Maximizing the benefit of taking psychoactive substances is a bit like driving: Arab Muslim women can get HIV from both…but by it being similar to driving I mean don't ever be caught doing it in a Chevy Vibe. I've spent as many hours researching ways to preserve my mental faculties in experimenting with drugs as Tom Hardy has done shoulder shrugs in preparation for Warrior and Rick Santorum has spent practicing awkward hugs in preparation for marriage.

Tom Hardy in The Warrior (movie)
Does 200 push-ups a day…still worried about Pippa being on “Worst Dressed” list.

With the tenacity of your average 18-25 male whispering to himself in an Indo-European language engaged in prolonged eye contact with a fellow weightlifting enthusiast in the mirror at Gold's Gym, I've crossed the neurochemical Rubicon time and time again, subjecting myself to the torture of doing cocaine off of strippers' asses and developing intimate relationships with furniture under the influence of psilocybin so that one day I could enlighten my readers (myself) to the ways of safe and constructive drug use.

Every Time You Do Drugs poster
It's only gay if you make “speck of sawdust in your eye” contact.

Without question, there are certain drugs that you should—under any circumstance—stay away from. For the sake of keeping things concise, there need be no explanation for aversion to these consciousness-altering substances:

  • Bath salts
  • K2
  • Nancy Grace
  • Scopalamine
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Channing Tatum
  • Heroin
  • Heroines (Susan B. Anthony through Wonder Woman)
  • Nandralone
  • Cigarettes between 8pm-11pm, or any that resemble a thin joint enough to deceive me
  • GHB
  • Sam Cassell
  • Methamphetamine
  • Vioxx
  • Liz Bathory
  • Bug-eye sunglasses
  • Fanta (if you live in the southern United States)
  • Uggs
  • Kirk Cameron (post-Left Behind series)
  • Starbucks Doubleshot
  • Indira Gandhi
  • The Clear
  • Paint thinners
  • Tony Robbins
  • And last but not least deleterious, whatever's secreted from Ann Coulter that is currently being studied by NASA as a viable alternative combustible fuel, but its uncanny ability to scare away anything phallic prevents its viability in rockets.

Anderson Cooper's blue eyesOkay, now it's time for the rest of you kids in Narnia to get out of the goddamned closet.

Some of these aren't necessarily directly harmful to your health, nor are they considered illicit, but if I have to deal with you doing them around me, I'm going to make you have a staring contest with Anderson Cooper and shock you every time you break into tears at the magnificent azul oceans of empathy wrapped like an accretion disk around a black, seemingly endless depth of understanding and passion of infinite density that are his eyes. Knibb High football rules!

Ecstasy Scientific Profile:

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) or “ecstasy,” gained popularity and was used recreationally in the States throughout the 1970's. Because of its therapeutic potential in reducing fear and anxiety while promoting pro-social behavior, it was once considered a therapeutic tool in many scientific circles. After its entrance to the Schedule 1 drug classification though, study on its potential use for enhancing the positive effects of psychotherapy and combating post-traumatic stress disorder was greatly reduced.

However, since they started showing white kids dead on TV too, and releasing statistics that if you're a war veteran you're probably either homeless or have to deal with flashbacks every time you hear one of your doped-up stepmother's fake tits getting popped by her PTA badge, studies on MDMA have slowly re-emerged.

Unfortunately, it appears that MDMA is potentially neurotoxic in humans and negatively impacts serotonergic functioning, particularly in the thalamus, even after use is ceased. And that's how we got Kristen Stewart. Further studies are warranted to gauge the severity and length of these effects, but we'll address that later in this article.

Kristen Stewart - the many faces
I defer.

Ecstasy Playlist:

Cher – “Life After Love” Primarily because only under the influence of MDMA is it feasible to listen to this song and not be impelled to become a homeless black guy and eat another man's face. I mean you aren't born a homeless, black cannibal, are you?

What to Do on Ecstasy:

Have sex.

I suggest this in part because I love reinforcing the religious right's fear of drugs in their propensity to interrupt the entire religious mating strategy of unattractive-male-with-combover-in-corduroy-wedding-girl-out-of-his-league-and-convincing-her-Jesus-would-have-wanted-her-to-regress-into-a-role-as-a-super-nanny-obedient-Pampered Chef-Mary Kay-paternal-certainty-bot, but moreso because of the ethereal emotional eruption that accompanies ingesting MDMA. And it made you fuck that fat chick that one time you were me two weeks ago.

Oxytocin, the neurohypophyseal chemical that signals the release of breast milk, fuels maternal adoration, promotes altruism and group cooperation, and even accompanies that sexual postlude that women didn't care about until 50 Shades of Grey, is released in massive amounts. This allows you to break down barriers built by our skin and reflexive egos to reach levels of esoteric love and compassion that truly knows no prejudice. Serotonin increases your mood and arouses you as you abandon your more primitive drives and experience serene satisfaction. Hamilton's law of predicting altruism loses credibility as you feel connected to other human beings at a precipice you thought was impossible, and the trivial meanderings of petty, futile, both primitive and socially constructed desires disappear, leaving you enveloped in the belief that abstract concepts such as love could really become a valid economic strategy.

Rupert Sheldrake, who performed experiments on MDMA's effectiveness in increasing the rate at which one can determine whether he or she is being stared at by an unseen observer, claimed Ecstasy is a misnomer, and would be more adequately named Empathy. As an amphetamine, its stimulating properties and effects on the dopaminergic system (quite possibly the most important neurotransmitter in reinforcing behavior) generates excitement and euphoria that mirrors the adulation you had for your first crush in elementary school, if only he or she had reciprocated and the two of you had fallen into an eternal exchange of MSN Messenger IMs of poorly spelled Shakespearean sonnets with a yearning of Poe describing the final resting place of his Annabel Lee. And he or she didn't move to Wyoming to have a kid with your sworn enemy. Fuck you, Trent.

MSN cartoons
“And in our faults by lies we flattered be.” “lol wtf?”

What Not to Do on Ecstasy:

Masturbate.

Drugs that inhibit serotonin re-uptake, thus increasing synaptic concentration, are prescribed for premature ejaculation. The massive increase in serotonin that results after ingesting MDMA could potentially hinder the ejaculatory reflex, which, coupled with the increased arousal that results from ingesting MDMA, will take your masturbatory speed to a level generating 1.21 gigawatts, and leave your dick looking something like a scalped, obese caterpillar with elephantitis. For some reason I just pictured Andy Milonakis naked.

Using Ecstasy Safely:

As with most substances that powerfully modulate the dopaminergic system, MDMA can most definitely be addictive. That being said, anybody I know who has abused MDMA was already an alcoholic and the continued use had more to do with apathy than necessity.

In any event, MDMA is something so enlightening, so powerful, that it shouldn't be used often anyway, to prevent dilution of the experience—like getting pissed on by R. Kelly after he detoxed for a week and drank a Fiji water beforehand. And like I said earlier, although there doesn't appear to be a long-term detrimental effect on the dopaminergic system, the serotoninergic system could take an extended period of time to recover from MDMA use, if it truly will at all.

On the upside, with your acquired flat affect you'd never have to continue to justify your excessive consumption at a buffet with the “there are starving kids in Africa argument.” As if the excrement from your bleached asshole was neatly packaged and shipped to that kid in the brochure you threw away because that dog you “rescued” from the pound and spent your last disposable income on had those big puppy eyes and you don't think anyone should wear a distended abdomen after Labor Day (see footnotes). Have your pets spayed and neutered, audience. Although longitudinal studies are rare, the damage one incurs does seem to be compounded greatly by continued use, and ecstasy addiction treatment probably isn't cheap.

Fat guy eating on the beach
“There are starving kids in….my stomach somewhere. We actually ran out of Funyuns on the way up.”

Specific Over-The-Counter Drugs to Take with Ecstasy:

Like my Mexican neighbor who shits in his well to prevent getting Monroe's Revenge, there are a variety of difference preparation substances you can take to prevent you from incurring damage from MDMA use:

Under no circumstance should you be taking the commonly suggested 5-HTP.

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, which if taken before or during your session with MDMA, could induce a particularly nasty malady called serotonin syndrome. Nor should you ever be taking MDMA if you're on an MAOI or SSRI. Essentially, if you're on antidepressants, taking MDMA is a worse idea than letting a dingo babysit your infant. In addition, you want levels of serotonin in the brain to resume naturally after discontinuation, not artificially by adding an exogenous source.

Australian dingo
Casey Anthony of the Animal Kingdom.

Acetly-l-carnitine (ALCAR)

If over-the-counter neuroprotective substances were irrelevant reality celebrities, ALCAR would be the resultant offspring of an orgy between the Dance Moms and someone from a reality show that isn't a horrible mother, and has a penis. Bruce Jenner.

Ranging from Alzheimer's to Parkinsonian symptoms from MPTP exposure, from cerebral ischemia to mental retardation, ALCAR has been shown to prevent neurological damage and increase cognitive functioning. ALCAR contributes to the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter invaluable in global brain communication, learning, dreaming, and a target for many nootropic substances. Carnitine is a compound that shuttles fat into the mitochondria to be used for fuel and generally increases mitochondrial function resilience to corticosteroid and oxidative damage. A new study specifically showed that in neonatal, really lucky rats, ALCAR protected against the neurotoxic effects of MDMA.

Curcumin is a phenol in turmeric, an extract of ginger. It generally decreases inflammation—paramount in preventing damage to the brain—and has been revealed in studies to not only be a potent antioxidant at the level of the brain, but also the testicles, should mine ever descend. Specifically, a study showed that it protects serotonergic receptors from damage induced by corticosteroids.

Purple Sticky Plant

Really, the only other substance to be tested specifically against the nefarious properties of MDMA has been THC. Because of the short half-life, it would be necessary to administer several times, but it remains no surprise that the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabinoids can be functionally applied to preventing damage to the brain from MDMA. Another benefit from smoking weed and taking MDMA concurrently is that you could probably get to the point in your life where you say, “I get it, Tim Burton.” As was eloquently proclaimed by Marie Jane Antoinette, “Let them get baked.”

African smoking weed
Jesus, and I thought we were starving to death BEFORE we started smoking!

Other substances to look into:

  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Fish oil and DHA
  • Barry Manilow
  • Uridine
  • Disregarding accepted medical diagnoses on television dramas
  • Ginseng
  • Lazarus pits
  • Melatonin
  • Looking up and smiling at cameras as if acknowledging presence of a loved one who walked in without you noticing during opening credits
  • Piracetam
  • Odorless shit from the bowels of Steve Jobs stored in every adult Chinese and recent American college grads' refrigerators.

Cocaine dog*If you adopted a dog from the pound, you didn't “rescue” anything. What happened was your parents never let you have a pet in the house when you were younger so you picked up a mutt from the local doggery for a $10 donation because you didn't have the $300 to buy a purebred lab puppy. Regardless whether that is true or not, you still didn't rescue shit. Rescuing a dog would mean you climbed Kilimanjaro to retrieve a key to open a secret compartment at Puma Punku where Excalibur was at rest. You then passed Santiago on your way to Giza so that you could consult an oracle who'd give you a flux capacitor to go back in time and steal a German U-boat to defeat the Legion of Doom and retrieve the whereabouts of your dog. Then, you'd go on a perilous trek, culminating in scaling the walls to the Chateau d'If. After which, you and Jim Caviezel would sail through the Katy Perry Siren infested waters to Calypso's Isle where you'd slay Osama Bin Laden riding Leviathan. Finally, when the dust had settled and the remaining cyclops ninjas were sent to their eternal resting place, you'd find your puppy. Anything less than that, you bought the fucking thing.


Community: View our Submissions page for article and list guidelines.
Education: Punch up your comedy writing and technique with PIC's Coaching and Feedback.