Club drugs encompass a wide array of chemicals including MDMA, LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs. These drugs are typically lumped together into one category because their usage grew out of the counter club culture of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Even though club drugs are not only found at club events they are synonymous thanks to the media portrayal and lifestyle. Club drugs are easily taken at home, out and about or anywhere the user wishes for a altered consciousness.
Club Drugs – MDMA and LSD
MDMA and LSD affect the brain by releasing a neurotransmitter and blocking transmitter reuptake. These drugs primarily affect the serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine receptors by allowing the drugs to increase the transmission into those parts of the brain. Over time with MDMA serotonin depletion will occur and would result in depression. Lack of serotonin causes depression and people who use Ecstasy often become depressed. MDMA specifically is neurotoxic after repeated use. This means the neurons can become permanently damaged. LSD however is not neurotoxic and there are no known long term side effects. Only about 1% of LSD actually reaches the brain. There are some short-term effects that occur with both club drugs such as short term memory loss and the withdrawal effects are similar to those of a typical hangover.
Hallucinogenic drugs are not physically addictive because after repeated use the effects of the drug completely disappear. For example, if a person tries to take LSD for three straight days, on the third day there will be absolutely no effects from using the drug. At this point there would not be a reason for the user to continue. However, sensitivity will come back in about a week. Because these drugs are seldom taken over a long period of time there are no long term withdrawal symptoms associated with a hallucinogenic.
Club Drugs – Tolerance
Tolerance happens immediately with hallucinogenic drugs. Within a few days the drugs will be completely ineffective. Users may experience the drug more frequently during their initial honeymoon phase but after a while, since tolerance is so high, users will mature out hallucinogens because of their ineffectiveness over time. After taking hallucinogens, the excitement wears off and boredom will start to kick in therefore the user will typically stop altogether or save the drug for special occasions.