MDMA

August 19, 2019
I can tell you that ecstasy has its drawbacks.
What molecule am I?

MDMA (short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a widely used and abused psychoactive drug. Known on the street as “ecstasy”, it is illegal in most countries. It has no established medical uses; but it is available to qualified researchers. As shown in the hazard information table, it is toxic in numerous ways.

MDMA is a water-insoluble viscous oil and therefore difficult to handle. Because of this, it is usually prepared as an aqueous solution of its hydrochloride salt. It is a chiral molecule normally produced as the racemate. The (R)-enantiomer (shown) remains in the body, especially in blood plasma, significantly longer than its (S) counterpart.

A cautionary tale about MDMA occurred in 2013, when Tatsunori Iwamura, a pharmacy professor at Matsuyama University (Japan) allegedly instructed 11 of his students to make the drug. Iwamura has admitted to the act, which was not revealed until April of this year. At this time, the situation is still under investigation.

MDMA hazard information

GHS classification*: flammable liquids, category 2
H225—Highly flammable liquid and vapor Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: acute toxicity, oral, category 3
H301—Toxic if swallowed Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: acute toxicity, dermal, category 3
H311—Toxic in contact with skin Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: acute toxicity, inhalation, category 3
H331—Toxic if inhaled Chemical Safety Warning
GHS classification: specific target organ toxicity, single exposure, category 1
H370—Causes damage to organs Chemical Safety Warning

*Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. Explanation of pictograms.

MDMA fast facts

CAS Reg. No. 42542-10-9
Empirical formula C11H15NO2
Molar mass 193.25 g/mol
Appearance Colorless oil
Boiling point 105 ºC (0.4 torr)
Water solubility Insoluble
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Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.

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