MDMA can have many different effects. These vary in type, strength and intensity person-to-person, but typically include the following.
Empathy & Emotional Openness
A vastly heightened sense of empathy and emotional connection with others. Perhaps the principle effect of the drug which most users report feeling. A direct consequence of the heightened levels of serotonin and possibly oxytocin in the brain.
Euphoria & Lifted Mood
Heightened or intense happiness and drastically lifted mood. An all-encompassing sense of well-being is often associated with the experience (as long as correct dosage and harm-reduction practices are followed).
An almost distinct inability to feel anger or aggression, mediated through MDMA’s release of serotonin. Lowered anxiety can also be an associated effect, although some users report higher anxiety (but this tends to be on higher doses).
Increased Energy Levels
Heightened energy, alertness and wakefulness. A consequence of MDMA’s adrenaline release. High doses can turn energetic feelings into restlessness and over-stimulation.
Body temperature changes
Feelings of hot and cold when coming up and often feeling warm or hot in the body during the experience. A consequence of the fact MDMA affects cells in the part of the brain which deals with the body’s internal temperature control. Important to ensure you don’t get too hot – more on this in heading 6 below; When you’ve taken MDMA: What are the dangers and can they be avoided?
Raised Heart rate and blood pressure
A rise in both heart-rate and blood pressure. The rise can be sharp and is directly dependent on the dose taken – higher doses lead to higher increases in both. A consequence of the fact MDMA spikes adrenaline levels whilst also increasing serotonin levels at a receptor which increases vasoconstriction (tightening of blood vessels).
Users report urinating less whilst on the drug and generally having far less need to urinate, even if they’ve consumed more fluid. A result of the MDMA’s increase of vasopressin levels in the body. Ensure you do not over or under hydrate during the MDMA experience. More on this in heading 6 below; When you’ve taken MDMA: What are the dangers and can they be avoided?
Increased thirst levels
Users can feel thirstier than normal whilst under the influence – a result of the fact MDMA affects the body’s internal balance system (homeostasis). Coupled with the fact urination becomes more difficult, users must ensure they do not consume too much fluid or risk over-hydrated their bodies.
Suppression of appetite
Commonly reported – an almost complete loss of appetite or desire to consume any food.
Clenching muscles without realising, particularly the jaw muscles. Thought to be a consequence of adrenaline release. Users should be mindful of how much they jaw-clench, as this can be painful after the drug has worn off.
Heightened perception of colour, increased appreciation of music or sounds, blurred vision, mild colour hallucinations in some users.
Anecdotal evidence suggests higher doses of MDMA only increase the energising effects of the drug, not the emotional or euphoric effects. Unpleasant sensations like feeling overly hot, anxious, over-stimulated or confused are more likely to occur on higher doses and are far more likely to overshadow the positive effects users’ feel.
MDMA has significant associated dangers of organs overheating, heart or blood pressure problems, users’ consuming too much fluid and severe mood issues following the experience. More on these in headings 6 and 7, below.