Ecstasy (MDMA) and memory function: a meta-analytic update

Hum Psychopharmacol. 2007 Aug;22(6):381-8. doi: 10.1002/hup.857.


A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the impact of recreational ecstasy use on short-term memory (STM), long-term memory (LTM), verbal and visual memory. We located 26 studies containing memory data for ecstasy and non-ecstasy users from which effect sizes could be derived. The analyses provided measures of STM and LTM in 610 and 439 ecstasy users and revealed moderate-to-large effect sizes (Cohen's d) of d = -0.63 and d = -0.87, respectively. The difference between STM versus LTM was non-significant. The effect size for verbal memory was large (d = -1.00) and significantly larger than the small effect size for visual memory (d = -0.27). Indeed, our analyses indicate that visual memory may be affected more by concurrent cannabis use. Finally, we found that the total lifetime number of ecstasy tablets consumed did not significantly predict memory performance.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cannabis / adverse effects
  • Databases, Factual
  • Hallucinogens / administration & dosage
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Mental Recall / drug effects
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / administration & dosage
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology


  • Hallucinogens
  • Illicit Drugs
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine