How Long Does Ecstasy (MDMA) Stay in Your System?

Certain adverse effects like anxiety may last up to a week

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is commonly known as ecstasy or molly, though what is referred to by these names is rarely purely MDMA and is often "cut" with other substances. MDMA is a synthetic, illegal drug (a Schedule I controlled substance) that is used recreationally for its mild hallucinogenic and stimulant properties, as well as its ability to increase emotional closeness.

MDMA has no established medical use. In 2017, the FDA ordered expedited review of clinical trials studying MDMA in combination with therapy for treating posttraumatic stress disorder.

MDMA that is used recreationally isn't manufactured as a standard dose. It is made by illegal labs and packaged as tablets, capsules, and powders of unknown strength and ingredients, to be snorted or taken orally.

The effects of MDMA lend themselves less to compulsive use than other drugs. However, the feelings of self-acceptance and easier ability to interact with others can lead to a psychological dependence.

How Long Does MDMA Stay In Your System?

Blood: Up to 2 days

Urine: Up to 4 days

Saliva: Up to 2 days

Hair: Up to 90 days

How long MDMA stays in your system
Verywell / Joshua Seong.

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

Up to 24 Hours

  • Nausea

  • Vision problems (blurred vision or increased light sensitivity)

  • Dry mouth

  • Muscle cramping or tension

  • Jaw and/or teeth clenching that is uncontrollable

  • Sweating

A Week or More

  • Irritability

  • Impulsiveness and aggression

  • Depression

  • Sleep problems

  • Anxiety

  • Memory and attention problems

  • Decreased appetite

  • Decreased interest in and pleasure from sex

How Long Does MDMA Last?

While the recreational effects of MDMA usually last about three to six hours, the half-life of MDMA is 8 to 9 hours. As shown by one study, peak effects are observed between 1 and 2 hours and decrease four to 6 hours after taking the drug.

Research suggests that MDMA taken by mouth reaches its maximal blood concentration in about two hours. As ecstasy is metabolized is excreted by the urine and can be present for two to four days. In addition, hair follicles maintain a trace of all drugs a person has taken, and ecstasy is no exception, so it may linger for months.

Blood

MDMA can be detected in blood for one to two days.

Urine

The most common drug test to be administered by an employer or probation office is likely to be a urine screening. MDMA is not one of the five drugs tested for by the standard five-panel drug test used by most employers; however, it does show up during this test. If MDMA shows up during the amphetamine test of the five-panel, a confirmation test will be run specifically looking for MDMA.

Hair

Hair follicles maintain a trace of all drugs a person has taken, and MDMA is no exception. While hair drug tests are not common, be aware the presence of MDMA in hair may linger for months.

False Positive Testing

It is always a good idea to tell the testing agency what other drugs and supplements you are taking so that the presence of these substances on your drug test results does not trigger a false positive.

For example, a 2010 study found that the anti-depressant trazodone led to false positives on a commercial enzyme immunoassay test (Ecstasy EMIT II assay) for MDMA in urine.

If any of the medications you are on trigger a false positive, stay calm and explain the medications you are taking and additional tests will be done to clear up the confusion.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

Potential factors that influence drug metabolism include:

  • Dosage
  • Body Type
  • Genetics
  • Metabolism

Some people may be fast or slow MDMA metabolizers. Also contributing is whether a person has any underlying health problems, such as liver or kidney disease.

If you take larger doses or take multiple doses over time, MDMA can stay in your system longer.

A dose of MDMA is typically between 10 mg and 150 mg, though it's always difficult to know for sure. After taking multiple doses, the risks of MDMA and the other drugs it is mixed with become greater.

How to Get MDMA Out of Your System

Sometimes people try to cheat the drug test by substituting someone else's urine.This won't work because the urine sample is subjected to a validity test of its temperature, pH, levels of creatinine, salt content, and for the presence of adulterants. Any samples found to have been tampered with will lead to a failed drug test.

Other times people will try to drink a lot of water and flush their system of MDMA. This also doesn't work. This is particularly something to avoid during the first 12 hours after taking MDMA, since MDMA can exacerbate the effects of taking too much water.

Symptoms of Overdose

MDMA can temporarily impede the body's ability to regulate temperature. Extreme spikes in body temperature can result in heart, kidney, or liver failure and even death. No adverse event related to this has been documented in controlled, clinical environments. It is more of a problem in club environments, where people may be dancing and not drinking enough water.

Well-intentioned narratives about it being extra important to drink water on MDMA can backfire when people begin to drink more water than they need. As a 2016 study shows, MDMA can increase water retention and increase the risk of water toxicity, or hyponatremia, if too much water is taken. Many deaths attributable to MDMA in the club environment are from too much water rather than too little. Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, confusion, fatigue, irritability, muscle spasms, and seizures.

When looking specifically at this, studies found that four out of 10 users who thought they were using ecstasy in this form actually tested positive for synthetic cathinone, known as "bath salts." The users did not suspect it or any of the other substances found in their hair samples.

People who take MDMA may try to take more of the drug as the "high" begins to wear off, while the first dose is still in their system. They may think they aren't feeling anything, end up taking more, and then get hit with a larger dose than they bargained for.

Users must be aware that the effects of any additional substances in MDMA will also be at work in their system and have their own set of effects and timetable. This can affect how MDMA affects you and for how long as well.

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