MDA is rarely sought after as a recreational drug compared to other drugs in the amphetamine family; however, it remains an important and widely used drug due to it being a primary metabolite, the product of hepatic N-dealkylation, of MDMA (ecstasy). In addition, it is common to find MDA as an adulterant of illicitly produced MDMA.
MDA currently has no accepted medical use.
Although illegal, MDA is bought, sold, and used as a recreational 'love drug', due to its enhancement of mood and empathy. A recreational dose of MDA is sometimes cited as being between 100 and 160 mg.
MDA produces serotonergic neurotoxic effects, thought to be activated by initial metabolism of MDA. In addition, MDA activates a response of the neuroglia, though this subsides after use.
In terms of the subjective and behavioral effects of MDA, it is thought that serotonin release is required for its empathogen-entactogen effects, release of dopamine and norepinephrine is responsible for its psychostimulant effects, dopamine release is necessary for its euphoriant (rewarding and addictive) effects, and direct agonism of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor is causative of its psychedelic effects.[medical citation needed]
The duration of the drug has been reported as about 6 to 8 hours.
Darzens reaction on heliotropin was also done by J. Elks, et al. This gives MDP2P, which was then subjected to a Leuckart reaction.
Detection in body fluids
MDA may be quantitated in blood, plasma or urine to monitor for use, confirm a diagnosis of poisoning or assist in the forensic investigation of a traffic or other criminal violation or a sudden death. Some drug abuse screening programs rely on hair, saliva, or sweat as specimens. Most commercial amphetamine immunoassay screening tests cross-react significantly with MDA and major metabolites of MDMA, but chromatographic techniques can easily distinguish and separately measure each of these substances. The concentrations of MDA in the blood or urine of a person who has taken only MDMA are, in general, less than 10% those of the parent drug.
MDA is schedule 9 prohibited substance under the Poisons Standards. A schedule 9 substance is listed as a "Substances which may be abused or misused, the manufacture, possession, sale or use of which should be prohibited by law except when required for medical or scientific research, or for analytical, teaching or training purposes with approval of Commonwealth and/or State or Territory Health Authorities."
In 2010, the ability of MDA to invoke mystical experiences and alter vision in healthy volunteers was studied. The study concluded that MDA is a "potential tool to investigate mystical experiences and visual perception".
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