Information on Ecstasy, the Drug

Brief Description:

Ecstasy is a manufactured drug synthesized from natural essential oils such as safrole or piperonal. It acts as a stimulant and a hallucinogen. It is taken orally as a capsule or tablet.


Short-term effects include feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, enhanced sensory perception, and increased physical energy. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision.

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What Is Ecstasy?

MDMA or ecstasy is a psychoactive drug possessing stimulant and some hallucinogenic properties.

MDMA possesses chemical variations of the stimulant amphetamine or methamphetamine and a hallucinogen, most often mescaline. MDMA, called “Molly,” “ecstasy,” or “XTC” on the street, has a chemical structure (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) similar to two other synthetic drugs, MDA and methamphetamine, which are known to cause brain damage.

Ecstasy Quick Facts

  • Ecstasy’s psychological effects can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and paranoia during, and sometimes weeks after, taking the drug.
  • Ecstasy is most commonly used at all-night parties called “raves.”
  • Brain imaging research in humans indicates that MDMA causes injury to the brain, affecting neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons.
  • Physical symptoms other than the ones mentioned above include rapid eye movement, faintness, chills, and sweating.
  • Ecstasy’s content varies widely, and it frequently consists of substances entirely different from MDMA, ranging from caffeine to dextromethorphan.
  • Typical doses of ecstasy range from around 80 to 160 milligrams of MDMA when taken orally.
  • When Ecstasy is taken by mouth, the effects manifest about 30-45 minutes later.
  • MDMA was first synthesized and patented in 1914 by Merck, a German drug company.
  • Memory tests of people who have taken Ecstasy when compared to non-drug users have shown that the Ecstasy users had lower scores.

Health Risks and Dangers

Beliefs about MDMA are reminiscent of the claims made about LSD in the 1950s and 1960s, which proved to be untrue. According to its proponents, MDMA can make people trust each other and can break down barriers between therapists and patients, lovers, and family members.

Many of the risks users face with MDMA use are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine.

Also, there is evidence that people who develop a rash that looks like acne after using MDMA may be risking severe side effects, including liver damage, if they continue to use the drug.
MDA, the parent drug of MDMA, is an amphetamine-like drug that has also been abused and is similar in chemical structure to MDMA.

Research shows that MDA destroys serotonin-producing neurons in the brain, which play a direct role in regulating aggression, mood, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. It is probably this action on the serotonin system that gives MDA its purported properties of heightened sexual experience, tranquillity, and conviviality.

MDMA is related in its structure and effects to methamphetamine, which has been shown to cause degeneration of neurons containing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Damage to these neurons is the underlying cause of the motor disturbances seen in Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms of this disease begin with a lack of coordination and tremors and can eventually result in a form of paralysis.

Ecstasy Information and Help for Addiction

If you are worried about someone you know and searching the Internet for information, then most likely that person has a problem.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to ecstasy or has a definite problem with ecstasy, we can help. We are not affiliated with any drug rehabilitation center but can guide you to the treatment programs best suited to you. Our referral service is free and confidential.

Let us help you find the right drug treatment center no matter where you are in Canada, and we will assist you in starting your road to recovery.

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