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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evenings with Molly: A Grounded Theory Discovery with Adult Couples Who Use MDMA Recreationally
by Colbert, Robert Neil, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2018, 163; 10844511
Abstract (Summary)

The substance 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (a.k.a., MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly, Midomafetamine) is currently listed by the Food and Drug Administration as a breakthrough therapy for post traumatic stress disorder. The drug however remains a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, and is listed in the top four most frequently used recreational drugs. Use by young people in social venues like all night dance parties (raves) and clubs around the world is widely documented, but evidence suggests that an increasing demographic of users is older adults (over age 27). Research is lacking about how this growing demographic uses MDMA and how assumptions of illegal/deviant models of drug use may or may not apply. Several decades of research on MDMA produced three primary models of use: the psycho-spiritual model, medical/psychotherapeutic model, and the illegal/deviant model. Each model of use is socially constructed along certain epistemological assumptions about users and the sought after outcome or effects of the drug. It is currently unclear which model of use older demographics of users fit within or if an entirely new model of use is needed to understand evolving trends. The current grounded theory investigation used snowball sampling methods to recruit adult participants who actively use MDMA in privacy with their committed partner. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore eight couples’ experiences using MDMA with their partner. Transcripts were analyzed with an iterative process of open and focused coding, followed by member checking. Major themes reported by couples include a different reason to relate to each other, serving me in so many ways, added depth to relationship and practice returning to MDMA experience. Together, themes from this study support a cognitive-relational model of recreational MDMA use, that is best described as a process that involves acquisition of knowledge, rational thinking, reasoning, and collaboration about ingesting MDMA together, all based on the expectation of durable change to their relationship together and other relationships in their lives. This investigation provides a critical lens for uncovering epistemological assumptions of other models, and provides a pathway for research into the use of medicines and drugs in the context of committed relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Grubačić, Andrej
Commitee: Bronson, Matthew, Jordan, Meg
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Anthropology and Social Change
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Epistemology, Medicine
Keywords: Adult, Cognitive-relational, Couples, Grounded theory, MDMA, Recreational drug use
Publication Number: 10844511
ISBN: 978-0-438-35233-9
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