MDMA (Ecstasy)

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MDMA is a stimulant. It also has mild hallucinogenic effects. It's often called ecstasy or Molly. It may also be called Adam, XTC, X, hug, beans, STP, or clarity.

MDMA is most often taken as a pill. The pills often have a logo, such as a cartoon character, stamped on them. MDMA also comes as a capsule or powder, which can be snorted, or as a liquid, which can be injected into a vein.

Effects of MDMA

Like other stimulants, MDMA can raise a person's heart rate and blood pressure. It increases alertness and may create a feeling of euphoria. It may cause mild hallucinations or seeing, hearing, and feeling things that seem real but aren't. Other effects may include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy.

MDMA can cause unpleasant side effects, such as:

  • Muscle tension and jaw-clenching.
  • Nausea.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Faintness.
  • Chills or sweating.

MDMA can cause confusion, depression, sleep problems, and severe anxiety that may last weeks after taking the drug. Over time, using MDMA can lead to thinking and memory problems.

In high doses, MDMA can cause a sharp rise in body temperature. This can lead to serious or even deadly problems such as liver, kidney, or heart failure. A person who doesn't drink enough fluids can become severely dehydrated. The effects of MDMA can be more harmful when it is used with alcohol.

MDMA usually does not last in a person's system longer than 12 to 16 hours. And many general drug screening tests do not detect it unless it is specifically targeted.

Signs of use

Signs that a person may be using MDMA include:

  • Sleep problems.
  • Skin rash similar to acne.
  • Having a powdered substance or pills stamped with cartoon or other characters.
  • Personality changes.


Current as of: November 15, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.