Am I doing damage by rolling too often? What damage? Is the 3 month rule real? How often should I wait?
Ann Shulgin: “I quit with no problem, but ten years later I tried it again, and instead of that wonderful feeling of connection with everything, it made me depressed. The exact opposite of what it should be. I tried it once more and the same thing happened, so I stopped. Now I advise people-especially college students who discover MDMA and think it’s the greatest thing ever-to not use it more than four times a year.”
Using MDMA too often may result in a permanent inability to feel the positive MDMA effects
Anecdotal reports suggest that rolling more often can lead to a loss of the “magic” - where much of the positive effects are lost. There are also good reasons to wait between rolls: see this post by MDMA researcher Matthew Baggott.
Two people I talked with who lost the “magic” found that after losing the magic, even waiting ~10 years was only enough to get them one more decent roll before MDMA returned to “magic-less” again.
Using MDMA too often may prevent you from benefiting in the future when MDMA is legally available and used in therapy
As MDMA researcher Matthew Baggot wrote, “In ten years from now, MDMA may be legally available and used in therapy. You don’t want to be unable to save your marriage or fail to come to terms with trauma because you rolled too much in your youth and now can’t feel MDMA.”
How long do I need to wait between MDMA sessions?
Perhaps 3 - 5 weeks if you’re using less than or equal to 120 mg and no more than 3 total sessions. Three months is an anecdotally based rule of thumb that is likely wise to follow if you’re planning on using MDMA more than 3 times in your life.
There isn’t really any high-quality research to tell us what we should do. This paper and this paper show brain changes that lasted ~3 weeks after use, but we don’t know if those changes are relevant to calculating appropriate MDMA usage frequency.
The medical research group MAPS uses two or three MDMA doses, spaced 3 - 5 weeks apart. A minimum break is then perhaps 3-5 weeks if you’re taking less than or equal to 120 mg and with no more than 3 sessions - it may be wise to increase the delay if you plan on more than 3 sessions in your life, but we don’t really know.
Origin of the 3 month rule
MDMA users may have heard people mentioning a “3 month rule”. This is a good anecdotal report based rule of thumb.
The origin of the three month rule is a quote from Ann Shulgin, widow of chemist Alexander Shulgin: “Now I would advise anyone who wants to use MDMA not to take it more than 4 times a year if you want to continue to get the best effects from it, otherwise you risk losing its effects entirely and permanently.”
Avoid increasing dosage to make up for weaker effects if you’re determined to use MDMA without waiting
Anecdotally, people who take MDMA frequently seem to take high dosages. Don’t do this, as evidence suggests this increases the risk of neurotoxicity and the risk of serious negative effects, and anecdotal reports suggest that this increases the risk of negative after-effects.