Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sassafras oil. MDMA, Safrole, As Nature's "Truth Serum"

Sassafras Oil:
Use as "Truth Serum"

Ecstasy ingredient. MDMA. From safrole.

The Army considered it a possible truth serum,
tested effects on animals, lethal doses, in the 1950's;
then results of all test activity were classified until 1969, released as to effects in 1973

At issue: As a truth serum substance,
what did the Army find as to reliability,
what was it doing with it from the 1950's to 1969,
and why not use it instead of torture.

Use torture when you do not want truth, perhaps.
Use it when you want the answer you want, nothing less.
Like the Inquisition. Or fabricating other "connections" needed for political reasons.

And you will get it, often. Even if false.

For truth, why MDMA? It is the ultimate party, relax and share drug. A natural for disclosure.

Then there was FDA's sudden ban, in the 1960's,
based on anecdotal information, not reasonable testing.

All research had to stop on the "outside".

Was that for political and not scientific reasons?

Fast forward: Did Cheney and the other torture afficinados know of other,
more reliable ways of getting information than torture.
What was the decision-making process to choose.

Did they want "truth" or a "confession" to something untrue.


Is this MDMA technique what President Obama referred to when he said that we have other ways of getting at what people know, and we do not need torture. See something like it 4/29/09 at ://

True if you seek truth. False if you are really setting up a story line and need the person to say what you want. Like witch hunts. The Malleus Maleficarum lives. See ://; :// Yes, I am a witch. Stop. Stop! Like setting up case for war, see ://

Whichever way that political issue goes, meanwhile, here we look at ways to get true information: sassafras derivative, benign; or torture, malignant. What are the factors.

Here is something the Army has known about for decades: MDMA. And we ask what did it do with it? Or the CIA. Which had what is unclear. Did they share? Explore further? Why not?

Interesting to us: there is a long-known capability of the ecstasy drug ingredient, MDMA. This is extracted from safrole or sassafras oil, and it lowers people's defenses, produces euphoria, a state of mind where the person just wants to share. Ecstasy. Would you believe? A way to force disclosures?

Use as a truth serum mechanism. There have been other forays into truth serums (sera? que sera?) see Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics at :// But could the use of truth serums be in itself a kind of torture. See :// No easy answers. But the kind of drug used, and in what dose and with what effects, could make the difference.

Still, we have the current need of our military/ intelligence community to get reliable disclosures of information from captives. This assumes their instructions are to get truth, and not just words to fill in what is needed to make a story line, forced but false confessions to close the case. For truth, does the Army indeed use, or could they; and can they not substitute, sassafras/ecstasy as a productive alternative to torture. Torture is illegal, immoral and ineffective even in a time-bomb scenario (who has time to waterboard over a hundred times; and still the person may lie). Anything to stop the pain.
    • Yet is this use of ecstasy really off limits because it was banned by the FDA in the 1960's or so? Or was the ban helpful to the Army/ CIA in keeping its information to itself for decades. A ban for political and not scientific health reasons. Top Secret. If so, it failed. People know and knew what ecstasy produced. If the Army had it, why did they not use it - why go to torture instead? Just because torture is more satisfying to the Cheney-type mesomorphs in charge, preferring muscle? See Fear of Fog, Ectomorphs, Mesomorphs. Whose interest is served by the ban. Intelligence at work? Or lack of. All depends on the purpose for the torture: Truth, bad choice. Get what you want, good choice.
    • For instant overview, and the politics involved in the handling of MDMA and its speed-of-light ban, 3,4-methylenedioxmethamphetamine, see Substance Abuse, A Comprehensive Textbook, by Charles S. Grob and Russell L. Polond, at at 24 MDMA. FN 2
    Sections here:
    I. The bad effects of MDMA, at high doses (Army used lethal), problems of adulteration, misuse

    II. Potential of MDMA as a "truth serum", everybody relax and togetherness abounds

    III. What We Know About Testing So Far: Still learning.
    a) MDMA as Army Experimental Agent 1475, or EA-1475, or ea1475
    b) Testing and Consent Issues: Who was used, if anybody. Human testing? In the gap 20 years?

    IV. Good Uses for MDMA - Therapies, No Need for Torture; Other.

    V. Was the FDA ban for political, economic even military reasons, but not scientific as to the public's access with reasonable information, dosing

    Footnotes. Substantive here. Read especially FN 2, the Grob and Polond text summary.

    I. Bad health effects of using MDMA

    The bad news comes before the good, so you can compare these kinds of effects of a drug to the bad effects of torture on someone.

    MDMA was tested by the US Army in the 1950's, but only on animals, and the results were released in the 1970's (why the delay?) as to those high doses in animals. Declassification only in 1969, says this site, MDMA Drug Information, at Medic8 Drug Information, at :// These were "lethal dose" studies, see the Drug Information site. MDMA is also known as Mud, Molly or Madman. Good summary at that long site. Similar topics to our FN 2, the Golb and Polond text. A/k/a Adam for MDMA.

    Adverse reactions: See also FN 2, Golb and Polond; and Medic8.

    Here is a list from a Philip Wolfson, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs Vol.18/4 1986, his book Meeting at the Edge with Adam: A Man For All Seasons, (Adam is another name for MDMA). He is/was a psychotherapist who believed that using MDMA may open new possibilities for psychotherapy treatment, when used in conjunction with it.

    See the quotation and discussion at E for Ecstasy by a Nicholas Saunders, appendices to 1993 book, at :// There, Wolfson is attributed with this list. How much of this is high-dose related?

    "(1) Severe and potentially fatal reactions can occur unpredictably on occasions.
    (2) Seizures are said to have occurred.
    (3) MDMA may reduce resistance to infection.
    (4) MDMA causes increase in blood pressure.
    (5) A variety of short-term reactions may occur, sometimes persisting or recurring for several months, including anxiety and insomnia. A client's judgment can be interfered with by their heightened sense of excitement under MDMA.
    (6) MDMA has no established safety record - the necessary experiments have not been made." (emphasis added)
    The government does not list any of those reactions, however - and only shows official concern that there can be adulterants in the mix that can be harmful - otherwise, little reason to ban it except that people like it and "abuse it" - see that at US Dept of Justice, DEA, Drug Information, at //

    II. Potential of MDMA as a "Truth Serum" Type Technique

    More from Wolfson at the Saunders book site at :// (yes, this is totem pole hearsay, but you are alerted so you yourself can go vet)

    "He (Wolfson) says that MDMA is unique because:

    "1. It offers a rapid and significant break with people's defence structures.
    2. It can facilitate a shift from a state of self-hatred to one of love of self and others.
    3. It encourages people to shift from isolation to contact and intimacy and from withholding
    to giving.
    4. When MDMA has given them a more positive attitude, people find it easier to make decisions."

    III. What Have Know About the Testing-Non-Testing So Far

    A. Ask the Army. They know.

    What we know is from the Saunders site, Grob and Polond at FN 2, the Medic8 site, and others as shown here.

    First, the Saunders site. Again we are using wonderful totem-pole hearsay. Do a "find" for that at :// In short, totem pole hearsay is like the old Listerine commercial - he says that she says that he has halitosis.

    The report is from a Rick Doblin, president, Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, in the US (the Saunders site is British). Doblin presented this as part of his dissertation at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, see ://

    "1. Report of US Army tests on MDMA, from Rick Doblin president of the Multi-disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in the U.S.

    "In the 1950's, MDMA was one of the analogs of MDA that were given to animals by the U.S. army at the Edgwood Arsenal, which was then investigating drugs for use in chemical warfare. There is no evidence in the public domain to indicate that MDMA, which was code named EA-1475 (Experimental Agent 1475), was ever given to humans or was tried as a truth serum." (emphasis supplied)

      Well, why not give it to humans or try it as a truth serum? It looks like the Army did. This was before the ban. Are you kidding us? That's what the Army does - force information from people. Why don't we believe that the Army just left it alone.

      Here is Point A. There is Point B. Connect the dots.

      If MDMA was not followed up, perhaps it was just too soft to satisfy military people. Use a nice gurney and a quiet room to get reliable information? No, we are the Army. We like blood. Screams. Punish, and personally, even if it is against self-interest. And takes 138 times to get something. Or more, or less.

      Tentative conclusion:

      Apparently we still have a tool available in MDMA, from sassafras; that remains largely untested, because either the Army will not do it out of honor; or they have done it and have found it extremely effective, so it must be kept Top Secret.

      Yet, here it is on the internet. We see as ordinary people following dots that safrole/MDMA appears to have great potential in fostering reliable disclosures because that is what the substance does - from the old hospitality drink of Native Americans, see Sassafras and History, International and Historical Uses, to today - MDMA fosters trust, openness, togetherness, fuzzy feelings. It has been considered as a "truth serum" before. See ://
      • That Psychonaut site notes that the Army in the 1950's MDMA was found "unsuitable" for the purpose, a truth serum. And never (they say) tested people. Just overdosed animals.
      And the Army never released its results on the animals until 1973 - twenty years later. See the Medic8 site.

      Declassification until 1969, and still not released for a further 4 years? Does this raise any questions, class? The sites at Psychonaut and Medic8 note the effect of the drug, to promote, in sum, "togetherness." Are we to believe that the Army only looked for lethal side effects possibly, and so they released those results only and very late in 1973? That they never tested out its truth-forcing? When that is their job?

      B. Testing worries.

      Who were the test subjects? If there were any during the 20 years between the "study" and the release of results, heh heh. Did the people know they were being tested. Was consent freely given, and in writing as required by the Geneva Convention, see :// What happened to them, the people tested, if any were. Military testing: see ://,2972/
      And are the side and after affects really more benign than in torture. If not, say so. Look at FN 2 and Medic8 for more on side effects. At this point, however, it looks like with proper dosing, bad side effects could well be avoided. We know what dosing gets used in these kinds of tests, we think. Geared to produce the worst.
      • What do various sites say, and, yes, they do speak: See the effects the drug produces, and the responses - horrors - it works, or just might.
      "The heightened emotional responsiveness, lowering of defensive barriers, openness and sense of closeness to others induced by MDMA can promote an honesty of self-disclosure that might be manipulated for malign ends. Fortunately, this hasn't yet happened on an organised scale." ://
      This quotation is from a site exploring the history and uses of MDMA. Note the boy scout reluctance to use it because it could be used "for malignant ends." Effectiveness as a truth serum: This is still open.

      Army testing. Back to that. What is wrong here. See again the brief overview of the experiments at MDMA at :// Short, but detailed: A helpful place for summary as well.

      Everybody knows that the Army looked at it as a truth serum, but nobody knows what they saw. Just that suddenly, after the Army testing in the fifties, the bans came in the sixties and seventies. Look at FN 2 for the pressures on the scientists.
      Meanwhile, shall we spike the UN punch? For a little togetherness?
      IV. Why Has MDMA Been Ignored.
      It seems to do what it says - people just love to open up with it

      Maddow, Olbermann, all the talkies who do more than just churn opinions, you have high priced explorers on the roster. I am a little old lady in sneakers and putting stuff together that looks interesting. Join in.
      So far, we are told that truth serums are not foolproof, and someone still can mislead a questioner when in the twilight, see Sassafras Tree, Natural Pragmatism, Truth Serum Idea. No more reliable than torture, say. And we know you may have to do that 138 times to get what you want, if you ever do, and by then the ticking bomb is boom. Was MDMA included in those overviews of drugs?

      Back of old medicine cabinet. What is inside? Dare we look?

      Have we really looked in the cupboard, to see what there is other than torture? Turn it around!

      No. Nobody has tested MDMA for its use as a truth serum, on the public record that we see so far. Is the lack of research because the FDA has banned it? Then lift the ban, or narrow it. We can't touch that. Do we believe that would stop the Army.

      All the ban does is stop research, and regular people from checking the scientific bases for the bans, and whether less restrictive alternatives are scientifically supported here. FN 1.

      V. Good uses for MDMA, possibly.

      Treatments. Benign recreation.
      A matter of dose, like alcohol

      And, of course, avoid Torture.
      • MDMA widely spread among psychotherapists in the 50's-60's ff. As ecstasy, it became known as a psychedelic hug drug - "Adam" for a shortcut name. FN 1. That was an era of using drugs in therapies, and much of that may well have been a fad and later debunked; but a spin-off for disclosure purposes surely can be explored.
      See this google book (copy and paste the address, long as it is) Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin, The Science of Amphetamines, 2006, by Prof. Leslie Iversen, Ph.D., Dept. of Pharmacology, Oxford Univ., at Section 8.1, page 149-150 ff, Chemistry and history.

      The site is a long URL - copy and paste at ://,M1/.

      That book is reviewed in 2006 at ://

      If so, it is all the more damning that we did not choose to use it over torture.


      As a culture, is this true: That we prefer research into, the process of, and application of torture, that is, punishment; to using something that might be pleasurable to get the job done, and done more reliably: MDMA. Is all that is pleasure, sinful? Are we still stuck in that?

      V. Ban for Cultural and Political Reasons, not Scientific

      That is what it looks like, after all this time looking at the angles. MDMA is a safrole, or sassafras oil, extract long used and long-banned as a psychedelic, pleasurable. And look at the outcry against researching its good uses, and promoting torture instead by opposing investigating, challenging the use of torture. See FN 1 for the non-merits of the ban on safrole; and FN 2 for assessments of the grounding of the ban. Note that no rat, even though allergic in the sense of being in an allelopathic relationship with sassafras, got tumors when doses were used like those humans would, proportional. Don't let that idea out.

      So, we don't and won't use this potential resource if we need to get information from people, as apparently we do need, if research were allowed to continue on it. The reason sassafras is not researched is 1) the ban, cultural rather than scientific, see FN 1; and 2) value judgments, that if it works, it might be used for malign ends.

      If we aren't already malign in using torture, who is?


      FN 1 History. Ecstasy spread to yuppies in the '80's. Intense rapturous delight! More! The DEA banned it, even from medical use, over objections of those who sought a less restrictive control, see the Iversen book at 151. But addiction and finding brain damage - how was that done. Again, it was in those rats who are allergic anyway - yet, it was enough to ban it all as to humans.

      And that was so even though there were no tumors even in the rats at dosage levels like humans would use, proportional. Nonetheless, look what happened.
      • A judge ordered it to be available by prescription and for research, not banned; but the DEA put it on the full ban list anyway. Iversen at page 152. Where is the science, and where is the culture. Guess.

        The ban, however, just curtailed the research - attitudes of the recreationally minded did not change. The controversy over the ban was free advertising.

        Idea - The government will not foster unfixed testing (they use huge doses on rats already allergic to it, so no wonder the rats get tumored)
      • because sassafras grows in our back yards, and
      • we might make what we want ourselves, and then
      • what profit would the Manufacturers and the lobbyists and Pharma make.
      Today, that argument gets bigger: This is a recession, so we can't have people doing for themselves and putting other people out of work. They need to buy. And the ultimate argument: ban it because sassafras is an ingredient in ecstasy, and we can't have that, either. A cultural reason.

      Guard your pies, pickles, children's stories and vanilla, mmmmmm. And lawns.

      The safrole extract needed for ecstasy is also in "nutmeg... dill, parsley seed, crocus (such a pretty yard. You say you are having a lawn party?), saffron, vanilla bean, and calamus." Also the above-ground woody part of another tree, the Ocotea pretiosa. See the Speed, Ecstasy, Ritalin book above.
      For Ocotea pretiosa, see ://

      Brer Rabbit?

      He loves calamus. Calamus is in The List there, of substances with safrole. It was/is a common digestive with nice side effects. See it at mealtime at Uncle Remus Tales, Translations: Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy; and, same site, Calamus Root Side Note.

      FN 2. Grob and Polond textbook section on MDMA, looks like chapter 24 there.

      Topics on MDMA include:

      Potential Treatment Applications, but before beneficial-purpose testing could be done, it was banned - on the most restrictive Schedule 1. Even smoking and drinking decreased while subjects in earlier studies were using ecstasy in controlled settings.

      On to Adverse Clinical Effects, not seen in healthy, occasional, moderate users; but in excess - as with liguor, we suppose. Also there are issues of amateur "manufacture" and purity and quality of what is marketed. Like the stills of white lightning? Also issues of pre-exisiting medical vulnerabilities. Long section on the bad effects and on whom and when and why.

      Then on to Neurotoxicity. No link necessarily. Lab animals show effects of serotonin change, but not lasting. Extending animal results to human has been inconclusive. Go read the whole thing. Too detailed for here.

      Then the zinger in the field - political and economic agendas invading the scientific arena. There are pressures on the scientists to ally their findings with conventional "expectations."

      Science vs. politics. When will science prevail. Obama? Your turn.


      Mary Microgram said...

      Interesting stuff! Possibly the most comprehensive sassafras site on the web. MDMA was indeed used during the MK-Ultra program (it was known as EA-1475 at the time). Developing a "truth serum" was only one of the project's goals, and MDMA was one of many agents tested on unwitting volunteers. Others included LSD, "speedballs", radiation and hypnosis.

      Anonymous said...

      All I want to do has have some rootbeer like my Grandfather used to make.