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Can MDMA be injected?

My question regards the injection of MDMA. I notice that many of the experiments with animals and MDMA involve injection. Can MDMA be injected safely by humans? I've never heard of anyone doing it.

If it can, what is the scaling factor for potency relative to oral use? What is the best way to liquify it for injection? Is the subjective experience markedly different than with oral use?

Reply from an expert

MDMA *could* be injected, and it would be active, but this is a very dangerous practice. It is injected into animals because it is difficult to give oral dosages to rats, and because injection is more reliable and faster in onset so that experiments can be timed properly. When given intravenously, drugs often have 3-5 times their oral potency.

First of all, injection of solutions of any drug (MDMA, amphetamine, etc.) involve risks of bacterial contamination. Bacteria which cannot resist digestive acids and enzymes may rapidly flourish if introduced directly into the bloodstream by injection. A single bacterium or a fungal spore could prove disastrous. Heroin users boil the solution in a spoon with a match hoping to "sterilize" and kill any bacteria in the solution, with mixed results.

Second, MDMA is often found adulterated with other substances, and tablets may have insoluble materials such as magnesium or calcium stearate, or talc. If these materials are not removed from the solution, they may clog a small artery, or may induce the formation of a clot. Such clots, if they break free from the blood vessel may travel to the lung or brain and can prove fatal.

Finally, MDMA is a potent agent in releasing norepinephrine from neuron endings on blood vessels, causing them to contract. MDMA is known to increase both blood pressure and heart rate. When given orally, this effect is gradual, but when given by injection, one would expect to see a rapid effect. The rapid escalation of blood pressure could lead to stroke or hemorrhage. The chance of a panic or anxiety reaction is also greater when psychoactive drugs are given by intravenous injection. Intramuscular injections involve fewer risks, but the risk of infection is still major and the presence of insoluble materials may lead to abcesses and skin ulcers. I would not recommend the injection of any substance other than insulin for diabetes.

Dr Dave Nichols
Department of Pharmacology
Purdue University

An ecstasy user who has injected MDMA emailed these comments:
I read your advice about injecting ecstasy. I wish I had read it before I did it. I injected massive amounts over a few years and I regret it. I feel it has damaged my body and may have long lasting adverse effects. The rush was rather pleasant but it wore off fast and I had to use more and more. You can add to your comments that the effects don't last near as long (the high diminishes after about 45 minutes max.) and the long term effects are still unknown. Also, I got very sick once when I did a large dose and it took months to recover.