MDA

MDA

Psychedelics Integration does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. This guide aims to inform and reduce harm, not to replace medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or adviceKeep in mind that psychedelics work differently with everyone, due to many factors such as physical health, mental health, illnesses, set & setting and a mix of substances.

Overview

MDA, MethyleneDioxyAmphetamine (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine), is a synthetic and psychoactive drug, belonging to the amphetamine and phenethylamine classes of drugs. It is chemically similar to both MDMA (ecstasy) and mescaline. It is less commonly known than MDMA and has been used in psychotherapy and as an entheogen.

Other names given to MDA:

  • Sass
  • Sassafras
  • Tenamfetamine
  • Love Drug
  • Sally

Experience

MDA is classified as an entactogen and psychedelic drug, which means it can produce feelings of empathy, love, and social connectivity, as well as alterations in sensory perception, mood, and consciousness. As any other psychedelic substance, the effects of MDA can vary depending on the dose, the individual’s body chemistry, and other factors like setting and mindset.

Effects

Positive EffectsEnhanced mood and euphoria
Increased empathy and feelings of closeness with others
Enhanced sensory perception (e.g., brighter colors, enhanced sounds)
Mild to moderate hallucinogenic effects
Increased energy and alertness
Enhanced introspection and self-reflection

Negative Effects
Bruxism (grinding of the teeth)
Dehydration and hyperthermia, especially in club or party settings
Insomnia and disturbances in sleep patterns
Increased heart rate and blood pressure
Anxiety, paranoia, and confusion
Nausea and decreased appetite

How to

Duration of effects:

  • Onset: 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion
  • Peak: 2 to 4 hours
  • Duration: 4 to 8 hours, with aftereffects possibly lasting for up to 24 hours

Harm Reduction Tips

For those who choose to use substances like MDA, harm reduction practices include staying hydrated, avoiding mixing substances, using in a safe environment, starting with a low dose to assess tolerance, and never using alone.

Can you mix it with other substances? Click here for a detailed chart of safe drug combinations.

Benefits & Risks

BenefitsEnhanced Empathy and Sociability: Users often report feelings of increased empathy, emotional warmth, and a sense of closeness or connection with others. This can facilitate social interactions and deepen feelings of intimacy.
Euphoria and Increased Well-being: Like other entactogens, MDA can produce a strong sense of euphoria, happiness, and increased well-being, which can be profound for some users.
Enhanced Sensory Perception: Users may experience enhanced perception of colors, sounds, and touch, which can make music, visual stimuli, and physical contact particularly enjoyable.
Increased Energy and Alertness: MDA can provide a boost in energy and alertness, making it popular in dance and party settings.
Introspection: Some users report that MDA facilitates deep introspection and access to emotions, which can be useful for personal growth or therapeutic purposes.
RisksNeurotoxicity: Like other drugs in its class, there is concern about the potential for neurotoxic effects with regular or high-dose use.
Addiction and Dependency: While not as addictive as some other substances, there’s potential for psychological dependency.
Comedown: After the effects wear off, users may experience a “comedown,” characterized by feelings of depression, lethargy, and fatigue.
Serotonin Syndrome: In combination with other substances that increase serotonin, there’s a risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition.

What is the difference between MDA and MDMA?

MDMA is produced from MDA via a process of chemical alteration. Ingesting MDMA leads to its conversion back into MDA within the body, primarily through a liver process known as demethylation. As an active metabolite of MDMA, MDA plays a role in the compound effects experienced from MDMA usage.

MDA is known to elicit more intense visual and auditory hallucinations than MDMA, which is more commonly linked to heightened feelings of empathy and euphoria.

The Rise of MDMA

The legal restrictions on MDA and its psychoactive properties spurred interest in related compounds that might offer similar therapeutic benefits with fewer side effects and legal obstacles. This led to the rediscovery and increased popularity of MDMA (Ecstasy), a chemically similar substance with a somewhat different effect profile, in the 1970s and 1980s. MDMA became especially popular in the rave and electronic dance music scenes from the 1980s onwards, overshadowing MDA in recreational use.

Therapeutic Use

Although proposed as an aid to psychiatric counselling, therapeutic use of MDA is extremely limited.

Personal Growth

Some individuals claim that their experiences with the psychedelic have led to personal growth and self-discovery. It can help people confront their emotions and relationships, potentially leading to positive changes in their lives.

Legality

MDA is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States and in many other countries, meaning it is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute without a license due to concerns about its safety, potential for abuse, and lack of accepted medical use. Consumption of MDA carries health risks, and individuals react differently to psychoactive substances, making it unpredictable.

History & Stats

MDA was first synthesized in 1910 by German chemists C. Mannich and W. Jacobsohn. However, its psychoactive properties weren’t immediately recognized or explored at the time.

It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that MDA started to attract interest for its psychoactive effects, particularly from the psychotherapeutic community. Researchers explored its potential as an adjunct to psychotherapy, noting its ability to lower inhibitions and enhance emotional and communicative openness.

By the late 1960s and into the 1970s, MDA had found its way into the counterculture movement, being used recreationally for its euphoric, empathogenic, and hallucinogenic effects. It was known by several street names, including “Sass” and “Sassafras,” and gained a reputation as a “love drug” for its ability to promote feelings of love and empathy.

The increasing recreational use of MDA led to its prohibition in the United States. In 1970, MDA was classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, indicating a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. This classification made research on MDA more difficult and curtailed its medical exploration.

The 21st century has seen a renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, including MDMA for conditions like PTSD. While MDA itself has not been the focus of the recent resurgence in psychedelic research due to its stronger hallucinogenic properties and the legal barriers to studying Schedule I substances, the historical and chemical relationship between MDA and MDMA continues to be of interest to both scientists and historians of drug culture.

It’s important to approach MDMA with caution and understand its effects and risks. Have you had an experience with MDMA and need support to integrate it? Or do you plan on having one and want the best setting possible? Book a session with one of our coaches.

Sources

Our Psychedelic Coaches Integrating MDA Experiences