Ecstasy (MDMA) Facts

Marie Law Alphabiolabs

By Marie Law, Head of Toxicology at AlphaBiolabs
Last reviewed: 02/01/2023

In this article, we take a closer look at ecstasy (MDMA), what it is, how it is used, the side effects of ecstasy use and more.

What is ecstasy?

Methyl​enedioxy​ methamphetamine (MDMA), also known as ecstasy or Molly, is a manufactured stimulant and psychedelic drug that produces energizing effects and can make a person feel euphoric and alert.

However, these effects vary from person to person, with some people also experiencing anxiety, panic, and paranoia.

Known as a party drug, ecstasy (MDMA) is commonly used recreationally at nightclubs and raves, and can be extremely dangerous, as illegally-manufactured ecstasy often contains other substances including methamphetamine, ketamine, cocaine, cathinones (synthetic stimulants) and caffeine.

Order a Home Drug Test Kit Online

What are the street names for ecstasy (MDMA)?

Some of the most common street names for ecstasy (MDMA) include:

  • Adam
  • Hug Drug
  • X
  • XTC
  • Disco Biscuit
  • Lover’s Speed
  • Eve
  • Molly

What does ecstasy look like?

Ecstasy tablets are sold illegally in a variety of colors, designs, and shapes, often with ‘brand’ logos.

MDMA is also distributed in powder, capsule and liquid form.

How is ecstasy used?

In pill form, ecstasy is typically swallowed, but may also be crushed and snorted.

MDMA powder is either snorted or dabbed onto the gums.

How do people behave when they take ecstasy?

How a person feels and behaves after using ecstasy (MDMA) can vary, depending on the person.

As the name implies, in some people these drugs instill a feeling of happiness, causing them to feel euphoric and more affectionate toward the people around them – even strangers.

However, ecstasy (MDMA) can also cause feelings of panic, confusion, paranoia, anxiety and even psychosis.

What are the side effects of ecstasy?

The physical side effects can vary and depend on several factors, including how the drug is consumed, frequency of use, and the metabolism and weight of the person.

Some common side effects include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Tightening of the jaw muscles
  • Raised body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Tingling sensations
  • Overheating and dehydration

Long-term use has been linked to kidney, heart, and liver problems.

People with heart conditions, high blood pressure, epilepsy and asthma are also at an increased risk of experiencing a dangerous reaction to these substances.

What happens when you drink alcohol while taking ecstasy?

Drinking alcohol can slow the removal of MDMA from the body, leading to more serious side effects or more severe reactions to the drug.

Combining alcohol and ecstasy can also lead to impaired judgment, problems with movement and coordination, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle spasms and confusion.

What is the legal status of ecstasy (MDMA) in the US?

Because of its high potential for abuse, MDMA is classed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Can ecstasy be used in medicine?

Ecstasy currently has no approved application in medicine in the US. However, it has been trialled for use in the treatment of those with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How long does it take for ecstasy to show up in a drug test?

Even after the ‘high’ has worn off, and long after the drug was first consumed, ecstasy (MDMA) use can be detected by a drug test, depending on the type of test you take.

The drug testing detection windows for ecstasy are as follows:

  • Oral fluid (saliva) – up to 48 hours
  • Urine – up to 4 days
  • Hair – up to 12 months (depending on the length of hair available)
  • Nails – up to 12 months (up to 6 months for fingernails and up to 12 months for toenails)

Oral fluid and urine drug testing are known as ‘narrow-window’ forms of testing and can be used to detect drug use from 30 minutes after consumption, up to a few days.

Order a Home Urine Drug Test Kit Online

This can vary depending on the type of substance and how much was used.

The rate at which hair and nails grow means that both hair drug testing and nail drug testing can provide a ‘wide-window’ of detection for drugs and their metabolites (up to 12 months).

Order a Nail Drug Test

Where can I buy a drug test?

AlphaBiolabs offers two types of home drug tests, designed to give you peace of mind or enable you to seek support for a loved one who is struggling with substance misuse.

  • Home Urine Drug Test Kit (pack of 3 – $34.95) – this easy-to-use home drug testing kit can detect drugs and their metabolites in a urine sample. The self-contained screening kit includes built-in test strips, allowing you to read the results in just 5 minutes
  • Drug and Alcohol Nail Test (from $99) – this test can detect drug use for a period of up to 12 months prior to samples being collected, with only a sample of fingernail clippings or toenail clippings required. Simply follow the instructions included in your test kit to collect your nail clipping samples and return them to our accredited laboratory for testing

Please be aware that our home drug test kits are for peace of mind only, and the results cannot be used in court or for legal reasons.

For confidential advice about which test might best suit your needs, you can email our Customer Services team at

Home drug tests

Explore our range of at-home drug and alcohol test kits.

Order Now


Marie Law AlphaBiolabs

Marie Law

Head of Toxicology at AlphaBiolabs
A highly-skilled and respected scientist with over 13 years’ experience in the field of forensics, Marie joined AlphaBiolabs in 2022 and oversees the company’s growing toxicology team. As Head of Toxicology, Marie’s day-to-day responsibilities include maintaining the highest quality testing standards for toxicology and further enhancing AlphaBiolabs’ drug and alcohol testing services for members of the public and the legal sector.

Related articles…