Ecstasy, or MDMA (methylenedioxy methamphetamine), is a ‘psychedelic amphetamine’ which has properties of both hallucinogen and amphetamine drugs. Amphetaminesmake you feel more awake and alert, while hallucinogens can change your perception of reality. For more information, you can check out the Fact Sheet on Amphetamines and Hallucinogens. Ecstasy is considered a club drug and is commonly taken at dance parties, clubs, or raves. Street names for MDMA include Ecstasy, Adam, XTC, hug, beans, and love drug. Also, different suppliers can have different names for each of the hundreds of batches of the drug. Ecstasy is most often taken in pill form but can be snorted as a powder. It is important to realize that it is almost impossible to know the exact contents or strength of ecstasy pills.
The effects of ecstasy. The effects of ecstasy vary from person to person and may depend on factors such as your size (height and weight), when you’ve eaten, whether you’ve taken other drugs, how much of the drug is taken, how it’s taken, and how pure the drug is (MDMA is commonly mixed with other drugs, such as amphetamines or ketamine (an anesthetic), or impurities such as chalk to help bind it into a pill).
People with certain physical and mental health conditions may be at greater risk of experiencing the negative, sometimes lethal effects of ecstasy. People particularly vulnerable to the dangerous side effects of ecstasy include those with high blood pressure, a heart condition, diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, and depression or other mental illness.
Immediate effects. Usually, the effects of ecstasy start within an hour of taking the drug and may last between 3-6 hours. Some of the immediate effects of taking ecstasy include increased feelings of confidence and well- being, increased feeling of closeness to others which may lead to risky sexual behavior, faster heart rate and sweating, clenched jaw or teeth grinding, higher body temperature and blood pressure, feeling sick, feeling anxious or paranoid, dehydration, not being able to sleep, hallucinations and kidney failure.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.