MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, is a synthetic drug composed of chemical molecules produced in clandestine labs. MDMA is an amphetamine derivative. However, the synthesis process alters the original amphetamine molecule so significantly that it loses a part of its stimulant effect and gains hallucinogenic properties. It is for this reason that MDMA falls into 2 categories of drugs: stimulants and hallucinogens.

MDMA can be mixed with other substances:

  • Amphetamines
  • Hallucinogens
  • Analgesics (painkillers)
  • Anabolic agents (drugs that promote muscle growth)
  • PCP (mescaline); this mixture is the most dangerous, but it is increasingly harder to find on the street
  • Caffeine
  • Starch
  • Detergent

When using a synthetic drug such as MDMA, you can never be sure what you are actually consuming. Therefore, you might:

  • Feel nothing at all
  • Feel what you expected to feel, either partially or completely

This effect can be dangerous, even toxic.

What it is calledAppearance Characteristics 
  • Adam
  • Cadillac
  • Beans
  • California sunrise
  • Clarity
  • E
  • Essence
  • Elephants
  • Eve
  • Hug
  • Hug drug
  • Love drug
  • Love pill
  • Lovers’ speed
  • Roll
  • Scooby snacks
  • Snowball

Names vary according to what the pill looks like and what is engraved on it.

  • Pills of various colours and shapes with different patterns engraved on them


MDMA can be mixed with other substances, such as amphetamines, hallucinogens, analgesics, anabolic agents or PCP (mescaline). The PCP mixture is the most dangerous.  

MDMA can also be cut with substances that may be toxic. You do not actually know what you are using. 

Effects of MDMA (ecstasy)

Like amphetamines, MDMA has a stimulant effect, albeit less intense. Generally, the effects include:

  • Emotions felt with heightened intensity
  • Euphoria
  • A desire to socialize – to communicate verbally and with the senses, especially touch. MDMA gives you the impression that you can put yourself in other people’s shoes. It makes you want to get closer to others physically and psychologically.
  • General alteration of sensory perception, touch in particular
  • High fever
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary retention (inability to urinate)
  • Serious liver problems
  • Difficulty sleeping and impaired memory
  • Impaired coordination
  • Decreased attention and slower reaction time

When the euphoria wears off, depression often sets in and may or may not last, depending on the person.

Risks associated with MDMA (Ecstasy) and possible consequences 

Using MDMA can lead to various types of problems:

  • Physical: digestive disorders, nasal irritation, brain damage
  • Psychological: distress, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts
  • Academic or professional: absenteeism, decreased motivation, temporary expulsion from school, weaker results
  • Relationships: conflicts with friends and family

In case of overdose, MDMA can cause:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Panic
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Emotional instability
  • Fever
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Seizures (stiff body with jerky and involuntary muscle spasms)
  • Coma
  • Irregular heartbeat


Frequent and sustained use of MDMA can cause psychological dependence, which means that you need to take the drug more often in order to feel better about yourself, relax, calm down, feel stimulated or have the courage to face problems.

To learn more, read the Addiction section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.

Consequences associated with safety and law

Driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs is illegal and may cause accidents. The same applies to synthetic drugs. To learn more, consult the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Possession of synthetic drugs is illegal. Simply possessing a small quantity can lead to fines and a criminal record. These consequences also apply to people younger than 18. To learn more, consult the Éducaloi website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Help and resources

Last update: September 13, 2017


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