MDMA was discovered in 1912 and first saw use in underground psychotherapy circles in the 1970s. In the 1980s, MDMA spread into nightlife and rave culture and was subsequently banned. By 2014, MDMA was estimated to be one of the most popular recreational drugs used in the world, alongside cocaine and cannabis. Researchers are investigating whether MDMA may assist in treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety in autistic adults, and anxiety in those with life-threatening illness.
Subjective effects of MDMA include anxiety suppression, disinhibition, enhanced empathy and sociability, relaxation, and euphoria. MDMA is classified as an entactogen due to how it facilitates feelings of closeness with oneself and others. It is commonly associated with dance parties, raves, and electronic dance music. Tolerance to MDMA builds unusually quickly and many users report that it dramatically loses its effectiveness if used on a regular basis. It is commonly recommended to wait one to three months between uses to give the brain adequate time to restore serotonin levels and prevent toxicity.