What is MDMA?

Whether you are rolling, blowing up, or thizzing, you are feeling the effects of molly, also known as MDMA or 3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine. One problem these days is that much of the ‘molly drugs’ bought on the street aren’t actually MDMA at all.

Sometimes cut with adulterants such as methamphetamines or other amphetamine analogs, most ecstasy pills and powder molly are nowhere near pure. If you or someone you know has been abusing these chemicals, this article contains valuable information worth knowing.

Chemists in China do not care about the safety of drug users in America. They care about profits. With the internet providing reams of chemistry literature to everyone worldwide, China has quickly become a major player in the American synthetic drug world.

Cooking up large batches of random amphetamine analogs, pressing them into ecstasy pills, or passing it off as a ‘molly drug’ itself, they make millions while users suffer. Read on to learn things such as what is molly, the side effects of amphetamine analogs, signs of dependence on ecstasy, and where to look if you are seeking treatment for molly dependence.

What is Molly?

Molly is a slang term for powder MDMA. Most people assume that the molly drug they are getting is pure, however much of the molly these days is nowhere near pure MDMA. A recent study found that 40% of festival attendees who stated they had only used molly tested positive for bath salts. [i]

It is getting so bad that experts are considering expanding the definition of ‘molly drugs’ to include more than MDMA. Molly became the popular slang term for the drug in the late 2000’s with many rappers using the term in their songs. For some people in specific drug using communities and regions the term ‘molly’ is used interchangeably with both the terms MDMA and ecstasy. The ‘Molly drug’, as in MDMA was discovered long ago in the beginning of the 20th century, but exploded in popularity in the late 20th century and early 2000’s. [ii]

The underground dance parties featuring electronic dance music or EDM, known as raves, brought molly to mainstream society. As raves began to die out in popularity in the 2010’s, it again garnered popularity in the rap and hip-hop scenes. The bottom line is that molly drugs are an amazingly powerful amphetamine analog that has effects similar to methamphetamine and hallucinogens like magic mushrooms or LSD. It carries some potential for addiction and is very dangerous in high doses.

The Hundred Year History of MDMA

MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 by the company Merck. It found clinical use in the 1970’s when it was used in psychotherapy. The reason it was used was to get patients to open up more and be more empathetic, theorized to help patients cope with certain aspects of their lives they were scared to revisit. This would be especially helpful with patients suffering from severe PTSD.

By the 1980’s it started gaining popularity as a street drug. However, that popularity took off in the early 1990’s with the emergence of raves and electronic music parties. A study from 2016 found that 21 million people from ages 15-64 had used MDMA, which puts it on par with cocaine or amphetamines as far as popularity. As with many of the drugs growing in popularity today, MDMA is not a new compound, rather it has been around for over a century and will exist long after we are all dead.

Molly Drug

Therapeutic Potential of Ecstasy

As with most psychoactive substances, therapeutic potential of ecstasy, but only talking about pure MDMA, has been theorized. Some experts have discussed the benefits of using MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy in order to tackle issues such as PTSD. It would only have any potential to be beneficial if it were pure pharmaceutical MDMA, and not adulterated ‘molly drugs’ or ecstasy.

Just as it was used back in the 1970’s, it should be studied to see if this potential truly exists or is just a fallacy to justify use. It is important that it be studied in a professional setting. The proper double-blind studies are the only way to determine efficacy in treatment of PTSD and other mood disorders.

Molly vs Ecstasy vs MDMA

The major difference within the drug using community between the terms can vary from region to region. When people refer to the ‘Molly drug’ is almost always in reference to what is supposed to be pure powder MDMA, which is the chemical acronym for the main ingredient of ecstasy.

Ecstasy on the other hand almost always refers to ‘pressed pills’ in which the main ingredient is ‘molly’ or MDMA, and usually has another drug in it. The other component of ecstasy can be anything from LSD, or acid to crystal meth, or methamphetamines. Occasionally, pills might even contain less commonly found drugs such as GHB or ketamine. The commonalities between molly vs ecstasy vs MDMA are that they are all used and abused, usually in a party setting and each carries the potential for addiction.

Molly and the Myth of Purity

Molly is supposed to be pure MDMA, but more often than not it is cut with a wide variety of very harmful chemicals. The reason for this is almost always to expand profits. The most common chemicals found in adulterated samples sold as ‘molly’ are cathinones and methylone, also known as bath salts, methamphetamines, and caffeine.

Among 529 samples collected during a recent study conducted by the pill testing organization DanceSafe and published through the National Library of Medicine, only 60% were actually MDMA, while 40% were other novel psychoactive substances.[i] Some samples collected had extremely dangerous novel compounds such as alpha-PVP also known as “Flakka.” This drug is extremely potent and extremely addictive. It can cause serious psychological issues as well as heart problems and liver failure. The main issue with alpha-PVP is that is raises the body temperature so high that renal failure becomes imminent.

With molly the myth of purity is as extremely dangerous as it is pervasive. Most people would think twice if they knew how slim the chances were that their molly drugs were pure, and how dangerous some of these novel psychoactive compounds can be.

Sense of Community at Raves

Raves, as stated before, are dance parties that heavily feature electronic dance music and usually incorporate illegal drugs. As a catch-all classification, the ‘molly drug’ is the main substance ravers like to indulge in. There is a strong sense of love and community described by ravers and this can make it hard for people with a substance use disorder to get away from.

When someone makes it part of their identity to partake in psychoactive substances, meaning all of their friends do the same, it may take completely starting over to achieve recovery. These ravers get a false sense of well-being and love from molly drugs and a lot of times begin to ignore the ever-prevalent negative effects of the substance.

It becomes imperative that people with a substance use disorder separate themselves from these scenes if they are to survive. The only things that await those with an untreated substance use disorder are jails, institutions, and death.

The Effects of Molly

The effects of a ‘molly drug’ or pure MDMA are present within about 30 minutes of oral consumption. Desired effects include euphoria, alertness, heightened sense of well-being, increased motor activity and reduced inhibition. Negative side effects include heightened heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, depression, confusion, chills, and severe dehydration.

The effects of molly-class drugs if used long term include memory impairment, anhedonia, restlessness and paranoia. The effects of molly itself are much different than the adulterants used to cut it, as many of these chemicals are much more dangerous.

Among fatal doses, the main causes of death include dehydration and hyperthermia. It usually happens when a person is dancing at a rave and forgets to rehydrate or take breaks. These people literally dance themselves to death because of the inadvertent side effects of the molly they are consuming.

Molly Drug

Can You get Addicted to Molly?

Many people ask, “Can you get addicted to molly?” The answer is yes, you most certainly can. Although there are no withdrawal symptoms as seriously inhibiting as with opiates, they do exist for long-time users. The main symptom of withdrawal is anhedonia or the inability to experience pleasure with things that are normally pleasurable.

Another answer to the question “can you get addicted to molly?” is yes, but usually psychologically rather than physically. Some users will begin to feel that they cannot enjoy parties or dancing without being on molly-class drugs. The next time someone asks, “Can you get addicted to molly?” answer with a resounding YES!

Relapse Prevention and Molly

Relapse prevention is a subject that is taught at many rehabilitation centers across the country, and is a specialty of the continuing care coordination program at Pathfinders as well. Our core approach consists of understanding the negative effects these drugs have on the body and mind and using different coping tools to avoid relapse.

Relapse prevention in regard to molly drug use would not differ much from relapse prevention of any other substance or compulsive behavior. Pathfinders Recovery Center will provide all clients with the necessary tools and coping mechanisms needed to live a life in sustained recovery.

Side Effects of Amphetamine Analogs

The side effects of amphetamine analogs can vary from one to the next. The drug ‘Molly’ is itself an amphetamine analog and has a wide variety of side effects as previously stated. However, the side effects of amphetamine analogs such as methamphetamine are much more pronounced and dangerous.

Psychosis and cardiac ischemia are among the most serious side effects of amphetamine analogs, with death being an ever-present possibility when abusing these drugs. Among the less serious side effects of amphetamine analogs is weight loss, tooth decay or meth mouth, and paranoia. Many frequent users report symptoms similar to that of a paranoid schizophrenic, with hallucinations lasting from weeks to months.

Anhedonia vs Dysphoria and Molly PAWS

The main difference between anhedonia and dysphoria is the lack of depressive feelings. When one is suffering from anhedonia it becomes difficult to find joy or pleasure in things that should bring these feelings. In cases of dysphoria people begin to feel depressive feelings when they are unwarranted. PAWS stands for post-acute withdrawal syndrome. These are symptoms felt after the drug is completely out of the user’s body.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome occurs due to the toxic effects the molly has on the brain and body. Symptoms may include both anhedonia and dysphoria, along with many other serious side effects. Agitation, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and even symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia such as hallucinations may occur from post-acute withdrawal syndrome.

Usually, post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms occur within 1-3 months after a person stops using. This is the reason why it is encouraged to continue care after inpatient treatment with lower levels of care such as PHP or partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment. At Pathfinders Recovery Center, they offer many different programs that a perfect to fit your needs as they arise. It becomes extremely important to combat these feelings as soon as they come up to ensure one has the best chance at a life of sustained sobriety.

Molly Overdose Potential

The molly overdose potential is a real, yet often understated reality for users. One of the main ways that molly overdose potential exists is through dehydration. Unsuspecting users will dance and party, forgetting to stay hydrated and will die from extreme dehydration. Anther molly overdose potential comes from hyperthermia or the overheating of the body which can cause kidney or liver failure and result in death.

Currently there are no known antidotes to a molly drug overdose other than stomach pumping, which often does not work due to the chemical already being digested by the time symptoms occur. The fact of the matter is that molly overdose potential is real and should be considered by anyone using the drug.

Molly Drug

Signs of Dependency on Ecstasy

There are many signs of dependency on ecstasy ranging from physical signs like weight loss to psychological like mood swings and anhedonia. Some of the signs of dependency on ecstasy are not as noticeable as others.

However, if you believe you or someone you know may be dependent, it is crucial to seek help immediately. Many times, the signs of dependency on ecstasy may be as simple as someone is going out way more than they used to and sleeps all through the day. The person may be experiencing nasty mood swings and might lose interest in things they used to love doing. If you feel that you cannot enjoy normal things in life without the use of ecstasy it is absolutely time you sought help.

Seeking Treatment for Molly Dependence

When considering seeking treatment for molly dependence it is important to understand that recovery is always possible. Stopping using molly is the first step of seeking treatment for molly dependence. Finding and perusing meaning in your life is something Pathfinders Recovery Center is more than adept at helping you to achieve. They offer many different levels of care to provide the environment most conducive for you to recover.

From outpatient to partial hospitalization to inpatient or residential treatment, Pathfinders Recovery Center will meet you where you are at as you are seeking treatment for molly dependence. Treating their clients with respect and dignity, utilizing all the modern approaches to substance abuse recovery, Pathfinders Recovery Center provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere to heal mind, body, and spirit and guide you to a new way of life.

Belonging to the Recovery Community

There are not many feelings better in the world than belonging to the recovery community. The people belonging to the recovery community are some of the most selfless, helpful, and altruistic people around. They keep their recovery by freely giving it away and live by many other principles of selflessness which gives a unique comradery to everyone belonging to the recovery community.

It is this sense of community, this ever growing feeling of love and acceptance that Pathfinders Recovery Center offers a door into. Once in that door, and having felt that ever present love, it becomes second nature to stay clean and sober. The wholesome feeling of belonging to the recovery community feels overwhelmingly better than a dose of any ‘molly drug,’ allowing for you, or your loved one, to recover and rejoin the beautiful life we are all blessed to take part in.

Life in Recovery

The bottom line is that most people who have recovered from substance use disorders would not trade their worst day in recovery for their best day while using substances. Recovery is possible for anyone who is suffering out there, and the first step toward recovery is to call Pathfinders Recovery Center and talk to them about seeking treatment. It is a huge, yet attainable step that you will not regret. Please, if you, or anyone you know is suffering from a molly addiction, or any substance for that matter, call now!


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
licensed drug and alcohol rehab arizona

See how much of your treatment is covered by insurance

(877) 224-0761


Skip to content