To the average music fan, electronic dance music is defined by it’s incredible stages, breath-taking visuals, soaring melodies and all the colorful outfits associated with the PLUR lifestyle. While the values of Peace, Love, Unity and Respect are synonymous with EDM, it’s impossible to ignore the genre’s ties to rave drugs like ecstasy and MDMA, and in light of recent deaths at both TomorrowWorld and Electric Daisy Carnival, the association of electronic dance music with drug overdoses couldn’t be any closer. At the end of the day, while most festival attendees are there to have a good, safe time, MDMA and ecstasy use will always hurt the genre’s reputation.
While you might have been right to assume that taking MDMA is a surefire way to truly loosen up and get wild to your favorite DJ, a new report seems to indicate that it might not be quite as relaxing as you thought. In a study conducted by Swinburne University of Technology, hair samples were taken from participants to measure their cortisol levels. Cortisol – for those who might not be familiar – is a steroid hormone that the body secretes in response to stress. These hair samples were taken from heavy users (5+ times in the past month), light users (1-4 times in the past 3 months), and non-users (control group) of ecstasy, and cortisol levels were recorded over a period of three months. Researchers found that heavy users showed elevated cortisol levels in their systems, while light and non-users maintained relatively normal levels throughout the course of the study.
It’s important to note that while the study does demonstrate a relationship between frequent MDMA use and high cortisol levels, it doesn’t prove that the former causes the latter. So to anyone reading this article that started to stress out thinking about the toll of your last festival on your body, you’re in the clear – albeit on a technicality. The researchers did however find MDMA and ecstasy use to be associated with significant memory impairments, so it may not be such a bad idea to enjoy a couple sober shows once in a while.