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MDA vs MDMA

MDA vs MDMA

MDA vs MDMA

Molly (MDMA) and Sally (MDA) both fall under the amphetamines (stimulants) and phenethylamine (psychedelic) class of drugs. They are both considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance by the DEA, which means they have no approved medical use and present a high risk for abuse. While there are similarities between MDA and MDMA, their effects are at times vastly different and therefore present different risks. As the majority of MDA or MDMA use is illegal, this compounds the risk of other substances being present. Naturally, the risks from other substances will vary based on the substances and the amount present.

Over time, use is increasing and particularly in younger groups.

MDA vs MDMA

What is MDA?

MDA was first synthesized in 1910, roughly 2 years before MDMA was synthesized. Doctors at the time hoped that MDA could help cure those with Parkinson’s disease and depression. However, ultimately in 1970, MDA and other psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin were criminalized and listed as a Schedule 1 drug.

MDA vs MDMA

3,4-Methylene​dioxy​amphetamine (MDA, Sally, Sassafras drug) is a psychedelic drug of the amphetamine family which is derived from the sassafras plant. MDA has a profound effect on the chemical activity in the brain and is responsible for feelings of intense elevations of mood and empathy, euphoria and hallucinations. Many refer to is a “love drug”. MDA’s emotional effects come from its role as a potent serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine releasing agent (SNDRA). SNDRA’s promote the release of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine into the body each of which produces different physiological effects on the body. 

What does MDA do?

Dopamine is considered the “feel good” chemical as it is linked to the brain’s reward center. Accordingly, it is usually releases in the body when we do something pleasurable such as drinking, eating or having sex.

Serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory and various other bodily functions. MDA increases the amount of serotonin released into the brain and in turn causes effects such as decreased appetite.

Norepinephrine is a stress hormone which is somewhat similar to adrenaline. It increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

Generally, MDA is rarely sought after recreationally and most people prefer it’s better known counterpart, MDMA. However, MDA is a primary metabolite of MDMA. MDA is known to be much more potent than MDMA. While the general effects may be the same between the two drugs, MDA is known for being more stimulant and hallucinogenic.

The short-term effects of MDA last around 6 hours since the last dose. However, the long-term effects can last up to a week after using.

Side effects of MDA use

Short-term side effects may include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle stiffness and pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression (especially common during the end of the high)
  • Lack of focus
  • Recklessness

Long-term side effects may include:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Liver damage

What is MDMA?

MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 by Merck, a German pharmaceutical company. At the time, it was being researched as a psychotherapy drug but eventually made its way to the street around the 1970’s. 

3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA, E, Ecstasy or Molly) is quite similar to MDA, though most resources consider it to have weaker effects. Similarly, It still affects a person’s perception and can cause hallucinations. MDMA is also a SNDRA and produces similar effects on the chemical composition of the brain as MDA.

MDMA’s effects typically last 3-6 hours. Nevertheless, it is possible to prolong with additional doses. Some other short-term effects include:

  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches or cramping
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased body temperature

Other long-term effects may last up to a week and include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Problems with memory and focus
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetit

Increasingly, producers mix Molly with other addictive substances in order to be more profitable. This includes meth, ketamine, cocaine or bath salts. As a result, these drugs mixed with Molly cause other unknown side effects and can be dangerous.

How long does Molly stay in your system?

Depending on the dosage, Molly will be detectable in your body via:

  • Urine for 1-3 days after ingestion
  • Blood for 1-2 days after ingestion
  • Saliva for 1-2 days
  • Hair for around 3 months

Other bodily functions will affect drug metabolism such as:

  • Age
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Kidney Function
  • Liver Function
  • Genetics

Molly has a half-life of around 8 hours which means it will take 8 hours for half of the ingested chemical dose to leave your body. Therefore, it takes about 40 hours for the chemical to fully leave your body. Given that MDA is a metabolite of MDMA, MDA may be detected in the body much longer than MDMA although there is not much research on exact figures.

Molly - MDA vs MDMA

MDA vs. MDMA

Both drugs share commonalities but MDMA is much more popular in the US. They both produce similar effects. However, many consider MDA more potent as it causes more powerful and longer-lasting effects. Molly and Sally are both available in capsule or tablet form. Subsequently, they are often crushed or snorted. Research has not been conclusive on whether MDMA or MDA is addictive, however, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “it affects many of the same neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are targeted by other addictive drugs.”

Still, you can also develop a tolerance to both of the drugs. A tolerance will cause you to take higher doses to feel the same effects. The NIH also states that “…additional doses of MDMA can produce unexpectedly high blood levels, which could worsen the toxic effects of this drug.” This increases the risk for adverse health effects and the possibility of overdose. Higher doses increase the risk of overdose. 

Treatment

It is possible for MDMA or MDA addiction to cause serious long term effects on the body. MDMA sometimes stresses the heart, thereby increasing the heart rate and blood pressure, and can damage kidneys. Some users snort either MDA or MDMA, and snorting any substance is bad for anyone.

Further, it’s possible your reliance on MDMA stems from an underlying addiction to other substances present. Effective treatment plans include cognitive behavioral therapy which helps assess and modify one’s way of thinking and behavior. It also helps patients learn to manage triggers or stress that leads to drug use or abuse in the first place. An effective treatment center will work with patients to find the right treatment plan for them. This likely involves a combination of various forms of treatment.

 

If you or a loved one are struggling with abuse or addiction, please contact us today.

 

*Resources:

DEA – List of Controlled Substances

NIDA – MDMA (Ecstasy) Abuse

NIH – Is MDMA Addictive?

Cedars Sinai – Is Snortable Chocolate Safe?

 

 

LSD and Alcohol

LSD and Alcohol

LSD and Alcohol

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or Acid) is a hallucinogenic drug which is derived from the Ergot fungus. Acid is listed as a schedule 1 controlled substance by the DEA which means it has no medically accepted uses and has a high potential for abuse. Acid is available on the street in various forms. It comes in a liquid state, which makes it easy to dissolve into other substances such as sugar cubes or papers where the user would just have to place the lsd-soaked item in their mouth and wait for it to kick in. 

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Despite this categorization, it does have stimulating effects. Alcohol’s stimulating effects are why most people drink. For some, drinking helps them ‘loosen up’ or calm down which can be a highly desirable effect. In high quantities, alcohol exhibits stronger depressive effects such as slowed breathing, slowed brain function and impaired decision making. 

While a lot of research is still needed on what happens when you mix lsd and alcohol, we can better understand the risks by looking at how the drugs work independently.

What is LSD and what does it do to you?

LSD is an extremely potent hallucinogenic drug. The effects of LSD, commonly referred to as a ‘trip’, vary from person to person but generally, users can expect to experience some of the following:

  • Visual effects: vivid colors, distorted shapes, hallucinations
  • Psychological effects: mood swings, anxiety, confusion, dreaminess, euphoria, bliss

LSD and Alcohol

LSD distorts your perception of reality which is the main reason people use LSD. Some believe that it helps them see the real world around them or see things in a different way. However, some users have experienced a ‘bad trip’ where they would experience very negative and sometimes frightening episodes. LSD is a very individualized experience but it’s possible for anyone to experience a bad trip – even regular users. Bad trips can also lead to Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) where a user never really comes out of a trip. This is not the same thing as having acid flashbacks, rather it is a more persistent disturbance. HPPD causes the user to only experience the visual hallucinations of a previous trip and not the other effects.

LSD and Alcohol

How long does LSD last?

Typically, you will experience the effects 20 to 90 minutes after ingesting the drug and the trip will likely last no more than 12 hours- however some users have reported trips lasting nearly a day. This also varies depending on your physical composition and dosage taken. LSD molecules bind to serotonin receptors in the brain harder than the serotonin itself. This is what causes the lengthened experience.

How long does LSD stay in your system?

LSD has a relatively short half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for the drug to reduce to half its ingested concentration in the body. While body composition and usage habits play a role in the duration of effects, you can generally expect LSD to be detectable in

  • Urine for up to 8 hours after ingestion
  • Blood for up to 6-12 hours after ingestion
  • Hair for up to 3 months

The chemicals in LSD may not last very long in the body, but the psychological effects can be long term and can even last years.

Is LSD addictive?

There is a lack of definitive research. Some sources cites it as addictive and others do not. However, some users of LSD may develop a psychological dependence. Also, the effect of the drug lasts longer than most others which reduces the need to purchase as frequently and your LSD tolerance develops after the first use which can diminish the effects of the drug during repeated use. t’s possible someone will increase dosage because of this, which increases the potential for risky behavior. That includes increased consumption of other substances that might be addictive.

Can you overdose on LSD?

There have been no reports of overdosing on the chemical LSD. However, with higher doses comes stronger trips. At a certain point, LSD can cause you to lose touch with reality and essentially feel as if nothing is real. This can lead to extremely dangerous behavior such as self-harm or suicide. While some deaths occur due to behavioral effects from LSD, the substance itself is not known to cause overdose. Further, with impaired judgment the potential for consumption of other dangerous substances is possible. These substances can cause overdose or might be cut with a more dangerous substance like fentanyl.

What happens when you mix LSD and alcohol?

As we mentioned, LSD is a highly individualized experience which makes it even more difficult to predict what would happen when throwing alcohol into the mix. Some studies suggest that alcohol will enhance the effects of LSD but there is no definitive evidence to suggest that. Given that LSD can cause you to lose touch with reality which can lead to dangerous behavior, mixing alcohol (another substance which is known for impairing judgement) should be avoided. With increased dosages, the risk of each substance increases substantially.

Alcohol is a CNS depressant and with enough consumption this results in suppressed breathing that is also known as respiratory depression. Someone consuming LSD might likely fail to recognize when they have consumed too much alcohol. They likely will also fail to recognize serious symptoms like respiratory depression. This often leads to the appearance that someone is sleeping. Often it’s then missed that they are possibly falling into a coma, overdosing or potentially dying. 

Mixing substances heightens the negative affects. With LSD, it’s possible to eventually experience confusion, a fast or irregular heartbeat, or vomiting among other negative side effects. Alcohol often causes similar effects. Mixing LSD and alcohol might heighten these effects leading to a number of negative health effects or irrational or unsafe behavior.

Treatment

LSD does have the potential to be psychologically addictive but recovery is possible with the right help. Alcohol is highly addictive and one of the few substances where withdrawal can be fatal. Even without addiction, abuse of LSD and alcohol is potentially incredibly dangerous. If you or a loved one is struggling with abuse or addiction to LSD or alcohol, please contact us today.

Resources:

DEA – Drug Scheduling

NIH – Hallucinogen-persisting perception disorder

Psycho-pharmacology – Gross behavioural changes in monkeys following administration of LSD-25, and development of tolerance to LSD-25

NIH – My Friend Said it was Good LSD