The chemical name for ecstasy is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). The chemical structure is similar to that of amphetamine (a stimulant) and mescaline (a hallucinogen). It is a street drug that is only made in illegal labs. It is usually sold as a tablet, capsule, or powder. The tablets vary in shape, size, colour, and in the amount of ecstasy they contain. They may be stamped with a logo. This does not guarantee how pure the tablet is.
Tablets may not have any ecstasy in them at all. They may contain cornstarch, soaps and detergents, or contain other drugs, such as:
Ecstasy combined with LSD is sometimes called
"X & L."
A product that is sold as
"herbal ecstasy" does not contain
MDMA. It usually has ephedrine in it. Ephedrine is a natural stimulant.
Abuse of ephedrine-containing products has been associated with an
increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and death.
Also Known As: adam, AKA, E, euphoria, hug drug, M, M&M, MDM, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, rave, X, XTC, the love drug, the party pill, hug, beans, clarity lover's, speed (ecstasy)
Category: Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants, Hallucinogens
After taking ecstasy, the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels to the brain. In the brain, it causes the release of a neurotransmitter called serotonin as well as two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline). Serotonin influences mood, sleep and appetite. It usually takes about an hour to feel the effects. The effects of a single dose may last for three to six hours.
The effects of ecstasy are unpredictable. It is different for everyone. The way someone feels after taking ecstasy depends on many factors:
The effects of ecstasy are unpredictable. Some people may experience panic attacks or anxiety. Ecstasy may also produce pleasant feelings and a sense of well-being (euphoria), friendliness, empathy, and closeness to others. All amphetamines, including ecstasy, produce a sense of energy and confidence.
Short-term use of ecstasy can produce many other effects:
In addition, a person could potentially experience:
MDMA causes an increase in body temperature (hyperthermia). When you combine the increase in body temperature with physical activity such as dancing and a warm environment, the situation can become worse. This increase in body temperature as well as the increase in blood pressure and heart rate can lead to kidney or heart failure, strokes and seizures. Some people drink too much water to avoid dehydration. This can result in dangerously low salt levels in the blood, which can lead to confusion, convulsions and delirium and can progress quickly to coma and death from the swelling of the brain.
When the effects of ecstasy have worn off, a user may feel anxious, confused, depressed, and may have trouble sleeping. Memory problems, 'flashbacks' and paranoia may also occur.
A person may not know that they are more likely to suffer from the dangerous effects of ecstasy. People with diabetes, epilepsy, heart and liver problems, or mental disorders are most at risk.
Ecstasy should not be combined with other drugs. Toxic reactions can occur if it is taken with drugs used to treat depression or HIV.
People who use ecstasy often may lose weight and develop chronic exhaustion, fatigue, and muscle aches. They often have trouble sleeping and may be anxious and depressed.
Some people develop flashbacks, delusions, hallucinations, and psychotic symptoms that last after the effects of ecstasy have worn off.
Studies in animals have shown that ecstasy can damage certain brain cells and that these effects can be long-lasting. It is possible that this occurs in humans as well, however more research is needed.
It is not known whether ecstasy can harm a developing fetus.
Ecstasy can be addictive, but physical dependence is rare. People can quickly become tolerant to the effects of ecstasy with regular use. It is not uncommon for the drug to take on an exaggerated importance in a person's life.