CULTURE
Just How Long Does an Ecstasy High Last?
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MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, has been a party drug favorite for decades, though it’s now gaining acceptance as a psychotherapy tool. How long does an ecstasy high last, and can you change that?
Published on August 5, 2019

MDMA, the compound in ecstasy and “molly,” currently lives a dual life in the media. Outlets simultaneously warn people about deaths attributed to the drug, meanwhile those same outlets report on its use in clinical settings to treat PTSD and depression.

Before we dive in, we should first differentiate MDMA from ecstasy and molly. MDMA is methylene dioxy-methylamphetamine, an empathogen/entactogen that dissolves our mental barriers responsible for fear and anxiety.

Ecstasy, on the other hand, is a street term for pills or capsules sold as MDMA. While ecstasy can contain MDMA, it is also often adulterated with other, more dangerous drugs such as cocaine, crystal meth, fentanyl, or other opioids. Assuming, of course, the ecstasy actually contains any MDMA at all.

Molly is often marketed by drug dealers as a powdered form of pure MDMA, though that’s rarely the case. Again, as with ecstasy, molly is often adulterated with drugs such as “bath salts,” piperazines, or cathinones.

Since molly and ecstasy can contain a host of other stimulant or psychedelic substances, it’s difficult to pinpoint a reliable average for how long those street versions of MDMA can last. As such, this post will only look at pure MDMA alone.

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How Long Does an MDMA High Last?

According to a pharmacist at Healthline, MDMA takes about an hour to 90 minutes to kick in after it’s swallowed. (Snorting it as a powder works faster, but the effects don’t last as long, either.) The peak effects can last for roughly two to four hours, though (like LSD) some users report that residual effects, otherwise known as an “afterglow,” can persist for up to 24 hours, or until the consumer gets a good night’s sleep.

Some MDMA users have reported feeling either its afterglow or depressive “crash” (or both) for days after initially consuming it, particularly after a first-time experience.

Gallery — A Short History of Musicians and MDMA:

Can I Prolong the MDMA High Once It Starts?

Folklore in the rave scene claims that vitamin C supplementation can enhance or extend MDMA’s mind-blowing high. There’s little evidence to support this claim, though studies have shown that vitamin C can significantly reduce MDMA’s toxicity on brain and nerve cells. That’s why you often hear musicians talk about drinking orange juice after eating ecstasy, such as the infamous Gucci Mane track “Pillz,” featuring the lyrics, “Gucci show time! / Give me five more minutes and a cold orange juice cause I’m really, really tripping.” 

Some users claim that combining other intoxicating substances, such as cannabis or alcohol, could enhance the MDMA experience. However, other users say that mixing other drugs with MDMA diminishes the experience, so polydrug combinations and their effects probably varies from person to person.

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Randy Robinson
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Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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