A lot of people mistake MDA and MDMA for each other, and this mistake is quite understandable. This is because the two substances share lots of similarities and the differences between these are not that pronounced. The two substances share many similarities, from the chemical name to physical features. Given the scientific name 3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and 3,4 Methylenedioxyamphetamine(MDA), the two substances have different effects on the body. While this difference may be lost on an average person, a psychedelic would benefit greatly from understanding these differences. This article seeks to help with this, as we will discuss the difference between the two substances.
Of the two substances, MDA came first. It was synthesized in 1910. The substance was the subject of a study trying to confirm the usage of MDA to treat Parkinson’s Disease in the early part of the 20th century. MDMA did not exist until two years later as an accidental byproduct of a completely separate activity. It was formed in the process of trying to stop abnormal bleeding, and its psychoactive abilities were lost on scientists for many years.
There was not a lot of buzz around the two substances until the 1960s, when fewer testing and experiments involving the substances occurred and MDA started making its way into the counterculture scene. Around the same time, a chemist with Dow Chemical Company, Alexander Shulgin, started the synthesis of MDMA. Soon enough, the US government banned the use of MDA in 1970, classifying it as a Schedule 1 drug alongside psilocybin, mescaline, and LSDs.
This led the chemist Alexander Shulgin to synthesize more MDMA and share it among scientists and enthusiasts, from which it made its way into the streets. Because MDA was banned then, MDMA served as an alternative, and in 1980, it started selling commercially under the name “ecstasy .”Before long, it was also banned by the DEA. However, both substances are used for recreation, exploration, and therapy.
MDMA is one of the most popular recreational substances used, and perhaps this is why it faces a lot of adulteration. People cut MDMA with other substances, including MDA, and sell it as pure MDMA. Many names are now used to refer to the adulterated variant of MDMA, such as “molly” and “ecstasy.”
On the other hand, there is less adulteration with MDA. This could be because the substance is not as popular as its counterpart. Regardless, all of these additions and adulterations influence the side effects of the substance, and we likely see a negative side effect with the adulterated variant. This is why a trusted source is important, to avoid the risk of taking adulterated versions of these substances. We have testing kits that can be used to test the purity of these substances and the presence of impurities.
The dosage for both substances is usually similar. In most cases, you get 100mg of each substance. However, many psychedelics have opined that, at the same dosage, the experience invoked by MDA is more potent and intense than that of MDMA. Therefore, first-time users should start with a smaller and safer dose, leaving room for further increment as their body tolerates the substance.
According to psychedelics that have used the two substances before, the onset time for MDMA and MDA is the same. The effects of either substance start kicking in after 30mins to 1 hour of using the substance. However, the duration of their effects differs as MDMA could last three or four hours while MDA could last up to six hours.
An average person could easily miss the difference between the experience generated by the two substances. But according to experts and enthusiasts in the psychedelic scene, MDMA invokes an empathogenic effect while MDA produces a psychedelic effect. With MDA, you might get increased visual distortions, focused energy, and sometimes hallucinations.
On the other hand, the stimulant effects engineered by MDMA are less intense and more attuned to social openness. You may feel increased sensual pleasures and empathy when you take MDMA.
As much as the effects of the two substances act in almost a similar fashion in the body, the side effects are also similar. Some side effects include dehydration, fatal cardiovascular reactions, and vomiting. The drug also affects the serotonin level in the body, and when the body is exposed to the substance for too long, it causes permanent damage to the production of the hormone. However, a study showed that MDA caused greater damage than MDMA, even at the same dose.
The best way to avoid these side effects is to use the correct and harmless dose for each substance and space out the usage sessions. The consistent usage of MDMA or MDA can cause serious damage to the body, so the use of the substances should be limited to once in a few months.
MDA and MDMA are two similar substances that have many features in common. They have a close chemical association and are usually interchanged for one another. However, there is a world of minute differences between the two substances, starting from their origin to their effects and the duration of these effects. In the same way, these two substances are commonly mixed with other additives that could increase the side effects. At the end of the day, it is important that you have a reliable source for both MDMA and MDA.
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