Film and TV

‘Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial’

This afternoon I watch both parts of the Channel 4 documentary ‘Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial’, which was broadcast quite a few months ago now but has been sitting in my 4oD “to watch” list for some time. I decided, since I had nothing better to do this afternoon, to give it ago.

It was absolutely fascinating, especially to learn that MDMA is being researched as a possible treatment for mental illnesses like PTSD and depression. It was really interesting to see how the drug affects the human brain (even more interesting that it can affect different people in such wildly different ways – from total euphoria, to indifference, to aggression) and to hear both sides of the debate on whether MDMA is really as harmful as it is made out to be and whether it should be considered for therapeutic use more routinely.

Personally, this really challenged my views on the drug. As a child, I was always led to believe that all drugs were highly dangerous and if you ever experimented, something would go wrong and there would be no way back. This childhood belief influenced my way of thinking for many years, and even now, when I learn that someone regularly takes drugs – even if it’s just marijuana – I’m taken by surprise. It doesn’t bother me anymore though, because it’s such a common thing to do, but there is always that sense of, “oh, that’s what your take on it is”. To learn that, yes, while MDMA still has potentially lethal side effects, it really doesn’t seem as bad it once did in those ‘childhood propaganda’ days, where we would be shown videos in school, dramatisations of teenagers dying from dehydration or overdose and led to believe that this would happen. In fact, I can see why so many people would want to take it: the relief from anxiety, the connection with other people, the fact that it’s not an addictive substance (psychologically addictive, maybe, but not physically), the pure release from everyday troubles. To hear those who’ve taken MDMA say this is one thing, but to have leading researchers and scientists share this point of view is really quite thought-provoking.

All in all, it was a really interesting experiment and I would urge anyone to watch it – there is no bias and the science behind it all is totally captivating.

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