Recreational drugs go by a variety of street names, which can make it hard to figure out what someone is talking about. Two common examples are MDMA, which is usually referred to as “Molly” or “Ecstasy,” and MDA, which is typically known as “Sally.” MDA is closely related to MDMA, and both typically work through ingestion, but they are not the same thing.
What are the differences between them, and what do you need to know about their effects?
What Is MDA?
MDA (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine) goes by multiple names, including “Sally,” “Sassafras,” and “Sass.” Because MDA and MDMA are closely related, they can lead to similar effects. MDA is also a hallucinogen, which can cause psychedelic effects. Some of the most common effects of MDA include:
- Increased levels of affection and empathy
- A significant boost in energy and excitement
- Feelings of euphoria and extreme pleasure
- Increased levels of self-confidence
Just like MDMA, MDA can lead to a handful of side effects as well. Some of the most common side effects of MDA include:
- Problems falling asleep or staying asleep
- Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, and clenching of the jaw
- Significant increase in blood pressure
- A significant drop in appetite
- Chest pain, arrhythmia, and fluctuating heart rate
- GI disturbances, such as nausea and vomiting
- Significant increases in sweating and perspiration
Of note, it is also possible for MDA to lead to serotonin syndrome, which can create a life-threatening medical emergency.
What Is MDMA?
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a popular party drug, particularly among young adults. Usually known as “Molly” or “Ecstasy,” it can lead to a variety of effects. They include:
- Significantly increased emotional feelings, such as empathy
- Markedly increased sensitivity to touch
- Significant feelings of closeness with other people in the room
- Major changes in the perception of time and space
- Increased sexual feelings and desires, leading to it being called the “love drug”
On the other hand, MDMA can also be dangerous, which is why it is a Schedule I drug. Some of the side effects of MDMA someone may experience include:
- Significant feelings of anxiety and paranoia
- Possible gastrointestinal disturbances, such as nausea and vomiting
- Significant changes and sleep patterns
- Cardiovascular issues, such as chest pain and hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Memory concerns
Everyone responds differently to street drugs, so some people may experience all of the side effects above while other people may experience very few of them. There are situations where people combine MDMA with LSD, which could lead to a dangerous combination.
An MDMA overdose can also lead to toxicity of the liver and kidneys. These two organs are responsible for filtering toxins from the body, and overdosing on MDMA could overload these organs, leading to dangerous medical consequences.
What Are the Biggest Differences Between MDMA and MDA?
First, both MDMA and MDA are categorized as stimulants and hallucinogens because of the effect they cause. In addition, both drugs can be categorized as amphetamines, but their effects can also be significantly different.
Also, understand that if purchasing MDMA and MDA on the street, it is very difficult to figure out exactly what is being sold. There is no guarantee that drugs purchased on the street are going to be pure, so it is possible that they could be cut with something else. That can make it difficult to predict what the effects of taking street drugs, such as MDMA and MDA, might be.
In general, MDMA leads to greater feelings of euphoria. It may feel like someone is being transported to a different dimension, as time and space will be perceived differently. In contrast, MDA tends to cause someone to feel more energetic. It could also lead to a longer-lasting high. Both MDMA and MDA lead to changes in how visual and auditory stimuli are perceived, as they are both hallucinogens; however, what they do to these senses can be different. Keep in mind that people who take the same drug may also have markedly different experiences.
Finally, when MDMA is broken down, there are a variety of metabolites that may result. One possible metabolite is MDA, meaning that when MDMA is broken down by the body, it could become MDA.
Why Are MDMA and MDA Dangerous?
Even though the impacts, side effects, and possible long-term health risks of MDMA and MDA can be different, they are dangerous for similar reasons.
First, batches of these street drugs are off and markedly different depending on where they were made and who is selling them. It can make it very hard for someone to figure out exactly what they are getting. If someone doesn’t know what the drug has been cut with, it may be difficult for them to get medical help if they need it.
Finally, both drugs are dangerous because they can be addictive. They impact a variety of receptors for neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and norepinephrine. They can lead to long-term mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. It is possible for someone to build up a tolerance to MDMA and MDA, meaning that they may have to take larger doses to achieve the same results. This could increase the risk of someone experiencing dangerous medical complications stemming from substance abuse.
Contact Riverside Recovery To Start Your Recovery Journey
If you or someone you love wants to overcome drug abuse, including problems with MDMA or MDA, we can help you. At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, we are here to help you during the recovery process.
Contact us today to speak to a member of our admissions team.