How Long Does Ecstasy Stay in Your System?

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26 Jul How Long Does Ecstasy Stay in Your System?

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Ecstasy is an illegal street drug also referred to as XTC, STP, Adam, or Molly depending on how it’s marketed and distributed. The official name for ecstasy is MDMA, a synthetic psychoactive substance, which is known mostly for its euphoric effects. It does not have any accepted medical use and can easily be abused. Over the decades, especially the ‘90s, ecstasy tablets have been known as and used as the “club drug” because of its popularity at raves and music festivals to purportedly enhance the experience for young adults.

How Long Does MDMA Stay in Your System? MDMA or Ecstasy has a half-life of approximately 8-9 hours. With the projected half-life of the drug, it can be expected to be fully cleared from the system in 1-2 days. However, much like other drugs, in order to more carefully determine how long ecstasy can stay in the system, you must first consider several variables such as how much a person weighs; how many doses the person has taken; and how fast a person’s metabolism acts. Detection in the system is also determined by what type of drug central nervous system depressant test is being used to trace the drug.

Drug detection can come in various forms and detection window can vary depending on which test you are administered. These tests do not only detect MDMA, they also detect other drugs like marijuana, opioids, and more. The most common types of drug tests are:

  • urine drug test
  • saliva test
  • hair follicle test
  • blood drug test

How long you can detect ecstasy in a person’s system is dependent upon which drug testing is used. Ecstasy can be detected in a urine sample for 2-5 days after use. A blood test can detect it for up to 24 hours. A saliva drug test can detect ecstasy in the system from 1.5 hours to 10 hours after use, and the hair based drug tests can detect ecstasy for up to 90 days. 

The “high” of ecstasy wears off within 3-5 hours, and the effects can last up to 24 hours. This drug impairs a person’s ability to process information and can make a person act impulsively. Ecstasy is not as known as much as other drugs for being addictive, but it can cause hallucinations and brain damage in those who take it. Repeated use can also possibly affect the normal dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. Even single uses of this illegal substance can have long-term health effects on a person and lead to a pattern of abuse.

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Additional Ecstasy Dangers

The way a drug is manufactured will determine its potency level and subsequently, determine how long it will stay in a person’s system. This puts people at a higher level of danger because of the unpredictability of the results.

Since Ecstasy is a street drug, it’s not possible for a person to know the exact source of the drug and how it was manufactured. This means that in addition to any side effects commonly related to ecstasy on its own, it may be coupled with effects from other drugs that might have been combined or laced with before or during distribution. The ecstasy user will never fully know what is in the substance they are ingesting.

Most recently, there has been rising concern over ecstasy distribution and use among teens. With the surge in popularity of social media and branded logos appealing to a younger audience, the danger of Ecstasy abuse is now greater than ever. As of 2016, a Global Drug Survey also found there are much stronger ecstasy pills and powders in circulation. This has increased the number of emergency and hospital admissions because users aren’t aware of its potency or purity. The strength of all street drugs compared to how they were made in past decades has increased to a level that puts all users at risk for overdose, addition or worse.

How Is Ecstasy Eliminated from the System?

Once someone has ingested ecstasy, it is absorbed immediately by the gastrointestinal tract. It will reach a maximum concentration in the bloodstream within 1.5 and 3 hours. After ingestion, it then slowly starts to metabolize by enzymes with metabolite levels peaking within 6 hours.

Once it starts to metabolize within the blood and plasma specifically, ecstasy is then broken down further before being excreted through urine output.

Types of Ecstasy (MDMA) Drug Tests

Random drug testing for employment or by order of a court are what typically have people concerned about how long ecstasy can be detected in the body. Keep in mind that even if it can’t be detected through one type of test, such as urine testing, it may still be traced with another method.

Urine samples are the most common way people are tested for ecstasy or other illegal drug use. They are quick and efficient and non-invasive to the person submitting the urine test. Ecstasy is detectable in urine specimen for a period of 2-4 days after ingestion. The majority of users have it completely cleared from their system within three days of taking it. However, if the urine tested has high alkalinity, the drug may remain in the system for a longer duration.

Illicit drug substances like ecstasy can also be tested through a person’s saliva. These tests require a specific amount of saliva to sample for the presence of ecstasy. It can be detected in the system within 1.5 hours of ingestion for up to 10 hours. This saliva test is most commonly performed by law enforcement officials for users who have been arrested for driving under the influence of an illegal substance or another type of drug-related crime.

Ecstasy can be detected in the blood for up to 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. It’s not likely there will be traces in the system through this type of testing after a full 24 hours. These tests are less common due to their invasive nature as well as the other types of testing more readily available and easier to conduct.

The analysis of the hair test sample can detect the presence of ecstasy for up to 90 days. Even when ecstasy does not immediately appear in the hair after ingestion, it remains for a much longer period of time than in urine testing.

Although there are listed ways thought to help the body metabolize the drug faster to eliminate it from the system more quickly, the only surefire way to ensure the drug won’t show up on a test result is not to take it.

Health Effects of Ecstasy

Ecstasy is usually taken in tablet form and ingested orally. Due to its label as a “party drug,” different brands of ecstasy tablets are labeled to coincide with special events or occasions to be readily detectable by buyers. Ecstasy can be available as a powder and may be snorted, but is hardly ever smoked or injected.

Ecstasy is similar to the chemical makeup of methamphetamine, and ketamine also known as the hallucinogen is designed to work as a stimulant with an energizing effect to boost perceptions and feelings of happiness; hence, the street name. The high people feel from taking this type of stimulant drug gives an enhanced feeling of self-confidence and pleasure making it all the more popular among young adults, especially college students when in a party mode.

Users may face similar health problems as those who use methamphetamines and cocaine. Ecstasy causes brain damage and heavily affects a person’s mood, memory, sleep patterns, and appetite. It can cause memory problems and although not seen as addictive as other illegal substances, can undoubtedly lead to long-term substance abuse.

In addition to these symptoms, users may also experience ecstasy withdrawal (anxiety, paranoia, & depression) all which can last for weeks after taking the drug. Immediate physical effects may include nausea, blurred vision, teeth-clenching, chills, or sweating. It also speeds up a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, an additional cardiovascular risk.

In some instances, people may develop an acne-like rash and cause liver damage with continued use of the drug. The ecstasy withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, trouble concentrating, loss of appetite, and depression.

Every person will have slightly different reaction to the drug, and when taking any illicit substance, the unpredictability can be dangerous, even fatal.

How Long do the Adverse Effects of MDMA Last?

Up to 24 Hours 

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Vision problems (blurred vision or increased light sensitivity)
  • Tension or muscle cramps 
  • Jaw clenching 
  • Excessive Sweating

After a Week or Longer 

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Impulsiveness
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems (insomnia) 
  • Anxiety and mood swings 
  • Decreased pleasure from sex
  • Memory and attention problems
  • Loss of appetite

Why Do People Take Ecstasy?

The drug itself is glamorized by its ability to let people “get loose” and “feel free of inhibitions” which may be particularly alluring for teens or young adults who want to fit in. The ease of its availability on some college campuses or music festivals makes it seem less illicit than it really is. And although teens or people in their 20s may deny the idea of peer pressure, it is still a big reason why people try ecstasy for the first time.

The curiosity of the feeling overcomes the concern for the danger effect ecstasy, or any drug can have, and people are more willing to experiment despite the risks. People may take it to feel more confident or to enhance their party experience, but the reality is the euphoric feelings are short-lived, and the crash after being high on drugs lasts much longer.

One dose of ecstasy can be harmful to a person’s health long-term whether the effects are immediately obvious or not. It’s far easier to refrain from use, to begin with rather than trying to backtrack after drug abuse or addiction has set in.

Acknowledging Ecstasy Abuse and Drug Addiction

Many believe ecstasy is not addictive, but people often do not know the purity of the drug they’re taking. It most likely is mixed or cut with other substances, which may have habit-forming agents the user is unaware of.
Ecstasy can have an enormous impact on your life even if taken sporadically. The health effects on the body are irreversible and can lead to long-term damage. The withdrawal symptoms people experience can be so severe that they can lead to a road of drug dependency and MDMA addiction.

Also, MDMA is illegal. Users often sidestep this reality thinking they won’t be caught, or one-time use doesn’t put them in dangers. Buying, using, selling, or distributing drugs are all separate offenses and have serious consequences. The drug itself may make a person feel invincible, but actions make them all the more conspicuous.

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When a person becomes addicted to drugs, the brain changes significantly and affects the way a person acts, thinks, and feels. It clouds their judgment and allows them to make rash decisions they wouldn’t make under normal circumstances. Drug addiction can have an impact on school life, work life, and time with friends and family.

Due to how a person feels when high on ecstasy, they may not be fully aware of how the drug is negatively affecting them or others. It may be difficult to confront someone who has a problem using ecstasy because they may not show outward symptoms right away. They may not connect their change in behavior to drug use or may simply not want to admit they have a problem, promising they can quit anytime they want.

Where to Turn for Help for Ecstasy Abuse

Detox is an important first step of any drug process. It’s not solely about not having ecstasy in your system, but understanding how it’s harmful to the body, the long-term effects, and what steps can be taken to stop use altogether.

Many MDMA users battle addiction with different drugs or alcohol as well. Since every person will have their own history with use, everyone needs an individualized plan to help them through addiction treatment and become drug-free. There are various types of settings for treatment including both inpatient and outpatient care. Where a person decides to seek help it is a major factor in the success of the treatment.

Ecstasy differs from other street drugs such as heroin or cocaine because of the method of ingestion and how often it’s used. While it may not seem as much of a risk as these types of drugs, ecstasy use still carries its own problems. The temptation to use is always there for someone who is addicted.

Are you or someone you love addicted to ecstasy? Understanding how harmful it is and what perpetuates the cycle of drug abuse will help prevent problems in the future. For those who have taken ecstasy in combination with other drugs, either knowingly or unknowingly, may still find themselves addicted and not in control of their own bodies.

It can be a fast spiral downward, so the sooner a person seeks help, the better. The willingness to accept support and plan for a more positive future is essential. It’s not too late to find a solution to stop using permanently. Each person must choose their own path and find the treatment center and plan that works best for them. We are here to help you understand the dangers of the drug, the options you have available, and guide you along your journey to sober living. You deserve a fresh start.



T, Buddy. “How Long Does Ecstasy (MDMA) Stay in Your System?” Verywell Mind. 19 Oct. 2018. 28 Feb. 2019.

“Ecstasy in My System: How to Prepare for an MDMA Drug Test” Addiction Resource. 28 Feb. 2019.

“How Long Does Molly Stay in Your System?”Health Line. 21 Aug. 2018. 28 Feb. 2019.


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