Difference Between MDA and MDMA

MDA and MDMA are frequently confused, and the difference between them is even more frequently overlooked. Both compounds belong to the drug classes phenethylamine and amphetamine. MDA and MDMA are both stimulants and psychedelics, in other words. Despite the fact that they’re frequently sold for the same price, they can produce vastly distinct “highs.” 


The main difference between MDA and MDMA is that MDA, also known as 3, 4 Methylenedioxyamphetamine, has psychedelic effects on the user, and its high lasts for up to 6 hours on average, whereas MDMA, also known as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, has a mainly empathogenic effect whose high lasts for an average of 3 to 4 hours. 


MDA, commonly known as 3, 4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine, is a substance that belongs to the chemical families of phenethylamine and amphetamine. MDA is also known as sassafras or sass. Affection and empathy are two emotions that you might have with Sally, along with tremendous pleasure, increased energy, enthusiasm, exhilaration, intimacy, confidence, and so on. 

MDMA is a psychedelic and illicit stimulant that has a reviving effect, as well as time and perception distortions and heightened pleasure from tactile stimuli. Molly and Ecstasy are two common names for it. MDMA has stimulant effects, such as greater pleasure and self-confidence, as well as increased vitality. Peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy are some of the psychedelic effects. 

Comparison Table Between MDA and MDMA 

Parameters of Comparison MDA MDMA 
Common Name Sally Molly 
Effects Psychedelic Empathogenic 
Scientific Name 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine 
Duration Up to 6 hours 3 to 4 hours 
Stimulant Qualities Hallucinations, visual distortions, and increased stimulant qualities with focused energy. Similar but they are toned-down qualities. 
Neurological Damage Produces greater neurological damage Less neurological damage 
Side Effects Nausea, euphoria, extreme energy boost, jaw clenching, erectile dysfunction, depression, headaches Decrease or increase in negative emotions, reduced appetite, memory problems feelings of irritability. 

What is MDA? 

Methylenedioxyamphetamine (commonly known as MDA or sass) is an amphetamine-family empathogen-entactogen, psychostimulant, and psychedelic substance that is mostly used recreationally.  

MDA is primarily a serotonin-norepinephrine–dopamine-releasing agent in terms of pharmacology (SNDRA). The drug is classified as a controlled substance in most nations, making its possession and sale unlawful. 

MDA is not as popular as other amphetamines as a recreational stimulant; yet, it is still an important and frequently used drug because it is a principal metabolite, the product of hepatic N-dealkylation, of MDMA (ecstasy). MDA is also commonly found as an adulterant in illegally made MDMA. 

MDA is now unacceptably used in medicine. Despite being illegal, MDA is purchased, sold, and used as a recreational ‘love drug’ because it improves mood and empathy. MDA can be taken recreationally at doses ranging from 100 to 160 mg. 

It’s energizing and trippy. It is primarily used for recreational purposes. It possesses both speed-like and hallucinogenic properties, albeit it is more like hallucinogens in nature. The FDA has not authorized it. It’s made by converting safrole to Iso safrole. Isomerization is used to accomplish this. This is then oxidized and transformed to MDA.  

It causes nausea, anxiety, decreased appetite, euphoria, and a sense of well-being in the short term. Erectile dysfunction, muscle tension, short-term memory loss, migraines, hangovers, mild depression lasting up to a week, increased energy, and probable liver poisoning are also side effects. 

What is MDMA? 

MDMA is a psychoactive synthetic substance having a molecular structure that resembles that of the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Its scientific name is 3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. 

MDMA was first developed as an appetite suppressant by a German corporation in 1912. It’s been available on the street since the 1980s, and usage among college students and young people grew in the 1990s.  

MDMA causes brain neurons to release neurotransmitters like serotonin, resulting in a high that lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, depending on the person. MDMA’s rewarding effects vary based on various factors. 

MDMA is most typically found as a tablet or capsule that must be swallowed. It’s also available as a powder, which can be snorted, ingested as a drink, or smoked, but it’s rarely injected. 

The results of research on whether MDMA can be addictive are controversial. Some people have reported certain addiction signs and symptoms. Almost 60% of Ecstasy users report experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as exhaustion, loss of appetite, depression, and difficulty concentrating.  

Molly is popular among young adults as a party drug, and it appeals to them because of how it feels to be high on MDMA. Thoughts of intimacy, heightened delight, a distorted sense of time and perception, sexual feelings and wants, increased empathy, increased sensitivity to touch, and so on are some of these feelings. 

Main Differences Between MDA and MDMA 

  1. The common name of MDA is Sally and of MDMA is Molly. 
  2. MDA is more commonly has psychedelic effects, whereas MDMA has empathogenic effects. 
  3. The scientific name of MDA is 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, and the scientific name of MDMA is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. 
  4. The duration of the effects of MDA is up to 6 hours, and of MDMA is 3 to 4 hours. 
  5. The stimulant qualities of MDA include hallucination, focused energy, visual distortions, etc. The stimulant qualities of MDMA are similar but more toned-down. 
  6. MDA produces greater neurological damage when compared to MDMA 
  7. Common side effects of MDA include euphoria, extreme energy boost, nausea, jaw clenching, depression, erectile dysfunction, and headaches. Common side effects of MDMA include a decrease or increase in negative emotions, reduced appetite, memory problems feelings of irritability. 


MDA has effects that are comparable to MDMA but not identical. Both of these medicines influence the brain’s serotonin levels and have a variety of negative effects.   

MDMA, popularly known as ecstasy or Molly, is a psychedelic stimulant that produces feelings of pleasure, increased energy, and distorted perceptions. MDMA is mostly used as a recreational or illegal drug. 

Molly is similar to MDA, or the “love drug” known as Sally. Because of its ability to improve empathy and overall mood, it is known as the “love drug.” MDA is a recreational drug that is sometimes taken with MDMA 


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/DCRP-U22M-AUMD-D84H 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305796003346 
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