Ecstasy, also known as methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine or MDMA, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with empathogenic, euphoric, and stimulant effects. Its street names are XTC, Adam, Love Drug, Go, X, or E. This illegal substance can damage nerve cells in the brain. The active ingredient in ecstasy is MDMA. The drug comes in a wide range of shapes and colors. Its side effects are similar to those induced by amphetamines and cocaine.
What is Ecstasy?
This synthetic drug acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen. Its chemical structure is similar to methamphetamine, which is known to cause brain damage. Ecstasy was originally designed as a weight loss aid. It was also used during counseling because of its ability to remove inhibitions and induce relaxation. This practice was stopped in 1986. Clubbers take this drug to feel energized and stay awake for hours. The effects last between three and six hours.
MDMA was created in 1914 by the German drug company called Merck. Researchers thought that this substance could be used as an appetite suppressant. After being swallowed or inhaled, the drug floods your brain with dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, making you feel energized and emphatic. After a few hours of dancing and moving, the trip comes to an end. MDMA, the active substance in ecstasy, is often referred to as “molly.” This name indicates that the drug is always pure MDMA. Even though the risk of addiction is low, you have no idea the lab environment these substances were produced in.
Most people who take this drug increase the dose over an extended period, which leads to serious side effects. Ecstasy MDMA is usually taken in pill form. Statistics show that ecstasy use is moving to settings other than parties and clubs, such as high schools, private homes, and shopping malls. This synthetic drug has lasting effects on people, causing memory loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, impulsive behavior, and self-blame.
What Does It Look Like?
This illegal substance is taken orally. It’s available as a tablet, powder, liquid, and capsule. MDMA tablets are imprinted with a logo such as clover leaves, cartoon characters, and smiley faces. They are available in different colors and shapes. Each tablet contains 50 to 100 milligrams of MDMA. The pills are often made to look like candy. The first effects show up in 30-60 minutes.
Who Uses the Drug?
Teenagers and young adults commonly use ecstasy MDMA. Users take this drug for its stimulant properties, which enable them to dance for hours without feeling tired. The average price of a tablet is quite low, making it accessible to young people. The drug is often used at techno parties and all-night dance parties. Street names for Ecstasy MDMA include Adam, morning shot, crystal, b-bombs, essence, hug drug, Scooby snacks, sweeties, decadence, and iboga.
What Are Some Ecstasy Side Effects?
The human body releases serotonin gradually, but Ecstasy dumps it all. This substance is marketed as a feel good drug. It suppresses the need to eat, drink, and sleep, enabling users to stay awake for up to three days in a row. The drug produces positive feelings and extreme relaxation. Short term side effects include hypertension, increased heart rate, blurred vision, paranoia, insomnia, nausea, teeth clenching, confusion, dizziness, chills, and increased body temperature. It’s even more dangerous when used in combination with other drugs such as cannabis, psilocybin mushrooms, and LSD. The physical and psychological effects of MDMA are difficult to predict.
People who take large doses of ecstasy may experience hyperthermia, muscle breakdown, kidney failure, and heart failure. Heavy or long-term use can lead to brain damage, sleep disorders, depression and anxiety, paralysis, liver damage, cardiac dysrhythmias, seizures, hyponatremia, and hypertensive crises. The misconception that ecstasy MDMA is a safe drug continues to be a major problem. This substance is often referred to as the hug drug due to the amplified desire to socialize. Repeated doses can result in amphetamine-like toxicity.
This drug is usually mixed with ephedrine, ketamine, heroin and other psychoactive substances. Side effects depend on the purity of the ingested substance. Most users experience increased blood pressure, tachycardia, and anxiety immediately after taking the drug. Other common side effects include paresthesias, jaw clenching, increased psychomotor activity, and dry mouth. Within one hour, these symptoms are replaced by feelings of euphoria, relaxation, mild visual distortions, and increased empathy. Many people take additional doses of ecstasy to prolong these effects. This can lead to anxiety and confusion. The drug can cause body temperatures to exceed 106 degrees, resulting in heart attack, nausea, hallucinations, exhaustion, dehydration, and even death.
Ecstasy stimulates the nervous system, dilates pupils and bronchi, and causes excessive sweating. The immediate effects diminish with repeated doses. Some users may experience stomach cramps, headaches, and muscle pain. This synthetic drug can cause depression and anxiety that last for days after use. The brain of a teenager using this substance regularly is similar to that of a 60-year old person who has had some strokes. MDMA damages nerve cells, causing apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Users experience physiological and psychological effects, including aches and pains, fatigue, emotional sensitivity, irritability, jaw soreness, exhaustion, and gastrointestinal disturbances. The low mood following MDMA consumption is known as Tuesday Blues. Drug overdose may cause hallucinations, disorientation, cognitive and memory impairment, amnesia, stroke, palpitations, cardiotoxicity, muscle rigidity, destruction of blood vessels, severe chest pain, and coma. People who take ecstasy regularly have increased rates of depression, even after quitting the drug.
This drug may be toxic to the brain. It can also deplete the amount of serotonin in the brain and cause neurotoxicity. The physical side effects that can occur while taking ecstasy can last for weeks. Approximately 60 percent of users report withdrawal symptoms, including lack of focus, depression, fatigue, and poor appetite. Education is one of the most powerful and useful tools for preventing ecstasy abuse.