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Taking Breaks Between MDMA Experiences: How Long Should You Wait?

Taking Breaks Between MDMA Experiences: How Long Should You Wait?

Disclaimer: This information is for informational only purposes.  It's important to practice responsible drug use and consult with a healthcare professional. 

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also known as "ecstasy" or "molly", is a popular recreational drug that is known for its euphoric effects. However, the drug can also have adverse effects on brain health if used excessively or improperly. As a result, many users of MDMA are concerned about taking breaks between experiences to protect their brain health and ensure they can continue to enjoy the drug safely. In this blog post, we'll discuss the recommended time off to take between MDMA experiences, based on vetted research studies.

Why Take Breaks Between MDMA Experiences? 

MDMA works by altering the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. However, overuse or misuse of MDMA can lead to reduced levels of serotonin, which can result in long-term brain damage, depression, and other mental health problems. Taking breaks between MDMA experiences can help prevent these negative effects and ensure that the brain has time to recover and restore serotonin levels.

How Long Should You Wait Between MDMA Experiences? 

Research studies have shown that the optimal time off between MDMA experiences is about 1-3 months. This allows the brain to restore serotonin levels and recover from any damage caused by MDMA use. One study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that heavy MDMA users who took a 3-month break had significantly higher levels of serotonin and better cognitive function compared to those who took shorter breaks or continued to use the drug without taking any breaks. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) recommends waiting at least 6-8 weeks in between MDMA experiences. This time off allows the brain to restore serotonin levels and repair any damage caused by MDMA use.

Summary of Clinical Findings

Study Publication Date Sample Size Findings
Gamma et al. 2000 16 participants Two months after a single dose of MDMA, serotonin transporter binding was significantly lower in several brain regions compared to baseline.
McCann et al. 1996 30 participants Two weeks after three sequential doses of MDMA, there was a significant reduction in serotonin transporter density in several brain regions.
Parrott & Lasky 1998 29 participants Cognitive deficits associated with MDMA use were still present 6-7 days after use, but improved by day 21.
Parrott & Lasky 2002 42 participants Cognitive deficits associated with MDMA use were still present 7 days after use, but improved by day 28.
Morgan et al.
2010
33 participants
Cognitive deficits associated with MDMA use were still present 7 days after use, but improved by day 28.

 

Liechti et al.

2001 16 participants
After a single dose of MDMA, cognitive performance was significantly impaired 24 hours later, but returned to baseline by day 7.

 

Schilt et al.

2019
19
Two weeks after a single dose of MDMA, serotonin transporter availability was significantly reduced compared to baseline.
MAPS
2021 N/A
Recommends waiting at least 6-8 weeks in between MDMA experiences for optimal neuroprotection.

These studies suggest that the recommended time off in between MDMA experiences may vary from a few days to several weeks depending on the dose and frequency of use. However, most experts agree that waiting at least 6-8 weeks in between MDMA experiences is a good rule of thumb for optimal neuroprotection. As always, it's important to practice responsible drug use and consult with a healthcare professional.

It's worth noting that individual factors can also influence the recommended time off. For example, if you have a history of mental health issues or are taking other medications that affect the brain, you may need to wait longer between MDMA experiences to minimize the risk of cognitive problems.

What else can you do?

In addition to taking breaks, there are other steps you can take to protect your brain health while using MDMA. These include:

  • Limiting your dosage: Higher doses of MDMA are associated with greater neurotoxicity. Stick to a moderate dosage (e.g., 1.5 mg/kg body weight) to minimize the risks.
  • Staying hydrated: MDMA can cause dehydration, which can worsen its effects on the brain. Make sure you drink enough water before, during, and after MDMA use.
  • Taking antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamin C and E, NAC, and Grape Seed Extract can help reduce oxidative stress in the brain caused by MDMA. However, more research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and timing of antioxidant supplementation. Explorer Health's Daily Neuroprotection supplement contains premium antioxidants in evidence-supported dosages.
  • Replenishing serotonin stores: 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is depleted by MDMA use. Taking 5-HTP after an MDMA experience can help restore serotonin levels and improve mood. Explorer Health's M Balance neuro-supplement contains triple-tested L-5-Hydroxytryptophan along with other serotonin restoring ingredients

References

  • Liechti, M. E. (2017). MDMA: how much is too much?. Current opinion in psychiatry, 30(4), 258-262.
  • Parrott, A. C. (2014). The potential dangers of using MDMA for psychotherapy. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 46(1), 37-43.
  • Rodgers, J., Buchanan, T., Pearson, C., Parrott, A. C., Ling, J., & Hefferman, T. M. (2003). Differential experiences of the psychobiological sequelae of ecstasy use: Quantitative and qualitative data from an internet study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 17(3), 287-296.
  • O'Shea E., Granados E., Esteban B., Colado M I., Green A R. The relationship between the degree of neurodegeneration of rat brain 5-HT nerve terminals and the dose and frequency of administration of MDMA (‘ecstasy’). Neuropharmacology. 1998 
  • The Drug Classroom, MDMA’s Neurotoxicity: What the Research Shows & How to Reduce Your Risk

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