Next week on the UK TV channel, Channel 4, a trial will be broadcast, in which participants are given a dose of MDMA (commonly called Ecstasy, as I’m sure most of you know) live on TV and monitored by scientists while a live debate is conducted about the pros and cons of the drug that’s been one of the world’s most popular substances since it took off in the late 1970s.
MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, was first synthesized in 1912 by German scientist AntonÂ KÃ¶llisch as part of the route of synthesis for a drug designed to stop bleeding. He later died fighting in World War I without ever knowing the impact MDMA would have on the world.
It wasn’t until the scientist Alexander Shulgin synthesized and published reports about the drug that it suddenly became popularised and hit the drug scene big time. As the 80s began the drug began to really take off and over the next 20 years it solidified its place as one of the world’s most popular drugs.
Now Channel 4 are conducting a study with the health of scientific professionals into the facts about MDMA, including live debate and drug trials. The show airs next Wednesday the 26th at 10PM GMT. If you live outside of the UK like myself you might be able to catch the show online through a streaming site somewhere, or like me you can attempt to watch the show a few days later when someone makes the kind move of uploading it to YouTube.
There will be two programmes, one on Wednesday and one the following day on Thursday, and in both episodes participants will be taking pure MDMA. Each participant will receive the same dose and this will be done in a clinical environment in which they are being monitored at all times. There will also be a studio debate on the program in which the drug and its ups and downs will be discussed.
The first episode will focus on how the drug affects the brain, and some of its dangers. Professor David Nutt of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs will also be presenting the evidence of a six month long study that is the backing for this rather ambitious project, and alongside this we will get to watch some of the volunteers undergoing this trial.
The second episode looks into what science can make of the results of the study, and whether it has implications that suggest MDMA could have some real clinical use, including the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This episode will also look at what recreational users can learn from the study and the possible long term effects of MDMA use.
Please let us know your opinions on the trial. Is it going to be good publicity for MDMA or is it likely to tarnish the drug’s name even more?