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The Dangers Of Snorting MDMA (Ecstasy)

Dr. Alan Weiner MD

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Alan Weiner, MD

February 18, 2019

Snorting MDMA can be dangerous and comes with a number of potential side effects. A formal treatment plan can help individuals overcome addiction to MDMA and prevent dangerous and even life-threatening consequences.

MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a drug comprised of both hallucinogenic and amphetamine properties. MDMA is the main substance found in ecstasy, a drug that is commonly taken to induce an energizing and euphoric high.

Because ecstasy is illegal, it is not regulated and often contains other substances such as opioids, amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine, or ketamine. Ecstasy is popular in the party scene, especially at music festivals and raves.

Ecstasy is most commonly found in a pressed fill form, but some people who take MDMA crush up the pill and snort it. Snorting MDMA can result in a more intense and faster high and can increase the risk of negative side effects.

What Are The Dangers Of Snorting MDMA?

Snorting MDMA can cause the drug to reach the brain much faster, causing a quicker and much more intense high. The more intense the high, the faster a person experiences the rewarding effects of the drug. This can make addiction much more likely.

While snorting MDMA can result in a much more intense high, it also causes the effects of the drug to be felt for a shorter period of time. This can lead someone to binge on the drug, or snort MDMA several times back to back.

Binging on MDMA can lead to a high amount of the drug in the system. This can put people at risk for negative side effects and even overdose.

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Side Effects Of Snorting MDMA

MDMA can elicit many pleasurable effects, including increased energy, elevated mood, heightened sensory perception, and feelings of empathy. However, snorting MDMA can also come with a host of negative side effects that can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.

Potential side effects of snorting MDMA include:

  • excess sweating
  • teeth grinding
  • dilated pupils
  • blurred vision
  • chills
  • upset stomach
  • elevated body temperature
  • dry mouth

The effects of MDMA typically last between three to six hours. However, many individuals take more of the drug when the initial high begins to wear off.

Using MDMA for an extended period of time can result in the following side effects:

  • depression
  • trouble sleeping
  • aggression
  • irritability
  • cognitive issues
  • anxiety
  • sexual dysfunction
  • decreased appetite
  • impulsiveness

In addition to these drug-specific side effects, snorting MDMA can have additional and dangerous side effects related to the nose.

These may include:

  • impaired or loss of sense of smell
  • nosebleeds
  • trouble swallowing
  • hoarseness
  • nasal irritation
  • damage to the nasal septum

Can Snorting MDMA Cause Overdose?

MDMA is commonly used in party settings and allows individuals to go for hours without eating or drinking. This can put people at risk for exaggerated physiologic conditions that can affect a number of bodily functions. These may include elevated body temperature and heart rate as well as poor nutrition and hydration.

When individuals neglect their health while on MDMA, they are at an increased risk of life-threatening side effects.

In addition to the dangerous physiological effects of snorting MDMA, ecstasy is often combined with other substances that can put an individual at risk for overdose.

Symptoms of an MDMA overdose may include:

  • elevated body temperature
  • brain swelling
  • excess water consumption which can result in hyponatremia (low sodium levels)
  • seizures
  • stroke
  • liver failure
  • kidney failure
  • serotonin syndrome

Getting Help For MDMA Addiction

If you or a loved one is addicted to MDMA, a formal treatment program may be the best option for getting help and on the path the recovery. Some individuals may need to first attend a medically monitored detox program to safely withdraw from the drug.

An inpatient treatment program is often recommended for MDMA. These types of programs offer individualized treatment plans that suit each individual’s unique needs and condition.

If you are struggling with an addiction to MDMA, one of our dedicated treatment specialists can provide a confidential assessment and help you decide on the best treatment option for you.

Drug Enforcement Administration - Drug fact sheet: Ecstasy or MDMA

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Drug facts: MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)

National Institute on Drug Abuse - MDMA (Ecstasy) Abuse

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