3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug primarily used as a recreational drug. The desired effects include altered sensations and increased energy, empathy, and pleasure. When taken by mouth, effects begin after 30–45 minutes and last 3–6 hours.
MDMA is often considered the drug of choice within the rave culture and is also used at clubs, festivals and house parties. In the rave environment, the sensory effects from the music and lighting are often highly synergistic with the drug. The psychedelic amphetamine quality of MDMA offers multiple reasons for its appeal to users in the rave setting. Some users enjoy the feeling of mass communion from the inhibition-reducing effects of the drug, while others use it as party fuel because of the drug’s stimulatory effects. MDMA is used less frequently than other stimulants, typically less than once per week.
MDMA is sometimes taken in conjunction with other psychoactive drugs such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and ketamine, an act called “candy-flipping”
As of 2017, MDMA has no accepted medical indications. Before it was widely banned, it saw limited use in therapy. A small number of therapists continue to use MDMA in therapy despite its illegal status.
Small doses of MDMA are used as an entheogen to enhance prayer or meditation by some religious practitioners. MDMA has been used as an adjunct to New Age spiritual practices.
MDMA has become widely known as ecstasy (shortened “E”, “X”, or “XTC”), usually referring to its tablet form, although this term may also include the presence of possible adulterants or dilutants. The UK term “mandy” and the US term “molly” colloquially refer to MDMA in a crystalline powder form that is thought to be free of adulterants. MDMA is also sold in the form of the hydrochloride salt, either as loose crystals or in gelcaps.