How to Identify Ecstasy (MDMA)

MDMA (aka. Ecstasy, E, X, XTC, Rolls, Beans, Adam, Molly) is one of the most popular party drugs today. Unfortunately, fake Ecstasy is far too common. Getting swindled with bogus Ecstasy goes beyond the lousy feeling of getting ripped off – fake Ecstasy has landed many unsuspecting people in the hospital, and has even caused deaths.

Let’s make one point perfectly clear: it’s a lot harder to know what you’re getting without an MDMA (Ecstasy) test kit. Using a test kit is the best method for on-the-spot testing, by far. Nevertheless, there are a few things to do without a test kit that can increase your chances.

Forms of Ecstasy

MDMA is generally available in pill form, in capsules, as a powder, and as small crystals.

Identifying MDMA

MDMA as a crystalline powder should have a glimmer, similar to fine beach sand. Different particle shapes or colors could indicate unwanted substances. MDMA may also come in larger chunks or crystals.

What to Avoid

  1. Avoid pressed pills if you can, go for powders or crystals instead. It’s impossible to tell what’s in a pill just by looking at it. It’s also very easy to make fake pills. See the video of someone making pills in their home.
  2. Avoid any powders that seem sticky, or that are dull and extremely fine-grained. If your sample looks like cooking flour or powdered sugar, better stay away from it.
  3. Avoid substances that are brown, red, green or yellow.

Photos of MDMA

MDMA powder commonly looks like this:

MDMA Powder
A small amount of MDMA powder.


You might not get chunks this size, but these pictures give an idea about what MDMA looks like as larger crystals.

Crystalline MDMA Chunks
Crystalline MDMA Chunks. Photo from Erowid.
MDMA crystals
Large MDMA Crystals. Photo from Erowid.

Common Ecstasy Adulterants

DXM (dextromethorphan), which is used in cough suppressants, is a common substance sold in place of Ecstasy. DXM is not a dance drug, and it’s effects are similar to those of ketamine and PCP. DXM and has helped cause heat-strokes among many unsuspecting ravers, especially when mixed with MDMA.

PMA and PMMA are also too often passed off as Ecstasy. PMA/PMMA is considered far more dangerous than MDMA because at slightly higher doses, PMA/PMMA can cause increases in body temperature and heart rate, convulsions, and even death. PMA and PMMA also take longer to kick in than MDMA. When people don’t know they’ve taken PMA, they might be tempted to re-dose, increasing the chances of taking a fatal dose.

Seriously, Get a Test Kit

A far better way to identify MDMA is to use an Ecstasy (MDMA) test kit. A test kit costs about the same amount as a pill and can save your life.

MDMA (Molly) Test Kit »

For more about testing MDMA, please see: How To Test MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy) »