MDMA is a synthetic drug that is commonly called ecstasy. Because it is a central nervous system stimulant, it enhances sensory perceptions, including that of color, sound, and touch. Ecstasy also has some hallucinogenic properties.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the Merck chemical company originally developed ecstasy in 1912. In the 1960s, doctors used it as a medication during psychotherapy to help lower patients’ inhibitions, and by the 1970s, it had gained popularity as a party drug. The New York Times reported on the illegalization of ecstasy in 1985 because of growing safety concerns regarding its misuse.
Today, much of the ecstasy that is sold in America is manufactured in Europe; however, some drug dealers try to sell tablets that contain little or no MDMA by using the terms ecstasy or ecstasy-like, so users never truly know what they are taking. Pure MDMA is a white crystalline powder, and ecstasy is most commonly taken in tablet or capsule form.