MDMA (contracted from 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is a psychoactive drug of the substituted methylenedioxyphenethylamine and substituted amphetamine classes of drugs that is consumed primarily for its euphoric and empathogenic effects. Pharmacologically, MDMA acts as a serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine releasing agent and reuptake inhibitor.
MDMA has become widely known as "ecstasy" (shortened to "E", "X", or "XTC"), usually referring to its tablet street form, although this term may also include the presence of possible adulterants. The UK term "Mandy" and the US term "Molly" colloquially refer to MDMA in a crystalline powder form that is relatively free of adulterants. "Molly" can sometimes also refer to the related drugs methylone, MDPV, mephedrone or any other of the pharmacological group of compounds commonly known as bath salts.
Possession of MDMA is illegal in most countries. Some limited exceptions exist for scientific and medical research. For 2012, the UNODC estimated between 9.4 and 28.24 million people globally used MDMA at least once in the past year. This was broadly similar to the number of cocaine, substituted amphetamine, and opioid users, but far fewer than the global number of cannabis users. It is taken in a variety of contexts far removed from its roots in psychotherapeutic settings, and is commonly associated with dance parties (or "raves") and electronic dance music.
Medical reviews have noted that MDMA has some limited therapeutic benefits in certain mental health disorders, but has potential adverse effects, such as neurotoxicity and cognitive impairment, associated with its use. More research is needed in order to determine if its potential usefulness in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment outweighs the risk of persistent neuropsychological harm to a patient.
Unlike that box of cookies you ate after you stumbled home drunk last weekend or the mac and cheese you made for breakfast this morning because it was the only thing left in your kitchen, ecstasy does not come labeled with nutrition facts. So when you take ecstasy or molly (ecstasy's supposedly purer equivalent) at a music festival or a party, it’s hard to know exactly what percentage of it, if any, is actually MDMA. Pure MDMA is the active ingredient that produces feelings of euphoria, but of course, like with any unregulated drug that you buy from some dude, you’re taking a risk on the actual contents.
3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, or ecstasy is a ring-substituted amphetamine derivative that was first synthesized in 1914 and has emerged as a popular recreational drug of abuse over the last decade. Pharmacological studies indicate that MDMA (ecstasy) produces a mixture of central stimulant and psychedelic effects, many of which appear to be mediated by brain monoamines, particularly serotonin and dopamine. In addition to its pharmacologic actions, MDMA (ecstasy) has been found to possess toxic activity toward brain serotonin neurones. Serotonergic neurotoxicity after MDMA (ecstasy) use has been demonstrated in a variety of experimental animals (including non-human primates). In monkeys, the neurotoxic dose of MDMA (ecstasy) closely approaches that used by humans. While the possibility that MDMA (ecstasy) is also a neurotoxin in humans is under investigation, other detrimental effects of MDMA (ecstasy) in humans have been documented, including various systemic complications and a number of adverse neuropsychiatric aftereffects. Notably, many of the negative neuropsychiatric consequences noted after MDMA (ecstasy) use involve behavioral domains commonly influenced by brain serotonin (e.g., mood, cognition and anxiety).
MDMA (ecstasy) has a tendency to induce euphoria, a sense of intimacy with others, and diminished anxiety and depression. Many, particularly in the fields of psychology and cognitive therapy, have suggested MDMA (ecstasy) might have therapeutic benefits in certain individuals, and offer benefits that would facilitate therapy sessions. Clinical trials are now testing the therapeutic potential of MDMA (ecstasy) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety associated with terminal cancer. MDMA (ecstasy) is criminalized in most countries in the world under a United Nations (U.N.) agreement, and its possession, manufacture, or sale may result in criminal prosecution, although some limited exceptions exist for scientific and medical research. MDMA (ecstasy) is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world and is taken in a variety of contexts far removed from its roots in psychotherapeutic settings. It is commonly associated with dance parties (or "raves") and electronic dance music. There have been debates within scientific, health care, and drug policy circles about the risks of MDMA (ecstasy), specifically the possibility of neurotoxic damage to the central nervous system (CNS). Regulatory authorities in several locations around the world have approved scientific studies administering MDMA (ecstasy) to humans to examine its therapeutic potential and its effects. Continuing to study the substance in clinical trials, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies released the following statement in October 2008, "We found that low doses of MDMA (between 50 and 75 mg) were both psychologically and physiologically safe for all the subjects.