Ecstasy is the common street name for tablets with a stimulating, euphoric or hallucinogenic effect, mostly containing drugs of the methylated amphetamine class, including MDMA. Drugs of the piperazine class are also frequently found in ecstasy tablets. Since the 1990's ecstasy has been especially popular in the dance scene for its trance inducing and stimulating effects.

Using Ecstasy

Ways of administration

Ecstasy is most commonly taken orally, either via swallowing or chewing, however it can also be 'parachuted' and inserted anally. Snorting is not recommended since the powder usually burns the nasal passageways. Chewing the tablet is said to cause the effects to kick in faster and stronger, however they subsequently do not last as long as swallowing the tablet whole.

Effects of Ecstasy

Ecstasy's first effects are generally felt within thirty minutes to an hour, and include increases in mood and energy. Euphoria is generally reached within this time-frame, and usually peaks within two hours after taking the drug. The user may feel an increased desire to dance and talk, as well as a sense of empathy towards everything. The senses are heightened, and their mere stimulation results in pleasure. Lights, sound (especially loud music) and the sense of feeling thus directly attribute to the euphoria associated with MDMA use. After peaking, these effects usually slowly wane until they are completely gone, usually between five and eight hours later.

Side Effects

Some users experience more pronounced side-effects from ecstasy use. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, alterations in vision, dizziness, vertigo, dry mouth, dehydration, dysphoria, jaw-clenching, eye-wiggles and others. It is common to feel drained following an ecstasy 'roll', and mildly depressed in the days following ecstasy use. This effect is more pronounced if the drug use was heavy or repeated.

Furthermore, Ecstasy is rarely pure MDA-style compounds, and can include a host of other chemicals such as piperazines, phenethylamines such as 2C-B, simple amphetamines, substituted amphetamines each with their own effects, PMA, tryptamines, opiates, DXM, ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, as well as many chemicals with no discernible effect. A tablet of 'Ecstasy' therefore may cause a completely different effect than another tablet with a different chemical make-up. This increases the risks for side-effects such as hallucinations, stimulation, migraine headache (piperazines seem to cause these in susceptible individuals), dissociation, sedation and the side effects that come with whatever drugs happen to be in the tablet.

Combinations with Ecstasy

Ecstasy is commonly combined with other drugs, although doing so increases the user's risk of unwanted side-effects. The combination of Ecstasy with other drugs is involved in most deaths in which ecstasy played a role. Commonly, alcohol is mixed with ecstasy, which can be dangerous because both alcohol and ecstasy dehydrate the body which can lead to death if untreated.

Hallucinogenic drugs such as magic mushrooms and LSD are sometimes taken with ecstasy. This combination is sometimes called 'candyflipping'. While this combination is generally safe physically, it is wise to have somebody there to confront any issues, such as by making sure the user isn't dehydrated.

Downers and Ecstasy are often not recommended since the clashing effects of both drugs can cause stress to your body, particularly your heart. This can prove to be fatal.

Stimulants are generally advised against while on ecstasy, because MDA-type compounds are a moderate stimulants themselves, not to mention the speedy impurities/caffeine found in many ecstasy pills. This can cause overstimulation as well as an increase in dehydration and body temperature.

Different Uses for Ecstasy

Ecstasy (mdma) was originally used in couples therapy. It allowed the couples to open and express emotions. It was believed that by using ecstasy during therapy six months of work could be completed in on therapy session. However it later became popular as a recreational drug and laws put in place prevent it from being used in therapy today despite previous positive results

Pharmacology of Ecstasy

Chemistry of Ecstasy

See MDMA for the chemistry of the active compound.

The dangers of Ecstasy

The main dangers of ecstasy lies in the unpredictability of the composition of the product. Thus, a drug test should always be used to assess the purity of esctasy.

Producing Ecstasy

Forms of Ecstasy

Legal status of Ecstasy

United Nations



History of Ecstasy


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