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What Does Ecstasy Look Like?

Lot of pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) in a variety of different colors and shapes  

Ecstasy is a synthetic crystalline powder that contains an active ingredient known as 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine or MDMA. Ecstasy is a commonly used teen party drug, particularly at dance parties, raves, concerts or electronic music shows, for example. Teens using ecstasy may feel intense pleasure, increased energy and can experience an altered sense of time and reality. Ecstasy produces similar effects as stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine and hallucinogenic drugs like LSD or psilocybin (mushrooms).

Many parents may be concerned about their teens using ecstasy, especially since this drug is illegal and unregulated. In some cases, a molecularly “pure” form of the drug, referred to as molly, may actually contain synthetic cathinones or bath salts, among other drug combinations. In order to determine if teens are using ecstasy, it is necessary to have some knowledge about what ecstasy looks like.

What Do Ecstasy Pills Look Like?

First, what does ecstasy look like in pill form? Unfortunately for parents, ecstasy pills come in many different shapes, sizes and colors depending on the individual that illegally manufactures the pills. Ecstasy manufacturers often stamp their pills with a unique and catchy emblem so that if individuals like their ecstasy, they can identify the same “brand” and buy it again.

And so, what do ecstasy pills actually look like? Ecstasy pills may come in many different colors depending on the binding agents used to combine the crystalline powder into pill form. Pills may be circular, oblong, square, triangular or shaped like vitamins teens used to take as children. It is also common for ecstasy to come in capsule form rather than in pill form.

Tips to Help Parents Recognize Different Kinds of Ecstasy Pills

Because there are so many different kinds of ecstasy pills, it can be hard for parents to determine just what type of ecstasy their child is consuming. Some pills are colored to fit their “brand” name. Some example brand names include:

  • Christmas trees
  • Mitsubishis
  • Alligators
  • No-names
  • Hondas
  • Doves
  • Motorolas
  • Chanel
  • Reds
  • Blue dolphins

For instance, “christmas trees” may be green pills, while “blue dolphins” may be bright blue — an effective, but dangerous marketing strategy to attract young customers.

Distributors of the drug also brand their product to communicate with teens about how their ecstasy will make them “feel.” Namely, some brands are fittingly stamped with “star dust” if they make individuals feel spaced out or similarly stamped with a “space shuttle.” It is important to note that even if teens wish to purchase the same brand that they have tried previously, each batch of ecstasy is slightly different. It is impossible to know the exact purity of ecstasy without testing in a lab.

Adding to the complexity of different pills and capsules, there are also different types of ecstasy that teens may be using. Sometimes different types of ecstasy will be branded differently, but this is not always the case.

For example, oftentimes if ecstasy just contains MDMA, the pill will have an X on it, or it will come as a powder in capsule form. Ecstasy pills usually come in 50-150 milligram doses. Some “ecstasy” pills contain a drug known as 3,4-Methylene​dioxy​amphetamine or MDA, rather than MDMA, though it may be difficult to tell the difference between the drugs without clinical testing.

Do you suspect that your teen is using ecstasy or other drugs? Are you concerned for their safety? Contact Next Generation Village to discuss treatment options for teen drug addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions. A representative can answer questions about our recovery programs and the facilities available to you.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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