Unpredictable MDMA: Here’s why it’s ‘impossible’ to know how the drug affects you

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In a recent study by Queen Mary University and experts at St. George’s University in London, 650 ecstasy tablets that were seized by local authorities were tested for consistency, and the inconsistent results were extremely alarming.

When testing different batches of the tablets, researchers discovered a fluctuation of the active drug varying by more than 250% in each batch. Additionally, they discovered the ecstasy tablets took different amounts of time to release the MDMA.

Some of the tablets that were tested released MDMA in thirty minutes, while others took up to one-hundred minutes. The slower releasing tablets are dangerous because people that consume them often mistake the pills as not being potent and take a second dose, which can have potentially fatal consequences.

Dr. Lewis Couchman from St. George’s told BBC: “Our research clearly demonstrates that taking MDMA is a far more risky activity than perhaps thought, it is prone to unpredictable dosing with toxic effects and potentially lethal consequence, of which users and drug workers need to be aware and should be warned.”

The popularity of MDMA/ecstasy is at an all-time global high. People from all age groups and different backgrounds are experimenting with the chemical for reasons ranging between attempting to heal trauma, developing an understanding of empathy, connecting with humans on a deeper level, re-kindling an extinguished flame between lovers, or simply going out for a night on the town to let loose and have fun.

Legitimate medical research is proving that it a versatile chemical with a wide variety of medical purposes when dosages are administered properly. The issue is that typically when people buy ecstasy tablets on the street, they do not know the strength and purity of them unless they have the pills lab tested prior to consumption.

Some of the “chemists” making ecstasy tablets are using unorthodox methods to produce the drugs and where test kits can determine purity, they often can not show potency, so it is always kind of a gamble for people on how much to take.

Even with on-site testing at music festivals, people are still running a risk if they decide to take too much. With the discovery of the tremendous sway of potency and disintegration rates of each individual tablet, the research team is trying to warn the people out there who take or experiment with MDMA/ecstasy to either avoid it completely or to take smaller dosages.