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What Is Molly?

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Molly is a popular club drug. But just because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. One of the many reasons why this drug is dangerous is that it can be virtually impossible to know exactly what is in molly.    

What Is in Molly?

Molly is the street name for a drug called MDMA. MDMA is a shortened version of 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. This drug is also sometimes referred to as ecstasy.

Molly is a synthetic (or lab-created) substance that was first synthesized in 1912. Though some sources claim that molly was initially developed as an appetite suppressant, the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) reports that the goal was to create a group of medications that could control bleeding.

Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had never approved this drug for use in the United States, it was not banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) until 1985. This ban was put into place after widespread reports that molly had become a popular recreational drug among people who attended all night dance parties, or raves.

Today, this substance is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that, in the opinion of the U.S. government, it has a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

What Are the Effects of Molly Use?

Now that we’ve talked about what is in molly, let’s take a look at what happens when a person take this drug.

When someone ingests molly, the drug triggers the release (and blocks the reabsorption) of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are associated with characteristics such as mood, motivation, reward, and pleasure.

The elevated neurotransmitter levels that result from this substance use can cause pleasurable effects such as the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy
  • Extroversion
  • Enhanced sense of trust and empathy 
  • Greater feeling of connectedness with others
  • Distorted perceptions of time and space

This drug’s effects are not universally enjoyable. Less pleasant potential effects include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Racing heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Stiffness in muscles and joints
  • Clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth

People who use molly usually begin to feel these effects within 30 minutes after taking the drug. These effects typically last three to five hours.

Is Molly Dangerous?

In addition to the unpleasant effects that we described in the previous section, molly use can also expose a person to a variety of immediate and long-term dangers. Possible harm resulting from molly use can include:

  • Irregular heart rate 
  • Hypertension
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Memory problems
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Panic attack
  • Kidney failure

Since molly can elicit a sense of trust and connectedness, it can also increase a person’s risk for being exposed to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. While under the influence of molly, people may not be able to recognize or defend themselves from certain threats, which can result in attacks, assaults, or other forms of victimization.

Adding to the danger is the fact that it can be extremely difficult to determine if this drug has been cut with other substances. It is not uncommon for supposedly pure molly to actually contain adulterants such as:

  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Caffeine
  • MDA
  • Bath salts
  • Ketamine

The interactions between these substances and molly can have a dramatic impact on the effects that a person feels. They can also increase the individual’s risk for serious harm.

Does Molly Have Any Therapeutic Value?

As we noted earlier, the DEA’s classification of molly (MDMA) as a Schedule I controlled substance indicates that the drug has no recognized medical value. However, in recent years, some professionals have begun to investigate the potential benefits of incorporating molly into treatment for people who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and certain other mental health concerns.

This isn’t the first time that researchers have explored the use of molly in a therapeutic environment. In the 1970s and 1980s – when molly was in the legal grey area of not being FDA-approved, but not yet having been banned by the DEA – some mental health professionals used molly to help patients open up and discuss topics that they may have otherwise been unwilling or unable to talk about.

Is Molly Addictive?

According to NIDA, “research hasn’t definitively answered whether MDMA is addictive, although it affects many of the same neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are targeted by other addictive drugs.”

NIDA notes that some people who abuse this substance report symptoms such as the following, which are all characteristic of addiction:

  • Having powerful cravings
  • Developing tolerance, or needing to use larger doses than they previously needed to achieve the effects they are seeking
  • Going through withdrawal (which can include physical and psychological distress) when they try to stop using 
  • Continuing to use  even after they have incurred harm as a result of prior use

Find Drug Rehab in Atlanta

If you have been abusing or become addicted to molly, Peachtree Recovery Solutions is here to help. Our drug rehab in Atlanta, GA, offers comprehensive outpatient services, personalized care, and detailed discharge planning to promote long-term progress. Treatment options at Peachtree Recovery include a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and outpatient rehab. We also offer specialized services.

Compulsive substance abuse can have a devastating impact on your health and your future. But when you get the care you need at Peachtree Recovery Solutions, you can start to live a much healthier and more hopeful life. To learn more, please visit our admissions page or call our center today.