What Is Ecstasy and How Long Will It Last in Your Body

ecstasy appearance

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) or ecstasy is a man-made drug with stimulant, hallucinogenic, and entactogenic effects. It’s better known as ecstasy and is a drug often abused for its psychoactive effects, leading to drug addiction. Some users report feeling euphoric and energetic while under the influence of ecstasy. But what is MDMA, and how long will it stay in your system?

Here we provide an overview of MDMA, including its effects and how long it stays in your system.

What is Ecstasy?

People use MDMA for its mild hallucinogenic and stimulant properties and its ability to make users feel closer to each other emotionally.

Additionally, MDMA or ecstasy is a Schedule I controlled substance with no known medical use and a high potential for abuse. However, studies are ongoing to test its effectiveness as a possible treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness.

The drug is typically snorted or taken orally. It is also used recreationally and is often made in illegal labs with unknown strength and ingredients.

How Long Does MDMA Last in Someone’s Body?

Various tests can detect MDMA for up to three months. The length of time it is detectable based on the type of test, how often a person uses it, and their physical characteristics.

But then, MDMA can produce effects instantly that last for 3 to 6 hours, but the drug’s half-life is 8 to 9 hours. One study found that MDMA’s peak effects are seen within the first 1 to 2 hours and then decrease after 4 to 6 hours!

MDMA is not included in most employers’ standard five-panel drug test; however, it will show up on the test. If a five-panel drug test detects MDMA, a confirmation test will be run to look for MDMA specifically.

Here are some ways to detect ecstasy in someone’s system:

  • Blood: When MDMA is taken orally, it takes about 2 hours to reach peak blood concentration. MDMA can be detected in blood for 1-2 days after ingestion.
  • Urine: Tests can find ecstasy in urine for 2 to 4 days.
  • Saliva: Tests can detect MDMA in saliva for up to 2 days after ingestion. This is because MDMA is broken down into several different metabolites that stay in the body for different amounts.
  • Hair: Hair follicles keep track of all the drugs a person has taken, including MDMA. Actually, this type of drug test is not common, but traces of MDMA can be detected in hair for months.

False Positive Testing

Be sure to inform a testing agency about any drugs or supplements you take. This can help to prevent a false positive drug test as a result of certain substances.

A study from 2010 found that the antidepressant trazodone can cause false positives on MDMA after a test of commercial enzyme immunoassay (Ecstasy EMIT II assay) in a urine sample. 

If your drug test shows positive, even though you know you haven’t taken any drugs, don’t panic. Just calmly list out all the medications and supplements you are currently taking. More tests can be done to confirm that there was no mistake.

What Are the Factors Affecting MDMA Detection Time?

Many things can affect how someone’s body processes MDMA, like how much they take it, how often they take it, and their metabolism. Listed below are some variables that affect MDMA detection times.

  1. Ingestion: Snorting vs. Oral

The speed at which you take MDMA can affect how long it will be detectable in your system. Generally, the quicker the drug enters the bloodstream, the shorter the detection window.

For example, snorting MDMA will result in a shorter detection time than taking it orally.

  1. Body Type

Many drugs tend to accumulate in fatty tissues, so a person with a higher body mass index may take longer to eliminate the drug from their body. Many drugs, or their metabolites, could accumulate in fatty tissues. So, it may take a person with a higher body mass index (BMI) longer to entirely eliminate the drug from their body. 

  1. Dosage & Frequency of Use

MDMA can last in the body for longer if it is taken in larger doses or multiple doses over time. People who use the drug more often will have a shorter detection time than one-time users.

  1. Metabolism

A person’s metabolism can influence how long ecstasy stays in their system. Age, activity level, and health conditions can affect a person’s metabolism. Generally, people with a higher metabolic rate will have a shorter detection window for MDMA than people with a lower metabolic rate.

  1. Overall Health

Several factors can influence how a drug is metabolized by the body, including underlying health conditions such as liver or kidney disease.

How Long Does It Take to Feel MDMA Effects?

People who use ecstasy usually feel the effects within half an hour. The drug can cause feelings of happiness, warmth, and friendliness and increased sensitivity to touch, sound, and smell. These effects usually last for 3 to 6 hours.

MDMA affects mood, energy level, appetite, trust, sexual activity, emotions, and sleep by increasing the activity of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. 

What Are the Effects of Ecstasy?

MDMA use comes with several risks, including hyperthermia, cardiovascular problems, impaired mental health function, risky behavior, and overdose. It can cause several side effects that may last for a day after taking the drug, such as:

  • Dryness of mouth
  • Muscle cramps or muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Uncontrollable jaw and teeth clenching
  • Vision problems in blurred vision or increased light sensitivity

Additional side effects reported in the week after using MDMA include:

  • Anxiety
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased interest in and pleasure from sex
  • Depression
  • Impulsiveness and aggression
  • Irritability
  • Memory and attention problems
  • Sleep problems

MDMA users may induce more of the drug while the first dose is still in their system because they feel the “high” is starting to dissipate. If they are given more of the drug than they are supposed to, it can lead to an overdose.

An MDMA overdose may cause:

  • Fainting
  • High blood pressure
  • Losing consciousness
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Dangerous drug interactions

The overdose danger is more significant when MDMA is used with other substances, including alcohol. Other substances mixed with the MDMA can change how long the drug stays in the body.

MDMA can make it difficult for the body to regulate temperature, which can cause organ damage and be fatal.

No adverse side effects are filed in clinical trials, but it is believed that the drug could be dangerous in club environments, where people are dancing and not drinking enough water.

The symptoms of hyponatremia include feeling nauseous, confused, tired, irritable, experiencing muscle spasms, and having seizures.

What Is Ecstasy and How Long Will It Last in Your Body
What Is Ecstasy and How Long Will It Last in Your Body

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms of Ecstasy (How Long Does It Last)?

Those who use ecstasy may experience severe psychological symptoms and physical discomfort upon withdrawal from the drug. However, the physical effects are mild and not life-threatening. Symptoms of ecstasy withdrawal and long-term results may include:

Depression, confusion, anxiety, cravings, agitation, paranoia, insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, memory problems, and changes in self-perception are all common symptoms of withdrawal.

Because ecstasy is often cut with other drugs and many users take it alongside other drugs, withdrawal symptoms can differ significantly from person to person.

How to Get MDMA Out of Your System?

Drinking tons of water will not help you “beat” a drug test by flushing MDMA from your system. People who take MDMA are often advised to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.  However, drinking too much water can lead to water toxicity (hyponatremia). Not only is this technique useless, but it can also be dangerous. During the first 12 hours after taking MDMA, the drug can intensify the effects of drinking too much water. 


Ecstasy is a powerful drug that can have serious short- and long-term effects on your body. If you’re considering taking ecstasy, it’s essential to know what the drug does and how long it will last in your system.

Source: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasymolly