MDMA: Dosage and effect

Written by: Konstantin Neumann



Time to read 9 min

MDMA - one of the most popular drugs of our time. But what exactly is MDMA? What does the name mean, where does the drug come from and what makes it so special? And more importantly, what should you look out for when taking and dosing MDMA? Perhaps you are new to the subject and have already asked yourself these questions, or perhaps you have already had your own experiences with MDMA and would like to expand your knowledge. In this article, we want to explain in detail what the drug does, what risks it entails and what you should bear in mind when using it. Read on if you want to find out more about the effects and dosage of MDMA.

What is MDMA and where does it come from?

MDMA actually stands for 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine. This particular chemical compound was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. It was discovered more or less by chance during the development of a hemostatic drug. However, the substance was not yet known as a drug at the time and it was not until the early 1970s that it was increasingly used as a party drug. The first official study on the subject was published in 1978 by Alexander Shulgin and David Nichols. But what exactly does MDMA consist of? MDMA is, as the name suggests, an amphetamine derivative. It belongs to the phenetylamine group and can only be produced synthetically. There are basically several possible starting materials, but piperonal is often used, which is a simple aromatic substance that smells of vanilla and almond. The production itself is not very complex - but is difficult to understand for non-chemists.

MDMA, ecstasy, E, Molly, Emma or parts are often used as synonyms for the same drug. However, it is important to know that there are differences and that these terms do not generally refer to the same preparation. MDMA is first and foremost the chemical name for the pure active ingredient. MDMA is available as a drug either in crystal form, as a white powder, or pressed into tablets. In pill form, MDMA is often referred to as ecstasy, E or similar. Unfortunately, both the pills and the powder are often mixed with other drugs and the exact composition sometimes differs greatly. Often, hardly any traces of MDMA itself have been found in pills or powder. The crystalline form of MDMA is considered to be purer, as it is more difficult to mix in extenders or other drugs.

MDMA is usually taken in pill form.

The effect of MDMA depends on dosage & quality

MDMA has various effects. However, it is mainly considered a love drug, as it increases the release of serotonin in the brain and inhibits its reuptake, resulting in a temporary, increased serotonin level in the blood. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that provide feelings of happiness in the body. Other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and noradrenaline are also released. This increase in "happiness hormones" in the blood has the effect that the body feels truly flooded with a wave of euphoria when consuming MDMA, which can last for several hours depending on the form of consumption. Other symptoms perceived as positive can be

  • A feeling of alertness
  • Increased stamina and performance
  • More energy
  • Sexual arousal
  • Greater social sociability
  • Feeling of connection to oneself and others
  • Extroverted behavior
  • Greater tolerance towards the feelings and views of others

Due to these effects, there are already a few studies investigating the use of MDMA in psychotherapy and initial results suggest that MDMA has a positive influence on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. This may be due to the fact that patients can open up more easily under the influence of MDMA and also find better access to their own emotions, which are often suppressed in the case of trauma.

Onset and duration of effect of MDMA

MDMA can be consumed either orally or nasally (MDMA can also be injected, but this is rather rare). The onset and duration of effect vary depending on how it is taken. The dosage of MDMA also plays a role here, of course. If taken nasally, the first symptoms can be felt within 15-20 minutes, whereas it can take 1-2 hours if taken orally. This also depends on how much has been eaten beforehand. It does not appear to be advisable to consume the drug on an empty stomach. The duration of effect also differs between the different forms of consumption: While the effect wears off after a few hours when consumed nasally, a full MDMA trip can last up to six hours when taken orally. It is therefore often practiced to take a small dose nasally and another dose orally. The effect achieved: rapid onset of action with simultaneous long-term maintenance of effect.

MDMA: Side effects

Like many drugs, MDMA also has a number of undesirable side effects in addition to the intended effects, which can be unpleasant or even life-threatening depending on the dosage. A distinction must be made here between short-term and long-term side effects, as repeated use of higher doses of MDMA can also lead to permanent damage to the body. The list of possible side effects is long, but the most common during and shortly after use are as follows:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • severe tension
  • muscle cramps
  • teeth grinding
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased body temperature
  • blurred field of vision
  • loss of appetite
  • inner restlessness
  • insomnia
  • anxiety and panic
  • depression
  • concentration problems
  • Exhaustion

These symptoms can occur while taking the drug and can last for up to a week. Depression, sleep disorders and exhaustion in particular can be longer-lasting conditions. This is because the increased release of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline causes a deficit of these important neurotransmitters in the brain. After the first few intense hours, the "crash" automatically follows, which is also known as the "come down". The supplies have been used up and the body first has to replenish the neurotransmitters.

Long-term side effects of MDMA

While the positive effects of MDMA can still outweigh the negative effects with a single use, the negative effects become more pronounced with recurring use of high doses of MDMA. The intense states of happiness fail to materialize, as the body requires an ever-increasing dose of MDMA to achieve the same effect. However, a higher dosage of MDMA means potentially stronger side effects. The long-term effects should not be underestimated either. Studies of the cerebrospinal fluid of long-term users have shown that serotonin levels were exceptionally low. Other processes such as glucose metabolism (the process in the brain that produces energy for brain functions from sugar molecules) were also negatively affected. The investigations also revealed that the blood flow in certain regions of the brain was restricted and the brain frequencies changed - the similarities to older people and people with dementia were striking.

Long-term use of large doses of MDMA also causes long-term damage on a psychological and behavioral level. Even after months or years of abstinence, the users' behavior and well-being were still negatively affected. Side effects shown by the studies included:

  • muscle pain
  • low blood pressure and heart rate
  • impaired function of the nervous system
  • impaired memory performance, both verbal and visual
  • impaired ability to make decisions
  • impulsivity and reduced self-control
  • Recurrent panic attacks
  • Paranoia and hallucinations
  • epileptic seizures
  • psychoses
  • severe depression and suicidal thoughts

Due to the strong influence of MDMA on the nervous system, cardiovascular system and various brain and body functions, it can also cause further damage to blood vessels and organs. However, all effects and side effects and their intensity depend on the health of the user, the frequency of use and the dosage of MDMA.

Addiction to MDMA

As MDMA belongs to the amphetamine family, there is reason to believe that repeated use leads to physical dependence. However, this has not yet been proven and although the body quickly builds up a tolerance to the drug, this does not initially appear to lead to a steady increase in consumption. It is assumed that this is due to the increasingly negative side effects compared to the rapidly diminishing positive effects. It thus appears to remain an occasional drug for most users. Many of the MDMA users who were registered in withdrawal clinics and hospitals also stated that they regularly took various other drugs, so that no clear link between MDMA and addiction can be drawn here either.

MDMA: Calculating the dose - how to do it correctly

The question remains as to how much MDMA you can or should take. There is no single correct dose of MDMA. The dosage of MDMA that you can take as an individual depends on your body weight, your own health and, of course, the desired effects. First of all, you should make sure that you do not have any physical or psychological problems that can be exacerbated by the consumption of MDMA. In addition, different doses of MDMA naturally affect the body in different ways.

For example, a 1996 study showed that doses of MDMA between 0.25 and 1.0 mg/kg body weight hardly caused any negative side effects in the test subjects. However, another study from 2019 found that some of the side effects were more pronounced at lower MDMA doses (0-40 mg/per person) than at a normal dose. Due to the differing results and the lack of further studies, no concrete conclusions can be drawn here as to whether a lower dosage of MDMA also has fewer side effects, or where exactly the boundary between stronger and lesser side effects is at low dosages.

Calculating the correct MDMA dosage based on your own weight

It is clear that the higher the MDMA dosage, the greater the risks and undesirable side effects. Care should therefore be taken not to take an overdose and, in the case of repeated use, to take several weeks off so that the body can replenish its serotonin stores. There are MDMA calculators on the internet, but it is not absolutely necessary to use them. You can calculate the correct MDMA dosage based on your own body weight by calculating 1.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. With a body weight of 70 kg, this would be 105 mg of MDMA. Depending on your own body condition and the purpose of taking the drug, you can adjust this value accordingly; it serves as a correct preliminary estimate. Some sources also recommend a slightly lower value of 1.3 mg/kg body weight for women. Ultimately, of course, it is up to the user to make their own assessment and choose an appropriate dosage of MDMA.

However, once you have determined the right dosage of MDMA for you, there are still the following factors to consider: As already described, many conventional, available MDMA preparations are mixed with other drugs and sometimes extenders. As far as the well-known ecstasy pills and powder are concerned, it is not possible to determine how much MDMA is actually contained. The quantity is usually between 50 and 150 mg, but samples have been seized that contained far more or even nothing at all. As it is not possible for the standard consumer to find out what MDMA content a preparation has, it is advisable to approach the subject with great caution.

Disclaimer: We do not recommend the use or consumption of MDMA. This article is intended for information purposes only.

Compared to normal pills, MDMA tabs often have unique colors and shapes.

Our conclusion on MDMA & dosage

It is clear why MDMA is one of the favorite drugs of our time. The effect is unique and makes it obvious why the drug is of interest to both recreational and therapeutic users. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of the risks involved in its use and not to treat it lightly. It is irresponsible to continue to assume that MDMA is a harmless party drug. The fact that MDMA is still largely unresearched compared to other drugs such as LSD should also be taken into account.

Incidentally, there are extensive studies on the use of LSD and LSD derivatives, both in terms of microdosing and high dosing - you can find some interesting products on this subject in our store. The studies on MDMA to date can only show trends, but much remains to be seen and all available information should always be viewed with a critical eye. With the legal psychedelics from our store, you are on the safe side and can conduct your research away from the risks of MDMA.

It is clearly not advisable to try out new, as yet unknown preparations. The risk of overdosing or adding other drugs with unknown effects is too high. We hope that we have been able to provide an overview of the available information and contribute to a responsible approach to the subject.