How To Recover From An MDMA Hangover And Recharge The Brain
6 min

How To Recover From An MDMA Hangover And Recharge The Brain

6 min

MDMA is famed for the glowing feelings it produces on a night out, but it can make you pay for them with a nasty hangover the next days. But if you know how what to do, it’s possible to get right back on your feet.

Originally a favorite substance among psychotherapists and fellow intellectual circles, MDMA quickly spread into the clubbing as scene as more people became familiar with it. The drug had, and still has, and massive influence in the development of various electronic music styles. Still today, MDMA use is very widespread among young adults, and only cannabis attracts more first time users than MDMA.

MDMA is loved by many for the intensely positive feelings it produces - an open heart, emotional warmth, empathy and an overall sense of wellbeing. Unfortunately, what goes up must come down. The famed MDMA hangover can leave you feeling drained and mentally fatigued. While some are more affected by it than other, most users will experience the hangover at some point. But taking the right steps, it is possible to reduce the recovery to a minimum (e.g. with after-D).


What Is The Effect Of MDMA On Your Body?

MDMA releases an excess of neurotransmitters from their storage sites, leaving only small amounts for the following day. Simply put, MDMA floods the brain with feel-good neurotransmitters that are commonly released only sparsely. As the gates are open, reserves are being drained. Logically, those reserves are missing the next and need to be built up again.

The neurotransmitters in question are:

  • Serotonin

A neurotransmitter that is involved in many processes within the body, including sleep, pain, appetite and mood regulation. Feelings of sadness and irritation sometimes experienced in an MDMA hangover are often attributed to a lack of this important neurotransmitter.

  • Dopamine

This neurotransmitter is most commonly associated with the bodies reward system and happiness, and is released when we do things that the body deems to be good for it and for its survival. Examples of this are sex, eating, sleeping, exercising and just about anything else we find rewarding. It is an extremely important neurotransmitter that is also involved in memory, attention, motivation, mood, learning, movement and general cognition. The intense feelings of love and empathy when taking MDMA can in part be put down to dopamine (combined with serotonin) release. Conversely, the lack of concentration and inability to focus on tasks often experienced in an MDMA hangover the next day are because the dopamine is used up.

  • Norepinephrine

Also known as noradrenaline, norepinephrine is what is often known as the “fight or flight” chemical. Whilst dopamine makes your mind alert, norepinephrine brings your body to attention, ensuring it is ready to react. It does this by increasing heart rate, dilating the pupils and air passages to the lungs, as well as narrowing blood vessels to non-essential organs. The result is a pumped up feeling of energy, useful on a night out partying. Of course, this means that in addition to the mental fatigue created by the use of other neurotransmitters, an MDMA hangover can also induce feelings of physical fatigue – not from the lack of more norepinephrine, but often from the physical exertion that resulted from having lots the previous night.

Another short term effect of MDMA use is oxidative stress. Essentially, the high quantities of neurotransmitters being released together create serotonergic neurotoxicity, overloading the body’s ability to handle the amount of neutransmitters. This contributes to oxidative stress – the body cannot keep up with the amount of oxidising toxins in its systems as it tries to cleanse them. It is actually a bit more complicated than this, but it paints a general picture for those who do not want to get into the nitty-gritty science. This means that regular use of MDMA can actually be pretty harmful, as it not only tires you out mentally and physically, but also on a cellular level as well.


How To Minimise An MDMA Hangover

MDMA is famed for its euphoric and ecstatic effects, yet is equally notorious for the dreaded hangover that follows the next day. It feels as though all of the joy you experienced the night before has been sucked out of you, leaving behind an empty shell. This massive pendulum swing in mood can be brutal, and can detrimentally affect mood for days afterwards.

However, the drug itself might not be to blame for these undesired effects. Did you know, there is no post-dosing mood drop during clinical MDMA trials? This suggests that many other factors come into play to make the mood plummet.

Think about it. Chances are you were also drinking (a bad idea!), dancing yourself into dehydration, and electing further elation over sleep. All of these variables will contribute to the appalling emotional state that arises the next day.

Dose and substance quality also play a significant role. If you purchased MDMA from an unknown source, there’s a possibility that it’s been cut with something else, be it other drugs or some kind of filler. Also, be sure to source MDMA from a reliable supplier and TEST IT FIRST.

It’s also unlikely that you pulled out your set of scales and placed them on the bar to weigh out each and every dose. Eyeballing drugs is unreliable and, in some cases, very dangerous. Be sure to weigh out your doses before you head to the party; you need a lot less than you think to have a good time.

Scale On Balance CT-250View Scale On Balance CT-250

Psychiatrist and researcher Dr Ben Sessa—an advocate of MDMA therapy—has stated that there’s no need to take more than 125mg of the drug at a time. Doing so only floods the 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors and leads to increased stimulation.

Dr Sessa suggests an initial dose of 125mg, which should be subsequently halved every two hours. Such a dose pattern, he states, is much safer and offers a sustained euphoric buzz during recreational use. This dose pattern looks like this:

  • First dose: 125mg
  • 2 hours later: 60mg
  • 4 hours later: 30mg
  • 6 hours later: 15mg
  • 8 hours later: get a taxi home

It's worth mentioning that no average body weight is provided alongside this suggested dose pattern, which means effects may vary significantly based on weight and metabolism. Keep this in mind when dosing, and always err on the side of caution.

How to recover from the hangover


While there is no instant cure-all for a MDMA hangover, there are actions that can be taken to reduce the amount of time spent recovering – all of which revolve around replenishing the bodies source of building blocks it uses to create the spent up neurotransmitters, as well as the vitamins, mineral, fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and other nutrients that will have been burnt up from a night of physically active partying.

Firstly, we will talk about the things that can be used to get you back on your feet and pumping on all cylinders, then we will look at what you should actually be doing.

Replenishing serotonin

NATURAL 5-HTPView Natural 5-HTP

To replenish serotonin, the best thing to take is a tryptophan or 5-HTP supplement. Both of these are chemical precursors to serotonin, and are essential in its production. By stocking up the body with the resources it needs, you can ensure that new serotonin is produced as efficiently as possible. Generally speaking, tryptophan is preferable to 5-HTP, as comes with less risk and is actually comparatively more efficient when taken by itself. (See our article on tryptophan vs 5-HTP for a more detailed explanation).

Related article

5-HTP: Everything You Need To Know

Replenishing dopamine

Much in the same way as with replenishing serotonin, the best course of action is to provide the body with the building blocks it needs to make more as efficiently as it can. This is where Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) comes in. This bean contains levodopa, which is the precursor to dopamine.

Staving off oxidative stress

When your body is undergoing a state of oxidative stress, it does not have enough anti-oxidants to effectively keep up with the toxins in your body. The answer to this is NAC, or N-Acetyl Cysteine. NAC is the precursor to glutathione, the body’s natural defence against free-radicals and oxidising toxins. It basically gives the liver all the extra ammunition its needs to defend and boost detoxification of the body.

In addition to NAC, it is good to also supplement it with vitamin C. Vitamin C will help NAC do its job efficiently, as it will help renew the NAC as it fights the toxins.

MDMA hangover recovery: putting theory into practice

MDMA Hangover Recovery

Firstly, these precursors can take a few days to be converted into the neurotransmitters you need to replace. So consider taking tryptophan, velvet bean and NAC for 2-3 days before actually taking MDMA. This will give your body a stockpile to start building new transmitters with straight away when the MDMA dumps your current reserves into the brain. It is also a good idea to take multivitamins, to aid and support the bodily functions in this process.

In the morning after, once you have woken up to the pleasures of your MDMA hangover, it is time to start taking these supplements again: Tryptamine, Mucuna pruriens and NAC. Make sure you remain within the recommended dosage to keep things nice and safe. Now proceed to spend the day chilling out and relaxing. You do not want to put your body through anything overly exerting, as this will put unnecessary stress on your body and hinder its recovery. Sit down, relax, watch a movie or something, and maybe have a smoke.

Products that will help you recover

Drink fresh made juice for the day. This will be packed to the brim with an array of nutrients that your body will be hungering for. Consider having some magnesium powder to help you relax, and supplement your food with either flax seed oil or hemp seed oil. These oils are rich in fatty acids that will help build you back up.

If you are interested in herbs, then the well rounded nature of tonics like Ginseng, Reishi, Catuba and Ginkgo can help build you back up to full mental and physical capacity.

Gleaming notoriety from the movie “Limitless”, Omnimind is a nootropic mental performance enhancer that utilises the critical ingredient Bacopa Monnieri to improve memory retention while boosting learning capabilities. If the harsh come down after an MDMA trip is leaving your academic abilities a lot to be desired, Omnimind is an approved food supplement that will help restore focus.

In combination with Rhodiola rosea, L-Theanine, a broad spectrum of vitamins, amino acid, and the student favourite, caffeine, Omnimind has been specifically designed to restore mental performance. Omnimind is usually effective from the first dose making it ideal for Monday morning lectures; however, it can take 2-3 days to reach optimal effec

OMNIMINDView Omnimind

If you do not want to take these things individually, then there is a product on the market called “After D”. This package contains 2 portions. Content per daily dose (1 Capsule): Vitamine B6 1.4mg, L-Tryptophan 400mg. 1 brown tablet: Vitamin C 1050mg, Citrus aurantium. 1 yellow tablet: Vitamin B2 40mg, Mineral complex 902

After D is a great product for those looking for an easy way to help dose themselves, but don’t forget not to neglect things like NAC and Velvet Bean (as well as taking the required supplements a few days prior to having MDMA), as After D is mainly focused on recovering serotonin and combating the “downer” feeling post-MDMA can have.

Responsible MDMA use

We are all adults here, so you have to make your own decisions. MDMA is fun, but it can be damaging when overused. Do not take it more than once a month if you want to protect your brain. It is best to space out MDMA use as much as possible. At the end of the day, it’s all about your healthy brain.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
News Research
Search in categories