MDMA MethyleneDioxyMethAmphetamine


MDMA is Schedule I in the United States. This means it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute without a DEA license.

Addictive Potential: Low

Emergency Room Visits Yearly: 2,221 in 2003 more...

Mandatory Minimum Sentence: 6 years for 800 pills

Mechanism of Action: Increases the Neurotransmitters Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin


MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), or ecstasy, is an entactogen that has gained popularity over the past 20 years because of its ability to produce strong feelings of comfort, empathy, and connection to others.

MDMA inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and it reverses the action of the transporter so that it actually begins pumping serotonin into the synapse from inside the cell. This usually causes the serotonin storage vesicles to be emptied after only a few hours with a standard recreational dose.

In addition, MDMA has a partial affinity for blocking the reuptake of dopamine and a smaller affinity still for blocking that of norepinephrine as well as other neurotransmitters in smaller quantities. The former two neurotransmitters, amongst others which may also be released in small amounts, are responsible for increased energy and contribute to the "speedy" feeling of the drug experience, whereas serotonin contributes primarily to feelings of well-being, euphoria, and decreased hostility.

The empathic action of MDMA is yet to be understood well, but one theory is that oxytocin, a hormone and neurotransmitter crucial to social bonding, is released in large quantities when MDMA is taken.

It most frequently comes in tablet form, although it is occasionally sold in capsules or as powder. It is most frequently used orally and rarely snorted. MDMA use is closely tied to the underground rave scene throughout the world, but has also been widely used by therapists as an adjunct to psychotherapy. more...


Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:

Common adverse side effects of MDMA ingestion include rise in blood pressure and heart rate, nystagmus (eye-wiggling), trismus (jaw tension), bruxia (teeth grinding), sweating, agitation, a post-peak crash, muscle tension, headaches, nausea & vomiting, dry-mouth, liver problems, water retention, fatigue, confusion, mood swings, black outs, etc (Erowid, 2008). Prevent adverse ecstasy effects that further damage one's health by learning the appropriate treatment available.

According to Liechti et al. (2001), "Adverse effects were more frequently reported by women compared to men and mainly included jaw clenching or increased tension in maxillary muscles, dry mouth, and lack or loss of appetite. Sweating and nausea were more frequent in men. At the onset of the MDMA effect some subjects reported nausea, hot flushes, paresthesia, and dizziness. Tremor and increased restlessness were observed in about one-third of the subjects. Side effects were generally considered mild and were similar to those reported in previous controlled studies (Vollenweider et al. 1998a) or by Ecstasy users (Peroutka et al. 1988; Solowij et al. 1992). There were no complications requiring medical intervention."

Many users describe an MDMA back-end, or period of feeling depressed and drained after use. Curran & Travill (1997) concluded that, "Weekend use of MDMA may lead to depressed mood mid-week." They continued to explain that "...the results of this study imply that MDMA use at the weekend is associated with subsequent low mood mid-week and with impaired attentional function. It is not clear to what extent this may reflect a temporary serotonergic depletion, a more serious serotonergic neurotoxicity or a psychological consequence of the acute `high’ mood induced by weekend MDMA use." Nutrients that may help with the MDMA back-end (to be taken the week after use) are listed in the table below:

Nutrient Therapeutic Dose Method of Action
500mg three times daily
Increases Dopamine , Norepinephrine, Epinephrine
100mg daily
Increases Serotonin


Long Term Damage:

A meta analysis performed by Kalechstein et al. (2007) reviewed all of the major research currently available that studied the connection between MDMA use and loss of attention/concentration, verbal and nonverbal learning and memory, psychomotor speed, an executive systems functioning. They concluded that, in all 33 studies reviewed, MDMA was associated with neurocognitive deficits in each domain. Small to medium effects sizes were generally observed. They also discussed the possibility that MDMA damage may be healed by a period of abstinence and/or a tryptophan-rich diet. Some of the foods that are high in tryptophan are listed in the table below:

Tryptophan food sources
Tryptophan content (gram/100 grams food)
flax seed, raw
cowpea, catjang, mature seeds, raw
Salami, Italian, pork
lentils, raw
Turkey, all classes, meat only, raw
Peanuts, all types, raw
Turkey, fryer-roasters, meat and skin, raw
Chicken, broilers or fryers, thigh, meat only, raw
Chicken, broilers or fryers, wing, meat and skin, raw
Turkey, breast meat, raw
Nuts, almonds
Egg, yolk, raw, fresh
Nuts, walnuts, english
Egg, whole, raw, fresh
Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, raw
Beef, top sirloin, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, raw
Turkey, sausage, fresh, raw
Egg, white, raw, fresh
Milk, whole, 3.25% milk fat


Leibovitz (1993) believes that users can block phenethylamine (MDMA) damage caused by free radicals by taking the supplements in the table below (to be taken a few hours before the experience):

Nutrient Preventive Dose Therapeutic Dose Form
5 mg
15 mg
Consider supplements of other carotenoids (e.g., lycopene) as they become available
2 grams
6 grams
Mixed bioflavonoids from a variety of sources
Coenzyme Q10
100 mg
300 mg
Only one form available
L-Ascorbic acid
2-4 grams
6-12 grams
Free acid or calcium, magnesium salt
1 gram
3 grams
L-carnitine HCl or, if possible, less hygroscopic salts (e.g., L-carnitine magnesium citrate)
N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)
2 grams
6 grams
Only one form available; do not use L- cysteine
250 mcg
500 mcg
Form not critical -- inorganic (e.g., selenite) as effective, and less expensive, than organic forms (e.g., selenomethionine)
Vitamin E
1,000 IU
3,000 IU
Available data indicate that form is not critical

* From Phenethylamines, Free Radicals, and Antioxidants by Brian Leibovitz, Ph.D.


More Info on Preventing and Treating MDMA Neurotoxicity:

Alpha-lipoic acid prevents 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA)-induced neurotoxicity

Effect of ascorbate and cysteine on the 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced depletion of brain serotonin

Ascorbic acid prevents 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced hydroxyl radical formation and the behavioral and neurochemical consequences of the depletion of brain 5-HT

Neurotoxicity of MDMA (ecstasy): the limitations of scaling from animals to humans

The mechanisms involved in the long-lasting neuroprotective effect of fluoxetine against MDMA ('ecstasy')-induced degeneration of 5-HT nerve endings in rat brain

MDMA (ecstasy) inhibition of MAO type A and type B: comparisons with fenfluramine and fluoxetine (Prozac)



MDMA - The Experience & How to Ease the Back-End

MDMA Damage

Overdoses from MDMA-like Drug in Australia

History of MDMA

Telepathy During an MDMA and LSD Trip

>>>More Videos about MDMA (you can upload your own and view others)


Check Your Ecstasy Pills (for harm reduction):

Pill Reports

Ecstasy Data


Drug Interactions (for harm reduction):

MDMA & SSRIs: Info on Drug Interactions

Illicit drugs and pharmaceutical drug interactions

Ecstasy: Pharmacodynamic and Pharmacokinetic Interactions

Fatal interaction between ritonavir and MDMA

Ethanol–ecstasy (MDMA) interactions in rats: Preserved attenuation of hyperthermia and potentiation of hyperactivity by ethanol despite prior ethanol treatment

Interactions between recreational drugs and antiretroviral agents

‘Candyflipping': Synergistic discriminative effect of LSD and MDMA



Merck's official history of MDMA

Does MDMA Cause Brain Damage?

MDMA Neurochemistry Slideshow (DanceSafe)

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) abuse may cause oxidative stress and potential free radical damage

Free Radicals in the Physiological Control of Cell Function

Exaggerating MDMA's Risks to Justify A Prohibitionist Policy

Is There a Case for MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in the UK?

Mood and Cognitive Effects of MDMA: Weekend High Followed by Mid-week Low

A general screening and confirmation approach to the analysis of designer tryptamines and phenethylamines in blood and urine

MDMA use and neurocognition: a meta-analytic review

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) administration to rats decreases brain tissue serotonin but not serotonin transporter protein and glial fibrillary acidic protein

Different glial response to methamphetamine- and methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity

Acute and long-term effects of MDMA on cerebral dopamine biochemistry and function

Behavioral and neurochemical consequences of long-term intravenous self-administration of MDMA and its enantiomers by rhesus monkeys

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in ecstasy (MDMA) users

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine ('Ecstasy') promotes the translocation of protein kinase C (PKC): requirement of viable serotonin nerve terminals

Residual neuropsychological effects of illicit 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in individuals with minimal exposure to other drugs

Have Halpern et al. (2004) detected 'residual neuropsychological effects' of MDMA? Not likely

Mood disorders and serotonin transporter density in ecstasy users--the influence of long-term abstention, dose, and gender

A role for p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in the regulation of the serotonin transporter: evidence for distinct cellular mechanisms involved in transporter surface expression

Self-reported psychopathological symptoms in recreational ecstasy (MDMA) users are mainly associated with regular cannabis use: further evidence from a combined cross-sectional/longitudinal investigation

Characterization of the translocation of protein kinase C (PKC) by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/ecstasy) in synaptosomes: evidence for a presynaptic localization involving the serotonin transporter (SERT)

Body temperature effect on methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced acute decrease in tryptophan hydroxylase activity

Temperature and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine alter human serotonin transporter-mediated dopamine uptake

A study of the neurotoxic effect of MDMA ('ecstasy') on 5-HT neurones in the brains of mothers and neonates following administration of the drug during pregnancy



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