Understanding the social and scientific relevance of the drug ecstasy (MDMA) is made simpler by considering it as one substance with two discrete identities. As a compound worthy of serious scientific inquiry in the lab and in research clinics, MDMA is an intriguing phenethylamine with yet unknown potential as a therapeutic agent. Its "alter ego" reputation as a possible brain toxin on the street and in the club scene, where it is commonly known as ecstasy or simply "E," has led to a premature stifling of methodologically sound research and clinical investigations. Controversies in the political, legal, media, and public health sectors around its perceived threats and benefits remain unresolved. Widespread confusion, gross errors in reporting on MDMA's effects and side effects, and ignorance about ...

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