Ecstasy (MDMA)

Drug Information About Ecstasy (MDMA)

Street names: E, X, Molly, XTC, beans, rolls, pills, Adam (Molly originally meant pure MDMA, but is now generally used to refer to all MDMA, pure or impure.)

Drug Classification:  MDMA is illegal in the United States and is classified as a DEA Schedule I drug with no medical uses. Charges of possession and are based on overall weight of the pills, regardless of purity.

General Information

MDMA is a stimulant drug known to produce feelings of euphoria and closeness to others. It causes a massive release and sustainment of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, neurotransmitters that regulate reward systems, mood, and pleasure in the brain.

Pure MDMA is a white crystalline powder. It is usually seen in pressed pills (identifiable by their color and the graphic stamped onto them) or in capsules. Ecstasy is most often swallowed with effects starting in around 30-60 minutes. It is also often snorted (insufflated) to produce a faster onset of effects, though this is known to be a highly painful and unpleasant experience.

Clear physical signs of a person under the influence MDMA are dilated pupils, increased body temperature and excessive sweating, rapid involuntary eye movements or wiggles, and/or teeth grinding or jaw clenching.

Side Effects of MDMA

The after effects of MDMA are most commonly insomnia, depression and anxiety, and fatigue. These also may include lack of appetite, irritability, and decreased focus and concentration (due to a lack of serotonin in the brain as the user recovers). Physical after effects can be directly caused by some of the acute effects of MDMA – for example, jaw soreness may occur the next day due to excessive teeth grinding from the previous night.

Health Risks and Other Problems Associated With Use

Chronic use of MDMA can lead to permanent depression problems due to damage to the brain’s serotonin production and re-uptake functions. Users also often report that MDMA becomes less and less powerful as the total amount they have taken in their lifetime increases, with reports of MDMA “losing its magic” and having its euphoric qualities disappear.

Because MDMA is such a popular drug, the demand for it outstrips the supply and causes people to sell virtually any drug as long as they call it “Ecstasy.”   This has made ecstasy pills notoriously unreliable, since they may contain no MDMA at all and could contain methamphetamine, ketamine, caffeine, or other dangerous or unwanted filler. Bad or impure pills are the most prominent risk when taking MDMA, since it is nearly impossible for users to know exactly what chemicals are in what they are taking.