How Ecstasy is Made: Facts About MDMA and its Synthesis

Different-colors Ecstasy pills

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is the main ingredient of ecstasy pills and is a derivative of amphetamine. The drug gained its popularity due to its mood-altering properties and recreational use at parties. The answer to the question how to make ecstasy is a complicated process that involves usage of a few toxic chemicals such as mercury, formaldehyde, and ammonium chloride. How does ecstasy make you feel? About half an hour after taking the pill (or consuming the drug in any other form) one will experience increased feelings of emotional warmth, energy, and enhanced sensory perceptions. That’s because MDMA stimulates activity in certain parts of the brain associated with these feelings.

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The History of Making Ecstasy

MDMA was first manufactured in 1912 by a German pharmaceutical company for medical purposes. Up until then, nobody knew how to make MDMA. The drug sparked interest among psychiatrists in the 70’s and early 80’s for its ability to enhance communication in patients who struggle with addressing their issues during psychotherapy. No one is allowed to make MDMA as the drug didn’t have any support of trials on human and hadn’t received the approval of the FDA.

Around that time, making ecstasy became more common and available on the streets and had become a craze among young party-goers. However, ecstasy was quickly banned and ever since 1985 (with a little exception of the period between 1987-1988) remained illegal. To this day, MDMA is a classed Schedule 1 substance with no medical uses and a high risk of abuse. When one tries to make pure MDMA, it should go without saying that the process is extremely illegal to conduct although it is still relatively easy to buy ecstasy on the street.

Psychoactive Ingredients and Effects of MDMA

MDMA stands for methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine. The drug belongs to the larger group of phenethylamines and is a close relative to the methamphetamine group, which means it exists in two enantiomeric forms – R and S.

Variety of MDMA pills colorsMaking MDMA involves a sophisticated, multistep approach. In its purest form, MDMA ingredients will not include anything but the compound itself. However, this is rarely the case as the drug often comes cut with other substances, such as speed, ketamine, aspirin, or caffeine. MDMA, as a free base is a colorless oil that is indissoluble in water. The compound’s most common salt is the hydrochloride salt, which appears as a slightly yellowish or off-white crystal.

Ecstasy triggers a release of three neurotransmitters that regulate positive mood and emotion: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine. When ingested, the MDMA high produces the following effects approximately half an hour after consumption:

  • Greater Sense of Well-Being
  • Increased Extroversion
  • Boost of Emotional Warmth
  • Empathy Towards Others
  • Better Insight Into Emotionally-Charged Memories
  • Enhanced Sensory Perception

However, it is important to remember that high doses of ecstasy ingredients also bring increased risks of several adverse health conditions. Immediately after the drug kicks in, the user may experience jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and profound sweating. Panic attacks and disorientation have also been recorded.

These imminent ecstasy side effects, however, don’t even come close to the real threats unsafe usage of the drug poses. MDMA ingredients push up one’s body to the limits it hasn’t been used to. In the UK alone, a total of 123 people have died as a consequence of ecstasy consumption, either on its own or mixed with other drugs.

One of the most common problems with MDMA intake is the drug’s ability to regulate body temperature. This can result in a body temperature spike that can in some cases lead to kidney, heart, or liver failure, which are all health conditions with malignant potential. It is crucial that the user drinks plenty of water to regulate the body temperature, but not as much to cause overhydration. Other health effects that may appear include:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Blurred or doubled vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme body temperatures

The most powerful impacts of ecstasy start kicking in between 1.5 and 3 hours after consumption. After that, the blood concentration drops steadily and slowly to lower levels before finally being metabolized and excreted. The duration of effects usually lasts between 4 to 6 hours. After that time, the serotonin levels in the brain are depleted, and the comedown phase begins. If one consumes MDMA and alcohol together, the effects may vary.

Many users take the second dose once the effects of the first one start fading out. On a comedown, a period after using ecstasy when one’s neurotransmitters are naturally reabsorbed, one may experience the following ecstasy withdrawal symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Impulsiveness
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of Appetite
  • decreased interest in and pleasure from sexual activities

If you are concerned you or your loved one is abusing ecstasy and jeopardizing their own health, contact our hotline on (888)-459-5511. One of our professionals will provide you with more information on the treatment options available.

How to Make Ecstasy Pills

MDMA formula on a school blackboard.There are several ways of manufacturing ecstasy, but the following one is the simplest, most popular method which doesn’t put off nasty fumes or includes usage of suspicious chemicals. The procedure can be carried out over a series of weekends or a single, longer session. Here are the definitive steps on how to make MDMA.

Obtaining Pure Safrole by Natural Oil Distillation

Safrole is a chemical compound that is extracted from the sassafras oil. By distilling the oil from the plant, one can derive pure safrole. Be careful with setting up the distillation apparatus as exposure to safarol may have carcinogenic effects on humans, just like it has on animals.

Synthesis of Methylamine

The next step in making MDMA is producing methylamine hydrochloride. This chemical is produced in a reaction between ammonium chloride and formaldehyde. The distillation process is a 6-hour-long work with a 4-hour wait for the response in-between,

The Wacker Oxidation – Obtaining MDP2P

This reaction uses palladium (II) chloride as a catalyst in the oxidation of oxidation of ethylene to acetaldehyde. The whole reaction will take 7-8 hours and doesn’t require any action apart from the initial addition and slow stirring. This means one can set the alarm in due time and go to bed or somewhere else. MDP2P is a precursor to MDMA, which means it is a controlled substance.

Distilling the MDP2P Compound

After conducting the Wacker process, the resulting MDP2P isn’t in its purest form which means it has to be further refined to achieve optimal integrity.

Obtaining MDMA Oil

The next step in making MDMA includes inciting a reaction between MDP2P and aluminum amalgam. When mixed with MDP2P, aluminum amalgam will reduce to MDMA oil. One needs to be careful with the waste produced by this reaction which includes mercury. Exposure to mercury can result in severe chronic health conditions and some cases death.

Crystallizing the MDMA oil

The final step in the ‘how to make MDMA at home‘ procedure will include forming the oil in anhydrous conditions. The fine, white powder is then pressed into tablets by MDMA manufacturers.

Making MDMA is Unsafe and Illegal

Not only is the answer to the question ‘how to make ecstasy’ a set of complicated set of chemical reactions, it is also a dangerous procedure. One is not recommended to attempt in making MDMA at home as it could seriously threaten their health. There are preventive measures one can employ when using the drug to minimize its dangers but the safest one is to steer clear of it altogether.

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How Ecstasy is Made: Facts About MDMA and its Synthesis

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Comments 19

  • hi, i’m simin. i’m 16 years old in pass two days my friend let me ate ecstasy. They told me that can’t be addicted. In total I ate one and half pill. I’m so afraid about addicted of that. I don’t want eat that anymore but I scare about I can’t control myself. How can I stop eat ecstasy, please help me. I’m so afraid about it. Thank you

    • leave your friends. They are not real friends, go do something you like and find an aim in life. DO NOT ATTEMPT a second trial

    • you can control yourself… ecstasy.. real mdma is not habit forming. you are probably mentally unstable and should do anything without your legal guardian’s approval

    • The only real way around it is self-control. As someone who has taken ecstasy before and have had friends that do as well, I’ve seen multiple friends be incapable of control over their wants more so than needs.

      You can’t be addicted to ecstasy, but you CAN build a dependency towards it, especially if you’re emotionally unwell and or a depressive individual, the temporary mood you feel from the rush of serotonin can cause you to yearn ecstasy, you won’t NEED it, but you’ll WANT it very badly as it helps you forget about some of your problems. But know that ecstasy is NOT a solution to your problems and should NOT be abused as such.

      It is very much possible to enjoy ecstasy recreationally without abusing it and creating bad impression for others, I personally do not view it very negatively and as such, have taken ecstasy for partying purposes from time to time, even if it’s just alone, but I practice safe use and keep to the rule that one should only take ecstasy after 3 months from their last session.

      Many people that grow needy for it will take it multiple times a week and grow to question themselves “Why is it not working? Why do I sober up so fast? I miss the feeling. Maybe I built up a tolerance and it will work as long as I use more.” etc. But ecstasy depletes your serotonin levels and regardless of if you go on another session, you will not feel anything until serotonin is restored.

      I also would not advise taking ecstasy at such a young age however, as it could affect your mental growth, so unless you truly know how to control yourself from abusing it, I would generally not advise it at all until you’re a little older, you’re likely to be more responsible and be able to enjoy it more as well.

      TL;DR – If you are afraid you can’t control yourself, then recreational drug use is not for you and you should really just stop.

    • Simin
      At 16 I also tried E for the first time and fell in love MDMA and Ecstacy are two different compounds all togther E has other drugs added to it …MDMA in its true form does not
      As i said at your age i had already been smokin budd and doing cocaine so when i had my first “Mitsubishi tripple stack” at the LIMELIGHT IN NYC i was blown away i loved the body buzz and then at the end i got this overwhelming feeling of relaxation and began to nodd off ..i LOVED THAT i asked my boys what makes you nodd off like that …i was told the opiate mixed with the E did that …so what did i do …i set out to copy that feeling
      SIMIN you ultimately will make your own choices in life i have found that if i just would have listened to those warnings from people who had been there before I could have spared myself and my family and friends alot of heartache …through God’s grace its. Now been 10 yrs clean and you know what its still not back to “normal” its a harder way back
      If you ever need to talk look me up on fb and friend requests me and we can chat any time day or night on msngr i know we dont kno each other but im here for you and its impossible for me to judge anyone bc ive done so much terrible things i understand what comes w the territory
      My name on fb is Marc Wilke feel free to contact me any time
      Simin your worth it keep your head up and lead dont follow brother i pray this finds you in good health….

    • Hi Simin. Ecstacy is a controlled substance, and is best to be left alone since it is illegal. However, if you choose to partake again, you need to wait at least three months. That will give your serotonin receptors enough time to heal. If you take ecstasy more often than every three months, it doesn’t give your brain enough time to recuperate in between, and you may permanently damage the serotonin receptors (aka, limit how happy you can naturally be, decrease your memory, and possibly effect sleep.) Also understand that ecstasy and molly may be similar, but are two different drugs. Ecstacy is cut with other drugs that may be addictive, and you may not be addicted to MDMA but the other drug present (commonly meth or cocaine). You can test pills before taking them to make sure that they are pure MDMA without the additives. Pill testing kits are available online or on reddit forums. Please know that the first high you feel is going to be the best experience you will have with the drug. The highs you experience afterwards will never match up to the first time you take it. Many people “chase the high” and will increase the amount they take subsequently. This can lead to overdose if you are not careful. Or, specifically with molly, it can lead to dehydration and your body overheating. So even if you don’t overdose from the drug itself, death can still occur because of lack of water or not properly cooling yourself. If you feel like you have a serious addiction problem that you can not control yourself, consider rehab. They would be an outside source of help for you to control yourself. Best of luck.

  • Fake friends real friends wouldn’t do that to you if you try it again you will get addicted which you don’t want to do stay more with family study your young you don’t want to become a druggy

    • Ok, I’m a social worker, with a certification in Youth Councelling.
      And I also been using this MDMA and E, as well as Weed and Alcohol. But, I’ve been using these drugs very few times, after 25 years old, and not before, especially because, I was married to someone who couldn’t drink alcohol (for health, he said) – maybe some use of it would have saved the marriage, who knows!?

      Let me be clear: I DON’T encourage the use of any drugs, but I do encourage people to get more knowledge before taking it, and not trust even friends (they might be on good faith, but not knowing what they are taking). I have children, almost teenagers, and I will do like my mother did: she got us educated about side effects, instead of avoiding the real talks or talking based on fear. The reality was enough to grow up wiser, and do my own choices, and wait the right time if I wanted to try it.

      Here was my first time with the MDMA:
      I was already 25 years old, a parent, an adult, responsible of my own actions, and its consequences.
      I was with good and trustworthy friends, who already experimented what they gave me. They knew my health condition, mental/emotional state of mind, and knew exactly what to do in case of a bad trip.
      We also had 1-2 people sober. So they could react properly.
      They also knew the seller for a while, and could “trust” the pills. BUT, a seller is a seller, and you should be very careful because they are just selling, most of the times, they don’t even use this drug, nor do they know the fabric process…
      We did it in a safe place, not in a rave, nor in public place (for my first time).
      We had all the water, bathrooms available… good food for the after effects, not too heavy on the stomach.

      I sincerely wouldn’t have done it otherwise.
      Even younger, I would not try drugs if I don’t have a feeling of safety, in case it doesn’t go good.

      My point is, if you really feel like you want to experiment it, it’s not dangerous if you are responsible, and do your max to have the best environment for that. Please, don’t do it if your mental health or physical health is not its best.
      You will not be addicted after once. But you may want to feel it again if it’s a good experience. If it happens, then, always treat it like it’s a “first time”, because it’s a chemical process, and each time, you don’t know the exact dosage of the chemical you take. So be very cautious to not feel “too comfortable” and take a lot of it because you don’t feel the “kick in” straight up. There’s formaldehyde in the fabric process, and it can cause lots of damages on your brain when it’s taken too often or a too big use.

      And, I can’t say it enough, if you feel pressure from “friends” or people, DON’T take it.
      If you feel like you want it for yourself, make sure you can deal with all the consequences.


  • Don’t listen to King. That’s nonsense. Ecstasy is not addictive at all. One and a half ecstasy is a lot to take first time, but don’t worry. Relax, try to enjoy yourself. The effects will wear off. Ecstasy is a relatively safe drug to use occasionally and in small doses.

    • Ecstasy is very well an addictive drug, Don’t listen to Lucy, Listen to King. I have a college degree in substance abuse/therapy and the chemical in ecstasy itself is not habit forming, but a person with an mental disorders or behaviors can very well become addicted to the taking of the drug ecstasy. The addiction is not what the drug has on the person, the addiction is what the person has on the drug.Addiction is a disease in which a person finds themselves unable to stop using a substance or engaging in a behavior. Addiction means when a person continues to do something over and over, even though it’s harming or killing their body, and their mind is not letting them stop the abuse. Although they can not stop for some reason and continue to do what ever it is they are doing that is harming their health and mental status. I person can be addicted to sex, I mean sex itself has no addiction proprieties, but the hold between the person in question and sex makings the addiction present. So Lucy before you talk about something, please do research on the matter. Thanks

      • Completely disagree Robert.

        I have worked in drug / alcohol / addiction field for over 20 years and not once have we had a client represent themselves with an addiction to MDMA. In fact, it is probably the only substance or habit (such as sex, porn, gambling etc) that i would say non addictive

        Perhaps its you that should conduct some research

        • Robert said ecstacy, not MDMA. Learn to read, Ben.

          • MDMA is the active ingredient in ecstacy. The ingredients added to MDMA are aspirin, laxative, paracetamol or baby formula, which are non-addictive. So if someone is addicted to Ecstacy, the are addicted to MDMA. Which never happens… Learn your drugs Jiorno….

  • I wish I could still find a good molly that was not cut with crap or even deadly fentanyl or some crazy s**t. I don’t know any drug dealers because I don’t do drugs anymore, but would be fun to party one night.

  • You should take two next time.

  • I am quite amazed at the blatant ignorance displayed in these conversations. My amazement surpasses the subject of MDMA. Simply suffice it to say that using it is foolish; as in like a fool! My amazement is at the display of each conversation participant’s lack of command of our language. This display of illiteracy is itself a sad commentary about education in our society. Even the college educated individual showcases his illiteracy while pretending to be informed. He strings multiple thoughts into one sentence that should absolutely be broken into several sentences. His 2nd grade understanding of indefinite/definite articles and plural word usage is shocking for a college graduate: “an mental disorders” and “I person,” etc. His comment is riddled with punctuation and writing snafus. I don’t need to go into the illiteracy and factual ignorance displayed in the other conversations. This utterly saddens me. Simin is only 16, bless his heart, and is reaching out for help. However, at 16 he should be well into high school and his writing should unquestionably be better than he displayed. I wonder if he and the others actually speak the way they write? I am not hopeful about any of this.

  • Ecstasy Is fun when made correctly I took the real stuff all through the 80s .Ive had PDSD ever since they took it off the market Some o e help me find some so I can have a normal life again

  • I wish i had friends like that.

  • The key word is true mdma…now days people use ingredients that are not mdma…i have always wanted to try molly .. but I don’t want to take something I don’t know what it is … so I got a test kit for mdma.. and so far I have been given everything but mdma … if you choose to try it make sure what you are getting …i think mdma is getting a bad rep. Because people are taking pills that they don’t really know what it is … just because someone hands you a pill (even your close so called friend) doesnt mean,that is what it really is …so whatever your taking may be additive !!! And also everyone is different … no body was build the same so something that is addictive to one person may not be to another ….

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