Jon Hanna

At 454 pages, Julie Holland's Ecstasy: The Complete Guide (Park Street Press, Rochester, VT) is substantially larger than any previous text on the subject.
With contributions from such psychedelic experts as Alexander Shulgin, Ann Shulgin, Andrew Weil, Dave Nichols, Karl Jansen, Ralph Metzner, Claudio Naranjo and Douglas Rushkoff, Ecstasy provides the latest facts on MDMA -- its history, pharmacology, chemistry, effects, side effects, risks, benefits, legal status, cultural and spiritual uses, and more.

While Ecstasy is geared towards the scientific community, a lot of its information will benefit the recreational user, especially those who frequently attend raves.

A scary yet accurate assessment of the known risks associated with MDMA use is provided in the chapter "Does MDMA Cause Brain Damage?" by Matthew Baggot and John Mendelson.

Some evidence suggests that antioxidants may help thwart potentially negative brain changes (take a few vitamin C tablets before, during and after MDMA use). Other studies have indicated that popping a Prozac a couple hours after ingesting MDMA may have neuroprotective effects.

Ecstasy largely focuses on the beneficial uses of the drug for ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

Psychedelics scholar Rick Doblin (www.maps.org) presents a lucid argument for MDMA as a legal prescription medicine, and several clinical studies on humans performed worldwide indicate that there are few risks and may be many benefits from using MDMA as a legitimate medicine.

In a time when so many of the "facts" about MDMA are presented by government-sponsored antidrug forces with a vested interest in demonizing it, it is heartening to read such a thorough and balanced book.