What Drug Is Molly?

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MDMA is an illegal substance that’s used recreationally to elicit euphoria, energy, and connectedness in its user. MDMA is shortened form of a chemical called methylenedioxy methamphetamine, and it’s thought that its street name “Molly” was derived from the word molecule.

Otherwise known as Ecstasy, E, X, or Molly, MDMA has been in the news, lately. Molly overdoses are extremely common, especially among young people and teens. At the same time, research has shown MDMA to effectively treat some mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. While these simultaneous issues are occurring, it can be hard for a person to fully grasp what kind of drug Molly really is.

The History of the Synthetic Drug MDMA

MDMAs invention came in 1912 in a German pharmaceutical company lab by accident as researchers searched for a way to limit bleeding. When the drug’s psychoactive properties were realized, the U.S. Army and CIA weaponized it during the Cold War in an attempt to invent mind control.

Then in the 1970s, some psychiatrists used the inhibition-lowering aspects of the drug to get patients to “open up” more during therapy sessions.

Finally, by the 1980s, the mind-altering properties of MDMA had spilled into pop culture, and the party crowd preferred Molly to LSD, or “acid,” because LSD had longer, stronger, and harsher effects. Molly felt cleaner, easier, and much more thrilling.

It wasn’t until the 2000s that the nickname “Molly” came about. Molly is usually distinguished from other forms of MDMA by being a more “pure” form of MDMA or ecstasy

What Makes Molly Different from Other Drugs?

Since no form of MDMA is approved for recreational use, we have to start the answer to this question at the molecular level.

First, Molly is a synthetic drug which means it’s made in a lab using man-made ingredients and not natural or plant-based ingredients. The molecular structure of Molly and Ecstasy are the same, meaning they are essentially the same substance. The difference is in how they are manufactured and distributed.


Ecstasy is typically MDMA pressed into a tablet form. To maximize profit on the streets, these tablets are often mixed with numerous other chemicals ranging from caffeine to methamphetamine. Generally, Ecstasy is made to look like candy, with various colors that resemble Sweet Tarts or breath mints, and are stamped with eye-catching logos.


Molly is typically MDMA in crystal form. Molly is usually marketed as pure MDMA, but can just as easily be methamphetamine or another more dangerous or more addictive substance.

Molly stimulates the body and mind while producing energetic periods of time where inhibitions are lowered, and emotions are intensified. As a party drug, Molly is often used at rave parties or festival settings where many people are gathered while using it.

Molly is an upper. People who use Molly are usually looking to have a fun time and party. They may also be seeking intimacy or hallucinogenic effects.

Molly is a stimulant. Like amphetamine, methamphetamine, or cocaine, Molly provides the user with immense energy, emotional warmth, and inflated confidence in users. Molly gives a sense of emotional bonding and intimacy as inhibitions are lowered.

Molly can also be a hallucinogen. MDMA can cause the user to experience distortions in time, see things in brighter colors, and perceive music and voices differently.

How Does Molly Impact the Body?

The impacts of Molly are generally felt within 30-45 minutes of consumption. Dopamine (the “feel good” chemical), Serotonin (a mood regulation chemical produced in the gut), and Norepinephrine (increases heart rate) are unleashed into the body with little regulation.

This leads to changes in the body, such as the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased energy
  • Increased body temperature
  • Teeth clenching (bruxism)
  • Chills/Sweating
  • Muscle tension

The hallucinogenic and psychoactive properties also created distorted sensory and time perception, leading to users’ intimacy choices with their bodies they wouldn’t make while sober.

What Are the Risks of Molly Abuse?

Despite the so-called desired effects of the drug, there are life-threatening dangers – even death – that can accompany Molly use. Any instance of use is considered abuse, as there is no medically proven use for the synthetic powder, and it’s not legal to have or consume.

As Molly kicks the chemicals into high gear, the body temperature rises. This leads to more sweating, especially in a dance club or party with people around dancing, jumping, and flailing. The increased energy can lead to all-night dance parties with insufficient fluid intake, which can cause dehydration. In the worst cases, it can lead to heart failure from too much strenuous activity.

Dangers of Redosing Molly

The risk of one dose is bad enough, but some users prefer to “piggyback,” or redose the substance by taking more while the effects of the first dose are still wearing off. The idea is that by taking multiple doses of the drug in succession over a short period of time, a person can prolong or elevate the effects. As the body tries to process the drug and remove it from the system, the piggybacking effect can cause damage to the kidney, liver, or lead to heart failure.

Is Molly a Natural Drug?

MDMA is known to be a powerfully addictive drug, and synthetic drug abuse is no different than drug abuse from natural ingredients. While Molly is said to be a “pure” form of MDMA, it’s extremely common for Molly to be laced with fentanyl, caffeine, household chemicals, and methamphetamine. And, since Molly is made synthetically and put into a capsule, it can be “cut” with other chemicals, drugs, or fillers. When a drug is cut with something, that means the drug is mixed or comprised entirely of different substances to fill the capsule and make it look like a user is getting a full capsule of Molly. The filler is cheaper than using pure products, but drug dealers will charge as if that’s a pure dose being sold.

Some common fillers used in Molly include:

Molly Laced With Caffeine

Sometimes drug dealers will cut molly with caffeine, in an attempt to trick users into believing they are experiencing the full effects of the stimulant.

Molly Laced With Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a powerful painkiller that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. If a person mistakenly consumes fentanyl instead of Molly, they are very likely to experience an overdose and are at a high risk of CNS depression and death.

Fentanyl & Molly: A Dangerous Mixture

In 2021, 108,000 people died from drug overdoses nationwide, according to the CDC. 66% of those deaths were connected to fentanyl, and between 2019 and 2021, overdose deaths increased by 50%.

Most people who die from fentanyl overdose are not even aware that they have consumed fentanyl. Fentanyl is cheap, with a little going a long way for drug dealing trades. It’s a synthetic opioid that is cheap to manufacture and is commonly used by drug dealers to cut other substances.

It’s also impossible to see or taste fentanyl when it’s in a drug, so a user doesn’t know that they have consumed fentanyl until it’s too late. Even the person who is selling the Molly may not know if their capsules have been laced with fentanyl since they were likely made in another country. The unpredictability of Molly capsules and Ecstasy tablets is one of the things that makes MDMA drug abuse so risky.

What is MDMA Addiction?

MDMA is defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule I drug, giving it a high risk of drug abuse. MDMA addiction is extremely harmful to the body, and since it’s laced or “cut” with other drugs or fillers, a user could be forming an addiction to a drug they didn’t even know they consumed. MDMA addiction takes a severe toll on the brain as well. Brain chemicals like serotonin flood the body during an MDMA high and burn out receptors leading to permanent brain damage.

The withdrawal symptoms of Molly are intense and last exponentially longer than the initial effects of the drug. Since the chemicals altered by using Molly control our mood, motor function, and critical body functions, the body trying to get back to normal puts the user through a rough couple of days.

The withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Extreme fatigue but an inability to sleep.
  • Shakes, shivers, and twitching.
  • Heart pounding and racing cycles.
  • Ongoing mood and perception issues.

Out of all recreational drugs, Molly is one of the most, if not the most immediately neurotoxic. If you or a loved one is using Molly, Ecstasy, or another form of MDMA on a regular basis, you should get help immediately.

Your Recovery From Molly Starts Here

Removing Molly and other drugs from your life is not easy to do alone. For some, it’s impossible. Whether it was a one night experiment or a long-term experience, the clinicians, mental health professionals, and detoxification specialists can answer any questions and concerns you have. Call Clear Recovery Center today at 877.799.1985.

Last Updated on January 19, 2023

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