Citation: Synaesthesium. "Rolling and Prolonged SSRI Use: An Experience with Sertraline (Zoloft), MDMA (Ecstasy), Cannabis, Alcohol, & Tobacco (exp68248)". Erowid.org. Feb 15, 2008. erowid.org/exp/68248
A little background: I am a 19 year old, 5'8', 172 lb. white male. I have been treated with 150 mg sertraline (Zoloft) daily for approximately five years for an anxiety disorder characterized by visual hallucinations, spacial distortions and blackouts. The treatment is very successful, with symptoms only appearing mildly after extreme physical or emotional duress.
The occasion for this experience was a New Year's Eve party, held at a friend's house with 6 other friends, for a total of 8 people, including myself and the host. The atmosphere was relaxed, with drinks being served, stories being shared and a constant game of Guitar Hero on the TV. Everyone was excited for the holiday and enjoying relaxing and spending time with friends. I had considered trying MDMA for some time, but had hesitated because of studies linking partial or total attenuation of MDMA effects with prolonged SSRI use - basically, I didn't want to waste my time and money on something that wouldn't work. However, after reading several experience reports of those that had successfully used MDMA after SSRI use, and finding my brother willing to share an MDMA tablet with me on New Year's Eve, I decided to give it a shot. Several of our acquaintances that use MDMA on a weekly basis had reported a strong experience using tablets from the same batch that ours had come from, so I hoped that I would end up getting at least something out of it.
As a final note, I have been smoking cannabis daily for roughly three years. I have extensive experience with psychoactives, including psilocybian mushrooms, LSD, Salvia Divinorum, diphenhydramine, Morning Glory seeds, opium, oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, methylphenidate, amphetamine (Adderall), alcohol and, of course, cannabis. I would say that my experiences with the mushrooms, LSD, Salvia, and diphenhydramine, as well as several with cannabis, have been very intense, from +++ to ++++. Now, down to the experience.
T - 10:00 -- I woke up at 2:00 pm and took my daily dose of 150 mg sertraline.
T - 1:30 -- I arrived at my friend's house at roughly 9:00 PM and proceeded to smoke four bowls of cannabis and a cigarette. At roughly 9:45 PM, I popped open a beer that I slowly enjoyed until just before taking the MDMA.
T + 0:00 -- I took a red apple MDMA tablet and placed it under my tongue at roughly 11:30 PM. As soon as it began to dissolve, after moving it around and swishing it from side to side, a sickening, bitter chemical taste flooded my mouth, but I kept salivating and pushing it around under my tongue anyways.
T + 0:10 -- At first it was tolerable, but as the tablet was nearly dissolved ten minutes later, I could no longer stand simply sucking on the tablet, and washed the tiny sliver remaining down with a few gulps of a new beer. I promptly went outside to smoke four more bowls of cannabis, and a cigarette, then returned inside and finished my second beer over the next half hour.
T + 1:30 – Roughly an hour and a half after first taking the MDMA, I was hoping that the effects would be coming on by now, but alas, there wasn’t much more than the cannabis and alcohol. I decided to try to give the MDMA a jumpstart with some more cannabis and a beer. The thought occurred to me that mixing alcohol, a depressant, with MDMA, quite a stimulant, might not be the brainstorm of the century. However, I ended up reasoning that since this was only beer number three, and since I was fairly positive the MDMA wouldn’t be doing much for me, that I would go ahead and have the beer. I popped it open, took a few drinks and then set it down next to me outside as I packed my next bowl.
One thing that I’ve come to find with smoking cannabis is that I can always tell when I’ve smoked enough to be sufficiently stoned because I start to cough intensely after every hit. That number of hits varies from batch to batch and from time to time, but is a consistent sign that I’ve smoked enough. Usually I’ll be taking a hit, and then suddenly get an overpowering urge to practically hack up a lung. About halfway through the cough, the cannabis suddenly hits me like a freight train, a bittersweet moment that both seems to bathe me in euphoria, as well as make the few seconds before I manage to stop coughing stretch into an eternity.
As I was taking the first hit from the second bowl I had packed outside, I suddenly had the inaugural cough, but this train came on far faster than usual, roaring with multiple engines. “Maybe I will get something out of this,” shot through my head, and I pushed on to finish the rest of the bowl and light a cigarette. As I smoked the cigarette and stared in the glass patio door, the wall behind seemed to shimmer. I went inside to sit down and grab a breadstick.
T + 3:00 – I’m not really sure if I’m rolling, or just buzzed from alcohol and pretty stoned. Watching my friends play Guitar Hero, I feel immersed in the beat in a way that seems even more intense than with cannabis alone, and despite my usual pickiness in music, almost every song they played seemed agreeable to me, and I was able to weave myself into the patterns of every melody’s fabric. This suggested to me that I was rolling; however, I was feeling very quiet, and didn’t have any real social urges. I was perfectly content with staring at the screen and not saying a word, which seemed to contradict the empathogenic nature of MDMA that so many other users prize. I decided to stop trying to figure out if I was rolling or not and just enjoy the music, so I let myself drift away again.
T + 4:30 – I started another beer and smoked three more bowls of cannabis. This seemed to give a little more spark to the waning effects of the MDMA/cannabis/alcohol, but didn’t revive it to earlier levels: it felt in essence like being a little more off-kilter than one becomes from simply smoking cannabis.
T + 6:00 – The MDMA has all but worn off, if any of it was ever there. I had one more beer, and then headed home with a friend (who was sober) early in the morning, arriving at 5:30 AM. I smoked two more bowls of cannabis, and then proceeded to fall asleep at around 6:00 AM.
The Week After:
In the ensuing week, I had been nervously expecting some sort of hangover or other ill effects. Besides the insomnia from the disruption to my sleep schedule caused by the very late night, I’ve had no ill effects, and there was no “day-after” experience to speak of. I’ve actually found several positive after-effects, including a noticeably elevated mood and a continuation of my widened appreciation for different varieties of music. I’ve been very receptive to both new and old songs that I previously would not have been interested in, and have even become very attached to a techno song that my younger brother described as “the best rolling song ever.” As I write this at one week’s time after the experience, only time will tell if the positive effects will remain longer, but I certainly hope they do.
Despite experiencing euphoria, increased appreciation of music and a seeming synergy with alcohol and cannabis after MDMA use, as well as positive after-effects spanning at least, my prolonged use of a prescription SSRI without question attenuated the effects of the MDMA. Many of the marked effects of MDMA that are cherished by other users were either not apparent or much less intense. While it was slightly more intense than a simple mix of alcohol and generous quantity of cannabis, I would not put it anywhere near as intense of an experience as an eighth oz. of mushrooms, or even as intense of a high as two oxycodone. Using more than one MDMA tablet will most likely intensify the experience; however, this also means from double to triple the cost of just one. At this point, I know I would not ingest only one MDMA tablet again, and am not entirely sure if I want to ingest enough to have a full-blown roll. However, without a doubt, the take home message is this: prolonged use of an SSRI can diminish the effects of MDMA to almost nonexistent levels, making it, in my opinion, neither worth the time nor the money.
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