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.
Ecstasy pills are usually swallowed and MDMA is usually rubbed (dabbed) into the user’s gums. They both taste bitter and unpleasant.
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.
People usually take MDMA powder by dabbing it onto their gums or by swallowing it wrapped in a cigarette paper, which is sometimes called ‘bombing’.
MDMA users often start by dabbing just a small amount of powder and waiting for the effects to kick in.
Like with pills, 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.
Some users have reported feelings of:
- panic attacks
- confused episodes
- paranoia and even psychosis after taking ecstasy
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:
tightening or moving of the jaw muscles (gurning)
raised body temperature
a faster heartbeat and nausea