What Is Ecstasy Made From?

Ecstasy is a popular drug in the party and club scene. The pills, often pressed with vibrant colors and amusing imprints, look like harmless candies at first glance. However, the reality is far from benign, as each ecstasy pill contains the potential to inflict significant harm.

Although many people mistakenly assume that ecstasy is safe, the repercussions can be grave, primarily due to the ingredients contained within each pill.

How Is Ecstasy Made?

Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is a synthetic manmade drug that is similar in chemical structure to amphetamines and hallucinogens.1 As a Schedule I drug (e.g., no medical use) it is illegal to manufacture ecstasy,2 which is why it is produced in illicit labs without any oversight or safety standards.3

Most ecstasy comes from clandestine laborites in Canada and the Netherlands, though a small number of laboratories have been identified in the United States.3 The ingredients in ecstasy often vary and contain any number of illicit or licit substances, but most contain isosafrole and MDP2P.

Rather than manufacture the powder outright, importers of ecstasy can buy a powdered form of the drug that they can press into pills, or they can buy pills in bulk and sell those pills.

The chemicals used to make ecstasy cannot be considered safe. Once people ingest ecstasy pills, the body goes through a series of chemical reactions that can result in a dramatic increase in body temperature.1 That could lead to:1

  • Liver damage.
  • Kidney damage.
  • Brain damage.
  • Heart failure.

Dangers of Laced Ecstasy

Other risks associated with ecstasy come from contamination from additives and other drugs ecstasy may cut with. Makers of ecstasy may place other drugs in the ecstasy pills they sell.3 Those other drugs can include dextromethorphan, amphetamine, and PCP. Some pills contain dangerous chemicals found in illicit drugs known as bath salts.3

Polysubstance use (e.g., using two or more drugs simultaneously) can lead to unpredictable and potentially deadly outcomes. These outcomes include:4

  • Brain injury.
  • Liver damage.
  • Heart attack.
  • Stroke.
  • Damage to the brain or other organs.
  • Overdose as a result of ingesting something like fentanyl or, if using ecstasy while drinking alcohol, consuming too much alcohol because its effects are masked by ecstasy..
  • Death.

Sassafras and Ecstasy Production?

Sassafras is a type of tree native to parts of the US and Cambodia.5 Although the link between this herbal plant and MDMA production is not obvious, sassafras is being harvested in Southeast Asia to produce significant quantities of safrole, an oil extract used in the manufacture of amphetamines like MDMA.6 The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cracks down on retailers and individuals who handle safrole in substantial amounts because the oil is the main raw ingredient used in the production of ecstasy.

Because of its correlation with ecstasy production, safrole is greatly restricted in the United States, European Union, and by the United Nations.

Where Does Most Ecstasy Come From?

Many of the chemicals used in ecstasy are legal in China, and manufacturing dozens of illicit substances is legal in that country. China has become a large exporter of black market drugs to the US, including ecstasy and Molly. Additionally, the bulk of ecstasy in the US is manufactured in Canada, which outpaced Denmark as the original main supplier.

How Do You Know if Ecstasy Is Real?

Some websites will say that ecstasy, MDMA, or Molly should be pure white, even glittery or shimmery. There are outlets online that sell home test kits, but these are not very reliable. Ultimately, MDMA and related drugs are manufactured with no regulations or oversight, so there is no way to know what adulterants have been mixed into ecstasy pills or powder.

Taking an illicit street drug like ecstasy, which is notoriously contaminated or mixed with other drugs, puts a person at a higher risk of taking something they do not intend to ingest. This increases the risk of overdose and death. Taking ecstasy mixed with other drugs also increases the risk of addiction and polydrug use. There is no safe way to take this illicit drug.

Treating Ecstasy Addiction in Las Vegas

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are unsure of where to turn, call us today at . Desert Hope, American Addiction Centers’ Las Vegas inpatient addiction rehab center, is ready to help you get the treatment you need today.

When you call us, our admissions navigators are on hand to answer any questions you may have, including about our different levels of care, how to start treatment, and using your insurance coverage for rehab.

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