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105618.  Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:46 am Reply with quote

Q: What would you think if your teenage nephew started growing nutmeg, dill, parsley seed, calamus, crocus, saffron, and vanilla beans?

A: You'd think he was a druggie. The oils of all of the above contain the chemical precursors for MDMA, otherwise known as 'E' or 'Ecstacy'.

MDMA is most often produced synthetically in laboratories from methamphetamine [1]. It was first synthesized by German chemists in the 1900s and patented by Merck Pharmaceutical Company in 1914 as an appetite suppressant for soldiers in the First World War [1-3]. In 1953, the U.S. Army Medical Centre experimented with this drug on mammals [2]. Alexander Shuglin synthesized myristicin into MDMA in 1962 by extracting it from the oils of nutmeg and mace [1].

Not until the 1970s did MDMA become popular for its therapeutic and recreational properties. The first report of the psychoactive effects of the drug appeared in 1976 in scientific literature. In 1980 MDMA became popular among drug users in the United States [4]. In 1985 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made MDMA a Schedule I controlled substance which banned the possession, manufacture, and sale of the drug in the United States despite arguments from physicians using it in their practice as an adjunct to psychotherapy prior to the DEA's ban. Due to the wide media coverage of the controversy over its abuse potential and its therapeutic benefit, MDMA became even more popular as a recreational street drug [5].


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