Scientific research into the relationship between women and stimulant substances is still in the early stages but past studies have shown that women are potentially more sensitive to amphetamines in the days leading up to ovulation. And with other hormonal based conclusions also being drawn in recent research, it comes as no surprise to learn that due to the pragmatics of simply being female, there does seem to be growing evidence that taking substances like ecstasy at certain points in the menstrual cycle can pretty much fuck with your experience.
23-year-old Zoë is a student who first tried MDMA during her time as a fresher at university. Having grown up on the outskirts of London, her prior experience with recreational drugs as part of a nightlife culture had been next to none. “People used to take pills here and there” she tells me, “but it wasn’t until I moved here and found a music scene I was really into that I understood the appeal of it. Now, with the type of nights I go to, and the crowd and people I interact with on a night out, it’s definitely my drug of choice. A lot of the time, I don’t even drink, as for me I find it all a bit too much, but it’s finding what works for you, I feel. If I take too much though, which happens more with powder than pills, it can screw with my mood for what feels like forever.”
According to Dr Winstock, when his team researched this particular issue a few years ago, they found that “when women seek emergency care, they turn up with more hallucinations, more paranoia and a much lower mood. It also takes them much longer to recover. It’s not a case of having a shit night and being back to normal on Monday morning. They are feeling lousy for weeks.”
If both biological disadvantages and dosage dilemmas are at play, does that mean ecstasy should be avoided by women all together – or approached with an added air of caution on top of the long-standing precautions of recreational drug usage? As Measham explains: “Women are more interested in ecstasy than they are other Class A stimulant drugs, I think, because it’s got more of a friendly, loved up and benign image. I think there’s the appeal of ecstasy itself and the appeal of its effects, and then there’s the appeal of dance club cultures and why women may want to be involved in dance club cultures.”