MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) was first synthesized in 1912 but wasn’t used recreationally until 1970 by the United States. By the 1980s MDMA had reached Europe and became an important part of rave culture. MDMA is now one of the four most widely abused drugs in the US alongside heroin, cocaine and cannabis.
Both a stimulant and a psychedelic, MDMA is criminalized in most countries. MDMA is derived from either the root bark or the fruit of sassafras plants in the form of a colourless oil called safrole. From there the safrole can be converted into MDMA through several different methodologies. Only a small amount of the oil is required to make a considerably large number of MDMA pills. MDMA is a releasing agent of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine; leaving the user feeling euphoric and empathetic. It has long been suggested that MDMA could be suitable for treatment in psychotherapy, a theory that is being tested in several ongoing MDMA therapeutic studies. It is suggested that MDMA may provide support to treatments such as posttraumatic stress disorder.
MDMA/Ecstasy is used recreationally as a drug of abuse to promote euphoria, empathy, sexuality, disinhibition and feelings of closeness. Considered a “party drug,” it is typically found at raves and techno parties. MDMA is known for being taken in combination with other psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mushrooms or cannabis. Subjective effects include diminished aggression, hostility, fear, anxiety, insecurity and jealousy. MDMA can illicit feelings of compassion, forgiveness, intimacy, love and self-confidence. It can often increase energy, awareness, wakefulness, motivation and desire.
Short-term side effects include difficulty concentrating, jaw clenching and teeth grinding during sleep, lack of appetite, dry mouth, dehydration and heightened senses. Research in animals links MDMA exposure to long-term damage to neurons that are involved in mood, thinking, and judgment. A study in nonhuman primates showed that exposure to MDMA for only 4 days caused damage to serotonin nerve terminals that was evident 6 to 7 years later. While similar neurotoxicity has not been definitively shown in humans, the wealth of animal research indicating MDMA’s damaging properties suggests that MDMA is not a safe drug for human consumption.
Overdosing on MDMA can be life threatening. Symptoms can include hallucinations, cognitive and memory impairment, extreme anxiety and/or paranoia, panic attacks and disorganized thinking. Physiologically an MDMA overdose can lead to muscle twitches, heart palpitations, cardiogenic shock, chest pain, rapid breathing, loss of consciousness, possible brain damage and/or comatose state, cardiac arrest, stroke and/or organ failure.
Withdrawal symptoms can last up to 3 to 7 days and can typically include psychological symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, depression, fatigue and emotional sensitivity. Physiologically, the user can experience muscle aches, drowsiness, acne, dizziness, vertigo, gastrointestinal disturbances, diarrhea, constipation, jaw soreness, insomnia and a loss of appetite.
MDMA Street Names
- Hug Drug
- Disco Biscuit
- Candy Flipping (MDMA & LSD)
- Hippie Flipping (MDMA & mushrooms)
- Kitty Flipping (MDMA & ketamine)
- Sparkle Flipping (MDMA & 2C-E)
- Love Drug
- Triple Stacks