Contrary to popular belief, a new study has shown that rolling isn’t that bad for you. The study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The study suggests that previous research overestimated the extent of serotonergic alterations experienced by the majority of users. MDMA, the primary component of ecstasy, releases serotonin which creates the feel-good high while rolling. However, MDMA gives users a rough emotional crash from depleted serotonin levels after use.
MDMA alters the brain’s serotonergic levels in a dose-dependent manner. However, the relevance of these findings remains unclear due to limited knowledge about the ecstasy/MDMA use pattern of real-life users.
Balázs Szigeti, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, looked at previous reports and had an issue with its findings. “I found it weird that they called users who take 2 pills twice a month ‘low to moderate users.’ I suspected that it is much more than what the average user takes,” Szigeti said. He realized that The Global Drug Survey was likely to have the data he needed. He quickly emailed them:
“The researchers examined data from 11,168 respondents who had reported at least one occasion of ecstasy pill use in the previous year. Szigeti and his colleagues found that the ecstasy users who participated in previous neuroimaging studies had consumed far more of the drug than the typical user had. On average, the brain imaging participants consumed 720% more pills over a year. The GDS respondents used 12.2 pills a year on average, while the brain imaging participants reported using an average of 87.3 pills a year.”
In conclusion, the study findings suggest that the brain imaging was focused mainly on unusually heavy ecstasy use. Therefore, the conclusions likely overestimate the extent of serotonin level alterations. The whole study can be found here.