What is “Ecstasy”?
Ecstasy/MDMA is an illegal synthetically made drug. It is a stimulant that enhances the user’s sense of smell, sound, sight and taste. MDMA improves mood and maintain energy, often for all-night dance parties and has potential hallucinogenic properties.
Long-term use may cause damage to the brain’s ability to regulate sleep, pain, memory and emotions.
Clandestine laboratories produce MDMA, and the result of being unregulated is that it is seldom pure. The pure form of MDMA is a white crystalline powder. The MDMA powder sells as Molly, with an unknown purity. Dealers often mix it with other drugs or substances that can be toxic, for example, caffeine, LSD, heroin or even rat poison. Since the potency can differ, users can suffer an overdose when taking the product.
MDMA sells primarily in tablet form – the designer version, a pressed tablet branded with a symbol of some sort.
What happens when you take it?
The effect of the drug kicks in 20-60 minutes after taking it. The impact of euphoria lasts about 3-5 hours. Note: If the user takes a higher dose – it can lead to confusion, anxiety, depression and extreme physical fatigue, which may last as long as two days.
Side effects & withdrawal symptoms:
Physical symptoms: (it can last for weeks)
Note: Ecstasy is a risk for anyone with heart disease, high blood pressure and circulatory problems.
Users suffer from nausea, teeth clenching, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, muscle tension, sweating and faintness.
Death can occur from heatstroke.
“Heatstroke is a serious, potentially life-threatening form of heat illness. The body temperature rises to 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and you develop neurological changes, such as mental confusion or unconsciousness. At high temperatures, body proteins and the membranes around the cells in the body, especially in the brain, begin to be destroyed or malfunction. In addition, the extreme heat can affect internal organs, causing the breakdown of the heart muscle cells and blood vessels, damage to internal organs, and death.”
The user may experience confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia. The symptoms can occur during and sometimes weeks after taking MDMA. Psychotic episodes are also possible after taking MDMA.
Long term effects:
MDMA has the potential to cause neurotoxicity.
What is neurotoxicity? “Neurotoxicity occurs when the exposure to natural or artificial toxic substances (neurotoxicants) alters the normal activity of the nervous system. It can eventually disrupt or even kill neurons, key cells that transmit and process signals in the brain and other parts of the nervous system.”
Symptoms may be the following: numbness, loss of memory, loss of vision, headaches, limb weakness, behavioural problems and sexual dysfunction. The symptoms either appear immediately after exposure or later.
Brain & liver damage
Many users believe that MDMA s relatively safe from other drugs. Not so. MDMA is associated with widespread organ toxicity and the liver being severely affected. Some individuals are more susceptible to damage from MDMA than others. Acute liver failure and death can occur.
Drug detection times
Drug detection times
Please use these figures as a guide only:
MDMA (ecstasy): 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood
Terminology and Information on Drugs, Revised Edition, United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, New York, 1999.
Merck Index, 13th Edition, Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station NJ, 2001.
Main Image: Photo by Antoine Julien on Unsplash