You’ve heard of Ecstasy, well MDMA is basically Ecstasy's cooler sister. It’s the party drug to end all party drugs and can give your night a pretty big boost, not that you’ll remember any of it afterwards, but still. Okay, now that we’ve listed all the amazing things that could happen on MDMA, it’s time to shut this party down. There are a tonne of risks to taking hard drugs and it’s important that you know what they are. Here’s 30 grams of reality.

A young woman is sitting at a desktop. She is wearing a mask. She is looking up MDMA. This is a wide-angle image.

What is MDMA? 

MDMA is a chemical that, ideally, makes people dance for hours and love the entire human race. It became the base ingredient in ecstasy pills, and as a result was massive during the 90s rave culture – but now MDMA is more popular than actual ecstasy. It’s usually referred to as ‘Molly’.

What’s the difference between MDMA and ecstasy? 

For quite a while, MDMA and ecstasy were the same thing. MDMA was just the chemical name – short for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (try saying that 5 times fast) – and ecstasy was the street name, often sold in pill form.

Unfortunately, ecstasy pills started getting cut with a bunch of other shit to make them cheaper, while MDMA became associated with a purer, powdered form of the drug. Nowadays, MDMA crystals are actually more popular than the powder because they give a more intense trip. Keep in mind, taking MDMA doesn’t necessarily mean it IS purer though – it might still be cut with other chemicals.

What does MDMA look like and how to take MDMA? 

It’s usually white powder. The powder is often snorted or wrapped in cigarette paper and ‘bombed’ (swallowed). Crystals can be crushed and taken in the same way as powder. 

Why do people take it? 

Although we do NOT recommend regular use of MDMA, we can’t deny that if a trip goes right – everything just feels right. Here are some of the effects:

  • Taking MDMA can make you feel like everything in the world is amazing and right.
  • Huge amounts of empathy towards other humans – you LOVE humans, we are all so beautiful.
  • Emotional openness so you can talk and SHARE with all the beautiful humans.
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds, colours and touch.
  • Buckets of energy, meaning you can dance for hours on end without getting knackered.
  • Your natural shyness (if you have any) disappears so you feel less embarrassed by all the dancing, sharing and hugging.

What are the bad side effects?  

And now for the reasons we caution against long-term use: 

  • You’ll most definitely annoy the HELL out of anyone around you who isn’t also on MDMA.
  • As you come up, you may get a huge rush of nervousness and uncertainty that can feel very overwhelming.
  • Prepare to grind, and not in a fun way. MDMA tightens your jaw muscles, and you may get some pretty unattractive mouth ulcers afterwards.
  • You can sweat buckets, feel really sick and find your heart beats too fast.
  • The surge of emotions can be too much to deal with.
  • The comedown of MDMA is pretty hardcore, and can leave you feeling miserable for days.

How long does MDMA take to kick in?  

Now you know how to take MDMA safely, the next step is the high. It usually takes about 20 minutes to an hour, or even two hours, to come up, depending on how much food is in your belly. Once you start feeling it, you usually launch into the climax of the effects almost immediately. This can be pretty intense and scary, but the feeling doesn’t usually last longer than a few minutes.

How long does MDMA last? Well, the ‘main event’ effects last about three to four hours. Then it can take a further two to six hours to feel normalish again and be able to sleep. 

What’s the comedown like? 

Immediately: As you start to come down, some people experience a distressing crash where they never want the euphoria to end and get scared (sometimes even angry) about its imminent end.

The next few days: Feeling that happy and then returning to… well…the world you live in, can kinda sting. Lots of users have to schedule in two days for the full MDMA experience, to factor in recovery. You’re unlikely to feel like a Perky Polly if you’ve taken MDMA. The week following you may feel run-down, depressed, and catch whatever cold or flu is going around at the time. Also, To answer the inevitable ‘How long does MDMA stay in your system?’ It can be detected in your urine for 1-3 days after the trip, but lasts 90 days in your hair – so might wanna shave all that off. 

Now that you know about the experience – you’re probably wondering ‘Is MDMA addictive? Short answer, YES. It can be psychologically addictive, meaning that if you use it regularly you can end up wanting to take it more and more. Your body can also build up a tolerance to MDMA if you’ve taken it recently, so you get a much milder experience from the same dosage.

 Read our article on addiction to aid in preventing that cycle.

How can I reduce the risks?  

If you’re planning to take MDMA, here’s a couple of ways minimise the risks:

  • A dealer may claim it’s pure MDMA, but don’t take their word for it. The only way of knowing what’s in it is by testing it. You can even now find testing facilities in clubs and at festivals.
  • The safest way to take it is to take it slow and see how you feel, rather than snorting it in one go or bombing.
  • Take regular breaks from dancing and sit down to stop yourself getting overheated. Sipping from non-alcoholic drinks like water will help keep you hydrated. Just don’t down it, sipping is best.
  • Try not to double dose, especially if you’re waiting to come up. Give it time for the drug to kick in before you chow down more.
  • Be around trustworthy friends who can look after you. Make sure they know what you’ve taken, and when you’ve taken it.
  • Don’t drive and don’t mix it with any other stimulants or depressants, even caffeine.

What if I’m caught with the MDMA drug?

It’s a Class A drug, so the maximum sentence is seven years for possession and/or a fine, and a life sentence and/or an unlimited fine for supplying. For more information about drugs and the law, see our article here.

And to find out more about MDMA, click here.

Next Steps

  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 01-Sep-2021