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Ecstasy (MDMA) Facts

Ecstasy (MDMA) Facts

Ecstasy 101

MDMA (short for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), more commonly referred to as ecstasy, is an illegal drug popularized in the late 1980s by club goers and ravers. Its popularity is due, in major part, to the induced euphoric sensation and energizing effect it provides the user with. Those who take ecstasy often experience emotional warmth, as well as distortions in time, perception and physical (bodily) experience.

Ecstasy is unlike many common illegal drugs (like marijuana, for instance) in that it is a synthetic drug, meaning that it is artificially produced for illicit markets and manufactured primarily from chemical compounds in illicit laboratories. This holds significance for many reasons, an imperative one being that the manufacturers may add whatever they want to the drug. This puts the drug's purity and risk of harmfulness into prime question.

Street or slang names for the drug are listed as follows: E, X, Rolls, E-tarts, Speed for Lovers, Love Drug, and Hug Drug.

What Does Ecstasy Look Like?

Ecstasy, on occasion, will take the form of a capsule, but it is seen most commonly as a flat round tablet. This tablet may take on various sizes and colors and is usually adorned with some sort of small inscription. On rare occasion, the drug is manifested as a powder.


How Is Ecstasy Taken?

The user almost always swallows the tablet or capsule. However, now and then ecstasy is smoked, snorted or even injected.

Ecstasy Demographic

Ecstasy is popular among younger people, particularly college and high school students. Its use is fairly prevalent in raves (all-night parties), and this may be due to the decrease in sleep a user experiences when taking the drug.

In recent years, the use of ecstasy has declined a significant amount among teens. In 2009, 6.5% of high school seniors admitted to trying the drug at least once in their lives; this number is down from 11.7% who admitted to experimenting with it in 2001.

Immediate Effects upon Taking "E"

Within 20 minutes of taking a tablet, the user may experience certain effects and sensations that last up to 6 hours. These include (but are not limited to):

  • an increase in confidence
  • a heightened sense of closeness and intimacy with others
  • dilated pupils
  • jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • sweating
  • an increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature

As with most other drugs, an ecstasy user will experience a come up, plateau and come down from the drug.

Long-Term Effects

Ecstasy users may experience these long-term effects:

  • confusion
  • depression
  • sleep problems decrease of serotonin (which can affect memory and critical thinking)
  • drug craving death

Ecstasy researchers tested the drug on animals to see whether or not it had adverse effects on the brain. One study involved exposing monkeys to MDMA for 4 days. The results: the drug caused damage to the monkeys' serotonin nerve terminals, which was evident even 6 years after the initial experiment. This is only one such study; many others have produced similar results. Consequently, these multitude of experiments clearly depict ecstasy's severe damaging properties on the brain and suggest that the drug is not safe for human consumption.


Similar to most other illicit drugs, a frequented use of ecstasy can produce adverse effects up to, and not excluding, death. This can be the case for a couple of reasons, two primary ones being dehydration and heat exhaustion, both which result from dancing for long hours without replenishing lost body fluids. On the other hand, drinking too many fluids while on ecstasy can also cause death, as the user's brain can swell from excess fluid intake, prompting a coma to take place. Overdose is another contributing factor to ecstasy-related deaths.


We at strongly advise against experimenting with ecstasy, much less becoming a regular user. Studies have shown that the cons outweigh the pros; that is, the long-term adverse effects on the body and brain outweigh the immediate and totally ephemeral feelings of closeness and intimacy the user experiences when on the drug. If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with ecstasy, we urge you to contact a rehab center for professional help in a safe environment.


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