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What Is MDMA?

Man puts his head in hands and wonders what is MDMA?

You have likely heard of MDMA, but what is MDMA, exactly? This drug may seem like it’s a socially acceptable party drug, but it has a history rooted in medicine and psychotherapy. MDMA, also known as 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, is a synthetic compound that produces both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. It is commonly referred to as “ecstasy” or “molly” on the streets. It has the potential to be misused and can cause harm if not used properly. 

Call The Canyon’s substance abuse treatment at 424.465.5182 to learn about treatment options for MDMA use.  

What Is MDMA? 

What is MDMA? MDMA, also known as ecstasy or Molly, is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception.  

MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 by a German pharmaceutical company, but its psychoactive effects were not discovered until the 1970s. In the late 1970s. Initially popular in the nightclub scene and at all-night dance parties (“raves”), its use has now broadened to a wider range of settings and demographics. While some may believe this substance is harmless, it’s essential to understand that MDMA can lead to severe health issues, including addiction. 

How MDMA Works  

MDMA works by increasing the activity of three brain chemicals. 


This is a neurotransmitter that regulates many functions, including movement, motivation, pleasure, and reward. MDMA causes the brain to release large amounts of dopamine, producing intense feelings of euphoria. 


Another neurotransmitter is involved in the body’s stress response; this brain chemical increases heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. MDMA stimulates the release of norepinephrine, leading to increased energy and alertness.  


This neurotransmitter is involved in regulating mood, aggression, sleep, appetite, anxiety, and pain. MDMA causes the brain to release large amounts of serotonin, producing feelings of empathy towards others and reducing fear and anxiety. However, repeated use of MDMA can deplete the brain’s serotonin levels, leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Dangers of MDMA 

MDMA use poses potential dangers to one’s health.  

  • Overheating and dehydration due to increased body temperature 
  • High blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems 
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss 
  • Muscle tension and jaw clenching  
  • Confusion, anxiety, irritability, and aggression 
  • Impaired judgment and decision-making skills 

In addition to these immediate risks, frequent MDMA use can lead to long-term health consequences such as: 

  • Damage to brain cells that produce serotonin, leading to depression or anxiety 
  • Memory loss and cognitive impairment 
  • Changes in sleep patterns  
  • Increased risk of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and psychosis  

Overall, the recreational use of MDMA can have severe consequences on one’s physical and mental well-being. Seeking professional help for MDMA addiction is essential for those struggling with substance abuse. 

Signs of MDMA Abuse 

Recognizing the signs of MDMA abuse can be the first step toward seeking help. These may include behavioral changes like increased secrecy and social withdrawal, as well as physical symptoms such as dilated pupils, teeth clenching, and rapid eye movement. If you notice these signs in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to consider seeking professional help. 

Substance Abuse Treatment and MDMA 

At The Canyon in Santa Monica, CA, we offer substance abuse treatment programs that address the unique needs of those struggling with MDMA misuse. Our outpatient-only center specializes in intensive outpatient programs (IOP), providing a high level of care while allowing clients to apply what they’re learning in their everyday lives. 

Our team of professionals provides various services, including group therapy, family therapy, holistic therapy, and depression treatment. We also provide specialized IOPs for various substances, including MDMA. 

Call The Canyon Today to Discover Our Compassionate Treatment 

If you or a loved one is struggling with MDMA abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Canyon. We aim to provide compassionate and personalized support. 

We believe in treating the whole person, addressing both mental health and substance use issues, to help individuals reclaim their lives from substance abuse and addiction. Reach out to The Canyon online or call 424.465.5182 today.