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Drug Myths Debunked: MDMA

Here it is folks, another entry in our series Drug Myths Debunked. Like me, you’ve heard, I’m sure, lots of different stories about MDMA, many of which are conflicting. So, let’s get to the bottom of what MDMA really is and how it works.

And, as always, these articles are meant to clear the air about specific drugs. They are in no way a recommendation to go and use any of the drugs mentioned. Remember kids: drugs are bad, Mmmkay?

What is MDMA?

MDMA is an empathogenic drug (meaning a chemical agent that induces feelings of empathy) and is categorized in the amphetamine classes of drugs. MDMA has become widely known as “ecstasy” (shortened to “E”, “X”, or “XTC”), usually referring to its street pill form, although this term may also include the presence of possible adulterants. The term “molly” refers to MDMA in powder or crystalline form, usually implying a higher level of purity.

Drug Myths and Misconceptions Debunked

1. Myth — Ecstasy Will Make You a Better Lover

With its provocative name, and synonym, “the love drug,” you could be fooled into thinking the drug ecstasy is an aphrodisiac that will give you and your partner immediate sexual bliss.

Truth — The name ecstasy was chosen because the original name — empathy — was not considered marketable. Although some people may experience pleasurable sex after taking ecstasy, for many others, the experience of taking ecstasy is decidedly asexual. Most users actually report feelings of innocence and childishness, rather than sexuality. And like other stimulants, ecstasy can interfere with the ability to become sexually aroused, both for men and for women.

2. Myth — You Can’t Have a Bad Trip on Ecstasy

Ecstasy has a reputation for being a “happy” drug, and is often mistakenly considered to be psychologically safe, compared to drugs such as LSD.

Truth — While most ecstasy users find the drug pleasant in effect, it can trigger feelings of anxiety and panic, which are heightened by the stimulant effects of the drug. Ecstasy also has hallucinogenic properties, so it can trigger a bad trip.

3. Myth — You Can Trust Anyone Who Takes Ecstasy

The myth that people who take ecstasy are loving, trustworthy, and incapable of theft, abuse or violence is widespread on the rave scene, and encapsulated in their mantra, Peace Love Unity Respect (PLUR).


Truth — Ecstasy does not cleanse the soul or transform people into angels. The illicit drug scene has more than its fair share of sexual opportunists, drug dealers, and people who want to take advantage of vulnerable drug users. Don’t believe for a second that having dilated pupils means someone is trustworthy.

4. Myth — Ecstasy is the Most Effective Antidepressant Ever Invented

This myth states that the euphoric properties of MDMA, combined with the wonderful connection you will feel to other ecstasy users will make your feelings of depression a thing of the past.

Truth — While euphoria is a common effect of MDMA, depletion of the pleasure chemicals of the brain during the high often results in intense feelings of depression after the comedown from ecstasy. And like other psychoactive drugs, ecstasy can sometimes trigger substance induced anxiety, depression and psychosis. Instead of self-medicating your depression, see a doctor and get an effective treatment for depression.

5. Myth — Ecstasy Users Don’t Touch “Hard” Drugs

This myth is based on the idea that some drugs, such as weed and ecstasy, are “soft” — implying they are harmless and non-addictive, while other drugs, such as meth and heroin, are “hard” and thus associated with addiction, disease, needles and overdose deaths.

Truth — While some people come through a phase of ecstasy use without trying other drugs, for many others, ecstasy is just one of several drugs that they take, all of which carry risks. Some progress to using “harder” drugs, such as heroin, after swearing they never would. Whether you like to admit it or not, being an ecstasy user opens you up to the possibilities of drug use in general, and access to a range of illicit substances. Ecstasy carries its own risks, even addiction.

So, there it is. Five common myths about MDMA debunked. Hope this helps you win some arguments.

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