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What Is Molly?

Molly, also known as ecstasy, is a popular club drug used for its euphoric effects.

Molly is the street name for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA.  More commonly known as “Ecstacy”, MDMA works by increasing the activity of three major brain chemicals:  dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.  Molly, short for ‘molecular’, is a derivative of amphetamines and mescaline.  This combination has gradually gained in popularity since the 80’s, particularly at clubs and parties known as “raves”.

If you or someone you love abuses Molly, call 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) to find professional treatment programs. 

What Does Molly Look Like?

MDMA is created as a crystalline powder.  It is commonly ingested via capsule or tablet; however, it may also be taken in liquid form or snorted.  Tablets and capsules can be found in a variety of colors with stamped designs.  These could be easily mistaken for candy by an unsuspecting child.

How Does Molly Work?

What Is Molly

Increased energy and alertness are common side effects of Molly.

Because of increased firing of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, Molly users experience increased energy, a feeling of being carefree, and heightened sexual arousal.  The drug is one type of designer drug specifically engineered in illegal laboratories specializing in combining amphetamines and mescaline.  The outcome of this combination creates a unique effect of increased energy and alertness coupled with hallucinatory sensations.

Isn’t Molly a Safe Club Drug?

While many teens and young adults believe the drug to be relatively safe, it associated with many drug-related deaths.  Hyperpyrexia, or spikes in body temperature have been known to occur, resulting in multi-system organ failure.  There are also long-term health effects related to Molly use because of the greater risk for users to engage in unprotected sexual relations.

Does Molly Have Negative Side Effects?

While many users experience a feeling of freedom and euphoria, the high comes with a price.  Other side effects are also noted even with just one use of the drug.  These may include:

  • Gritting teeth/Clenching jaw
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Visual Abnormalities

Is Molly Addictive?

Research is unclear regarding whether MDMA results in physical addiction.  It is known that Molly users experience withdrawal symptoms and are at risk for great psychiatric effects for a period of days or weeks after ingesting a single dose.  Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Depression
  • Sleep dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction

The Impact of Psychedelic Drugs on the Brain

Other Risks Associated with Molly Use

In addition to the issues noted above, Molly, Ecstacy and other related club drugs have many other risks.  Because of the manner in which the drugs are manufactured, users can not be entirely certain they are receiving exactly what they pay for.  Other chemicals may be combined to produce toxic effects.  Further, because Molly users are often mixing the chemical with alcohol and/or marijuana, physical and psychological effects may be long lasting for extended periods after the party is over.

Do I Need Treatment to Quit Molly?

Researchers are increasingly concerned about the use of Molly and other club drugs in teens and young adults.  There is specific speculation that brain chemistry and the method of serotonin processing may be permanently affected by beginning MDMA use during the teen years.  For this reason, it is recommended that Molly users seek medical and psychological intervention for lasting recovery.


As mentioned earlier, Molly use is generally combined with other types of substances like alcohol and marijuana.  MDMA users are seeking a break from reality.  Addiction treatment and recovery focuses on working with the physical, psychological and emotional nature of humans to encourage life satisfaction that expands outside the use of a pill.  Finding a quality therapeutic setting to begin life on a new footing is always the best step. Call 800-609-2774 (Who Answers?) for more information.


Hall, A. & Henry, J. (2006). Acute toxic effects of ‘ecstasy’ (MDMA) and related compounds: overview of pathophysiology and clinical management. British Journal of Anaesthesia. 96(6): 678-685. Retrieved from:

Kalant, H. (2001) The pharmacology and toxicology of “ecstasy” (MDMA) and related drugs. CMAJ. 165(7): 917-928. Retrieved from:

Klomp, A., Hollander, B., Bruin, K., Booij, J. & Reneman, L. (2012). The effects of ecstasy (MDMA) on brain serotonin transporters are dependent on age-of-first exposure in recreational users and animals. PLoS One. Retrieved from:

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). Drug facts:  MDMA (Ecstacy/Molly). NIH. Retrieved from:

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