Ecstasy can come in a pill, capsule, powder or crystal. The substance commonly called MDMA is usually a racemic mixture of d-MDMA and l-MDMA. It is not strictly an amphetamine or hallucinogenic. Like methamphetamine, MDMA contains the methyl group of atoms, which is said to contribute to the emphatic qualities of both drugs. Back to all training on drugs »
A number of German-language sources credit the first synthesis of MDMA to an undergraduate German chemist, Fritz Haber (1868-1934). The future Nobel laureate reportedly synthesized 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine ("Ecstasy") in 1891. However, the synthesis does not appear anywhere in Haber's doctoral dissertation The case remains unproven.
The chemical structure of MDMA allows it to reach the brain quickly after ingestion. First, the pill is ingested and it disintegrates quickly in the stomach contents. Once dissolved, some MDMA molecules are absorbed from the stomach into the bloodstream, but most of the Ecstasy molecules move from the stomach into the small intestine. There, they are absorbed into the bloodstream very easily.
Ecstasy has a variety of street names including, but are commonly named by the stamp they carry on the tablet. Since Ecstasy is synthesized in laboratories, its purity can vary substantially from lab to lab, and other compounds are easily combined into the same tablet.