XTC (or ecstacy) is the street name for a drug called methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). XTC is a derivative of methamphetamine. Illegal in the U.S., XTC can be detected in urine up to 2 days after you take it. But when do you get addicted to XTC? And how fast does it move through your system? We review more on XTC and invite your questions below.
How do you take XTC?
XTC is primarily taken orally, although the primary acting agent in XTC, MDMA, can also be dissolved and injected, or crushed and snorted.
What is XTC used for?
MDMA is used recreationally for its stimulant, mild hallucinogenic, psychedelic, and empathogenic properties. XTC is used mainly in party, rave and dance scenes, as it can induces feelings of empathy and connectedness in the user. Although MDMA was originally patented as an appetite suppressant and used in psychotherapeutic settings, this drug has no medical use and is illegal in the U.S.
Peak levels and half life of XTC
XTC is rapidly absorbed in and passes through the body quickly; the half-life of MDMA is around 7 hours. MDMA levels in the body peak at 1.5-2 hours after ingestion. Following oral administration, MDMA effects usually begin in 20-30 minutes. Desired effects may last only an hour or more, depending on dose. Other general effects of taking XTC last about 2-3 hours.
XTC drug testing
MDMA is metabolized to MDA which is a metabolite reported in blood and plasma drug screens. However, another metabolite hydroxymethoxymethamphetamine (HMMA) can also be detected in drug screens. Urine drug screens are most frequently used to identify MDMA use. Urine drug screening tests are made to be sensitive to amphetamine or methamphetamine and can detect compounds including both MDA and MDMA. Standard cutoff concentrations for screening are 500 ng/ml for positive tests.
How long does MDMA stay in the body? Detection windows for MDMA, HMMA, and MDA are longer than previously thought. Although MDMA has a short detection period in urine (30-48 hours), detection times do vary according to dose and metabolite. But generally, XTC is out of the system within 4 days of use, even for heavy or conescutive dosing.
XTC, MDMA and addiction
Addiction to any drug includes characteristics of compulsive use despite negative consequences and mental dependence on the drug. The same is trues for XTC. Taking consecutive single doses of XTC as effects begin to wear off is typical of weekend use. But is taking XTC on the weekends setting you up for a weekday crash? And if you use XTC every weekend…can you get addicted to it?
And yes, you can get addicted to XTC.
Weekend XTC binges can result in exhaustion early the next week. Side effects of coming off XTC include apathy, depression, irritability, insomnia and muscle tension. Plus, the more you use XTC, the more the body and brain adapt to its presence. You can start to develop physical tolerance to XTC, needing to take more XTC to get similar effect. But patterns of physical and/or psychological dependence are still unknown. But some government agencies, such as the Nation Institute for Drug Abuse state that MDMA can be addictive. It is the combination of psychological dependence with possible tolerance or withdrawal that defines addiction. So, if you think that you can’t live life without XTC, it’s time to seek help.
Problems with XTC?
If you’ve been taking XTC over a long period of time, you may begin to experience persistent neurological deficits such as serotonergic neuron damage. But you may also develop a mental dependence on XTC in order to feel normal. If you think that you have a problem with XTC, you probably do. Please go ahead and leave us your questions and comments about using MDMA here. We can help you find local treatment, or can answer other XTC questions personally. You are not alone!
Reference sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Info on Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy)
Methamphetamine Lecture: Creighton University School of Medicine
NIDA Info facts on MDMA
Plasma Pharmacokinetics of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine After Controlled Oral Administration to Young Adults