"Riveting."--Bessel van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score
The unlikely story of how the psychedelic drug MDMA emerged from the shadows to the forefront of a medical revolution--and the potential it may hold to help us thrive.
Few drugs in history have generated as much controversy as MDMA--or held as much promise. Once vilified as a Schedule I substance that would supposedly eat holes in users' brains, MDMA (also known as Molly or Ecstasy) is now being hailed as a therapeutic agent that could transform the field of mental health and outpace psilocybin and ketamine as the first psychedelic approved for widespread clinical use. In I Feel Love, science journalist Rachel Nuwer separates fact from fantasy, hope from hype, in the drug's contested history and still-evolving future. Evidence from scientific trials suggests MDMA, properly administered, can be startlingly effective at relieving the effects of trauma. Results from other studies point to its usefulness for individual and couples therapy; for treating depression, alcohol addiction, and eating disorders; and for cultivating personal growth. Yet scientists are still racing to discover how MDMA achieves these outcomes, a mystery that is taking them into the inner recesses of the brain and the deep history of evolution. With its power to dismantle psychological defenses and induce feelings of empathy, self-compassion, and love, MDMA may answer profound questions about how we became human, and how to heal our broken social bonds.
From cutting-edge labs to pulsing club floors to the intimacy of the therapist's couch, Nuwer guides readers through a cultural and scientific upheaval that is rewriting our understanding of our brains, our selves, and the space between.
“A sobering and eye-opening look at the psychedelic drug MDMA and how people's quest for healing persists through the generations … An illuminating, myth-free exploration of mental health from a unique perspective.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Vast in scope, I Feel Love provides a wonderful account of the promises of MDMA to heal our psychic wounds and gain truly enlightened perspectives on ourselves and our relationships, while Rachel Nuwer's reporting also gives thorough consideration to the potential pitfalls of psychedelic agents. A riveting journey into the science behind the brave new world of consciousness-expanding medications.” —Bessel van der Kolk, MD, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE
“A meticulously researched and lucidly written examination of the potential of MDMA to be used as a tool in therapy to help process trauma and loss, and, ultimately, find joy. I entered the book a skeptic and emerged a believer. It's an important addition in the current movement to explore the use of previously demonized drugs to help people improve their lives.” —David Sheff, New York Times-bestselling author of BEAUTIFUL BOY
“Engagingly presents rigorous research, enriched by fascinating anecdotes and character sketches, to document the vagaries and victories, the scientific and human challenges, in the history of the human-made molecule MDMA as it has made its way from accidental discovery to party drug to a promising adjunct in the treatment of many of our most daunting mental health challenges.” —Gabor Mate, MD, New York Times bestselling author of THE MYTH OF NORMAL and IN THE REALM OF HUNGRY GHOSTS
“This deeply researched book is deliciously detailed and an absolute pleasure to read. Myths are debunked, 'other sides' of the story are finally fully told, and the case is convincingly made for MDMA as a uniquely therapeutic medicine. Brava to Nuwer!” —Julie Holland, MD, author of GOOD CHEMISTRY
“Much like the molecule it describes, I Feel Love is illuminating, transporting, and even, perhaps, a tonic for our times.” —Florence Williams, author of THE NATURE FIX and HEARTBREAK
“A vital addition to the body of knowledge on a powerful and misunderstood chemical.” —Hamilton Morris, creator of Hamilton's Pharmacopeia
“Too improbable for fiction, I Feel Love is the engrossing story of the dreamers, schemers, and in-betweeners who have made MDMA their life's passion. Rachel Nuwer reports deeply and writes with care and empathy. Her captivating book is well worth the trip, not only because of the characters you'll meet along the way - the dramatis personae include a renegade chemist, a remorseful ex-fascist, a huggy octopus, and a billionaire heiress seeking inner peace - but because the journey will expand your conception of what humans can be.” —Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of TOM'S RIVER