Ecstasy is one of the most commonly abused club drug. Club drugs, also known as rave drugs or party drugs, are a type of recreational drugs that are commonly used and abused by teens and young adults attending large music festivals, dance parties and raves. These drugs are generally used by them to stay awake for long periods of time, to enhance positive feelings and also to feel more in sync with other people around them.
Ecstasy, also known as E, Molly, candy, rolls and X, is a powerful synthetic drug that contains varying levels of MDMA, or 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Available as a pressed pill or tablet, ecstasy tablets generally have a brand or logo imprinted on them to identify its manufacturer or distinguish different types of pills from one another. It is also possible to lace ecstasy pills and tablets with other drugs.
The so-called “pure” form of MDMA, known as Molly, is also available in the market and is commonly sold in the form of white crystalline powder or capsule. Despite the common belief that Molly is safer and purer than its ecstasy counterpart, the powder or capsules sold as MDMA can contain other harmful drugs, such as bath salts.
Effects of ecstasy abuse
Ecstasy is often taken by people to increase positive feelings, including warmth, empathy and personal well-being. It takes this drug from fifteen minutes to an hour to begin causing its effects that last for around three to six hours.
Owing to its hallucinogenic properties and its main psychoactive ingredient, MDMA, ecstasy abuse can alter an individual’s sensory perceptions and sense of time as well as increase the activity of brain chemicals (or neurotransmitters), including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
The short-term effects associated with ecstasy are typically about the same as those experienced by users of pure MDMA or Molly. But people who purchase ecstasy pills on the street may expose themselves to unknown risks as these drugs can be cut with other drugs and chemicals, including baby powder, caffeine, ketamine, methamphetamine and heroin.
Some of the common short-term effects of ecstasy include:
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Damage to kidney, heart and liver
- Problems with temperature regulation
- Heat-related illnesses (Hyperthermia) such as heat stroke
- Blurry vision
- Involuntary jaw clenching and grinding teeth
- Chills and/or sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feeling confused
- Anxiety or paranoia
The long-term abuse of ecstasy can lead to cognitive problems, including impairments in memory, thinking and information processing abilities. As MDMA contained in ecstasy can affect neurotransmitters, long-term abuse of the drug can contribute to dysregulation of these important brain chemicals. Many people who take ecstasy repeatedly are likely to deplete their levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which is important for regulating mood, appetite and sleep.