Probably the most infamous “club drug,” MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a psychoactive drug that is often referred to as Molly and is the primary drug in Ecstasy pills. MDMA, Molly, and X are used almost interchangeably by recreational users.
MDMA is a synthetic, Schedule I narcotic. Schedule I drugs are described as having a high potential for abuse with no acknowledged medical use. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD (Acid), and peyote. MDMA changes the mood and perceptual abilities of the user. Chemically, it is like both hallucinogens and stimulants. MDMA produces sensations of increased energy, pleasure, and emotional well-being as well as distorted perceptions of time and the five senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing.
MDMA is usually taken orally as a capsule or tablet, although it is becoming more commonplace to be ingested in liquid form or snorted as a powder. The powder form has become more popular in the last decade because it is often believed to be more “pure” even though it is usually cut or laced with “bath salts,” the dangerous synthetic drug that has been in the news for horrible violent episodes.
Effects on the Brain and Body
Originally developed in 1914 as a drug to suppress appetite, MDMA began receiving a lot of attention in the 1970s for its experimental use as a psychotherapy treatment. In the 1980s, its gained popularity in the party and rave scenes because of its tendency to produce feel-good emotions and emotional warmth (i.e., feeling extraordinarily close and pleasured by things and people close by).
MDMA, a synthetic drug produced exclusively in laboratories, affects the CNS (Central Nervous System) and interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters, boosting the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The increase in serotonin levels causes users to feel much more affectionate and intimate than usual, and these feelings of attraction make users feel close and friendly with complete strangers.
Symptoms and Withdrawals
The effects of MDMA last between 3 to 6 hours, but many users take more than one dose over the time period to keep the high going. Some initial and instant physical health effects of MDMA include:
- Muscle cramping
- Teeth clamping and teeth grinding
- Blurred vision
Once the “high” from the drug are over, a moderate MDMA user may experience discomfort and withdrawal symptoms for up to a week. These symptoms include:
- Extreme mood swings – impulsiveness and aggression
- Increased irritability
- Sleeping problems
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in and pleasure from sex
Some of these withdrawal symptoms may be more acute or even caused by combining MDMA use with other drugs such as marijuana and other illicit drugs.
Ecstasy use has been linked to long-term memory, attention, and learning problems when compared to persons who either used only marijuana or didn’t use either drug. While often billed as a “safe” party drug at raves and clubs, users are at increased risks of dehydration, increased heart rate, and possible overdose.
MDMA In the News
Recently, researchers have been studying the possibilities of psychedelic drugs like MDMA as alternative treatments for depression and PTSD. A recent study found that octopuses began cuddling each other once administered doses of the drug, and has “shown promise in studies of combat veterans.”
It is important to remember that these studies are still in their early stages. Regardless, there is a big difference between using MDMA for recreational use in comparison to treatment under a medical doctor’s supervision. It is the same idea that morphine is a necessary drug for surgery and pain treatment, but recreational use of morphine is dangerous and addictive.
Only the user can determine if he or she has a problem with drugs or alcohol. When you or your loved one are ready to confront their addictions, Boardwalk Recovery is here to help. Call us now for a free consultation and overview of the ways that our medical staff and experiential treatment programs help ex-MDMA users overcome anxiety and depression to live fulfilling and meaningful lives.