Ecstasy / MDMA

What is ecstasy / MDMA?

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is the chemical name for the active ingredient in ecstasy pills. So when we are talking about XTC or ecstasy, we are talking about MDMA as well and vice versa.

MDMA is a stimulating drug with consciousness changing effects. MDMA is sold as a pill, powder and crystal.


Effects

The effect of a drug depends on the characteristics of the drug itself, but also on the set and setting of the user. Here we describe the general effects of MDMA.

MDMA has  stimulating and consciousness changing effects. The stimulant effect keeps you awake, sharp and give you the feeling you can think fast. The consciousness changing or entactogenic (get into contact with the inner you) effects could be described as a relaxing feeling. You feel open and in connection with others.

Mind you: pills or powders that are sold as MDMA can contain other drugs than MDMA. The effect will then be different.

Positieve effecten (negatieve) Bijwerkingen

Euphoria, feelings of love

This substance can make you feel euphoric, like you are in love. You feel comfortable in your own skin and can experience things as pleasant more quickly.

Decreased ability to concentrate

Decreased ability to concentrate.

Increased empathy

You feel more connected to others. It is easier to connect to others and to empathize with the feelings that someone else experiences.

Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness. Short term, failure to remember events shortly after ingestion.

Entactogenic

Strong sense of connectedness to others or your environment. You can connect more easily with others and notice less inhibitions than you might normally experience in social contact. For example, it may be easier to speak openly about the things that are bothering you.

Need for contact, conversation and intimacy

Having a good conversation with someone, or cuddling, can be very pleasant and interesting.

Paranoia and delusions

Anxiety, paranoia and delusions (e.g. the idea that people are talking about you).

Energetic feeling

You have feelings of being energized. Sitting still is sometimes more difficult and this energetic feeling is often expressed through the urge to dance or move.

Tingling

Tingling sensation in the body or parts of the body.

Alertness

This drug can make you more active than usual. You are feeling sharp, awkae and it is easy to focus your attention on the things that are happening around you.

Decreased appetite

Stimulation of the fight-or-flight response in the body can suppress appetite.

More intense music experiences

Music can be experienced louder or more intense. For example, it can feel as if you are completely ‘absorbed’ in the music or that you feel the low tones from the music go through your body more intensely.

Increase in blood pressure and heart rate

Due to increased cardiac stimulation, heart rate and blood pressure rise.

Increased body temperature

Stimulants cause increased activity in muscles, and increase the “base temperature” of the body. This causes the body temperature to increase.

Difficulty urinating

Your body releases a lot of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) causing you to retain more fluids. There is also more tension in the muscles in your urinary tract, which makes relaxing (and therefore urinating) more difficult.

Dry mouth

Stimulation of sympathetic pathways decrease saliva production, this causes the mouth to feel dry.

Dilated pupils

Due to an increased noradrenaline level in the body after taking certain drugs, the pupils become larger. The pupil size is influenced by many different processes. Increase in noradrenaline plays a role in some of those processes.

Increased muscle tension

Tense muscles and jaws (biting your tongue or cheek)

Jaw clenching

Increased muscle tension can cause the jaws to clench together. As a result, the teeth are firmly pressed together and it is possible to bite your tongue and/or cheeks.

Difficulty sleeping

After using stimulants or psychedelics it can be difficult to sleep. For more information on sleeping check here.

Nystagmus

Fast back and forth moving eyes. This often makes it difficult for you to read.

Nausea/vomiting

An uneasy and tense feeling in the abdomen, which may cause discomfort. Nausea often precedes vomiting.

Increased sweating

In response to the increased stimulation and changes in body temperature, the skin will start to secrete sweat to cool the body temperature back to normal levels.

Hallucinations

In hallucinations you perceive things that are not there. It really is an observation that seems to be real. For example, you may hear sounds (auditory hallucinations) or see something or someone (visual hallucination). This is in contrast to a change in sensory perception where normal perception is distorted. Think of a person’s voice that sounds higher or lower or a face that seems to have a big nose.

Hallucinations can be both desirable effects (with psychedelics) and unwanted side effects (with high doses of MDMA, or with being awake for too long).


Dose and route of administration

MDMA is sold as a pill, powder, crystal and capsules. Sometimes it is also available as a liquid mixture (blue 69).

Ecstasy pill

MDMA is most commonly used as a pill. Some people take a whole pill at once, others break them in halves or quarters. Because the content of a pill differs widely, you never know how much you take when you think in halves or quarters.

From 2011 onward the amount of MDMA in a pill has increased. Before 2009 a pill would contain 80 milligrams of MDMA on average. That average was already doubled in  2013 to 140 mg. High doses like 180 mg or more per pill are no exception any more. More MDMA for the same price sounds good. But with these high doses, the risks also increase. It is more difficult to dose correctly and easy to take more than you intended. Inexperienced users can get the idea that these high doses are normal. They can get into ugly situations if they think one pill is one dose. In 2020 and 2021 the testing service noticed that the amount of MDMA in a pill started to vary widely. One pill can contain 70 mg will another logo can contain 230 mg.
We suspect that the pressure on the First aid at big parties and festivals has to do with the increase in the amount of MDMA in pills. So, have your pills tested!

Also check the infographic ‘strength of ecstasy pills over the years‘ by the Drugsinfoteam.

MDMA powder

In the case of powder or crystals, users usually take small licks and build up their dose slowly. Or they put it in a capsule or roll it in a small piece of paper (bomb) to swallow it. Some users dissolve the powder in a drink. The powder can be snorted or smoked (rarely). MDMA has a negative influence on the enamel of your teeth. By putting it in a drink or by taking licks you increase the chance on damage to your teeth.

MDMA powder can differ in strenght and can be cut. So have your powders tested!

So an ecstasy pill and MDMA powder are essentially the same thing, they just look different.

Rectal use or snorting

MDMA can also be used rectally (through the anus), for instance as a powder in a capsule. This way, the substance can be absorbed in the body faster so the effects come on quicker. You need a smaller dose when you use it rectally, but it is quite an uncommon way to do ecstasy in the Netherlands.

Snorting MDMA is also possible but it is very painful. As with rectal use, the effects come on quicker and you need a smaller dose.

Dose

Ecstasy pills exist in all colours and logo’s. The outside does not tell you anything about what it contains. Which substances it contains and their doses. To learn about the content you have to bring it to a drug testing service.

All drug samples that are handed in at the drug testing services nationwide are sent to the DIMS (Drugs Information Monitoring System). This gives the DIMS good view on the drug markets. In case of a dangerous situation they have the option to set up a warning campagne.
On the website of the DIMS a list with extra risky pills can be found. They are extra risky, because the use of drugs in itself caries risks as well. On this list it is mentioned what the logo is, the colour and the date when the pill was handed in.

The amount of MDMA in a pill can vary widely. Some pills contain no MDMA, while others contain three times a usual dose. And there are pills that look like regular ecstasy but contain something else, like PMMA or mCPP. These are drugs that can be more damaging to your health than MDMA or that can have nasty side effects. MDMA powder and crystals can be tested at the drug testing service. If you test pills you get the result in mg per pill. If you test a powder you get the result in percentage of the powder that is MDMA.

If you ingest it, a recreational dose is between 1 and 1.5 mg MDMA for each kilogram body weight per occasion (or between 0.4 and 0.7 mg MDMA for each pound body weight). This means that when you weigh 60 kg (or 130 pounds), a recreational dose would be between 60 and 90 mg MDMA for the whole evening. Does your tablet contain more than 180 mg MDMA? In that case, a half tablet (or two times a quarter tablet with at least one and a half hour in between) should be enough for the desired effect. If you take more, you will especially experience more unwanted effects like jaw tension, forgetfulness, confusion and nausea. Don’t take it more often than once every 6-8 weeks. Of course the use of MDMA is never without risks, but if you follow this advice you can limit the risks and side effects as much as possible.

Oral dose
Low 0,5- 1 mg per kg bodyweight
Medium 1-1,5 mg per kg
High 1,5+ mg per kg

Duration

After 20-60 minutes you will start to feel the first effects. Tingling through your body, a warm glow and a euphoric feeling as if you are in love. The effects become stronger quickly and that feels as if you are ‘hit’ by the MDMA. That hit usually lasts for about 5 minutes. You might feel nauseous or maybe you have to vomit. After about 2 hours the effects will start to wear off. And after about 4-6 hours most people will feel fairly sober again.

Many users choose to redose to keep the buzz going. But that doesn’t always work. You won’t get the feeling back from the start of the buzz and the unwanted side effects will increase. Expect a dry mouth, forgetfulness, tense muscles and grinding of your teeth. This is often the moment when people think there is speed (amphetamine) in their pill. And people often become more introverted and have difficulty speaking.


Risks

Severe health incidents rarely occur, but when they do they can be fatal. Serious problems or even death are mostly caused by a combination of the pharmacological properties of the MDMA (the interaction between the substances) and the surroundings in which the drug is used (environment temperature, water intake, physical activity and other drug use, including alcohol).

Short-term risks

Overheating

Overheating (hyperthermia) can occur when your body temperature rises too high. Using drugs in a hot, humid, crowded environment (such as a club or indoor party, or in the sun at an outdoor festival) will raise your body temperature even further. Combined with intense, long, uninterrupted dancing, overheating can occur.

Early symptoms of overheating;

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Stiff muscles
  • Dizziness

These are all symptoms that can also fall under the “normal” side effects of a drug. If the body temperature does not drop, the following symptoms may also occur:

  • Shivering
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Pale appearance
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If the body temperature rises to 40-41 degrees Celsius, the situation is life-threatening:

  • Breakdown of muscle tissue
  • Blood clotting throughout the body
  • Impaired functioning of kidneys and liver
  • Epileptic seizure

 

Depending on circumstances, overheating may also occur with “normal” doses of a drug.

Overheating is very dangerous and difficult to treat. Attempting to cool down, resting, and drinking enough water (no more than one glass per hour) is necessary to prevent overheating. Sweating is also an important way to cool down: by evaporating the sweat on your skin, it cools down slightly. But if the ambient humidity is very high (when condensate drops fall from the ceiling), sweat can’t evaporate well enough and therefore your body can’t cool down properly.

Water poisoning (hyponatremia)

Because overheating is one of the most dangerous acute risks of ecstasy/MDMA use, many MDMA users know they should “drink plenty of water”. Some users have interpreted this to mean you should “drink a lot of water” when taking MDMA. Unfortunately, however, there have been cases where MDMA users have died from drinking “too much” water; water poisoning.

MDMA causes your kidneys to excrete less water through your urine. So your body retains more fluid after taking MDMA. It also makes urinating difficult, or even impossible. If you drink a lot of water, it will increase the volume of circulating blood. The concentration of electrolytes (such as sodium) in your blood decreases. In addition, MDMA use often decreases feelings of hunger. This ensures that you are less likely to ingest salts (sodium). Women are more likely to be affected by this than men.
Due to this low concentration of sodium, water from the blood flows into the cells of the brain, causing them to swell. Because the bone in your skull can’t expand, the pressure inside increases. This increased cranial pressure causes problems with normal brain function. Without intervention, this can lead to a coma and eventually death in extreme cases.

The most important way to avoid water intoxication is to avoid drinking too much water.

Unity tip: don’t drink too much water when you use XTC/MDMA and in the 24 hours after use. Stick to a maximum of 1 glass of water per hour.

Symptoms of water intoxication are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Paranoia
  • General discomfort

 

Severe symptoms requiring immediate hospitalization:

  • Seizures
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Coma

We created this video in 2015 which shows exactly how water intoxication works in your body and how you can prevent it.

Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is caused by heightened serotonin levels in the central nervous system. Serotonin is a messenger protein (neurotransmitter) that acts in the brain to affect emotions, sexual functioning, hunger and thirst.

Ecstasy, amphetamine (speed), cocaine, LSD, a number of pharmaceutical drugs (such as antidepressants) and some naturally occurring food supplements can influence serotonin levels and are linked to serotonin syndrome.

The effect that serotonin syndrome will have on users is dependant on the dosage and which specific drug they have taken.  Not all users will experience dangerous symptoms, but the effects may be unpredictable and even life-threatening.

What increases the chances of developing serotonin syndrome?

  • Using large amounts of ecstasy, or combining ecstasy with amphetamine (speed), cocaine, or other drugs.
  • Combining ecstasy with AD(H)D medication (dexamphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)) or L-tryptophan.
  • Combining ecstasy with antidepressants, MAO-inhibitors or SSRI’s may increase the chances of developing serotonin syndrome, and could cause life-threatening harm!

Early, mild signs of serotonin syndrome are similar to some reactions of ecstasy users or that of those who’ve spent hours non-stop dancing. These are symptoms like sweating, overexcitement, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate and elevated respiratory rate. Most users don’t experience these symptoms being too serious.

The following symptoms are an indication to find medical help immediately, as these are signs of severe serotonin syndrome:

  • Fever
  • Restlessness/Agitation
  • Paranoia/Confusion
  • Unusual, spastic contractions of the arms and/or legs.
  • Stiff muscles

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke.

Epileptic seizure

Taking this drug increases the risk of having an epileptic seizure if you are prone to it.

Acute confusion / excited delerium syndrome

An acute arousal state is also called an excited delerium syndrome. It is a state of being that is usually caused by excessive drinking or drug use. Often stimulants are involved, like cocaine. The excited delerium syndrome is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate intervention by professional care providers. You can recognize it by very restless and aggressive motorically behaviour. The victim flails around and is unable to calm down. The aggression is not directed, but at random. You can’t make contact with the victim. The victim keeps fighting even when he/she is overpowered by police or security.

Because someone behaves like this, it is easy to imagine that security or police want to overpower someone by pressing him or her down or holding him/her (fixation). However, this is dangerous and can lead to death. The moment you stop someone with excited delirium syndrome, the person will only resist harder, causing the heart rate/blood pressure to continue to rise dangerously.

Liver damage

Amphetamines (MDMA, speed, meth) can affect liver function in a multitude of ways. These include cell damage because of overheating, toxic metabolites, and increased blood clotting.

Depression (hangover)

A hangover may occur after using this drug. You feel tired, depressed, sad, listless, hypersensitive and empty. How bad the Tuesday blues is differes a lot from person to person. However, users often report experiencing fatigue and low mood for the days following use. It is unclear what exactly causes the hangover. But a high dose, combination use, dancing in combination with little food and little or no sleep certainly play a major role.

Long term risks

Memory problems

The use of drugs can impair memory. Difficulties can arise in processing information for storage, storage itself, and information retrieval.

Different drugs can cause different memory problems. Some substances can directly cause a (temporary) reduced functioning of the memory. For example alcohol, benzodiazepines, cannabis, MDMA and ketamine. And with some drugs it only comes into play after heavy use. For example with alcohol. This often involves a permanently impaired functioning of the memory. Sometimes there is an improvement after stopping use, for example with cannabis.

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke

Increased chance of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and stroke.

Exhaustion and trouble sleeping

Exhaustion and trouble sleeping

Weakened immune system

Weakened immune system

Weakened physical condition

Taking this drug causes blood cortisol (stress hormone) levels to rise. Cortisol affects all kinds of processes in the body, including muscle growth/breakdown and mental status.

Weight loss

When using stimulants, you usually don’t eat very well (or at all), and you are often moving around a lot on the dancefloor. Combined with higher energy requirements from your body during stimulant use, this causes you to use more energy than you take in, which leads to weight loss.

Mental problems

Mental complaints can arise or already existing psychological complaints can worsen. Feeling gloomy or anxious, not feeling well and poor concentration.

Deterioration of teeth and gums

Using this drug has a negative influence on your teeth. Your teeth can discolour, but the risk of inflammation or cavities also increases.

Brain damage

Animal studies show that MDMA can cause damage to certain brain cells. Similar damage can be seen in the brains of heavy MDMA users. Unfortunately, it is not clear what this damage means and whether or not you can fully recover from it. It has been shown, however, that when you use two ecstasy pills every weekend for a couple of years, this will have a negative effect on your memory. It is not certain with which exact dose this is the case. Therefore, it is important to be extra careful.

We advise you not to use MDMA more often than once every six to eight weeks, and not to use more than 1 to 1.5 mg MDMA per kg body weight (or between 0.4 and 0.7 mg MDMA for each pound body weight). These quantities are based on research carried out by Unity. Do you take MDMA every weekend? Then your use is becoming dangerous. With laboratory animals, the brain damage increased as the temperature was higher. Therefore, make sure you cool down sufficiently: rest frequently, don’t wear warm clothes, drink a soda or water regularly.

Depression

Some heavy MDMA users can be left with a depression in the long-term. There is a relationship between how often and how much MDMA you use together with your sensitivity for depression, and how great the chance is that you may feel depressed after MDMA use. If you are prone to depression, don’t use too much MDMA.

Damage to the teeth

If you use MDMA often, this has consequences for your teeth. This is because people often firmly clamp their teeth together during MDMA use, grind their teeth or chew a lot of chewing gum which can cause tooth wear. MDMA also reduces saliva production. This means bacteria have more chance to multiply, causing your gums to become infected more easily. It is therefore advisable to always use sugar free gum and to take good care of your teeth in order to reduce the risks. Also make sure the MDMA does not get in contact with your teeth.

Addiction

It is possible to become psychologically dependent on MDMA. Most often this dependence means that you do not enjoy going to a party any more without using MDMA or that it becomes really hard to say no to it when others are using the drug.

There is no such thing as physical dependence on MDMA. Tolerance to the effects of MDMA does occur, however. This means that your body becomes accustomed to the use of MDMA. When you use it often, the typical MDMA “love” feeling lessens, while the stimulant effect stays. If this is the case for you, you should not use MDMA for two to three months to experience the “love” feeling again.

If you’re wondering whether your MDMA use is becoming a problem, you could ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it hard to get in a good mood without using MDMA?
  • Am I mentally preoccupied with the drug?
  • Has the use of MDMA changed me as a person?
  • Do I have to use more and more to achieve the same effect?
  • Have I been using more MDMA lately? Do I take a higher dose, in more different places and on various occasions?
  • Do I use more than I planned beforehand?
  • Do I suffer from withdrawal symptoms when I don’t use, such as sleeping poorly, moodiness, shaking, headaches, dizziness, nausea and sweating?
  • Do I sometimes use MDMA to eliminate negative effects from the last use, such as a hangover?
  • Does it take me a long time to recover from using?
  • Do I spend more and more money on it?
  • Do I use it despite the fact that I have important things to do? Do I neglect hobbies and work?
  • Does using lead to more and more problems with people around me, for instance friends and family?
  • Do I use MDMA constantly, even though I know it causes damage to both my body and my social life?

The more times you answer these questions with “yes”, the more dangerous your use of MDMA has become.


Interactions

Combining different types of drugs can be risky and unpredictable. When you combine drugs you can have a higher risk of health problems. In the following paragraphs you can read about the effects and the risks of a number of combinations that occur frequently and also a about few that are extra hazardous. Also check our theme combining drugs.

Ecstasy/MDMA and alcohol

Alcohol lessens the effects of MDMA. Also the desired effects. So you feel less of the MDMA. There is a chance that you will then take more MDMA to get a bit more effect.
You may also be less aware that you have had too much to drink. When your MDMA wears off, you are suddenly very drunk. The hangover will also be much bigger the next day.

Ecstasy/MDMA and cannabis

Some users find it a pleasant combination. Cannabis can soften the ecstasy rush, especially at the end of the experience. However, it can also make the experience a bit more vague, which is not always positive.

GHB and MDMA

Some people say that GHB would prolong the action of MDMA. The combination can make you push your limits even more than the individual drugs. GHB and MDMA alone often cause someone to go further than they would do sober. The combination can enhance this effect. So keep that in mind. Don’t do things that you later regret.

Some people think that the combination of MDMA and/or amphetamine (speed) with GHB can prevent you from passing out. It is true that your mind may feel clearer than if you were taking GHB alone. But you can still pass out. There is some evidence that if you lose consciousness from a GHB overdose, your coma may be deeper and longer if you have also taken speed or MDMA. Therefore, never use uppers to avoid passing out.

Ketamine and ecstasy/MDMA

It changes the XTC/MDMA experience. After using MDMA, many people indicate that they already have some hallucinations (crash barriers, bar tables, sunglasses, etc.). Ketamine increases the risk of hallucinations. This can be fun, but also scary. The experience becomes much more vague. Some take ketamine after the MDMA to take the sharp edges off the end.

With both drugs, people often suffer from memory problems when they are under the influence. You can no longer come up with names, for example. Or you don’t remember what you just did. The combination enhances that effect. Writing down when you took something can prevent you from accidentally overdosing.

There is a chance that the combination will make you more impulsive. Something stupid or dangerous seems like a good idea. A sober tripsitter can keep you from doing risky things.

If you choose to combine, take less of both drugs. Or wait until one of the two has significantly decreased in strength. If you have no experience with MDMA or ketamine, make sure you have experience with both drugs separately.

Both ketamine and MDMA increase heart rate. This can put an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. If you have heart problems, the combination is not recommended.

Ecstasy/MDMA and laughing gas

Under the influence of XTC/MDMA, laughing gas can intensify the trip. This can be fun, but also scary, if it’s too intense.

It can be tempting to just keep taking balloons. It is best to enjoy this in moderation. See also the risks of nitrous oxide.

Ecstasy/MDMA and other stimulants like speed and cocaine

Combining MDMA with uppers mainly ensures that you notice less of the MDMA. The desired effects, such as euphoria, are smoothed out. So you feel less of the MDMA. There is a chance that you will then take more MDMA to get a bit more effect. The uppers also remove the vagueness of the MDMA. You feel a little brighter.
The more MDMA you take and if you combine it with other uppers, the bigger the hangover. You feel empty and exhausted.
The combination also causes more brain damage. And a greater load on the heart and blood vessels.

Ecstasy/MDMA and antidepressive medication

If you’re depressed, it’s definitely not a good idea to take MDMA. If you’re on modern antidepressants, known as SSRIs, you will probably feel little to nothing from the MDMA. The effect of MDMA on the messenger substance serotonin is blocked in your brain. However, you can experience side effects of the MDMA that works on other messenger substances, such as noradrenaline and dopamine. These are mainly the effects that people do not want to have.

If you take an old type of antidepressant, called MAO inhibitors, it is very dangerous to use various drugs, including MDMA. Your blood pressure can rise to dangerous levels and you have a higher risk of serotonin syndrome.

MDMA also disrupts the balance in your brain. You may feel good for a while, but then you feel worse. This just makes it harder to feel better overall.


Unity tips:

  • Only use drugs when you feel physically and mentally well.
  • Rest well before and after use.
  • Eat healthy before, during and after.  Especially anti-oxidants and vitamines (blue berries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, oranges, kiwi, broccoli).
    This is perhaps the most important tip! It’s hard to eat during and after MDMA use, but try it anyway. Eating well clearly reduces the hangover! If you don’t get solid foods, think juices, breakfast drinks, smoothies.
  • You can take extra vitamins and antioxidants before and after MDMA use.
  • If you have pills, powder or crystals tested, you will know exactly what and how much is in them.
  • Do not use when you have: diabetes, weak heart, high blood pressure, pregnancy, epilepsy and mental complaints or in combination with medicines (especially not with MAO inhibitors and asthma medicines).
  • Do not use more than once every 6-8 weeks. Do not take more than 1-1.5 mg of MDMA per kg of body weight.
  • Do not drink more than 1 glass of water or soda per hour, otherwise the risk of water intoxication increases.
  • Make sure you don’t get too hot while taking MDMA: rest every now and then, don’t wear warm clothes, no headgear, and drink water or soft drinks every now and then.
  • Do not combine with alcohol and other drugs.
  • Do not participate in traffic.
  • MDMA evokes feelings of intimacy. In combination with a carefree mood, safe sex can sometimes be missed. Be prepared and have a condom with you.
  • There is no real safe use of MDMA, but the risks can be limited.

More info

Check out this short video about the history of ecstasy and MDMA, and why there’s so much confusion about what those two terms mean.

FAQ

Why do your pupils dilate when you have taking ecstasy (MDMA)?

Pupil size is determined by two different types of muscles: muscles that contract the pupil and muscles that dilate the pupil. These muscles keep each other in balance. When you take ecstasy (MDMA), substances (neurotransmitters) are released in your body that lead to a so-called ‘fight or flight’ reaction. As part of this response, they stimulate the muscles that dilate your pupils, giving these muscles the upper hand. This will give you large pupils.

What can I do against teeth grinding with ecstasy (MDMA)?

XTC (MDMA) use increases muscle tension and that also happens with the jaw muscles. Unfortunately, teeth grinding can be an annoying side effect of XTC. The higher the dose, the more tension on the muscles. Magnesium can lower muscle tone. You can get this from food or from supplements. Magnesium citrate tablets are well absorbed by the body. Supplements work especially when you have a magnesium deficiency. This helps against muscle soreness in the days after MDMA use. You can prevent damage to the tooth enamel by chewing gum without sugar.

What can you eat after taking ecstasy?

Everything! It just takes a bit of effort.

Often ecstasy (MDMA) users have no appetite at all after taking it. Nevertheless, food is an important element, also during the party. Your body burns extra energy and therefore desperately needs that food. It won’t be a three-course meal, but a banana is also effective! Or a cup of soup. A visitor once said: “I just sit down. Then I do nothing but eat my food for 15 minutes. After that I feel much better.”

Eating before, during and after using MDMA not only ensures that you are fitter, but also that you recover faster. Look here for more information and nutrition tips!

Does ecstasy contain speed (amphetamine)?

Usually this is not the case. Most ecstasy pills contain only MDMA or an MDMA-like substance. Amphetamine (speed) is rarely encountered by the testing services (<1%). This is one of the most persistent myths that we hear at Unity. Why is this often thought? Amphetamine and MDMA are both amphetamines and both have a stimulant effect. The more MDMA you take, the more the stimulant effects of the MDMA you will notice, and the less the euphoric effects will be noticeable. Do you have the idea that there is often speed in your pills? Then there is a good chance that you dose too high or use it too often. Try taking a little less next time. About 1 – 1.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. And are you curious about what is really in your pills? Then have them tested at one of the many test services in the Netherlands.

Can you die from an overdose of ecstasy (MDMA)?

Yes, that’s possible. There are several ways you can die from MDMA. Too high a dose of MDMA can make your body temperature so high that your muscles dissolve. The loose pieces will then roam through the body and clog your organs. They can no longer function normally. You can die from this. But your blood can also clot for example, you can have a heart attack and there is a risk of an epileptic attack.

What is the Tuesday blues and how do I best deal with it?

A hangover can occur after using a drug. This is especially the case with ecstasy/MDMA. You feel tired, depressed, sad, listless, hypersensitive and empty. How bad the Tuesday blues is differs from person to person. But users often report things like fatigue and bad mood in the days after use. It is unclear what exactly causes the hangover in a drug. But a high dose, combination use and dancing in combination with little food and little or no sleep certainly play a major role.

There are certain supplements you can take after taking ecstasy to limit the negative effects of your dip. L-tryptophan is a supplement that can be used. This helps in the production of serotonin. 5-HTP also helps with the production of serotonin, but is not recommended because you can also take too much of it. Furthermore, taking antioxidants is useful. You can get this best from your diet, for example broccoli, spinach and in fruits such as apples, blackberries and cranberries. Furthermore, supplements such as vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium.

More about l-tryptophan and 5-HTP.

Why can you get memory complaints with ecstasy use?

MDMA appears to be harmful to the brain cells that use serotonin as a messenger (neurotransmitter). One of the most important parts of the brain for memory, the hippocampus, has many serotonergic brain cells. The hippocampus ensures that memories from your short-term memory are stored in the long-term memory so that you will remember it in 5 years and hopefully at 90. Check this page for more information on this topic!

I am planning to combine 4-FA with speed and/or ecstasy (MDMA). What are the consequences?

4-FA is a stimulant that can cause complaints on your cardiovascular system. This risk is increased by combining it with other stimulants such as speed or MDMA. The effects reinforce each other and because 4-FA continues to work for a long time, you increase the risk of unpleasant side effects and risks such as: tight jaws, muscle tension, heart palpitations, pressure on the chest, sleeping problems, a strong hangover and hangover the days after. You are also more likely to suffer from severe headaches.

What to do if someone has a bad trip?

Always make sure that you are and remain safe yourself. If you are in danger, you cannot help the person in need.
Find a quiet place with the one who is having a hard time. Don’t try to deny that he/she is having a bad trip. Try to reassure him/her: he/she has taken drugs and the effects and thus the bad trip always wear off. Ask the person about what they are experiencing and try to talk the trip on a positive side without downplaying it. For example, by giving a positive meaning to the things he/she sees. Try to do things that make him/her feel comfortable, such as moving or singing. See if it makes sense to talk about pleasant things. Distraction can also help, for example by drawing. Let your voice sound calm and reassuring.
Make sure that the user does not end up in dangerous situations such as traffic. Call emergency services if it becomes unsafe for the user or his environment or if the bad trip is too intense to solve it yourself.

Why is it better not to take 4-MMC soon after ecstasy?

Both substances have an effect on the serotonin balance in your body. As a result, you quickly build up a tolerance if you use it within a few weeks. You will also experience more adverse long-term effects such as brain damage and depressive symptoms. Make sure that you always give your body time to let the serotonin balance recover and do not use substances that have an impact on your serotonine balance more often than once every 6-8 weeks.

What if I have medical complaints after the use of partydrugs?

Some complaints after using drugs can last longer, A medical explanation or even treatment may then be necessary. The Brijder has set up a national consultancy for party drugs related medical complaints. If you have medical complaints after the use of party drugs, you can call the consultancy: 088 – 358 29 40. This service is only available in the Netherlands.

 

How do you dose powder or capsules?

To be able to weigh a certain dose properly, you need a good scale. Have a scale that can weigh milligrams, to 3 decimal places (0.001 mg). A scale that weighs 0.01 (2 decimal places) may be just accurate enough for MDMA, but not for many other substances.

Where can you find such a scale?

On the large international online webshops you can find scales for around 20 euros that can weigh 3 figures after the decimal point. You can buy empty capsules in different sizes at pharmacies, smart shops or drugstores. Some are also suitable for vegetarians. You can write the drug and dosage on the capsule with a waterproof marker or a CD marker.

How is it possible that some ecstasy users see bar tables?

A side effect of MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, is that your vision isn’t as good as it normally is. For example, you can’t focus as well because your eyes move quickly back and forth. Your brain likes to understand things. So it will then fill in things so that you can see things that are not there (hallucinate). People see bar tables for example, or fences or sunglasses. If you take a high dose, you will get hallucinations faster.

Are you more talkative on ecstasy?

Ecstasy generally ensures that you have more energy and that you feel more connected to the people around you. You may feel the need to talk a lot and tell your friends how much you love them.

But: those effects are not always the same and they are not the same for everyone. A high dose can make you introverted. You then feel less like communicating with others. If you are not feeling well mentally or if you are not enjoying yourself, you can also become more introverted. So watch your dosage.

Why is it difficult to pee when you have taken ecstasy (MDMA)?

Ecstasy (MDMA) activates the ADH (antidiuretic hormone) hormone. This hormone normally ensures that you do not urinate all your body fluids. If you use MDMA, this hormone is extra activated. Your kidneys then excrete less water through the urine. In other words, there is less fluid in your bladder to urinate. That is why it is important not to drink too much while under the influence of MDMA. Otherwise, there is a risk of water poisoning. Do not drink more than 1 – 2 glasses of water or soda per hour. Want to know more about water poisoning? We made an animation about this.

How much MDMA does an ecstasy tablet contain?

It is not possible to tell from the outside how much MDMA an ecstasy pill contains. In addition, an ecstasy pill can also contain substances other than MDMA. The only way to know how much MDMA is in your pill is to have it tested. This can be done for free with all test services in the Netherlands.

Here you can find the annual reports of the test service.

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