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How MDMA Affects Empathy

Scientific evidence is mounting that ecstasy isn’t just a party drug.

According to lore, in the early 1980s, an enterprising drug distributor in Los Angeles was trying to build a street market for the chemical compound MDMA. It seemed like a promising product— MDMA floods the brain with serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness. Users reported feeling euphoric, appreciating lights and music in a new way, and a rush of emotional intimacy. MDMA was starting to catch on as a club drug, but if it was going to be big, it would need a catchier name.

With partygoers in mind, the dealer coined the name “Ecstasy.” “Empathy,” he reportedly said, “would be more appropriate, but how many people know what it means?”

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Should MDMA Go From Party Drug to Medical Treatment?

The medical potential is great. The problem is MDMA's reputation.

Leave it all behind and enter the show. Hear, feel, and see the music, all at the same time. You’re up. Oh shit, you’re up on somebody’s shoulders. You’re higher up than you’ve ever been, connected to everything present, past, and imaginary. Fuck yeah, does it feel good.

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