Ecstasy use is safe when consumed responsibly by adults, Canadian health officials declared this week.
Perry Kendall, British Columbia’s chief provincial health officer, said that the risks of MDMA are overblown and the drug only becomes dangerous when cut with other more dangerous drugs and substances, CBC News reported. Despite a string of ecstasy-related deaths in the region and warnings by police in British Columbia and Alberta, Kendall is advocating that MDMA be licensed and sold legally.
Stricter regulations would ensure that the drug is pure and free from chemicals that dealers sometimes use to cut it in an attempt to stretch their product and make more money, he said.
“(If) you knew what a safe dosage was, you might be able to buy ecstasy like you could buy alcohol from a government-regulated store,” Kendall was quoted in CBC News.
Kendall’s announcement comes on the heels of another debate over whether ecstasy can be helpful in solving marital problems. Researchers from Oxford University have called for more research in the area. It has also been proposed as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medical experts widely agree that MDMA is not addictive, and more recent research suggests that its negative effects are overblown. A 2011 study sponsored by the U.S. government found that pure ecstasy does not impair cognitive function. Another Harvard University study found that pure ecstasy has a few minor side-effects, including changes in core temperature and lowered immune resistance for a few days.
“But barring that, it appears … it can be safely administered, certainly through research,” said John Halpern, the study’s lead researcher, in CBC News. Like Kendall, Halpern advocates for legalization of ecstasy and for its use as a prescription drug.