What does ecstasy contain?
ecstasy.org is frequently asked this question so here's a brief guide, with links to further information throughout the site.
Ecstasy is an illegal substance and so manufacturers are not subject to regulation and quality control. The only way to find out exactly what is in a particular pill, and in what quantity, is to have it laboratory tested.
However, it is possible to say what should be in an ecstasy pill, and what might be in an ecstasy pill.
What should ecstasy contain?
In the 1980's the drug MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-Methylamphetamine) began to be known as 'Ecstasy' (e) and it remains the drug that ecstasy-users hope and expect to get when they purchase a pill or powder sold as e. For more on MDMA check out the rest of this site!
MDEA and MDA are two drugs which are quite similar to MDMA, and many people cannot tell the difference between them. MDEA is frequently found in pills sold as ecstasy, either on its own or mixed with MDMA. It lasts a slightly shorter time than MDMA while MDA lasts a longer time and has a more speedy edge. Both drugs lack the empathic qualities of MDMA which is why MDMA is generally preferred.
What might ecstasy contain?
While the quality of ecstasy, in the UK at least, has been high over the past year, pills which contain a mix of MDMA/MDEA and other ingredients, or which are made up entirely of other substances altogether are always around.
Pills sold as ecstasy might contain other psychoactive substances, commonly amphetamine (speed). LSD (acid) has been found on occasions in a small number of pills. 2-CB has appeared in 'ecstasy' but is more often sold under its own name. Caffeine is frequently found in fake ecstasy.
Ephedrine, used as an ingredient in 'herbal ecstasy', has side-effects similar to those of MDMA, such as a racing heart and dry throat, which remind a user of being on e. However, just because it is legal does mean that it is necessarily safe - see Herbal ecstasy and other legal highs
Ketamine, an anaesthetic, is ocasionally found in 'ecstasy' and produces very different effects to ecstasy. More on ketamine
Aspirin and other over-the-counter or prescribed medications have been found mixed in pills, or simply passed off as e.
Potentially more dangerous substances have occasionally been found in batches of pills sold as ecstasy.
Last year atropine, a prescription drug which can be dangerous if overdosed, was found in pills with certain logos. More on atropine.
4-MTA was discovered in a batch of pills earlier this year, and was linked to deaths in Holland and the UK. More on 4-MTA.
Recently, DXM has been sold as e. DXM may be used on its own recreationally but may cause problems if mixed with ecstasy. More on DXM.
For examples of what laboratory tests have shown certain pills to contain look at the test results page. When looking at test results always remember that pills which look the same do not necessarily contain the same ingredients. Testing a pill is the only way to determine exactly what is in it.