(Relaxnews) – People who use the drug ecstasy, or MDMA, can develop memory problems, a new study shows.
In the study, new ecstasy users who took 10 or more ecstasy pills during their first year showed permanent damage to their immediate and short-term memory. The memory issues are associated with damage to an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory.
The study compared 23 new users of the drug to 43 people who didn’t use any illicit drugs besides cannabis. On average, study participants who used ecstasy took 33 pills over the course of one year.
The study was published on July 26 in the journal Addiction.
What’s more, Bruce Goldman, director of substance abuse services at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, NY, told WebMD that because “ecstasy makes you feel all lovey-dovey,” using the drug “can lead to impaired judgment about sex.”
The result: increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. He adds that ecstasy is “highly addictive” and “dangerous even if it’s done occasionally.”