MDMA, also known as ecstasy or Molly, is a synthetic recreational drug that has both psychedelic and stimulant properties. MDMA is particularly popular among teens and young adults who seek to amplify their sensory experience at music events or parties.
There are several risks involved with MDMA use. Since it’s created in clandestine labs, there is no regulation on the ingredients used. This means that other powerful substances may be present, which could result in injury or death. Let’s start with a deeper dive into what this substance is.
What is MDMA?
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is a designated Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act, meaning that it has no legitimate medical use and is highly prone to abuse. MDMA is typically sold as colorful tablets that feature a brand or logo stamped on top. The effects of the drug typically last 4–6 hours.
Young people seek out this substance in hopes of experiencing a heightened experience, such as enhanced empathy toward others, a sense of well-being, and energy, as well as feeling more outgoing in social settings like nightclubs, raves or concerts. Individuals may engage in “stacking” the drug, meaning ingesting multiple tablets at once, or “piggybacking,” meaning taking multiple tablets over a short period of time.
What is ecstasy?
Popular during the ’90s, ecstasy, shortened “E,” “X” or “XTC,” is MDMA in pill form. The purity of these pills has changed throughout the years, particularly thanks to the shortage of sassafras oil. Some of these pills have been found to contain methylone, ethylone, MDPV, mephedrone and other substances under the bath salts category, as well as other diluting agents.
What is Molly?
Molly, also known as Mandy in the U.K., is a newer wave of MDMA usually seen in powder form. Similar to ecstasy, the presence of additional diluting agents substances in Molly have also increased recently, sometimes containing other amphetamine derivatives, caffeine, opiates or painkillers.
What are the symptoms of MDMA use?
The individual will begin to feel the effects of MDMA within an hour of taking it and can produce the following effects:
- Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
- Sexual arousal
- Sense of trust
- Heightened emotions
- Visual distortions
- Mild hallucinations
- Decreased appetite
- Reduced need for sleep
Other longer lasting side-effects can include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory impairment
- Impulsive behavior
- Suppressed appetite
- Lowered libido
What are the dangers of using MDMA?
Although people seek MDMA for its pleasurable effects, there are many severe risks associated with this substance. Potentially dangerous effects of MDMA include the following:
- Reactions to unknown content: Analysis of MDMA tablets has revealed that the tablets sometimes contain other substances, such as ketamine, cocaine, bath salts or methamphetamine, all of which can cause unexpected side effects.
- Hyperthermia: Because MDMA is usually ingested at crowded events involving dancing, there is an increased risk of overheating and developing a dangerous spike in body temperature, known as hyperthermia. This is due to the drug impacting the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
- Accidental injury: MDMA causes changes in perceiving space and motion. If someone is under the influence of the drug while driving, there is an increased risk of being involved in a collision.
- Heart damage: Repeated use of MDMA can lead to heart arrhythmia and permanent heart damage.
- Overdose: MDMA is often consumed along with other substances, such as alcohol or marijuana, in an attempt to increase its effects further. This may result in toxicity, which is a medical emergency.
What are the signs of an MDMA overdose?
When an individual consumes an excessive dose of MDMA, there is a risk of overdose.
Clenched jaws, uncontrolled body movements, fever, and mental confusion are tell-tale signs of an overdose. As these symptoms intensify, other dangerous symptoms begin to emerge, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Panic attacks
- Loss of consciousness
If an overdose is suspected, it‘s critical to seek immediate medical assistance.
If you or someone you love is dealing with an MDMA addiction, help is available. The rehabilitation process takes commitment and patience but will help free you from this dangerous substance.