LSD And MDMA Use On The Rise Again
3 min

LSD And MDMA Use On The Rise Again

3 min
Legislation News

In another blow to the creaking War on Drugs, the UK Home Office has just published statistics that show the use of both ecstasy and LSD are at an all-time high.

It is certainly not what the government what to hear – that their hard-line stance on drugs is not working. Go back to 2009, and the UK ecstasy scene was on its knees, with interest in the drug rapidly falling. Yet fast-forward to today, and you will see that the interest and use has gradually recovered, with survey results suggesting the last 12 months have witnessed a monumental surge (an 84% increase in ecstasy use and a 175% increase in LSD use).


For those in the UK, this latest news goes a long way to show how the current Tory government are failing to maintain a workable drugs policy. It is quite funny really; back in 2012 Prime Minister David Cameron rejected calls for a royal commission to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the country’s floundering drug policy, stating that it was unnecessary as the current method was working. As far as he was concerned, people were losing interest in drugs. But people never lose interest in expanding their understanding of reality! Drug use has persisted for thousands of years, no matter the punishment. Things were not going to simply drop off because the Tories thought they had perfected prohibition – something no culture, government or king has ever been able to do. No, drug trends are fickle beasts, and they have come to bite David Cameron in the arse with a vengeance.

So what explains this resurgence? First, let’s look at ecstasy.


Unfortunately for David Cameron, it wasn’t a waning interest in taking drugs that caused a downward trend, but a lack of supply. People wanted it; they just couldn’t get it.

The quality of ecstasy took a massive Europe-wide hit between 2008 and 2012, thanks to the supply of MDMA drying up – MDMA being the main sought after component of ecstasy. It led to a market full of ecstasy that very rarely contained any MDMA at all – often being made from fillers like brick dust and low-quality speed. As you can probably imagine, this led to a gigantic drop in the drug's popularity.

The MDMA drought was thanks to the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the globe, who managed to co-ordinate a string of massive seizures of the chemical used to synthesise MDMA. However, while this caused a momentary lull in genuine production, the Dutch chemists responsible for the majority of Europe’s ecstasy supply found a new way to synthesise MDMA. Namely, from a chemical called PMK-glycidate, which is legal and easy to obtain in bulk.

Why have we said this is potentially good news for MDMA lovers? Because this new method of synthesising MDMA has resulted in the quality of ecstasy suddenly returning to the same great quality people were experiencing back in the 1980’s, with the majority of new ecstasy being between 80-90% pure MDMA. It is an insane jump that has reinvigorated the interest to no end.

Note: this isn’t to say that all ecstasy out there is now of a high quality, so always check the purity of your stash.

This sudden shift in quality has also caught a lot of people unaware, so make sure that whatever you decide to do, don’t go overboard.

Another reason is that ecstasy is very closely tied to the raving scene. With the recent increase in popularity of EDM and the other various genres of electronic music, more and more young adults are looking to get into the party spirit with a bit of ecstasy. It is very much a group drug, and in order to get into the vibe of a club, many feel it a necessity to take.


This doesn’t explain why LSD has had such a boost in popularity, though. The source of LSD didn’t dry up. We have some educated guesses to make about this.

Firstly, there is the fact that there are quite a few LSD analogues out there that are all “technically” legal. For example, 1P-LSD, which is sold as a legal high. It has a minute chemical tweak that allows it to evade the law but still impart similar effects to LSD. To many users, especially inexperienced ones, 1P-LSD and LSD are one and the same, with few being able to distinguish between the trips. As such, many who were surveyed have likely taken a legal high but classed it as LSD.

Note: Synthetic legal highs can be extremely dangerous, as their chemical composition is constantly tweaked to evade the law. As such, very little is known about them, or the effects they can have. We do not encourage the use of any illegal substance.

There is also the fact that psychedelics like LSD are currently enjoying a renaissance of research, with most of it finding that there is a low risk of harm, and potential medical application. This sort of research tends to make news, especially on sites young adults like to visit. This spread of knowledge could, in theory, be responsible for an increased interest for young people to expand their consciousness.

Lastly, LSD is becoming increasingly easy to obtain, especially from the dark web. It is relatively cheap to buy in bulk, and easy to send through the post. This makes it much more accessible to dealers, and is now seen as more commonly available.


While this news comes from the UK, it begs the question, how is the rest of Europe fairing? Drug supply tends to be Europe-wide, with a few producers supplying all of the countries. There is a good chance that the increased ease of access, as well as jump in quality, is having an effect EU-wide. Obviously, laws vary from country to country, but if this is the case, it will go a long way to reinforce the point that the War on Drugs has failed. Drug use is not declining, people are not losing interest, and they never will. You can criminalise people as much as you like, but the innate curiosity to expand the consciousness will never be overtaken by the potential risks involved.

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