Ecstasy and Consciousness. How taking a drug can alter your look on life. Introduction - Jocelyn Physiology (How it works) - Robin Acute response – Kristen Long term effects – Quinn Ecstasy and Society – Jocelyn Conclusion – Jocelyn. What is consciousness?.
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Ecstasy and Consciousness How taking a drug can alter your look on life
Introduction - Jocelyn Physiology (How it works) - Robin Acute response – Kristen Long term effects – Quinn Ecstasy and Society – Jocelyn Conclusion – Jocelyn
What is consciousness? • Consciousness: a state of awareness; the totality of impressions, thoughts, and feelings • Drugs act on the chemicals in the brain • By altering or mimicking neurotransmitters, psychoactive drugs can substantially change how we feel
Pharmacokinetics General Effects: • Combination of stimulant effects, mild hallucinogen-like effects, plus more unique emotional effects • Dosage: 80 - 150 mg. (500 mg fatal) • Duration: 4 - 6 hours
Absorption: -Primarily oral administration (pill form) -Onset of clinical effect is 15 to 30 minutes -Peak effects occur at ~ 1 to 2 hours
Biotransformation: • 65% of the drug is cleared in the urine as the parent drug • Elimination: • Elimination half-life is reported to be 3 to 7 hours • In the abuse setting (i.e. at Raves) patients frequently may take a second "booster dose" after about 3 to 4 hours, as some of the hallucinogenic effects begin to "wear off".
Pharmacodynamics: • MDMA is an indirect agonist for Serotonin (5-HT) & for Dopamine (DA) and Norepinephrine (NE) to a lesser degree. • MDMA has a high affinity for 5-HT 2 receptors • Ecstasy elicits amphetamine-like effects
Mechanism: • The primary mechanism of action of MDMA is a potent release of brain serotonin as well as inhibition of serotonin reuptake • MDMA uses a unique mechanism which causes a rapid and profound acute depletion of serotonin within 3 to 6 hours
“The Love Drug” • Changes individual state of awareness or consciousness for ~3-12 hours • Increased sensory perceptions • General feeling of openness • Increased empathogenesis • Increased entactogenesis all features are extensions of normal reality
Acute Effects • Physiological effects INCREASED • heart rate • blood pressure • body temperature seen in other forms of alternate states of consciousness
Common Situations for usage • Personal experience • small group setting • Spiritual expansion • Treatment of PTSD—especially female rape victims • Helps people deal with diseases • e.g. cancer
Personal Experiences • One person said, “It takes away your fear response. You feel open, clear, loving. I can’t imagine being angry under its influence, or feeling selfish or mean or even defensive. You have a lot of insights into yourself, real insights, that stay with you after the experience is over. It doesn’t give you anything that isn’t already there. It is not a trip. You don’t lose touch with the world. You could pick up the phone, call your mother, and she’d never know.”
Personal Experiences (cont.) • “With Ecstasy, I had simply stepped outside the worn paths in my brain and in the process, gained some perspective on my life.” • “Ecstasy nudges you to think, very deeply, about one thing at a time.” • “Ecstasy creates not just a rush but a singular kind of emotional elevation—you are launched on a hot-air balloon ride that floats over the pitfalls of typical humanity.”
Physiological effects first . .. • Long term neurotoxic effects • Depletion of serotonin in central serotonergic pathways • -Specifically, neurotoxic lesions
Physiological effects first . . . • High levels of serotonin release in long-term use seem to exhaust neurons involved with it • Neuro-imaging studies show a subsequent loss in serotonin transporters • Subsequent death of involved nerve endings
Physiological effects first . . . • Important to add that long-term effects are still unclear. • Some scientists even state these long term effects are imaginary • Are brain imaging results iatrogenic? • Doctors discuss a cause-and-effect relationship as if it were fact
Psychological effects as they relate to consciousness . . . • How do serotonergic effects manifest themselves in behavior? • Learning and Memory: • immediate and delayed recall tasks
Psychological effects as they relate to consciousness . . . • Beyond selective impairment in episodic memory, working memory, and attention . . . • Associated with: • Sleep disorders • Depressed mood • Persistent elevation of anxiety • Impulsiveness • Hostility
Psychological effects as they relate to consciousness . . . • Possible reasons for these other • alterations in consciousness: • PET results also show alterations in metabolic uptake within amygdala, hippocampus, and Brodmann’s II area. • keep in mind all of the implications on consciousness associated with these areas
Psychological effects as they relate to consciousness . . . • Sleep disorders : Anxiety? • Depressed mood: Serotonin? Or is it elevated FDG in Amygdala? • Persistent elevation of anxiety: related again to serotonin and SSRI anti-depressants? • Impulsiveness: reduced level of serotonergic function? • Hostility: Amygdala FDG levels?
Can a drug change society’s consciousness? • Marijuana – 1960’s • Cocaine – 1980’s • Ecstasy – 1990’s
Perspectives Change • The most obvious users are young • Looking for fun, new experiences • Aware of, but not so worried about risks and consequences • Older people get scared • Skepticism and misunderstanding • How safe are these drugs, anyway? • Everything’s addictive
“The Media Effect” • Major publicity and media frenzy • More harmful than helpful? “He who uses ecstasy destroys himself and dies.” - Corriere di Romagna, Italy, October 19, 1996 Ecstasy: The Truth About the Enemy Behind the Mask - “No to drugs, Yes to life” website Fighting the `ecstasy' epidemic - San Diego Union Tribune Ecstasy Rising - ABC News
Conclusions • Ecstasy changes brain chemistry subjective experience is altered • Ecstasy may cause long lasting brain reorganization a permanently altered state of consciousness (?) • Wide cultural impact despite fairly limited use collective consciousness changes as a product of the media attention and publicity
References • Klam, Matthew. "Experiencing Ecstasy." The New York Times Magazine 05 June 2001: 38-49. • Kuhn, Cynthia , Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson. Buzzed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003. 74-82. • Morgan, MJ. "Ecstasy (MDMA): a review of its possible persistent psychological effects." Psychopharmocology. 2000, October < http://mdma.net/longterm/ > Obrocki, J et al. "Ecstasy--long-term effects on the human central nervous system revealed by positron emission tomography" The British Journal of Psychiatry. Germany, 1999. < http://bjp.rcpsych.org/cgi/content/abstract/175/2/186 > Reaney, Patricia. "Scientists Say Long-Term Effects of Ecstasy Unclear." Reuter's News Service.London: Sept, 2002. < http://www.maps.org/media/reaney9.2.02.html > • www.ecstasy.org • www.projectghb.org/ecstasy.htm • www.clubdrugs.org • Wallace, Benjamin, Leslie E. Fisher. Consciousness and Behavior. Prospect Heights: Waveland Press, Inc., 2003. • Memory deficit and reduced anxiety in young adult rats given repeated intermittent MDMA treatment during the periadolescent period. Piper, Brian J; Meyer, Jerrold S, Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior. Vol 79(4), Dec 2004, pp. 723-731 • “Ecstasy” or MDMA. http://www.krpc.com/proffed/mdma%5Cmdma.cfm • Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheet : Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/methylenedioxymetham phetamine.htm