The Internet has seen its fair share of dangerous trends in 2018. From eating Tide Pods to snorting condoms, people do extremely risky things for reasons unexplained. The newest trend that's gone viral is unique in that it isn't happening online, and it's being spread by adult women, not teenagers. According to a new report from Metro, middle-aged women in the United Kingdom are taking MDMA wrapped in brie cheese at parties, and it's being called "brieing."
An anonymous 50-year-old businesswoman was quoted in the article, saying "I have a strong circle of female friends and we had tried all the latest fads, food fashions and destination dinner parties but something was missing. We did not seem to have as much of a laugh than as when we were younger, there always seemed to be barriers up between us. So, one of our group suggested we all take MDMA together so we could open up to each other and improve our friendships."
So where does the cheese come in? According to the businesswoman interviewed by Metro, the women at her party decided to wrap the MDMA powder in rolling paper, then in cheese to make sure they swallowed it at once. (The article claims that the woman's son advised her to take it orally instead of sniffing it.) MDMA is often considered a "purer" form of the drug ecstasy, which often comes in tablet form, but because it's still an illegal drug, it isn't necessarily possible to tell if a powder contains pure MDMA, according to Popular Science, and it still holds the risk of side effects.
It isn't clear why these women decided on brie, but it is a soft cheese that has a distinctive taste and smell. The only other mention about brie and taking drugs online is from a website dedicated to dog training, where a user says they hide dog medication in cheese and "the dogs love it," so the idea isn't totally out of left field. But it's also not cheap. Four ounces of brie cheese cost roughly $12.99 on Amazon.
The woman says in the Metro article that brieing has taken off in the last year. Two other women were quoted anonymously, saying they'd also taken MDMA with food as a social activity.
Healthline notes that MDMA may help treat conditions like PTSD and anxiety, but recreational use can raise a user's heart rate and make it harder for the body to regulate temperatures, according to Medical News Today. The withdrawal effects can be dangerous, as well — users can experience insomnia, memory problems and even depression in the days after MDMA consumption.
Even wrapped in brie, MDMA isn't necessarily safe, which is why some experts seem concerned about the trend. One doctor tells Metro that women may be more at risk for side effects from MDMA use and added, "Everyone has to be careful, but I think women need to pay extra attention to things like how much they are using, how they are mixing, where they are and who they’re with." Vice reports that the middle-aged women discussed in the Metro article are actually taking the drug as responsibly as they can by doing it with friends and in a safe and familiar place.
It isn't clear how widespread brieing actually is — Metro interviewed two woman who'd actually done it, but a 42-year-old woman featured in the article says she and her friends mix MDMA with food all the time, although they'd never tried brie. One of the most striking things about the piece is that both women talk about asking their children for advice on how to take the drug safely. While most people who've tweeted about brieing have done so in jest, it's a fascinating, but potentially dangerous phenomenon — regardless of how widespread the practice actually is.