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Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

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

MDMA or 3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine is a psychoactive substance, which is synthetically prepared to be sold as a recreational drug. In United States, MDMA is commonly known as Molly or Ecstasy. It is classified as Schedule 1 drug, which shows that it has no medically approved use and it carries a high potential for abuse and addiction. Ecstasy/MDMA has properties and actions similar to Amphetamine and Mescaline. The ingestion of MDMA results in an enhanced mood, euphoria, and altered perceptions. The drug acts as an agonist on TAAR-1 receptor and as an antagonist on VMAT-2 receptors. It causes an accumulation of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the synaptic terminals. The use of MDMA is associated with hallucinations and permanent brain damage. It is important to clear the system of MDMA to avoid its deleterious effects.

How long does Ecstasy (MDMA) stay in your system?

After a complete stoppage of the drug use, some time is taken by the body to completely remove it. The time taken is dependent on the half-life of drug. Generally, about 50% of MDMA gets out of the system within 7 hours. However, its half life is highly variable depending upon its composition and purity. In some users, the half life has been observed to be about 8-9 hours. If we consider the half-life of the drug to be 7 hours, it will take around 1.60 days for the complete removal of the drug from the system. Many users clear Ecstasy within a duration of 2 days. However, some research studies have reported a clearance time of 3 days.

Some sources also state that high alkalinity of the body tends to prolong the time of clearance. This can extend the half-life to 16-31 hours. Moreover, a metabolite 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy-methamphetamine (HMMA) can remain in the body for an additional 33 hours compared to the parent drug. As a result, a total of 3 days will be taken by the body to get the drug out of the system.

Factors that influence how long Ecstasy (MDMA) stays in your system:

There are many factors that can speed-up or slow down the excretion of MDMA. Some people will obtain a clear drug test result within 2 days of the last use whereas many other will fail the test. Some of the influential factors are listed as follows.

Individual factors: These include age, body mass index, genetics, Liver/kidney function, and use of other drugs.

  • Age: Elderly people have a poor physiological processing and metabolism compared to younger people. As a result, they will take more time to excrete the drug from their system. The poor organ functioning is another contributing factor to it.
  • Body Mass Index:If a larger dose of the drug is consumed compared to the BMI, the drug will take more time to get out of the system. The heavier individuals take less time to metabolize and clear the drug from their system.
  • Genetics:Some individuals are able to metabolize the drug at a faster rate. This is due to the presence of specific genes that build up an improved enzymatic system.
  • Liver and kidney function: The liver and kidneys are the organs involved in the direct processing of the drug. Any impairment or dysfunction will not only slow the rate but may completely stop and lead to an accumulation of drug within the system. It further depends on the degree of malfunctioning.
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The metabolism is influenced by many factors like diet, exercise, body fat content, and hydration. People having a high BMR will rapidly metabolize the drug in comparison to a person with a less BMR.
  • Use of drugs or supplements: There are many drugs that can interfere with the metabolism of Ecstasy. Many SSRI’s are known to inhibit the enzymes involved in MDMA metabolism. On the other hand, drugs like Paroxetine and Prozac can boost-up the metabolism rate by enhancing the function of concerned enzymes.

Dosages: The dose of drug taken also plays an important role. The greater ingested doses will result in a proportionally longer time taken by the drug to get eliminated. Individuals who have taken a single small dose will have a rapid metabolism and excretion of MDMA. The multi-dose users will need a lot more time due to an accumulation of the drug within the system.

Ecstasy (MDMA) absorption, metabolism, and excretion:

After the administration, the drug is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. The onset of action takes about 30 minutes. The maximum concentration of the drug will be reached in about 1.5-3 hours in the bloodstream. A number of enzymes act to convert the drug into its metabolites. The levels of metabolites peak in about 6 hours. The various metabolites of MDMA include MDA (3, 4-methylenedioxyamphetamine), HMMA (4-hydroxy-3-methoxy-methamphetamine), HMA (4-hydroxy-3-methoxyamphetamine), HMA (4-hydroxy-3-methoxyamphetamine), DHA (3, 4-dihydroxyamphetamine), MDOH (3, 4-Methylenedioxy-N-hydroxyamphetamine), and MDP2P (3, 4-methylenedioxyphenylacetone).

First MDMA is converted into MDA, which is a primary metabolite present in blood. The MDA then gets broken down to form HHA and HMA. They are conjugated before the process of excretion. The excretion of MDMA is 20% HMMA, 1.5 % MDA, 15% MDMA, and 1%HMA.

HMMA is the notable metabolite, which is used an indication tool for MDMA. However, when the administered doses exceed 100mg, the amount of unchanged MDMA is more than HMMA. About 30-34% of the drug will get excreted within 24 hours. The research has confirmed that metabolite HMMA can stay in urine for more than 33 hours.

Different types of Ecstasy (MDMA) drug tests:

Standard tests can’t detect the presence of MDMA. However, comprehensive drug testing is available to identify the drug in the body system. A metabolite of MDMA, HMMA can stay detectable for a long time duration.

  • Urine Tests:

The most common method used to detect MDMA in the system is urine analysis. The urinalysis can confirm if a person has taken some illicit substance like MDMA. It has been estimated that MDMA will stay detectable for duration of about 2-4 days after the ingestion. Most users will test positive for up to 3 days on urine tests after the last drug use. However, alkaline urine can further add up to this time duration and urine samples can stay positive for MDMA for 4 to 5 days.

  • Hair tests:

Hair samples are another useful method to test the presence of MDMA in the body. About 20-50 hair follicles are extracted from a person’s skin, usually scalp. The length of hair must be 3-6cm. The drawback of this testing modality is that the drug doesn’t appear in the hair samples right after ingestion. It takes a few weeks for the drug to build up in hair. The accuracy increases with the length of follicles. Hair analysis is advantageous as it is non-invasive and offers a long period of detection.

  • Salivary tests:

A sample of oral fluid is collected and sent to the laboratory. A detection device is applied to the tongue and an adequate amount of fluid is collected. The tests become positive within 1.5-4 hours of the last ingestion. The salivary tests are mostly used by the law enforcement agencies to detect the use of MDMA. It becomes difficult to detect MDMA on salivary samples after 6 hours of the last ingestion.

  • Blood Tests:

These are also used for detecting Ecstasy. Blood samples test positive for the drug for about 12-24 hours after the final dose. It is very unlikely that test will be able to detect the drug after 24 hours have been passed. Since blood tests are invasive and provide a shorter window of detection, they are not the routinely performed tests. They are reserved for severe cases of an overdose on Ecstasy.

Tips to clear Ecstasy (MDMA) from the system faster:

There are a number of ways that can be used to achieve a faster clearance rate of Ecstasy from the system. It should be kept in mind that they don’t work equally effectively for all individuals.

  • Stop the use of drug because if it isn’t completely stopped, it cannot be completely cleared. Some people have a misconception that smaller doses aren’t recognizable but in reality, smaller doses have a more efficient metabolism and readily show up in the samples taken for testing.
  • Increase the acidity of urine. It is important as alkaline urine can significantly prolong the clearance of drug from the body. Therefore, lowering the urine pH is a recommendable step.
  • Some of the supplements act as inducers of enzymes that are concerned with Ecstasy metabolism. The efficiency of enzymes gets amplified and a quicker metabolism is achieved with the help of inducer supplements.
  • An adequate exercise daily can improve the blood circulation throughout the system. This ensures a fast metabolism and excretion of the drug from the body.
  • Staying hydrated is important as it keeps the urinary flow rates to optimum levels and an efficient clearance of Ecstasy can be achieved by the system.
  • Eating a healthy diet in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables provide the antioxidants to detoxify the toxic metabolites of the drug. This will help in a rapid excretion of MDMA.