Compound: 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
Other names: Bickies, Caps, Eccies, Flippers, Ginger, Googs, M, MD, Molly, Pills, Pingas, X, XTC
Download MDMA flyer here

MDMA, the intended active ingredient of ecstasy, is a psychedelic stimulant. It belongs to a family of drugs called entactogens/empathogens, which means “touching within.” MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 by Merck Pharmaceuticals in Germany. The recreational use of MDMA did not begin until the 1970s. Before it was made illegal in the mid 1980s, MDMA was a therapeutic medicine. Clinical studies are currently underway using MDMA in combination with psychotherapy to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Due to the popularity of MDMA within the dance scene, demand often outweighs supply, leaving the market open for adulterants and substitutes. Ecstasy/or MDMA caps can contain additives like PMMA or BZP* (benzylpiperazine) which can cause a variety of side effects ranging from unpleasant to dangerous. *research MDMA additives and substitutes.

Know Your Body & Mind — ‘Set’

Know Your Environment — ‘Setting’

Know Your Drug — Practice Harm Reduction


Most commonly swallowed but can also be snorted or shelved (rectal).


Total duration: 4-6 hours
Onset: 20 90 minutes
Peak: 2-3 hours
Coming down: 1-2 hours
Hangover/after-effects: 2-72+ hours
Half life: Even though the effects of the drug may wear off after 5 hours, the drug is still active in your system for 10 hours after you’ve taken it. It is important to remember this if planning on taking other substances.


Roadside Police: MDMA IS tested for in roadside drug tests and is detectable in saliva tests for 24 to 72 hours after use.

Detection: Detection times are based on the time you last took the drug. Taking multiple doses over a period of several hours can lengthen the detection window.
Saliva: 15 min – 72 hours after consuming  Urine: 1 hr – 3+ days after  Hair: Up to 90 days  Blood: 15 min – 2 days after

Drug Checking: Lab-quality testing with a spectrophotometer is the best way to test and has been trialled in Australia, however it is not available as a permanent health service yet (only ACT). DIY reagent testing is an option. You need a three-step kit to identify MDMA and MDA in Ecstasy tablets and Molly. You need three reagents to be sure (Marquis, Simon’s and Froehde). See photos of testing results here > verbinding.110110


Effects vary from person to person. Check out our table below that has listed the potential physical, psychological and emotional effects.


Taking drugs is never without risk. Mentioned doses are based on the information available to Hi-Ground at the time of print and we can not give any guarantee of safety as the effects and quality can vary greatly from one one dose/person to another.

  • A standard recreational dose is between 0.7mg and 1.5mg MDMA per kg of body weight. eg. A dose for someone weighing 70kg is between 70mg and 105mg.
  • Purity and strength of pills may vary greatly so it’s a good idea to start with a quarter of a pill for testing the effects Especially if you are trying for the first time or you have a low tolerance.
  • Due to the purity issues highlighted above, we encourage the use of reagent test kits. IMPORTANT: While these tests can provide an indication of the contents of a substance, it is an estimation only, and does not indicate dosage.
  • Give it plenty of time to work – it may take longer than you expect for the effects to come on. Redosing during the night may increase the risks of negative impacts.
  • Wait at least 2 hours before redosing.
  • Try to get from a trusted source/ from someone who will tell you about changes in quality etc.


Because MDMA is illegal, adulterants are common. MDMA could include other substances such as PMA, PMMA, MDEA, MDA, (meth)amphetamine, caffeine, ketamine, BZP (benzylpiperazine), 4-MMC (meow meow) and mCPP (paramethoxyamphetamine) which is why testing your drug before taking it is an ideal way to reduce harms related to MDMA (besides not taking it). Do your research!

Taking MDMA increases the level of serotonin available in your brain, which is what gives the drug it’s enjoyable effects. However, having too much serotonin available in your brain can be very harmful or even fatal, and sometimes leads to what is known as Serotonin Syndrome. Serotonin Syndrome can be caused from taking MDMA alone however the risk is dramatically increased when combining MDMA with certain other drugs, antidepressants or supplements that also increase serotonin levels.

Physical effects


  • Increased energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased sense of touch and being touched
  • Dilated pupils
  • Visual distortions
  • Dry mouth, jaw clenching, teeth grinding
  • Muscle tension
  • Change in body temperature regulation

Less common

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Erectile dysfunction and difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Rapid, involuntary eye jiggling (eye wobbles)


  • Visual distortions (not hallucinations)
  • Increased body temperature hyperthermia / stopped sweating
  • Decreased electrolyte levels which can lead to water- intoxication,
  • loss of balance and vertigo
  • Lock jaw
  • Seizure

Approximately 2 per 100,000 users have extreme negative reactions resulting in death.

Emotional effects


  • Feelings of love and empathy
  • Mood lift / Euphoria
  • Feelings of comfort, belonging and closeness to others
  • Come down from peak effects (48-72 hours)

Less common

  • Life changing spiritual experiences
  • Overwhelming emotions
  • Unexpected emotional experiences


  • Depression
  • Emotional fatigue

Psychological effects


  • Reduced social inhibitions
  • Increased alertness and awareness of senses (taste touch, sound and smell)
  • Decreased fear, anxiety and insecurities
  • A sense of inner peace and acceptance of self and others in the world
  • Increased willingness to communicate

Less Common

  • Bright and intense sensations
  • Short term memory loss or confusion
  • Mild visual hallucinations


  • Psychological crisis (Psychosis/psychotic episode)
  • Insomnia
  • Severe panic attack
  • Excited delerium


Set’ is the mindset a person brings with them and includes the physical, emotional and spiritual condition of the person, their expectations about the drug’s effects and how they will react to it. ‘Setting’ is the environment that a person is in, including the social environment, who you are with and the physical surroundings, e.g. at home, at a festival or an unfamiliar location. For psychedelic drugs, more so than other psychoactive substances, set and setting are very important in determining the nature of the experience.

  • Use around friends/people you trust and in a safe environment – somewhere you feel comfortable
  • Remember to eat well then wait 20-30 minutes before use
  • Avoid being in +30 heat when MDMA is in your system
  • Be aware of overheating and try to cool down & chill out regularly 
  • Remember to keep your fluids up but don’t drink too much – 1 cup of water (250ml) p/h when resting & up to 500ml p/h when dancing or active
    After 2-3 hours / half way through to keep your electrolytes up (soup / smoothies is good for this)
  • If redosing, wait at least 2 hours
  • If you take ecstasy on a regular basis, you may be releasing and depleting your serotonin before it has a chance to fully replenish itself. This means you will be operating on lower-than-normal serotonin levels and this can lead to or worsen existing depression symptoms.
  • 3 MONTH RULE!  It is recommended that you leave at the very least 1–2 months between uses, ideally 3 months.
  • It is not recommended to use MDMA if you have or are at risk of: Heart conditions, Hypertension, High blood pressure, Pre-existing mental health issues, Anxiety and Insomnia


  • MDMA usually comes in a powder, caps or pill form, and is ingested orally.
  • In pill or cap form it is recommended to take only half with water.
  • Powder can also be taken orally often in a ‘parachute’, which is powder wrapped in a small amount of paper (thin cigarette papers work best) and swallowed with water.
  • It is recommended to crush the crystals to a fine powder to gauge how much you are taking (dipping a finger into a bag or swallowing ‘rocks’ can be very risky with dosage). Once the mdma is in a fine powder roll a finger tip over the powder from one edge to the other and typically this is a good gauge of standard dosage.
  • MDMA can also be diluted into a water bottle, caps can be opened to dilute faster. Shake the water bottle well and slowly sip over 1-2hrs. This can help gauge strength as well as slow the severe coming up and come down effects. Be sure to clearly mark the bottle so it’s not mistaken for plain water.



  • Snorting this substance can be particularly painful and may affect your experience.
  • Finely crush the powder so there are no crystals (sparkles can cause little cuts).
  • Snort water before and after to avoid damaging the protective lining in your nose
  • Use your own clean straw/spoon for snorting to prevent the risk of infection or blood borne virus transmission  (‘BBV’ e.g. hepatitis C) via microscopic amounts of blood
  • Do not use money – it is covered in bacteria.
  • Repeated snorting can damage the membranes of the nose leading to blood noses and possible permanent damage to the septum.
  • Switch nostrils regularly and give your nose a break can cause a more severe comedown


SHELVING (dry)/ PLUGGING (wet mix)

  • Use lubrication to avoid tearing the skin
  • Use a condom or latex/vinyl glove to avoid internal scratches
  • Wash your hands before and after using
  • Find a discreet and safe place to do it
  • Dispose of used condom / glove responsibly.



  • Avoid Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs eg. Hepatitis C, HIV) by using new & sterile syringes & equipment.
  • Use sterile water to mix up.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after, you can also use an alcohol swab to clean your fingertips.
  • Alcohol wipes can reduce the risk of skin infections if they are used correctly. For maximum effect, swab once, in one direction on the injection site, and leave to dry naturally.
  • Dispose of syringes & equipment responsibly in a yellow disposal bin, all NSPs have bins available. 



Carrying MDMA and paraphernalia (e.g. injecting/snorting/shelving equipment) puts you at risk of criminal charges including trafficking, even if you don’t deal. Know your local laws e.g. the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld), the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substance Act 1981 (Vic).

Drug combinations

Polydrug use has many possible outcomes. What could be fun for one person could be dangerous for another. We do not endorse any of these combinations and recommend you proceed with caution.

Unsafe combinations

  • PMA – Extreme risk of fatal serotonin syndrome
  • Anti-depressants -Risk of serotonin syndrome
  • 5HTP/L-Tryptophan – Risk of serotonin syndrome
  • MAOIs – MAO-B inhibitors can increase the potency and duration of phenethylamines unpredictably. MAO-A inhibitors with MDMA will lead to hypertensive crises
  • Tramadol – Tramadol and stimulants both increase the risk of seizures
  • Stimulants (Ice, Cocaine etc) – This combo can end in heart strain and psychosis

Cautionary combinations

  • Alcohol – dehydration, also you may be able to drink more which increases the risk of alcohol poisoning, liver/kidney damage and loss of memory
  • Other Antidepressants – Can counteract the effects of the pill/cap
  • Antibiotics – Some inhibit an enzyme that breaks down MDMA.

Low risk effects

  • LSD – Often called ‘Candy Flipping.’ It’s critical to test your substances to ensure you’re actually taking MDMA and LSD. Combination can have effects such as Mood lift, Euphoria, Feelings of love and empathy, Feelings of comfort, belonging and closeness to others, Post-trip crash—harsh come down from peak effects

Check out the TripSit drug combinations chart here for info on other combinations.

Call 000 if experiencing adverse effects, feel unwell or concerned in any way


This educational resource has been developed collaboratively by healthcare workers and people who use drugs for their peers and the wider community. The role of Hi-Ground is to provide practical, evidence-based, unbiased information to assist you to make educated choices and to promote harm reduction, community care, and wellbeing. In an unregulated market it’s impossible to know the purity or dose of any substance. Taking drugs from an unregulated market carries its own risk, and you can educate yourself and practice harm reduction to reduce this risk.

Knowledge is power.

This resource is produced by DanceWize & Hi-Ground