Sunday October 26th 2014

How long does ecstasy last?

How long does it take for ecstasy to wear off? Is feeling tired to be expected after the experience of euphoric effect on MDMA? And what more should you know about the duration of action and how ecstasy works in the brain? We explore here, and invite your questions about ecstasy or getting help for ecstasy addiction at the end.

Ingredients in ecstasy

MDMA is a Schedule I controlled substance and a derivate of methamphetamine. Originally, MDMA was created to be used as an appetite suppressant. Then, in the mid 20th century, ecstasy was view to have potential use in psychotheray. Currently, MDMA currently has no legitimate medical use in the States. Why?

Ecstasy tablets are often recognized by their interesting symbols, such as smiley, yin/yang or Mitsubishi symbol, etc. and come in all different colors. The colors and markings are a nod to ecstasy’s ability to stimulate the central nervous system and act as a mild hallucinogen and psychedelic drug. What exact effects does ecstasy have on the brain and body?

Ecstasy effects on the body and brain

Ecstasy triggers mild hallucinogenic effects. Stimulant effects can make a user feel restless and energetic for an extensive period of time, sometimes lasting for hours, increasing risk of dehydration, hypertension, heart attacs and kidney failures. Ecstasy can also cause significant increase of body temperature which can lead to muscle breakdown. And keep in mind that ecstasy should never be used prior to driving. Witnesses report muscle twitching, poor response to light, laid back mood and body tremors for drivers intoxicated by ecstasy.

Further, MDMA has the potential to increase impulsivity and makes it really difficult for the user to keep selective attention, divided and sustained attention, and be able to fulfill complex attention activities. Specific changes occur in the cognitive functions of the brain when on ecstasy. Perception is altered and thinking is impaired. When high, ecstasy users have slower reactions than usual and they are disoriented in time and space. Other psychological effects include increased emotional energy, sociability and closeness, which often leads to risky behavior (unprotected sex and risk of HIV or Hepatitis C).

Ecstasy duration of action

The period of time during which you feel the effects of ecstasy depends upon environmental cues and concurrent use of other drugs. but in general, desired effects are usually dose dependent and can last from one to three hours after administration. A common trend among users to boost the overall high experience, is to combine ecstasy with LSD. Users report the increased duration of effects when these two powerful drugs are taken together.

When you have taken ecstasy orally, ecstasy effects kick in about 20 to 30 minutes later. As for residual effects, these are generally gone within 24 hours. The most uncomfortable residual effects, such as depression for no reason, confusion, and constant anxiety, however, may last for weeks after heavy use.

How long do ecstasy effects last?

The amount of time you will feel the ecstasy effects is highly dependent on the amount or dose of ecstasy administered. And here is why.

Medical research has not targeted a specific correlation between the concentration of MDMA in blood and euphoric effect (feeling “high) induced by ecstasy. MDA, the main ecstasy metabolite, is detected with concentrations varying from 5 to 10%. After you take one dose of 50 mg ecstasy, 0.02-0.08 mg/L MDMA concentration can be detected in the plasma. And if you would increase that dose to 150 mg, the concentration will reach levels of 0.44 mg/L MDMA in plasma. The peak levels of concentrations of MDMA in the first case will be at 1.5 hours later, and up to 4 hours later for the second case.

Ecstasy time in the body

Ecstasy has a half-life of 7 hours but it is absorbed pretty rapidly in the body. The majority of recovered ecstasy is excreted in urine during the initial 24 hours period, representing 20% of the ecstasy dosing. And in urine, concentration levels between 10 and 15% vary for the different metabolites. However, that number is not constant due to the non-linear stereoselective pharmacokinetics of enantiomers. Here’s why.

Ecstasy is metabolized to MDA, being the only metabolite reported by blood and plasma. To be more precise, S-(+)- MDA binds with plasma. The next stage of metabolism is the emergence of HMA and HHA, 3-hydroxy-4-methoxy and 3,4-dihydroxy derivatives from MDA, accompanied by several other polar hydroxylated metabolites, which are conjugated before their excretion through the urine.

How long does an ecstasy high last?

Ecstasy cases a group of effects, mostly manifested as impaired brain function, and can last for up to 3 hours after last dose. It is important to note here that users under the influence of ecstasy lose track of time. The environment becomes more vivid and active, colors appear brighter and lines seem to be blurry. Activities are perceived as many times faster and often users report the feeling of levitation. These effects can alter perception so that the subjective experience of drug effects seem longer than they are.

Ecstasy high effects

Just like cocaine, ecstasy is known as a binge use drug. During weekends several smaller doses of ecstasy are taken in order to maintain the effects of high and possibly alter the experience. While euphoric effect can be achieved, extensive use of ecstasy can result with apathy, depression, insomnia and depression.

Among outcomes that drug users forget (besides the unwanted effects of fatigue after use) is risk of ecstasy addiction . Keeping this in mind, consider options for getting help for ecstasy addiction if you cannot go a weekend without it. Medical professionals can provide propers ecstasy addiction treatment, which is based in behavioral therapy and psychotherapy.

How long ecstasy lasts questions

Now is time for your questions. In the section at the very bottom (the comments), please ask us a question about ecstasy or share your individual experience. We will comment and try to answer you personally and promptly.

Reference sources: Hazardous Susbstances Data Bank TOXNET: 3,4-METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINE
National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration: Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy)
National Drug Intelligence Center: MDMA (ecstasy)

Photo credit: Lawrence Brekeley National Laboratory

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2 Responses to “How long does ecstasy last?
This helped a little
6:09 pm October 15th, 2014

Thanks for helping

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
3:32 pm October 17th, 2014

You are welcome. I’m glad we could help.