How long does XTC stay in your system?

XTC doesn’t stay long in your system. With a short half life and elimination time of under 96 hours, XTC can be detected in urine up to 2 days after last dose. More on drug testing for XTC, detection times and peak levels of the drug here.

minute read
Reviewed by: Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D.

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: MDMA can be detected in urine for 2-20 days after last use. Learn more about drug detection windows for ecstasy here, with testing windows for blood, saliva, and hair samples below.


How Do You Take Ecstasy

Ecstasy, Molly, or XTC are street names for a synthetic drug called 3-4 methylenedioxy methamphetamine, MDMA. MDMA is an illegal federal drug classified as a Scheduled Isubstance. It is primarily taken orally. Most people take it as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form or snort the powder. Additionally, the primary acting agent of amphetamine can also be dissolved and injected.

Still, you don´t know who’s preparing the pills, capsules, or powders. The drugs that are sold as XTC and supposedly Molly or sold as “pure” may contain other drugs instead of or in addition to MDMA. Much of the Molly seized by the police contains additives such as:

  • Cocaine
  • Ketamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Over-the-counter cough medicine
  • Synthetic cathinones “bath salts”

These substances may be extremely dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re taking.

Main Uses

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 United States.

MDMA was initially popular in the nightclub scene and at all-night dance parties, but the drug now affects a broader range of people who more commonly call the drug Ecstasy or Molly. It is used mainly in party, rave and dance scenes, as it can induce feelings of empathy and connectedness in the user.

Peak Levels and Half Life

MDMA is readily absorbedfrom the gastrointestinal tract. [2] Onset of action is within 30 minutes and peak serum levels occur after 1 to 3 hours. Desired effects may last only an hour or more, depending on dose. Other general effects of taking XTC last about 2-3 hours.

Still, MDMA is rapidly absorbed in and passes through the body quickly; the half-life of MDMA is around 7 hours. Like amphetamines, alkaline urine can increase the half-life of MDMA to 16-31 hours.

Drug Test Detection Windows

Ecstasy can be detected in various biological samples such as blood, hair, saliva, and urine. However, the time it is detected varies by sample. [3] Following are the common methods of drug testing and detection windows for each.

Blood Tests for MDMA

MDMA can be detected for a period of 3 days to 4 weeks after the last dose.MDMA is metabolized to 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), which is a metabolite reported in blood and plasma drug screens. Drug testing of blood samples is usually only performed in emergency situations.

Hair Tests for MDMA

MDMA can, on average, be detected in hair for up to 90 days after the last dose. The longer the hair sample, the longer the detection window. Hair drug tests have the advantage of detecting substance use days to months, or in some cases, years, later. Because of the long period of detection for hair samples, they are useful for detecting chronic substance use, understanding the duration of a patient’s drug use over the long term, and indicating periods of abstinence. Conversely, hair testing is not helpful in detecting sporadic use when weekly or even monthly drug testing is required as part of a drug treatment plan.

Saliva Tests for MDMA

Ecstasy can be detected in saliva for up to 3 days after the last dose.Oral fluid monitoring efficiently detects single, recreational 70-150mg MDMA. The limits of quantification are 5ng/ml for MDMA and MDA.

Urine Tests for MDMA

MDMA and its metabolites can be detected in urine samples for 2 to 20 days after the last dose.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 500ng/ml for positive tests.

What If I Test Positive?

If you failed a WORKPLACE drug test, you may be able to oppose drug test results as mistaken. But after this if the confirmatory test result is positive you may face problems with your employer and with the law, depending in what state you live. Check out the ACLU’s compilation of state-by-state drug testing in the workplace laws below. [4]

If you failed a CLINICAL drug test and you feel that your test result is incorrect, make it clear to the supervising physician what medications are you taking. Then, you can request to retake the test or propose a confirmatory test. In the end if it´s positive, you could lose your health care benefits and but you could also end up in jail depending where you live.

If you failed a STUDENT drug test, don´t worry probably you won’t go to jail…but it’s still possible. Instead, you could lose educational benefits, and the positive screen would leave anindelible mark in your criminal record. This kind of test is not meant to punish students who use illicit drugs but to prevent future illicit drug use.

False Positives

Are false positive drug screen possible with MDMA?

Yes, false positives are expected due to the structural similarity with other types of amphetamines, including:

  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Promethazine

Therefore, experts recommend performing a confirmatory test of a Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectometry in order to confirm or reject the possibility. Cross reactions to MDMA were also reported with non-similar molecules such as ranitidine, antidepressants such as atomoxetine and bupropion and antihipertensives such as labetalol. [6]

Home Tests

There is new single use kit that contains five test strips for a home drug test for the prescence of MDMA. Test strips are rubbed or wet with fluid from the suspected misuser. It takes just three minutes to detect methamphetamines (such as MDMA or ecstasy) in urine samples and other less obvious sources, such as sweat on clothing.

The problem with this kind of test is that cross reactivity will other chemical molecules is possible. Additionally, the results of MDMA home drug kits are qualitative. This is why aconfirmatory test is in order to produce aquantitative result. Confirmatory tests are supervised by specialized drug testing laboratories.

Addiction Liability

So, is ecstasy addictive? 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 MDMA every weekend…can you get addicted to it?

Yes, addiction to any drug includes characteristics of compulsive use despite negative consequences and mental dependence on the drug. The same is true for XTC. However, patterns of physical and/or psychological dependence are still unknown. And research results vary on whether MDMA is addictive, or not. [7] Experiments have shown that animals will self-administer MDMA, an important indicator of a drug’s abuse potential although to a lesser degree than some other drugs such as cocaine.

Additionally some people report signs of physical dependence during cases of addiction, including the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Depression.
  • Trouble concentrating.

Get Help Now

If you’ve been taking XTC over a long period of time, the body and brain adapt to its presence. You can start to develop physical tolerance to MDMA, needing to take more of it to get similar effect. But you may also develop a mental dependence on MDMA in order to feel normal.

If you think that you have a problem with XTC, you probably do. So, if you think that you can’t live life without XTC, it’s time to seek help.

More Questions About XTC

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:
[1] DEA: Drug Schedules for Illicit Substances
[3] Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America: Objective Testing: Urine and Other Drug Tests
[5] NCCIH and Medline Plus information on amphetamines
NCCIH and Medline Plus information on amphetamines
NCIH and Medline Plus information on amphetamines
NCCIH and Medline Plus information on amphetamines
[6] Medline Plus information on non-similar MDMA molecules
Medline Plus information on non-similar MDMA molecules
Medline Plus information on non-similar MDMA molecules
Medline Plus information on non-similar MDMA molecules
[7] NIDA: Drug Facts on Molly, MDMA, and Ecstasy
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?