What is the Drug "Molly"?
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What is the Drug “Molly”?

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

January 23, 2019

Molly is a drug that is both a stimulant and psychedelic that causes intense feelings of euphoria. This drug is highly addictive and long-term use can result in several adverse health consequences and may even lead to death.

Molly is a synthetic form of MDMA and is both a stimulant and psychedelic. The drug causes a warming euphoria, and often immense feelings of well-being. Molly is often referred to as the purest form of MDMA, however, more recent studies show that it may contain little to no MDMA. Nonetheless, Molly is considered highly addictive and dangerous. High doses can lead to liver, kidney, and heart failure and in some cases death.

For longer than a century, illicit drugs have been evolving to more potent yet easier to conceal, faster routes of administration, and more enticing street names. One drug of focus is Molly, which has been deemed the most potent synthetic form of MDMA.

Oftentimes this “kitchen sink” mixture of chemicals contains more than just MDMA and can do all sorts of damage to the brain and other organs. It’s because of the intense euphoria Molly creates that people continue abusing it, and consequently, they rapidly develop a mental addiction.

What Exactly Is Molly?

Molly is slang for molecular, and it’s the synthetic crystalline or powder form of MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) which was once used to help treat depression and other psychological disorders. Since its first appearance MDMA has moved from psychological treatment to dance clubs, music festivals, and all-night-parties (or raves).

Molly is a relative of ecstasy which is another form of MDMA. Each of these drugs is considered central nervous system stimulant and psychedelic, and more commonly referred to in the streets as club drugs. Ecstasy is the tablet form of MDMA, and Molly is the powder form which is usually snorted or taken in a gel tablet.

Nowadays Molly makes appearances in a much broader spectrum of illicit drug use and can be found in drug circles from school dances to football games, or even house parties.

A lot of people who use Molly talk about the purity of the drug, but the truth is that it’s almost always adulterated with other chemicals leaving a bit of mystery to what’s actually in it—other than MDMA.

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What Is Molly Really Made Of?

In a recent article from NBC News, Paul Doering, professor emeritus of pharmacology at University of Florida, stated that “any drug (i.e. Molly) that is purchased on the street is always subject to being something different.” Professor Doering went on to say that, “nobody is looking out for the dosage or anything else. It’s the roll of the dice what the stuff is.”

Police and law enforcement officials have actually done chemical tests on Molly proving that there’s little to no MDMA in the drug. Their results were that “frequently, MDMA is mixed with or replaced by synthetic cathinones, the chemicals in bath salts. Some MDMA pills, tablets, and capsules have also been found to contain caffeine, dextromethorphan (found in some cough syrups), amphetamines, PCP, or cocaine” (NIDA for Teens).

What Are The Effects Of Molly?

Using Molly gives a person a feeling of immense pleasure, well-being, and a warm sort of euphoria. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the “effects last about 3 to 6 hours, although many users take a second dose as the effects of the first dose begin to fade.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration paints another picture of Molly by describing some of the side-effects of using it:

  • Users may experience muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, chills or sweating
  • It produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, empathy, and distortions in sensory and time perception.
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression and memory difficulties are other effects.
  • It can seriously deplete serotonin levels in the brain, causing confusion and sleep problems.

The intense stimulating effects of Molly not only keeps a person up all night with bouts of insomnia; but can also lead to delusional thinking, abnormal behavior, and hallucinations. Further research by NIDA advises that using Molly can also lead to damage to a person’s brain by adversely affecting these three chemicals:

  • Dopamine—causes a surge in euphoria and increased energy/activity
  • Norepinephrine—increases heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with heart and blood vessel problems
  • Serotonin—affects mood, appetite, sleep, and other functions. It also triggers hormones that affect sexual arousal and trust. The release of large amounts of serotonin likely causes emotional closeness, elevated mood, and empathy felt by those who use MDMA.
  • Depending on the amount of the drug taken, the most common withdrawal symptoms for Molly are fatigue, loss of concentration and appetite, as well as depression which can last for up to several weeks depending the amount of the drug taken.

Other Consequences Of Club Drugs

Molly and Ecstasy aren’t the only popular narcotics in the club scene, but they are among the most expensive; sometimes ranging anywhere from 20 to 40 dollars per dose. People might also abuse club drugs like GHB, LSD, Ketamine, Methamphetamine, and Rohypnol. Sometimes a person will even combine several of these drugs, or take them with alcohol to intensify the feeling—this combination of stimulants and depressants can have unpredictable consequences.

In any case, there’s a serious danger that comes from using club drugs. Not only do they do psychological damage, but they can also lower a person’s inhibitions, thus putting them at risk of promiscuity (or making poor sexual decisions). Though some people actually intend to do this and mixing Molly or Ecstasy with an erectile dysfunction medication such as Viagra is also popular in some circles.

At the end of the day, using Molly inadvertently puts a person at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease like HIV. It can also lead to brain damage, overdose, and other irreversible consequences. High doses of Molly “can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature that can occasionally result in liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death” (National Institute on Drug Abuse – NIDA).

Treatment For Molly Addiction And Symptoms

Molly is in a schedule as cocaine (DEA Schedule I), which means that there’s serious potential for abuse and addiction. If you’re suffering from an addiction to Molly it is important you seek help today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - What is MDMA?

Drug Enforcement Administration - The Facts About MDMA, Ecstasy, and Molly

NIDA for Teens - MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)

NBC News - What Is Molly and Why Is It Dangerous?

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