Ecstasy, MDMA

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy is the street name for the hallucinogenic methamphetamine derivative methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). First used in psychiatric patients, it became a popular recreational drug in the 1980s because of its hallucinogenic effects. MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others and distortions in sensory and time perception. There are a lot of slang words for MDMA. Ecstasy and Molly are the most common. Other street names for ecstasy include X, E, XTC, Adam, M&M, bean, roll, clarity, and essence. It can now be purchased on the street alongside hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. In 2013, 4 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds said they used ecstasy in the past year. This is essentially unchanged from the prior few years but down sharply from 2002 when almost 6 percent reported using the drug. As far as drugs go, ecstasy is less popular in that age group than cocaine and half as popular as recreational painkillers.

How is Ecstasy Used?

MDMA is man-made; it doesn't come from a plant like marijuana does. Other chemicals or substances, such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (found in some cough syrups), amphetamines, PCP or cocaine, are sometimes added to, or substituted for, MDMA in Ecstasy tablets. Makers of MDMA can add anything they want to the drug, so its purity is always in question. MDMA is taken orally, usually as a capsule or tablet, and is commonly combined with other drugs. The popular term Molly (slang for “molecular”) refers to the pure crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules. The drug’s effects last approximately three to six hours, although it is not uncommon for users to take a second dose of the drug as the effects of the first dose begin to fade. Some people take more than one pill at a time, called "bumping.“ Some pills are believed to be two or three times more potent than others and are referred to as "double-“ or "triple-stacked," "Speedy" or "Dopey." Depending on the ingredients of the pill, a tablet of ecstasy can have stimulant or depressant effects.

Short-term side effects of MDMA

People who use MDMA can become dehydrated through vigorous activity in a hot environment. Possible side effects can also include:
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills & sweating
  • Increased body temp
  • Tremors
  • Muscle cramping
  • Blurred vision

What are the Long-Term Effects of MDMA?

Some heavy MDMA users experience long-lasting confusion, depression, sleep abnormalities and problems with attention and memory, although it is possible that some of these effects may be due to the use of other drugs in combination with MDMA, especially marijuana. Ecstasy-related deaths have been reported, usually as a result of heatstroke from dancing in hot clubs for long hours without replenishing lost body fluids. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are the two biggest dangers when under the influence of MDMA. It's important to note that there are many other side effects that can occur from other unknown substances that could be in the ecstasy tablet. These can include addiction, overdose, and death.
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