.” Maybe they were looking around and would say, “This person seems to be very sad,” and I would say, “OK, if you feel like going over to this person who you think is sad you can do so.” I mean, I encourage them to communicate with each other. But this is new, in the beginning I wanted to keep each of them separate, just going into their own space.

How do you deal with the situation where the person might be feeling sad but actually not want someone to approach?  Do they have to ask before moving?

Yes. A patient who feels they want to go over to another has to ask: “I would like to get closer to you, how is it for you? Do you want me or not?”, and the other person has to decide. I tell them that they all have to be very honest. They have to feel for themselves what they want.

So after people have started opening up, what do you do next?

Then I play music on tapes. Mostly meditative music but also some with bass, rhythmic bass – it stimulates some feelings and activity. It’s completely different to the music I use in holotropic treatment, because there the music is actually the ‘drug’ that stimulates the activity. With MDMA, the stimulus comes from the chemical substance, so the music has a different intent in each setting.

Do you use different kinds of music to stimulate people in different ways? To bring up aggression, for instance?

Yes, and sometimes also anxiety.

What kind of music stimulates anxiety?

It’s some kind of dramatic music.

Film music from a thriller?

That’s right. But people require different stimuli. I mean, it’s not only music which stimulates feelings, but also contact. Sometimes it’s very important that closeness between a patient and myself brings up a feeling of anxiety, because they are afraid of closeness.

Even on MDMA?

Even more so. I remember an obsessive-compulsive character who was never in touch with her feelings of closeness, and the last time with MDMA she really got in touch by being close, having close body contact and also eye contact. The first time she felt her panic by being close.

Can you give me a few more examples of when MDMA has been particularly useful?

One patient was an extreme stutterer who had been in therapy for a long time. With MDMA, she could really talk about her history for the first time – because before she was only able to write things on a slip of paper. With MDMA she spoke about her father, how she was held back and not accepted as a child, and all of her emotional feelings came u p in regard to this theme.

So on MDMA she was able to talk freely?

Yes, it was incredible. It was also incredible how her body opened up. She started to breather dramatically, and then sounds came out, and she could talk without difficulty. But it was also significant that after the MDMA session her stuttering came back. It was not as bad, but she continued to stutter.

So MDMA didn’t cure the stutter, but enabled her to talk about her pain concerning her father.

Exactly, and this opened up a different area that could be worked with in ongoing psychotherapy afterwards. Material came up that was not known about before. And so this opened up certain feelings.

I’ve heard it said that you can’t feel love until you have learned to love yourself. Do you believe that?

I think so, yes. I believe in it. That only when you are really in contact with yourself, are you open enough to let love flow out.

Do you think that people are suggestible on MDMA?

Not at all. I think they see things as they are more clearly. For instance, the Bulimic client I mentioned had thought she had invented being abused by her father, but on MDMA she saw it was true. She saw it very clearly.

Are there other problems with using MDMA? Perhaps patients get too close to you?

The transference problem is the same as with body therapy, but the situation of transference becomes more clear to a patient on the drug. They can see their projections more easily. When they come up to me during the MDMA session and say, “I love you so much!”, I respond by saying, “See whether this love is something to do with you. Could it not be your newly discovered love for yourself?”

*Stanislav Grof has developed a method using hyper-ventilation and music to create an altered state of consciousness similar to that experienced under LSD.

*Oral people are those whose early needs have not been met adequately. They tend to have a feeling of emptiness which they try to fill by the attention of other people.

 

B.C. Doctor Admits Pure Ecstasy can be Safe for Adults

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/06/14/bc-ecstasy-adults-safe-health.html

(Please refer to link for news article. Source: CBC News)

Back in February, I blogged about the so called Ecstasy deaths in Calgary and how the culprit was not Ecstasy but PMMA, a dangerous compound which mimics some of MDMA’s effects. Last week, Dr. Perry Kendall, health officer of British Columbia made headlines when he admitted that pure Ecstasy can be safely consumed by adults in a clinical setting, though he does not condone recreational use. Initially, there appeared to be some confusion as to whether Dr. Kendall was calling for the legalization of Ecstasy, which he denied. He later clarified his position, stating that he believes if MDMA is ever legalized, it should be regulated and sold through government run outlets. “(If) you knew what a safe dosage was, you might be able to buy ecstasy like you could buy alcohol from a government-regulated store,” Kendall said in an interview. “We accept the fact that alcohol, which is inherently dangerous, is a product over a certain age that anybody can access. “So I don’t think the issue is a technical one of how we would manage that. The issue is a political, perceptual one.”   

Even while the RCMP are adamant that Ecstasy is dangerous, Dr. Kendall asserts that the problem arises when Ecstasy is mixed with other dangerous compounds and sold on the black market with no quality control standards. “Unless you are getting it from a psychiatrist in a legitimate clinical trial, at the present time you can’t guarantee what’s in it, how much of it there is, or its safety, so I would say as we have said in the past — don’t take it,” Kendall told CBC News. The good doctor, along with other medical practitioners even compared the tainted Ecstasy dilemma to alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. “Methyl alcohol led to huge rates of morbidity and mortality in the United States under alcohol prohibition because of illicit alcohol manufacturing,” said Dr. Evan Wood, a lead researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and internationally-recognized expert in drug addiction and related policies.

“PMMA is a natural and expected consequence of the prohibition on ecstasy.” No kidding. If health care professionals admit that MDMA is safe when administered in the correct dosage in clinical settings, why won’t the government legalize it, at least for psychiatric use? They are certainly not the first to put forward these astute observations. The Shulgins, Leo Zeff and other well respected psychiatrists have used MDMA in therapeutic sessions with numerous patients from the 1970’s up until it was criminalized. Several reports have been published about the benefits of Ecstasy in helping people to overcome emotional blockages that conventional therapy was unable to accomplish. In spite of the aforementioned personalities’ valiant efforts to keep MDMA legal, the DEA placed it in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act in 1985.

So what it boils down to is this: a relatively harmless drug that promotes togetherness and peaceful behaviour is criminalized. In the meantime, alcohol, which makes wretched assholes out of its abusers, encourages violent and reckless behaviour and claims millions of lives worldwide is perfectly legal. Something is definitely amiss. So much that the Canadian government is contemplating suing the tobacco industry for billions of dollars in healthcare costs.  Doesn’t that indicate that they know this shit is lethal? Why won’t they place alcohol and tobacco in Schedule 1 then? As the saying goes, money talks and the bullshit tangos all over the gotdamn place. Kudos to Dr. Perry Kendall (and his colleagues) for having the guts to speak out on the demonization of MDMA. He presents an unbiased perspective on its usage and effects; something the establishment doesn’t want to hear, no doubt. I strongly recommend you watch the video of his press conference, where he brilliantly defends his position whilst shredding commonly held misconceptions about MDMA. Let’s hope that one day, good sense will prevail and Ecstasy be given the respect that it deserves. 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

The Shulgins:Psychoactive Pioneers

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The Shulgins and their Alchemical Angels by Alex Grey

For Valentine’s Day, I decided to focus on something far more substantial than chocolate covered marshmallow hearts and cheap thongs that lodge themselves in my asscrack, courtesy of an overenthusiastic lover with an embroidered lace fixation. Let’s talk about love shall we? In my opinion, Sasha and Ann Shulgin are one of the finest examples of this underrated adjective, considering that they’ve been together for over 30 years. While the majority of marriages in the Western world continue to implode at an alarming rate, the Shulgins’ have withstood the test of time. Is there a valuable lesson we can learn from these psychedelic sweethearts? Perhaps they are onto something that most of us remain clueless about…

Let’s take a closer look at these Venerable Valentines and their labour of love for psychoactives that has brought them together, and, one might add, kept them together through many years of ups and downs.

Alexander Shulgin (or Sasha as he is affectionately known) is an American pharmacologist and author of Russian descent. This champion of subversive psychoactivism is popularly referred to as the “Godfather of MDMA.”  Born June 17th 1925, he is credited with re-synthesizing the drug after a lengthy period of obscurity since its initial discovery in 1912.  Though he never intended for MDMA to become a party drug, he has accepted its popularity from a social standpoint, and even attended a rave once. Sasha’s love affair with psychedelics began when he tried mescaline for the first time. It blew his mind. The experience triggered a lifelong exploration and categorization of mind altering substances that would come to define his legacy:

 “I first explored mescaline in the late ’50s. “Three-hundred-fifty to 400 milligrams. I learned there was a great deal inside me.” – L.A. Times 1995

After earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1955, Shulgin went to work at Dow Chemical Company as a senior research chemist.  With the successful development of Zectran, the first biodegradable (and highly profitable) pesticide, Shulgin was granted carte blanche by the company and his own lab – wonderful assets for any aspiring chemist. Dow hoped that their brilliant apothecarist would continue to create compounds that would line the pockets of their investors. Instead, Alexander came up with increasing numbers of patents for psychoactives, which was far from what Dow Chemical had originally intended.

Ever the sharpminded tack, Sasha quit while he was ahead, and carried on synthesizing psychedelics in a makeshift lab he’d constructed in a shed behind his house (the nerve!). During the mid 1960’s, Sasha became a private consultant and lectured at local universities and the San Francisco General Hospital.  He even worked with the DEA as an expert on controlled substances, which led to him testifying in court cases for both the prosecution and the defence as an authority on the subject matter. Ironically, the DEA raided his lab in 1994 and fined him $25,000 for violation of his Schedule 1 license, though no illegal substances were ever found in his possession, even during subsequent raids.

What really got the DEA’s panties in a knot was the publication of “PIHKAL: A Love Story” which Sasha co-authored with his wife Ann, in 1991. If you look closely at the tripped out illustration at the beginning of this article, you will see PIHKAL and TIHKAL disguised in the winged eyes above the Shulgins’ heads. PIHKAL is an acronym for Phenythlamines I  Have Known And Loved. A quick perusal through this fantastic tome revealed 179 recipes for synthesizing a variety of psychoactives, including  2C-B, 2C-T-2 and MDMA, plus meticulously detailed accounts of their effects, chemical structures and recommended dosage. Obviously, the DEA was not thrilled by the prospect of a publicly accessible “cookbook on drugs,” though realistically speaking, amateurs would not have access to the kind of equipment required to produce these superduper compounds. TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved) soon followed suit, which featured tryptamines such as DMT and psilocybin and instructions for cooking up 55 psychedelic recipes, many of which Shulgin had discovered himself. Now why would such a lovely, middle aged couple put themselves at risk from incurring the wrath of Uncle Sam? The Shulgins are motivated not by profit margins, but by a desire to ensure that information about psychoactives remain in the hands of the public. They truly believe in the power of these substances, as tools of self-exploration and a potential salve for the psyche, when used under the right circumstances and within appropriate settings. Which brings us to Sasha’s lifelong partner in psychedelic aviation, Ann Shulgin. 

Born March 22nd 1931, Ann worked as a lay therapist using MDMA and 2C-B to facilitate sessions involving married couples, when these substances were still legal. Ann met Alexander in Berkeley in 1979. Needless to say, these kindred spirits fell deeply in love and married in Sasha’s backyard in 1981. So you could say the Shulgins were into eco-marriage before it became fashionable. Together they came up with “The Shulgin Scale,” a unique rating system for the effects of various psychoactives, which they tested out on themselves and a select group of friends in the 60’s and 70’s. Ann has spoken at numerous conventions, contributed to other publications and has travelled around the globe with her husband as an expert on the use of psychedelics in therapy. She is a staunch supporter of her husband’s work and believes MDMA should never have beeen criminalized:

“MDMA is an insight drug,” she says with a determined passion. “It helps you open doors to yourself. You can see yourself for what you are. You can feel a compassion for who you are.” – Time Out, March 2002

It is evident that these two brave souls were united for a higher purpose; to serve humanity in truth and light, and to encourage a greater awareness of the redemptive qualities of psychoactives, contrary to what the government would have us believe. Such remarkable acts of selflessness have come at a rather high cost. The Shulgins are not sitting on a pile of cash, happily retired, as many would like to believe. They have recently fallen on difficult times. In 2010, Sasha suffered a stroke and subsequently developed an ulcer on his leg, which almost led to amputation. They do not have life insurance, and their small pension cannot cover the medical bills which have piled up as a result. Incredibly, the Shulgins are still alive and very much in love. Their amazing longevity defies the popular belief that doing drugs will send you to an early grave. Collectively speaking, Ann and Sasha have done hundreds of drugs, yet they are still alive. What gives? It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that all drugs are not created equal. Some are good, some are bad. The Shulgins were smart enough to distinguish between the former and the latter, so now they are a living testament to this rather intriguing anomaly. They are shining examples of subversive defiance towards state endorsed mind control propaganda. What the world needs is love – and more psychoactivists like these seasoned Old World Warriors.

Despite ongoing hardships, Ann has stood by Sasha’s side, even as he continues to battle health problems and dementia. At 80 years of age, she is taxed physically and emotionally, yet remains optimistic about life and her husband’s condition. In an open letter that courageously addresses their challenging situation, Ann stated: 

I am still a believer in Sasha, because the essential man is still — dementia or not — the person he always was: loyal and loving and tremendously life-affirming and funny as hell.  He still makes good jokes (and lousy ones), and he loves me the way I always wanted to be loved.  He wasn’t clever about money, but what he did care about was — and still is — chemistry, and the fabulous things you  can discover in the world of molecules, and how deeply satisfying it is to send what you know out to the world in the form of books, and how moving it is to hear from hundreds and hundreds of people in all the countries of the world (except Antarctica) writing to tell you how you saved their lives, or marriages, or sanity.  Sasha was, and is, a truly good man, a nice and kind man, and he deserves the best we can give him at the end of his life.  He has a dark side, but I’ve been able to live with it without any regrets, as he seems to have been able to live with my dark side without more than an occasional shrug.  His I.Q. was equal to Einstein’s, but he’s been a much sweeter person than Einstein ever was.  And, unlike most of the extremely high I.Q. people in this world, Sasha never had the slightest touch of malice or cruelty. He’s been a good man to know and love. 

Now that, to me, is what true love’s all about. Think of it as an equation if you will: 

ANN + ALEXANDER = LOVE PERSONIFIED

* Note: The Shulgins’ remarkable accomplishments are too numerous to be included in this blogpost. I strongly recommend that you do further research  if you are interested. There is a wealth of information on this dynamic duo, including literature, fascinating clips on youtube, and a documentary called “Dirty Pictures.”

Here is a link to a fantastic website devoted entirely to the Shulgins:

http://www.mdma.net/alexander-shulgin/shulgins.html

To find out more about how you can help the Shulgins cover Sasha’s medical expenses visit:

 http://www.shulginresearch.org/home/topics/caringbridge/

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

Did Ecstasy Kill All those People in Calgary – or Not?

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Ever since its categorization as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the DEA in 1985, Ecstasy has been getting a bum rap in the media. We’ve heard everything, from pills being primed with broken glass to Ecstasy causing holes in the brain, all of which have proven to be categorically false. Despite the fact that cigarettes kill over 37,000 Canadians per year, compared to an average of 10 – 24 Ecstasy related deaths annually (which in itself is highly questionable), it is becoming increasingly clear that certain individuals have a vested interest in creating fear and loathing of MDMA in the general public.

A recent spate of “Ecstasy related deaths” across Canada has got the press in a right tizzy. According to The Huffington Post, there were 16 in Vancouver last year, 7 in Calgary since July of 2011.  The above newsclipping dated January 30th 2012, was taken from The Metro. The headline states: “Ecstasy Overdose Patients Flood ER.” Right away, this creates an unmistakeable impression in the minds of upwardly mobile citizens. But then, the second paragraph reads: “The discovery of another body in a northeast Calgary residence Sunday, raised fears that the total number of deaths linked to a toxic compound known as PMMA could rise. Police believe the compound is being used in place of standard MDMA in ecstasy tablets following a recent crackdown by the RCMP.”

Obviously, there is a glaring discrepancy between what the headline proclaims and the actual substance linked to these deaths. It is clear that these fatalities are linked to para-methoxymethamphetamine (PMMA), not MDMA. According to Calgary Police Services, the latter was said to be present along with PMMA in tissue samples in 5 of the 7 deceased victims. PMMA is apparently less expensive to produce and mimics some of MDMA’s effects. However, it can be lethal as it raises body temperature and disrupts serotonin metabolism in the brain, potentially causing brain and organ damage which could lead to death. As explained by Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Health Officer for British Colombia in The Huffington Post:

Because it (PMMA) takes effect more slowly than ecstasy’s usual ingredient, called MDMA, users may take more to achieve its hallucinogenic properties. “They think it’s not happening, the onset is also rather mild to start with, so they start taking more pills because they think that they got lower doses and they end up with more significant overdoses,” he told reporters.”That’s a possible explanation for some of the deaths we’ve seen here or in Calgary.”

So you see, something about these so called “Ecstasy deaths” does not add up. First of all, it is extremely unusual for Ecstasy to cause such a high number of casualties within such a short space of time (seven in Calgary within the last six months). It is rather unfortunate that reporter Jeremy Nolais, has opted for sensationalistic journalism. After all, “Ecstasy Overdose” is  more of an eye-grabber than “Ecstasy Tainted with PMMA Linked to Deaths” isn’t it? If Nolais took the time to dig a little deeper, he would have discovered that most Ecstasy related deaths are not due to overdosing, but are linked to circumstances which arise as a result of its physiological effects (heat stroke being a prime example) and users’ reactions to those effects (water intoxication as in the case of British raver, Leah Betts). When Ecstasy is combined with other substances like Dextromethorphan (an active ingredient in cough medicine), diet pills, and amphetamines, the outcome can be fatal. Here’s what Nicholas Saunders, author of “E for Ecstasy” had to say about it:

“In the USA, an examination of the deaths of five people who had taken Ecstasy showed that other potentially lethal medical factors played a major part. Although MDMA was found in the victims’ blood when they died and may have contributed to their death in some unknown or indirect way, in four cases there was an explanation for their death which was not related to taking MDMA. The fifth death may also have been due to other causes.”

Ecstasy is once again taking the blame for failed drug war policies and unscrupulous dealers, who no doubt thought that they could get away with using a cheap substitute for MDMA. What makes this situation all the more tragic is that these deaths most likely could have been avoided if Ecstasy was regulated in the first place. By making it illegal, the government is actually creating a dangerous situation by pushing Ecstasy underground, thus leaving consumers at the mercy of whatever concoction black market chemists have decided to come up with. Another deadly compound, piperazine, which causes fatigue, breathing difficulties and seizures, has been cropping up in pills across Europe. Consequently, more users are turning to MDMA powder and crystals (which are more expensive), and avoiding pills like the plague. Sadly, Ecstasy is not what it used to be 12 – 25 years ago. Chances are you might die before you get high if you pop one of those bastardized replicants nowadays.

So what’s to be done about it? The fact of the matter is people are going to take Ecstasy whether Big Brother likes it or not AND they will continue to do so. A few random deaths will do little to discourage the insatiably curious. Psychoactive experimentation is a rite of passage for millions of people across the globe. It’s high time that governments STOP WASTING taxpayers money on “fighting” a nonsensical drug war – money that would be better spent on providing affordable housing, jobs, and decent pension plans – stuff that matters in the real world . Consumers will always find a way around ridiculous anti-drug policies, which could lead to their demise in some unfortunate circumstances – like the ones involving PMMA. Reports compiled by noteworthies such as Sasha and Ann Shulgin, Leo Zeff and Philip Wolfson, prove that MDMA possesses remarkable therapeutic properties as evidenced by the aforementioned personalities, who have taken the drug and studied its effects in psychotherapy over several years. Ecstasy is much more than a mere party drug. If used correctly, it can be a gateway to profound self-discovery and a greater awareness of one’s connection with the universe. It is the effervescent enemy of an autocratic system ultimately doomed to failure. And that, dear reader, is the real reason why Ecstasy will remain illegal for many years to come.

Note: I welcome  your thoughts and comments on this important topic. Keep your comments concise and to the point. Let’s get a debate going!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.