or Ecstasy is a psychoactive amphetamine drug with entactogenic, psychedelic, and stimulant effects.
MDMA is considered unusual for its tendency to induce a sense of intimacy with others and diminished feelings of fear and anxiety. These effects have led some to suggest it might have therapeutic benefits in certain individuals. Before it was made a controlled substance, MDMA was used as an augmentation to psychotherapy, often couples therapy, and to help treat clinical depression as well as anxiety disorders. Clinical trials are now testing the therapeutic potential of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety associated with terminal cancer.
MDMA is criminalized in most countries in the world under a United Nations (U.N.) agreement, and its possession, manufacture, or sale may result in criminal prosecution, although some limited exceptions exist for scientific and medical research. MDMA is one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world and is taken in a variety of contexts far removed from its roots in psychotherapeutic settings. It is commonly associated with dance parties (or "raves") and "techno" music.
There have been debates within scientific, health care, and drug policy circles about the risks of MDMA, specifically the possibility of neurotoxic damage to the central nervous system (CNS). Regulatory authorities in several locations around the world have approved scientific studies administering MDMA to humans to examine its therapeutic potential and its effects.