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Difference Between MDA and MDMA


MDA, also known as 3, 4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine is a drug which belongs to the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes. It is a stimulant and a psychedelic. It is mainly used as a recreational drug. It has both speed-like qualities and hallucinogenic qualities, though it is more similar in nature to hallucinogens. It is not approved by the FDA. It is synthesized by turning safrole into isosafrole. This is done through isomerization. This is oxidised and then later converted to MDA. Its short term effects include nausea, anxiety, lowered appetite, euphoria and a feeling of well being. It also causes erectile dysfunction, muscle tension, short term memory loss, headaches, hangover, mild depression which can last up to a week, increased energy and possible liver toxicity.

MDMA, also known as 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine is a drug which belongs to the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes. It is known as ecstasy. It is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to the hallucinogen ‘mescaline’ and the stimulant ‘methamphetamine’. It is a stimulant and a psychedelic. Short term effects include nausea, anxiety, lowered appetite, euphoria, reduced insecurity, decreased negative emotion and a feeling of well being. Other effects include depression or a lower mood, stress, anxiety, negative emotions and emotional sensitivity. Physically, it causes increased blood pressure, blurred vision, pupil dilation, urinary retention and increased body temperature. To convert safrole into MDMA, there are quite a number of synthetic methods which can be used.


1. Both these drugs belong to the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes and can be abused.
2. MDA has more psychedelic hallucinogenic or stimulant qualities.
3. MDA has slightly less intense empathogen/entactogenic effects than MDMA.
4. MDA is more toxic than MDMA and may cause overstimulation of the cardiovascular and central nervous system.
5. Both drugs cause dopamine and serotonin release when they act as a substrate at the SERT and DAT.
6. MDA causes more psychedelic-like effects than MDMA.
7. The duration of MDA in the blood is 6-10 hours, which is longer than that of MDMA.
8. While MDA is made by one route of turning safrole into isosafrole, MDMA can be made through various routes.

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