Outer space/Inner space: July 16th in HistoryJuly 16, 2009 12:17 pm entactogen, human
On July 16th 1969, Apollo 11 set off for the Moon. On July 16th 1930, thirty-nine years earlier, humanity first encountered an MDMA-like drug as Gordon Alles began his self-experiments with MDA. Even though it appears in several percent of illicit ‘ecstasy’ tablets, MDA has received little attention in recent years. That just changed. This month, we finished collecting data in the first human study of MDA in over 30 years.
We used Dittrich’s Altered States of Consciousness questionnaire (APZ-OAV) late in each session to measure the overall effects of MDA (and placebo). The questionnaire item that received the second highest ratings, after “I felt very happy and content”, was “I felt as though I was in a wonderful other world”. Participants also reported sensual physical sensations, profound feelings, deep peacefulness, and awe.
MDMA-like drugs are not panaceas. Like the technology that brought us to the moon, they have potential for unleashing great harm. But they can also produce these powerful experiences of peace. It’s hard to imagine humanity could not find some use for this.
Four days after Apollo 11 left earth, the world stopped as humans walked the moon. As Buzz Aldrin later described it, “in this one moment, the world came together in peace for all mankind”. These moments may not last. But at least they remind us to stop and reflect on the beauty and potential of the human family and our only home.