|113640. Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:46 am
|Q: Why was the dance drug ecstasy invented?
F: As a hunger suppressant, as a truth drug, as a recreational drug
A: As a potentially life saving invention to help blood clot
The urban myth that ecstasy was invented to suppress the hunger of German soldiers in 1912 has been perpetuated by newspapers, textbooks and even the official website of the US drug enforcement agency.
For decades, the truth behind ecstasy’s creation lay with Merck, the oldest, and most colourful, pharmaceutical company in the world.
Merck was established in 1668 by Friedrich Jacob Merck, who lived in a place called Pig Castle. Such was his passion for drugs, that he bought a pharmacy called ‘Engel-Apotheke’ or ‘Angel Pharmacy’.
The Angel Pharmacy was located in Darmstadt, which translates as ‘the City of the Intestine.’ From 1884, the firm produced and marketed more cocaine than the entire of Columbia. Sigmund Freud was a great ‘friend’ of the company, and helped them research the properties of cocaine.
In 2006, Merck decided to set the record straight about ecstasy and commissioned extensive research to establish the truth.
The research showed that the company created the drug by accident in an attempt to create a rival to hydrastinin, the best available blood clot medicine of its era, made by Merck’s rival Bayer.
Merck’s chemists thought that a similar drug called methylhydrastinin could work as well as hydrastinine and set about making it from scratch. Its pioneer was an unknown German chemist called Anton Kollisch. Kollisch died in 1916, with no idea of the effect his creation would later have. Ecstasy, or MDMA, was consequently patented (Patent 274350), not by name, but by its properties: "colourless oil, boiling point 155C at 20mm pressure, its salt forms white crystals".
It is thought that the drug was not properly tested until1927, when a chemist called Max Oberlin tried it on animals thinking MDMA might have similar properties to adrenaline.
Although Oberlin said his results were "partly remarkable", the research was halted because of costs.
Later in 1952, further tests showed that MDMA was toxic to flies. The US Air Force also carried out covert tests of the drug at this time on animals; noone knows why they did this, but it is thought they were looking for a new chemical weapon.
In 1960, the first official recipe for the drug was written up in a Polish scientific journal and was first seized in tablet from in 1970, on the streets of Chicago.
The first recorded human trial was attempted by Dr Shulgin, a former scientist with the chemical company Dow, after he synthesised the drug in 1976. Shulgin ‘raved’ about the drug’s properties, and he is frequently referred to as ‘the godfather of ecstacy’.
In 1984, MDMA’s slang name ‘Ecstasy’ was first coined in California, and it cost £25 to buy a tablet in the UK. In 1995, teenager Leah Betts died after taking the drug on her 18th birthday, and by 2006 the drug could be picked up for £3 a tablet.
|169105. Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:30 pm
|Garrick sends this:
|Q: Patented on 6 March 1899 and first marketed as pills during WWI, it was meant to make users feel better but it kills around 132 people anually according to the British Government. What is it?
A: Aspirin. Ecstasy is linked to an average of 32 deaths a year, compared to 45 for cocaine, and 575 for heroin. These are mainly atttributed to allergic reactions and dehydration on the dancefloor (There is dispute over the calculation of the ecstasy death toll since in the USA, fewer than 10 deaths a year are of people with ecstasy in their system).
On the other hand, between 1998 and 2000, allergic reactions to milk killed four Britons and an estimated 100 Americans a year are killed by other food allergies, including peanuts.
11 days after he patented Aspirin, Felix Hoffman invented another drug with painkilling properties which he called "heroin".
Comparitive drug deaths, according to UK Government.
Milk and other foodstuffs:
Hoffman, Aspirin and Heroin:
Not sure I understand this, because the question's about Aspirin but the answer's about Ecstasy. I'll ask Garrick to expand.
|169205. Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:20 am
|Bunter wrote: |
|Merck’s chemists thought that a similar drug called methylhydrastinin could work as well as hydrastinine and set about making it from scratch. Its pioneer was an unknown German chemist called Anton Kollisch. Kollisch died in 1916, with no idea of the effect his creation would later have. Ecstasy, or MDMA, was consequently patented |
Just a minor point that wasn't clear to me as I read this (and might have some effect on the phrasing of the question).
According to the wikipedia article on MDMA, Ecstacy was patented as an intermediate compound used in the production of hydrastinine, and not as a blood clot medicine in its own right.