A disco biscuit is a slang term that refers to the popular club drug Ecstasy (MDMA). The term originated in the 1970s during the disco era when Ecstasy first gained popularity in nightclubs and discotheques. Ecstasy produces feelings of euphoria, emotional warmth, empathy, and sensory enhancement, making it an ideal drug for ravers and club-goers.
The History of Disco Biscuits
Ecstasy was first synthesized in 1912 by the German pharmaceutical company Merck. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the drug started being used recreationally. In the early 1970s, some psychotherapists began using MDMA to enhance therapy sessions. MDMA helped patients open up and discuss feelings more freely. In 1976, chemist Alexander Shulgin re-synthesized MDMA and introduced it to psychologists he knew. Eventually, MDMA escaped from the psychotherapy scene and entered the rave and dance club scene.
The term “disco biscuits” is believed to have originated in Texas in the mid-1970s. An underground chemist in the Dallas area named Mike Clegg reportedly starting manufacturing large quantities of Ecstasy and selling it as “Sassyfras” or “Disco Biscuits.” The pills were said to provide energy and keep people dancing all night. Other nicknames for Ecstasy included “M&M,” “Adam,” and “XTC.” By the 1980s, MDMA use had spread to nightclubs and raves across the United States.
Rave Culture and the Rise of Ecstasy
In the 1980s and 1990s, Ecstasy exploded in popularity on the rave and club scenes. Raves were late-night dance parties with pulsing electronic music, trippy lighting and visual effects, and crowds of dancers. The perfect rave drug, Ecstasy heightened the senses and energy levels of party-goers. MDMA enabled ravers to dance for hours on end and enhanced feelings of euphoria and connection to others.
By the mid-1990s, an estimated 750,000 doses of Ecstasy were being consumed every weekend by ravers in England alone. In the 2000s, MDMA remained a staple on the club scene worldwide. According to some estimates, around 10-20 million people had tried Ecstasy by the year 2000.
Why “Disco Biscuits”?
The term “disco biscuits” connects Ecstasy back to its roots in 1970s disco culture. Like disco tracks, Ecstasy provided feelings of euphoria and energy ideal for all-night dancing. The “biscuits” part refers to the pill form of MDMA. The earliest Ecstasy pills were reportedly oval-shaped and off-white in color, resembling biscuits. Underground pill pressers stamped pills with images linking back to rave culture like smiley faces, doves, and five-pointed stars.
How Disco Biscuits are Used
Disco biscuits or Ecstasy are usually sold on the street in pill, capsule, or powder form. The average dose ranges from around 80 to 150 milligrams. Ecstasy is commonly taken orally – users simply swallow the pill. Because effects take about 45 minutes to kick in, some people take a half dose first and the other half an hour later to achieve a smoother come up.
Others use alternative methods of ingesting MDMA including:
- Dabbing/Parachuting – Crushing up powder into a tissue and swallowing
- Rectal insertion
However, these methods come with increased risks and side effects. Snorting MDMA burns the nasal passage while injecting or rectal use increase the odds of overdose. For safety, most experts recommend oral use and starting with a low dose.
Combining with Other Drugs
Ecstasy is often taken in combination with other club drugs or stimulants. Some common drug cocktails include:
- Candy flipping – Ecstasy and LSD
- Hippy flipping – Ecstasy and mushrooms
- Kitty flipping – Ecstasy and Ketamine
- Speedballing – Ecstasy and Cocaine
Mixing Ecstasy with other substances increases the risks. Combinations like Ecstasy and alcohol or benzodiazepines are especially dangerous due to increased strain on the cardiovascular system.
Short Term Effects of Disco Biscuits
The popular club drug produces a wide spectrum of effects sought after by ravers and party-goers. Desired short-term effects include:
- Euphoria – a rush of positive feelings and inner peace
- Empathy & Emotional Openness – feelings of connection and closeness to others
- Sensory Enhancement – colors, sounds, and sensations feel more vivid and pleasurable
- Increased Energy – enables all-night dancing
- Sexual Arousal – heightens intimacy although can make achieving orgasm difficult
- Elevated Mood – boosts happiness, confidence, and mental clarity
Users describe being overwhelmed by feelings of euphoria, empathy, and closeness to those around them. Music, lights, and tactile sensations feel magical and orgasmic. In higher doses, MDMA can even produce mild hallucinogenic effects.
After taking a disco biscuit, the come up starts about 45 minutes later as users start feeling the drug’s effects. The come up may produce anxiety, nausea, sweating, or chills before the peak euphoric effects set in. Having a trusted friend present can help users relax through this initial phase.
The peak euphoric effects occur 1.5 to 2 hours after dosing and can last 2 to 3 hours. Users report feeling energized yet serene, uninhibited, and profoundly connected to those around them. The urge to hug and bond with others is common. Sensations feel extremely pleasurable during the peak.
After 3 to 6 hours, the euphoric effects start to fade and a come down begins. Users may feel drained, anxious, or depressed as serotonin levels dip. Having close friends around for support helps the come down phase. Many users take a booster dose to prolong the euphoric effects, however this is not recommended as it exacerbates the come down afterward.
Side Effects and Health Dangers
While desired in small doses, Ecstasy produces a range of negative side effects at recreational doses. Potential acute side effects include:
- Jaw Clenching – involuntary teeth grinding and jaw tension
- Nausea – disco biscuits may irritate the stomach
- Sweating – users often feel hot and sweat profusely
- Dizziness – due to blood pressure and body temperature changes
- Blurred Vision – visual perception is altered
- Insomnia – disco biscuits make falling asleep difficult for 6+ hours
- Lack of Appetite – food is unappealing
- Dry Mouth/Thirst – important to hydrate and sip electrolytes
- Heart Palpitations – due to increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Muscle Tension – may lead to soreness the next day
- Depression – some users experience a mild crash or hangover
Frequent or high-dose use of disco biscuits also carries serious health risks including:
- Brain damage from excessive serotonin release
- Addiction and dependence
- Memory problems
- Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
- Kidney or liver damage
- Cardiac toxicity
- Overheating and dehydration, potentially fatal
Taking pure MDMA is less risky than ecstasy pills which may be adulterated with other unknown and potentially dangerous substances. Always start with a low dose from a trusted source.
Ecstasy overdose is possible at high recreational doses, especially when combined with other stimulants like cocaine. Warning signs include:
- Skyrocketing blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature
- Organ failure
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Loss of consciousness
An overheating crisis can also occur after taking ecstasy in hot crowded clubs leading to organ failure, brain damage, and death. Emergency medical treatment is critical in the event of an MDMA overdose.
Is Ecstasy Addictive?
Despite being classified as a stimulant, MDMA does have addictive potential with a small percentage of users becoming dependent. Users can build up a tolerance over time, needing to take higher doses to get high. Quitting MDMA after regular use leads to withdrawal symptoms like:
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
Addiction treatment centers like inpatient rehab, counseling, and support groups can help people recovering from disco biscuit addiction. Those with preexisting mental health disorders may be at higher risk of abusing MDMA.
Is Ecstasy Legal?
No, Ecstasy is illegal to buy, possess, or sell without a license in the United States and most countries around the world. MDMA is a Schedule I controlled substance with no accepted medical uses (along with drugs like heroin and LSD). Possessing Ecstasy carries penalties of 1+ years in prison and heavy fines.
However, the use of pure MDMA in psychotherapy is currently being studied. Early research shows MDMA-assisted therapy may help treat PTSD when used a limited number of times under medical supervision. It remains illegal for recreational use.
In summary, “disco biscuits” is a common slang term for the popular club drug Ecstasy (MDMA). It originated in 1970s disco culture and rave scenes when MDMA emerged as a party drug. Disco biscuits produce euphoric highs and feelings of connection but also carry health risks like overheating, organ damage, and even death in high doses. While desired by party-goers, recreational ecstasy remains an illegal and potentially dangerous substance.
The history of MDMA reminds us that the effects of drugs are highly dependent on setting. The same compound can be either medicine or poison depending on the dose, patient, and context. As our understanding of psychedelics continues evolving, we must weigh both their risks and potential benefits with wisdom.
Rather than harshly criminalizing users, health-centered policies and honest education may allow society to harness beneficial aspects of MDMA and other consciousness-altering tools while minimizing harm. Outright prohibition rarely works well. However, blanket legalization before the research exists carries dangers too. As in most things, balance and nuance are key.
The allure of such substances speaks to a deeper human yearning – for transcendence, connectedness, and inner peace. While disco biscuits may provide temporary glimpses, lasting fulfillment ultimately requires much more. Genuine community, purpose, and spiritual wisdom remain the soundest paths for those seeking more than momentary highs.