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MDA vs. MDMA: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 8, 2024
MDA (3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine) is a psychedelic, while MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is an empathogenic drug, both altering mood and perception.
MDA vs. MDMA

Key Differences

MDA, known as 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine, is a psychoactive compound classified as a psychedelic amphetamine. MDMA, or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, differs slightly in its chemical structure due to an additional methyl group, classifying it as both a stimulant and an empathogen.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 08, 2024
MDA produces effects that include hallucinations and altered sensory perception, making it primarily a psychedelic. MDMA, on the other hand, is renowned for its empathogenic effects, fostering feelings of empathy, love, and increased sociability, along with mild psychedelic effects.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 08, 2024
MDA was first synthesized in 1910 and gained popularity in the 1960s as a psychotherapeutic tool. MDMA was synthesized later, in 1912, but its psychoactive properties were not widely recognized until the 1970s, where it was used in psychotherapy before becoming popular as a recreational drug.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 08, 2024
MDA is classified as a Schedule I substance in the United States, indicating a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical use. MDMA, while also a Schedule I drug, has been the subject of recent clinical trials for its potential therapeutic benefits, especially in treating PTSD.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 08, 2024
The effects of MDA last approximately 6-8 hours and are known for their intensity, particularly in terms of psychedelic visuals. MDMA's effects typically last about 3-6 hours, with a focus on enhanced mood, energy, and emotional warmth, rather than intense hallucinations.
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Structure

3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
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Shumaila Saeed
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Primary Effects

Psychedelic, altered perception
Empathogenic, mood enhancement
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Legal Status

Schedule I, no medical use
Schedule I, potential medical use in PTSD
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Duration of Effects

6-8 hours
3-6 hours
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Common Usage

Less common, more hallucinogenic
Popular in psychotherapy and recreation
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MDA and MDMA Definitions

MDA

Psychedelic Drug
MDA, as a psychedelic drug, can cause vivid hallucinations.
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Jan 16, 2024

MDMA

Therapeutic Potential
MDMA shows therapeutic potential in PTSD treatment.
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MDA

Psychoactive Substance
MDA's psychoactive effects include altered time perception.
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MDMA

Recreational Substance
MDMA is widely known as a recreational substance with mood-lifting properties.
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MDA

Synthetic Amphetamine
MDA is a type of synthetic amphetamine with unique properties.
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MDMA

Chemical Structure
MDMA's chemical structure is similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens.
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MDA

Chemical Compound
MDA is a complex chemical compound used in research.
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MDMA

Empathogenic Drug
MDMA is often used recreationally for its empathogenic effects.
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MDA

Schedule I Substance
In the U.S., MDA is classified as a Schedule I substance.
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MDMA

Party Drug
MDMA, also known as ecstasy, is popular in the party scene.
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MDMA

A drug, C11H15NO2, that is chemically related to amphetamine and mescaline and was formerly used in psychotherapy but is now illegal. It is used illicitly for its ability to induce euphoria, relaxation, and heightened empathy.
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Shumaila Saeed
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MDMA

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a drug designed to have the effects of amphetamines but originally synthesized to avoid the drug laws; it is now a controlled substance. It is informally called ecstasy. It is used by some abusively and illegally without a prescription.
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MDMA

A stimulant drug that is chemically related to mescaline and amphetamine and is used illicitly for its euphoric and hallucinogenic effects; it was formerly used in psychotherapy but in 1985 it was declared illegal in the United States;
MDMA is often used at parties because it enables party-goers to remain active for long periods of time
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is MDA legal?

MDA is illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug in many countries.
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What are the effects of MDA?

MDA causes hallucinations, altered sensory perception, and mood changes.
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What is MDA?

MDA is a psychedelic drug known for altering perception and mood.
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How does MDMA affect the brain?

MDMA increases the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, enhancing mood and empathy.
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What are the risks of taking MDMA?

MDMA can cause dehydration, overheating, and serotonin syndrome, especially in high doses.
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What's the difference in chemical structure between MDA and MDMA?

MDA lacks the methyl group present in MDMA's chemical structure.
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Can MDMA be used therapeutically?

MDMA is being studied for potential therapeutic uses, especially in treating PTSD.
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Are there therapeutic trials involving MDMA?

Yes, there are ongoing trials exploring MDMA's use in treating mental health disorders like PTSD.
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Is MDA addictive?

MDA has the potential for abuse and addiction due to its psychoactive properties.
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How long do MDMA's effects last?

MDMA's effects typically last 3-6 hours, depending on dosage and individual factors.
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Is MDA the same as MDMA?

No, MDA and MDMA are different substances, with MDA being more psychedelic.
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What are common street names for MDMA?

MDMA is commonly known as "Ecstasy" or "Molly" in the recreational drug scene.
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Can MDA be used in psychotherapy?

MDA is not currently used in psychotherapy due to its illegal status and potent psychedelic effects.
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What makes MDMA popular in party settings?

MDMA's empathogenic effects, enhancing sociability and euphoria, make it popular in party settings.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Is there a medical use for MDA?

Currently, MDA has no accepted medical use and is primarily a substance of abuse.
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What are the legal implications of possessing MDMA?

Possessing MDMA can lead to legal penalties as it's a Schedule I controlled substance in many countries.
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How does MDMA interact with other drugs?

MDMA can interact dangerously with other drugs, especially those affecting serotonin levels.
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Can MDA lead to hallucinations?

Yes, MDA is known to cause vivid hallucinations and altered sensory experiences.
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What are the long-term effects of MDA use?

Long-term MDA use can lead to cognitive and psychological issues, including dependence and neurotoxicity.
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How is MDA taken?

MDA is usually ingested in pill or powder form.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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