3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as MDMA, ecstasy, or molly is an entactogen which is a class of drugs that produce a feeling of communion or oneness with others. Unlike the rest of the top five psychedelic drugs, MDMA is most often used as a party drug. Other hallucinogens require careful attention to “set and setting,” the user’s mindset and the place they are using. In loud, crowded settings, users increase their likelihood of a bad trip.
MDMA’s effects; however, have a larger emphasis on increased empathy and emotional connection. It also elevates mood and sometimes facilitates a mental and physical euphoria. In some users, MDMA can create mild hallucinations like color changes or heightened audio effects.
MDMA causes dehydration and raises your body temperature which means users are required to drink water consistently while high. MDMA has been recorded leading to fatal medical complications due to hyperthermia and dehydration, especially when combined with alcohol.
MDMA was first developed in 1912 by Merck. It was used to improve psychotherapy beginning in the 1970s and became popular as a street drug in the 1980s. MDMA is commonly associated with dance parties, raves, and electronic dance music. It is often sold mixed with other substances such as ephedrine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. In 2016, about 21 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 used ecstasy (0.3% of the world population). This was broadly similar to the percentage of people who use cocaine or amphetamines, but fewer than for cannabis or opioids. In the United States, as of 2017, about 7% of people have used MDMA at some point in their life and 0.9% have used in the last year.
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