Ecstasy basics

Ecstasy basics

Over the years the term Ecstasy has become as polluted as the market for it. Ecstasy is MDMA. And nothing else. Period. There is a growing number of substances that are sold as ecstasy some of which do not contain any MDMA at all, some with somewhat similar effects as MDMA and some without. The list of adulterants is endless.

the original designer drug
Ecstasy -MDMA- is often called the original designer drug because of its synonymous relationship with rave culture in the early 90s. Clubbers took ecstasy to stay awake and dance for hours. The effects take about half an hour to kick in and tend to last between 3 to 6 hours, followed by a gradual comedown.
Ecstasy is a common name for MDMA, or, 3,4 MethyleneDioxyMethAmphetamine. Other substances that belong to this family are MDA and MDE. MDA tends to have a bit more hallucinogenic effects (seeing glasses and moustaches in your girlfriends face, that kind of stuff) whereas MDE lasts a bit shorter and is reported to have a more stoned effect.
A typical dose of MDMA is about 100-125 milligrams.

the effects of taking ecstasy:
- An E gives people an energy buzz that makes them feel alert and alive.
- Ecstasy makes people feel in tune with their surroundings – sounds and colours are more intense.
- Users often feel great love for the people they’re with and the strangers around them. On its own, it’s not a drug that makes people violent.
- Physical side effects can develop that include: dilated pupils, a tingling feeling, tightening of the jaw muscles, raised body temperature and the heart beats faster.
- Short-term effects of use can include anxiety, panic attacks, confused episodes and paranoid or psychotic states.
- Lots of people feel chatty on E, although these chats do not always make sense to people who aren’t on an E).
- It’s possible to build up tolerance to E, which means people take more to get the same buzz. You may also develop a psychological dependence (the desire to keep on using even in spite of potential harm).
- There’s some uncertainty about the long term side effects of Es. There is some evidence that suggests it may cause damage to the brain causing long term problems – like depression, personality change and memory loss, although moderate use should not have any of these effects.

Just know that:
- There’ve been over 200 ecstasy-related deaths in the UK since 1996. Ecstasy use is the cause of death in many of the cases but there have been some involving other substances sold as Ecstasy e.g. PMA.
- There’s no way of telling what’s in an E until you’ve swallowed it. So, there may be negative side effects from other ingredients in the tablet.
- E’s can make users feel a bit down after use.
- Ecstasy affects the body’s temperature control. Dancing for long periods in a hot atmosphere increases the chances of overheating and dehydration. Take regular breaks from the dance floor to cool down.
- And watch out for your mates – sometimes they might not realise they’re in danger of overheating or getting dehydrated.
- Be careful with fluids though, as drinking too much can also be dangerous or even fatal. Ecstasy can cause the body to release a hormone which prevents the production of urine. Drink too quickly and it interferes with your body’s salt balance, which can be as deadly as not drinking enough water. Reduce the risks by sipping no more than a pint of water or non-alcoholic fluid every hour.
- Using Ecstasy has been linked to liver, kidney and heart problems. Anyone using too much can become paranoid and depressed.
- Some long-term users report getting colds, flu and sore throats more often. This may be attributed to staying awake for 24 hours, which puts your immune system under pressure.
- There’s research to suggest that the exhaustion and dehydration associated with Ecstasy can activate urine infections like cystitis in women.
- Anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a very dangerous reaction to the drug.
- Ecstasy is a Class A drug – illegal to have, give away or sell. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail. Supplying someone else, including your friends, can get you life and an unlimited fine.

Caveat Emptor: Buyer beware!
A big problem with Es is that they’re rarely pure. They can be cut with amphetamines (like speed), caffeine and other substances because they’re cheaper to produce.
Some of the new man-made drugs like PMA and 4-MTA can be passed off as E’s. Their effects can be very different or they may take longer to kick-in with a risk of the user double-dosing to compensate (risking double the side effects).

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