Ecstasy – Chasing The First High


“As we move more and more electronic, people are extremely hungry for the opposite: human interaction on a deeper level where you’re not rushing around, the rise of Molly (MDMA) is in tune with how people are feeling emotionally.” – Rick Doblin, the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

Ecstasy was always my drug of choice. Pot made me paranoid, cocaine made me an asshole and speed made me crazy. But the warm, cerebral hug of a pill-induced high just made perfect sense to me. I was a child seeking heart-to-heart connection, a deeper sense of belonging and the blissful euphoria of my brain exploding in a chemically altered high.

In a very rudimental way, ecstasy was good for me (bar the long-term brain damage). I had my first experience of empathy on a dance floor.  I learned how to love a stranger at a rave and I scribbled the words P.L.U.R (peace, love, unity, respect) on my hand so I would always remember to embody and live by that code. Ecstasy become my reference point, what if we could be more loving, caring, inclusive and empathetic? What would that feel like? What would it look like?

I don’t want to glamorise being a trashbag – I still cringe and tut-tut at the stupidity of my (completely trolleyed) 18 year old brain. But the questions are still plausible and probably more relevant to me now more than ever.

We’re becoming increasingly disconnected from ourselves and others. Anxiety and depression are on the rise and more and more people are feeling fearful, alone and disillusioned. The popularity of heart-opening disco biscuits are just a reflection of a population that’s starving for connection and intimacy.

I relearnt how to connect to myself and others through a ruthless spiritual practice of yoga, prayer and meditation. But drug-induced euphoria has always been a reference point of just how good I can feel.

It’s an area that’s driving discussion and receiving some serious study from doctors and scientists. It started with the Bay Area psychiatrists who began experimenting with the drug in the 1970s to multi-million dollar efforts by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies to make MDMA an FDA-regulated prescription medicine by 2021.

MDMA is a chemical compound that floods the brain with serotonin, a neurotransmitter commonly associated with happiness and euphoria. According to 1980’s drug-tales, an entrepreneurial dealer was trying to build a new consumer base for MDMA – the compound  seemed promising but it needed a catchier title. He used the term “Ecstasy” with regular club kids in mind “Empathy would be more appropriate, but how many people know what it means?”