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Sep-09-2009 00:27printcomments

Marijuana/Cannabis, PTSD... and Ecstasy:
an Amphetamine-Like Drug? Never

What really scares me is that some people seem to think this might be better than marijuana/cannabis for PTSD which has never killed ANYBODY!

Ecstasy pills
Ecstasy pills

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I will be the first to admit that the above is a wild title but considering MJ/C in the same sentence with Ecstacy/MDMA is really a stretch.

Our Canadian correspondent, Daniel Johnson, sent an email asking what I, as a Pharmacologist/Toxicologist, thought of a new Canadian trial of Ecstacy for PTSD.

Ecstacy is way out on the fringes of Pharmacology with METH, mescaline, morning glory seeds, psilocybin mushrooms and some African witch doctors potions and LSD, a Serotonin releaser (see later).

My ongoing impression has been that Ecstacy was an amphetamine on steroids and users at Rave parties would dance riotously all night get hyperthermia and sweat gallons.


I checked Wikipedia which may or may not be the best reference for this but I was very impressed. After living through the era of all the weird psychotropics of the first paragraph Wikipedia really laid it on the line ---- Ecstasy is a scary S.O.B. It has the wildest, most complicated (and lethal) pharmacologic actions I have ever encountered.

METH and Heroin are pink punch by comparison. Ecstasy works drastically on many of the body’s hormones and neurotransmitters apparently simultaneously.

I was astonished to see one if it’s main actions was on Serotonin. I wrote a Masters Thesis on this in 1952. I think I was the first American to do so.

It was discovered in Italy and the U.S. in 1937. My professor thought it might be individual cardiac arrhythmias. It wasn’t (more below).

However, it does cause constriction of smooth muscle. It also acts in the brain where it affects sleep, mood, aggression, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior and pain. Time magazine, Sept. 1997, had a very long and excellent article about it. They called it THE MOOD MOLECULE. Serotonin launched the Antidepressant drugs, SSRI’s, Prozac, Zoloft, etc, etc, etc.

In addition to its effects on Serotonin, Ecstasy also affects norepinephrine, dopamine, and Oxycontin. When this devils brew is turned loose, weird things transpire. Concurrent amphetamines et al can be lethal. MAOI’s can also be lethal.

The pathological or dangerous effects of Ecstasy are really scary even from a one pill dose. These include seizures, hyperthermia with sweating, dehydration, and low blood sodium/blood coagulation disorders, cardiac arrhythmias including death by ventricular fibrillation, heart failure, stroke, renal failure, liver failure, et cetera.

Low doses have been used in psychiatry with some success. The biggest problem seems to be addiction liability like METH.

What really scares me is that some people seem to think this might be better than marijuana/cannabis for PTSD which has never killed ANYBODY!


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Jack Leavy October 19, 2009 12:54 pm (Pacific time)

What you are syaing couldn't be further from the truth. Absolutely...

Editor: Dr. Leveque has more intelligence in his small finger than you do in your entire brain you insulting moron.  You are a joke, you can't even spell.  I probably should just flush your comment, it astounds me that an idiot would attempt to say this type of thing to an esteemed doctor like Phil Leveque.. No, you are wrong, he is right, and that is the end of this story. 

Mdubb October 13, 2009 7:46 pm (Pacific time)

"I was astonished to see one if it’s main actions was on Serotonin. I wrote a Masters Thesis on this in 1952."
Did you write your thesis on Serotonin or ecstasy? Could you provide a link? Thanks Dr. Leveque

Editor: I would be happy to connect you with Dr. Leveque via email, can you please send an email to:

Dr. Leveque September 10, 2009 9:19 am (Pacific time)

To Mike R. etal: Mike appears to be a pharcomologist and in general I agree. However, I rechecked my references and punched up ECSTACY DANGERS on my computer and found 1000 articles and 12,900,000 hits. Ecstacy must be the most addictive lethal drug ever discovered.THERE IS NO WAY TO CONFINE ITS USE FOR MEDICAL/PSYCHIATRIC PURPOSES.

Mike R September 10, 2009 7:22 am (Pacific time)

Saying that MDMA (Ecstacy) is on the fringe of pharmacology couldn't be farther from the truth. It was original designed, pattented and used as a medicine by psychiatrists. It was used professionally with GREAT success for PTSD and other repressive types of mental illnesses. While I would NEVER suggest using this drug lightly, it does have a long and detailed history of being a very successful tool for mental health. That being said, it should be strongly regulated and never used as a first line of treatment.

Anonymous September 9, 2009 3:25 pm (Pacific time)

"Your research is spot on and hopefully will get others to start thinking." Familiar syntax.

Editor:  Mike DuVall,  you might as well go ahead and use your name, don't you think?

Anonymous September 9, 2009 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

Dr Phil. I dont respond much to your articles/writings, but I think you are an excellent addition to Salem-news. Your research is spot on and hopefully will get others to start thinking. I do much research myself, and have yet to disagree with you. I would assume the only ones that do disagree with you, are the ones who let the mainstream media, the government, and overall status quo do their thinking for them. Keep up the great work. My respect, and appreciation to you sir.

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