What is MDMA?
MDMA is a synthetic substance commonly known as ecstasy, although the latter term has now been generalized to cover a wide range of other substances. Originally developed in 1912 by the Merck chemical company, it was never marketed as such. Although proposed as an aid to psychiatric counseling, therapeutic use is extremely limited. Illicit it is normally seen as tablets, many of which are manufactured in Europe. It acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant and has a weak hallucinogenic property more accurately described as increased sensory awareness. It is under international control.
It has become widely known as ecstasy. Shortened “E”, “X”, or “XTC”. Usually referring to its tablet form, although this term may also include the presence of possible adulterants or dilatants. The UK term “Mandy” and the US term “molly” colloquially refer to MDMA in a crystalline powder form that is thought to be free of adulterants.
MDMA Crystals in combination with other drugs such as alcohol or marijuana.
MDMA Crystals increases the activity of three brain chemicals:
Dopamine—causes a surge in euphoria and increased energy/activity
Norepinephrine—increases heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with heart and blood vessel problems
Serotonin—affects mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions. It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes the emotional closeness, elevated mood, felt by the users.
Whereas phenethylamines without ring substitution usually behave as stimulants, ring substitution (as in MDMA) leads to a modification in the pharmacological properties. Ingestion of it causes euphoria, increased sensory awareness, and mild central stimulation. It is less hallucinogenic than its lower homolog, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA). The terms empathogenic and entactogenic have been coined to describe the socializing effects of it. Following ingestion, most of the dose of it is excreted in the urine unchanged. Major metabolites are 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and O-demethylated compounds. Following a dose of 75 mg, the maximum plasma concentration of around 0.13 mg/L is reached within two hours. The plasma half-life is 6–7 hours.
In animals, it causes neurotoxicity, as evidenced by anatomical changes in axon structure and a persisting reduction in brain serotonin levels. The significance of these findings to human users is still unclear, although cognitive impairment is associated with ecstasy use. Some of the pharmacodynamic and toxic effects of MDMA vary, depending on which enantiomer is used. However, almost all illicit ecstasy exists as a racemic mixture. Fatalities following a dose of 300 mg have been noted, but toxicity depends on many factors, including individual susceptibility and the circumstances in which MDMA is used.
Synthesis and precursors
There are four principal precursors that can be used in the manufacture of MDMA and related drugs: safrole, isosafrole, piperonal, and 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl-2-propanone (PMK). Safrole is the key starting material in so far as the other three can be synthesized from it. In the original Merck patent of 1914, safrole was reacted with hydrobromic acid to form bromosafrole, which was converted to MDMA using methylamine. Many illicit syntheses start with PMK and use either the Leuckart route or various reductive aminations including the aluminum foil method. All of these methods produce MDMA. The four precursors noted above are listed in Table I of the United Nations 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The corresponding EU legislation is set out in Council Regulation (EEC) No 3677/90 (as later amended), which governs trade between the EU and third countries.
Mode of use
MDMA in tablet form is almost always used orally (ingested), but the crystalline powdered form could also be snorted, inhaled, or injected, although the latter route is rarely observed in the context of recreational ecstasy use.
It was once found limited use in psychiatric counseling, but its therapeutic use is now rare.
In general, the consumers may experience the intoxicating effects of it within 45 minutes or so after taking a single dose. Those effects include an enhanced sense of well-being, increased extroversion, emotional warmth, empathy toward others. also willingness to discuss emotionally-charged memories. Also, people report enhanced sensory perception as a hallmark of the MDMA experience. the desired psychoactive effects of MDMA consumption may include
-Feelings of wonder
-Heightened empathy and sociability
-Enhanced perception of light and color
MDMA, shown as (+/–)-N,α-dimethyl-3,4-(methylene-dioxy)phenethylamine, is listed in Schedule I of the United Nations 1971 Convention as a Control Substances.