||What does it look like?
Ecstasy comes in pill or powder form. When it’s a powder it’s called by its chemical name, MDMA, but it’s the same drug as ecstasy.
Ecstasy pills can be white, coloured, round, square or pressed into any shape. Some pills have designs stamped into them, like well known company logos that the pills are then named after.
Ecstasy powder looks like white/grey crystals and is called MDMA, mandy or MD.
||What does it taste/smell like?
Ecstasy pills are usually swallowed and MDMA is usually rubbed (dabbed) into the user’s gums. They both taste bitter and unpleasant.
||How do people take it?
Ecstasy pills are usually swallowed, although some people crush them up and snort them. The amount of MDMA in ecstasy pills varies massively. Some pills sold as ecstasy actually contain other, more dangerous, drugs that take longer to kick in.
For this reason, you should never take a whole pill in one go, even if you’ve taken ecstasy before.
Drinking too much (including water) can also be dangerous. Users should sip no more than a pint of water or non-alcoholic drink every hour.
||How does it make you feel?
Most people feel:
- very happy – hence the name
- ‘loved up’ – users often feel love and affection for the people they’re with and the strangers around them
- energised and alert
Ecstasy can also make people feel more in tune with their surroundings and like the music is more intense, which is why people sometimes take it in nightclubs and at parties.
||How does it make people behave?
Lots of people feel very chatty and uninhibited on ecstasy, which makes them open up and talk about things they might not do normally.
Physical side effects can include:
- dilated pupils
- tingling sensations
- tightening or moving of the jaw muscles (gurning)
- raised body temperature
- a faster heartbeat and nausea
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size, whether you’ve eaten and what other drugs you may have also taken.
To kick in
When taken orally, ecstasy normally takes 30 minutes to kick in, but it could take as little as 20 minutes, or it may take over an hour or more. Some other (more dangerous) drugs sold as ecstasy take longer to kick in.
How long it lasts
Users tend to feel high for 2 to 4 hours. You might still experience some physical effects, like a fast heart beat or insomnia (not being able to sleep), for a few hours after you stop feeling high – especially if you take a lot.
Some people find that ecstasy makes them feel down and low in mood the next day, known as a ‘comedown’. This can last for several days.
How long will it be detectable?
Ecstasy can normally be detected in a urine test between 1 to 4 days after taking it.
||is it dangerous to mix with other drugs?
Yes, any time you mix drugs together you take on new risks. Things that affect your risk include the type of drug, the strength and how much you take.