Pharmacological Effects of MDMA in Man



Ecstasy or MDMA in its pure form is a white crystalline powder. It is usually seen in capsule form, in pressed pills (Fig. 4), or as loose powder. Common routes of administration are swallowing or snorting, although it can be smoked or injected as well. MDMA in the US and Europe is on Schedule I of controlled substances, and it is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell it in the United States or other countries, who have similar laws.

Usual doses of MDMA in humans range from around 80–60 mg orally, while lower doses (40–60 mg) are used to assist meditation, and in psychotherapy. Subjective effects peak between 90 min and 2 h after ingestion of MDMA and return to baseline approximately 4 h after ingestion. A benchmark standard dose is often considered to be 2 mg of MDMA per kg of body weight, though response to the drug is not strictly proportional to body weight. When MDMA is taken orally, the effects manifest about 30–45 min later; snorting, smoking or injecting produces a much quicker onset (Table 1). The primary effects usually reach a plateau 1 h after taking the dose. It stays there for some 2 h, then start tapering gradually being over by four to 6 h. The psychological effects largely dissipate in 3 h with the exception of some residual sympathomimetic effects, which may last up to 5 h. Secondary effects (afterglow) may be felt for days, and tertiary psychological effects (e.g. improved outlook) may last indefinitely [3].


Ecstasy User Mdma User Emotional Closeness MDMA Administration Distribution Volume Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany

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