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Ecstasy: MDMA

Ecstasy is the common name for MDMA (3,4Methylenedioxymethamphetamine). It is a mood-altering stimulant and mild hallucinogen, usually sold in the form of a tablet or capsule, at about $10 CDN.

Generally, people who dose ‘E’ say they feel blissed out, energetic, more open and loving with a sense of connectedness. Some people want to get up and dance, some people want to sit, chill and talk with friends. E kicks in 25-60 minutes when taken orally. It lasts between 4 and 6 hours, but can be longer depending on a number of factors, which you can learn more about in the paragraphs below.

E affects everyone differently. This is mainly due to the person’s body size, amount dosed, quality & purity of the drug, your mood & health, past experiences with the drug and how adjusted you are to the environment you spend your high in. Generally, people who dose #8216;E’ say they feel blissed out, energetic, more open and loving with a sense of connectedness. Some people want to get up and dance, some people want to sit, chill and talk with friends.

It works by triggering the release of two brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), seratonin - which affects mood & appetite, and dopamine - which affects pain. It is the increased release of serotonin that creates the ‘E’ rush, and the immense feelings of love and unity that #8216;E’ trippers often identify.

In the body, ecstasy can increase energy, confidence, heart rate and body temperature, as well as feelings of happiness, wellbeing and closeness to others. Some unpleasant side effects include slight anxiety, nausea, lack of appetite, dry mouth, clenched or chattering teeth, and a stiff jaw.

In the brain, MDMA causes a big release of 5-HT from presynaptic vesicles, increasing brain levels of serotonin. Serotonin works in your brain’s pleasure/reward system and keeps your mood in check. Researchers don’t know much about the long term psychological and physical effects. There is no conclusive evidence as to whether long term ecstasy use causes any type of damage in humans, or whether any potential damage caused is permanent or reversable. Much of the current ecstasy research is severely skewed, as much of it is funded by anti-drug warriors. However, one can find exceptional MDMA research and criticism of MDMA research through the Multidiciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Scientists claim it can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks after an ‘E’ trip for the brain to reach its comfort level of serotonin. For this reason, it is best to space out your ‘E’ trips. Users who are sensitive to low serotonin levels or are prone to depression and mood disorders usually feel a greater post-E impact on their body and mind. Some users report feeling depressed or going through bouts of depression in both short term and long term use.

Some people handle the comedown better than others, at most feeling as though they lost a few hours sleep and can carry on through the next day’s activities. Others can feel irritable & depressed, taking the day to sleep or chill, or almost painfully dragging themselves out to prior obligations. If you know you’re going to be dosing E, give yourself an extra day for recovery purposes. Work or school obligations, family dinners and other visits can be a stitch in the side if you’re tired, cranky and irritable.

People with any psychological or emotional imbalances may find that their comedown is more pronounced, or becomes more than just a one-day hangover. This is because serotonin plays a role in monitoring and maintaining levels of happiness and well being, and for those who may be sensitive to changes in these levels the result may mean depression or mood swings. Your body has got to replenish its serotonin levels, which can take at least 2 weeks in the average healthy partyer. It is wise to give yourself ample recovery time before your next trip. You can lessen ecstasy-related depression by using in moderation, using less or less often, and replenishing & nourishing your body through a well balanced diet and adequate sleep.

Heat exhaustion and H2O intake:
There have been instances where people have died of heat exhaustion in raves and dance clubs, dancing all night and not drinking enough water. Most media sources incorrectly identify this situation as an ‘ecstasy overdose’. ‘E’ decreases your body’s ability to regulate temperature, so this in combination with sweating out fluids can give rise to dehydration and high body temperatures that can cause your body’s natural cooling system to fail. If you’re dancing a lot, a decent amount of water to drink is 500mL an hour, the average water bottle size most vendors sell. The first sign of dehydration is thirst. Water, fruit juice and sports drinks are best. Avoid coffees, teas and other drinks that make you piss; you don’t want to lose any more fluids! Listen to your body.

Water intoxication is a rare but real risk. Drinking too much water can affect your kidney’s ability to maintain water metabolism, which can be fatal in some cases. Stick to a reasonable amount of water: enough that you aren’t thirsty, not so much as you’re gulping in litres.

Diabetes
E speeds up your metabolism, which can be risky to those with diabetes. If you are diabetic, you need to be aware of the difference this may make to your insulin levels. Have a friend nearby who knows what you are on and that you are diabetic. Keep hard candies on you at all times, but resist the temptation to eat em all. If you don’t have a Medic-Alert bracelet, have a piece of paper in your wallet outlining your condition.

Asthma
The hot, damp, smokey atmosphere of parties can be rough on the lungs Take breaks, try to find a place where smoked hasn’t crept in to catch a few breaths of fresh air. If you have an inhaler keep it on you.

If you have sex, remember the condom and lube. Be aware that you run the risk of hopping into bed with someone whom you may not normally have sex with. On E (and other stimulants), you may be having prolonged sex sessions which increase the risk of split condoms or skin damage, which in turn create more routes of entry for HIV and Hepatitis viruses. Unprotected sex is highly risky in regard to the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Use strong condoms and lots of lube (E dehydrates) for both vaginal and anal sex. From time to time check that the latex is still on and in one piece.

 

If you’ve decided to dose, it is best to begin with half a pill rather than a whole one, to first see if it’s the effects that you are looking for. E can sometimes be cut with other substances like Ketamine, DXM, PMA, speed and crystal meth, or may not contain any MDMA at all. A less-is-more approach can help reduce harm if it’s not what you were expecting.

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