Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Ecstasy: The Clinical, Pharmacological and Neurotoxicological Effects of the Drug MDMA.
Peroutka, Stephen J. (Editor). (1990).
Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Description: First edition,
xvi + 244 pages.
Graeme P. Gibb,
Glen R. Johnson,
Anita A. Meltzer,
Kalpana M. Nash,
David E. Oberlender,
Stephen J. Peroutka, Christopher J. Schmidt,
Vicki L. Tolbert,
Patricia M. Whitaker-Azmitia,
Excerpt(s): MDMA appears
to be most popular in particular urban areas possessing established
distribution networks for the drug. Its use has been associated
most commonly with college students, gays, yuppies, and "New
Age" seekers of psychological and/or spiritual growth. A
typical dose ranges from 100 to 150 milligrams and costs between
10 and 25 dollars.
Although many respondents in our study consider
MDMA to be a "drug of choice," they offer radically
different points of view regarding its perceived value. On the
one hand are those who see "Adam" as a valuable therapeutic
and spiritual tool. Many of these individuals pursue "New
Age" spiritual directions and, with the exception of other
psychedelic experiences, often report little use of other substances.
On the other extreme are those who seek the acclaimed euphoria
and sensuousness associated with "Ecstasy." These individuals
tend to have substantial experience with a wide array of psychoactive
drugs and find that MDMA provides many of the qualities previously
sought in other substances (e.g., cocaine). Although extremists
on either side often have great difficulty understanding the other,
the vast majority of users fall somewhere in between, sensing
and often pursuing both "therapeutic" and "recreational"
benefits in their experiences. (pages 87-88)
If entactogens are a distinct pharmacological class,
the next question must concern the therapeutic utility of such
novel agents. The term entactogen was chosen after a consideration
of the potential therapeutic applications of the drug class it
described. The name is meant to apply to agents with MDMA-like
pharmacology, but would generally apply to any substance that
can produce (gen) an inner (en) "touching" (tact).
Just as the word tact, with the same Latin root
tactus, is meant to imply both skill and considerations in dealing
with others and the ability to do or say the appropriate thing,
entactogens should ideally produce an inner state where the patient
does not feel threatened or defensive. Yet, the memory cannot
be dulled, as it is with benzodiazepines. Indeed, memory retrieval
should be facilitated, so that the ability to recall emotionally
painful, repressed memories is not impaired. (pages 125-126)
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