MDMA Harm Reduction Guide
MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) has undertaken the challenge of getting MDMA to be an FDA approved, prescription medication by 2021. They are a fantastic organisation that is currently pioneering the field of psychedelic research.
In light of this possibility, I thought it would be fitting to put together a post that can hopefully enable readers who use MDMA to possibly use it more responsibly in the future. I will split responsible use into a couple of separate paradigms.
One of the most important aspects of responsible drug use is understanding how often you can safely do a substance, without physically damaging yourself to an extent that you might consider to be counter-intuitive. Frequency of drug use has strong ties to both physical & psychological addiction, as well as the level of ostensibly permanent damage we inflict on our brains.
I will cover more drugs in the future, but since this is a harm reduction guide for MDMA, timing in this case is mostly a question of avoiding possibly compounded effects of neurotoxicity. MDMA acts primarily on the brain’s serotonin system. Our brains are not naturally accustomed to releasing serotonin in quantities as large as MDMA causes us to, this is why it takes a relatively long time to fully replenish serotonin reserves after using MDMA. Due to this, it is best to leave adequate amounts of time between MDMA sessions. Using more frequently than once every 3 months is strongly discouraged, as long term negative effects are unlikely to show until potentially irreparable damage has been inflicted. If you are currently using MDMA at a rate which is more frequent than this, please know that it is never too late to cut back on usage.
Recommended minimum time frames between MDMA sessions:
- Conservative: ~12 months between MDMA use.
- Reasonable: ~3 months between MDMA use.
- Nihilist: ~1 month between MDMA use.
- Dangerous: ~1 week between MDMA use.
It is important to understand that serotonin neurons can take between 3-12 months to fully recover from an MDMA session. Using more frequently than this will compound the negative effects.
Don’t use it on a chronic daily basis, you will destroy your short term memory & fall into depression because your serotonin system will be fucked. If you happen to end up taking MDMA too much in a row, it won’t be extremely damaging unless it has become a sustained habit, provided doses have been reasonable. After repetitive use, try to make sure you take at least a couple months off before doing it again. Don’t allow MDMA to become a big habit. There are far safer drugs to take chronically. It is best to take a cautious approach to the use of MDMA (if responsible use is your goal), since research on the substance is still in early stages.
Below is an example demonstrating the atrophy of serotonin neurons, in the frontal lobes of monkeys. These monkeys had 10mg/kg of MDMA administered to them daily, for 4 days consecutively.
When it comes to dosing MDMA, it is best to take your intended dose at the start of the session, redosing when already into a session increases the effects of neurotoxicity, primarily due to increased net duration of high body temperature. It is also important to note that redosing will decrease the ultimate intensity of the perceived experience, since peak concentration will be lower & relative tolerance will begin to develop before the second dose. Always make sure to weigh your dose, don’t “eye” it out.
These dosage guidelines are provided by www.erowid.org, arguably the best online drug resource.
This is a paradigm of recreational drug use that exists thanks to the drug war. Because the drug market is a black market, there is no trusted regulation of substances. This means that a lot of drugs are misrepresented. MDMA is no exception. Some common adulterants/complete replacements include various synthetic Cathinones (bath salts), Methamphetamines, Amphetamines, Caffeine and other more obscure substances.
Image Source: testkitplus.com
A safe precaution to take in this scenario is to get yourself a Marquis Reagent. This will allow you to figure out if what you have doesn’t contain what you’re after. Unfortunately this method does not allow you to pick up other substances mixed with MDMA, but they are great for finding out if you have something completely other than MDMA. You can get a test kit which can perform 80-100 tests for $34, here.
The best way to test your drugs is to send a sample to Energy Control in Spain. They will perform tests using GC/MS, LC/MS, etc, depending on the sample. This will give you an actual result regarding what active compounds are present in the sample, as well as purity.
The chart below is calibrated to give results based on acute safety instead of neurotoxicity, please note that psychedelics combined with MDMA will slightly increase the risks of neurotoxic damage, even though they are safe from an acute perspective. Cannabis could be neuroprotective when used in conjunction with MDMA, most likely in THC naive individuals.
Please view the image below to see MDMA’s drug combination profile (click to enlarge):
Supplementation is a great way to possibly mitigate a few of the ill effects of MDMA consumption. This can also decrease the intensity of the comedown & shorten the time taken to restore homoeostasis post-session.
Hydrate yourself, but don’t go overboard! There are some misconceptions that entail that an MDMA user needs to drink large amounts of water – don’t do this. While under the effects of MDMA, you become more susceptible to developing hyponatremia with excessive water consumption (ESPECIALLY IN WOMEN). This means that it is best to drink isotonic beverages while under the influence of MDMA. Isotonic beverages are things like Gatorade, Powerade, Energade and other sports drinks which contain electrolytes. Drinking these types of drinks is a great beverage choice to combine with MDMA.
High body temperature is something you want to try and avoid while on MDMA, because it increases oxidative stress, so keep yourself nice and cool if possible!
I hope that you may have found something useful in this guide, if you have any particular concerns that I didn’t address or feel I missed out on something important, contact me and I will get back to you & possibly update the guide.