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What Is Molly?: Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment

What Is Molly? | Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment | Just Believe Detox

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Molly is a recreational party or “club drug” that consists of the psychoactive substance MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Molly is essentially the powdered capsule form of MDMA, versus Ecstasy, which is also MDMA but is found in tablet form. Molly is a synthetic drug that can act as both a stimulant and a hallucinogen. There has been considerable debate as to whether MDMA should be categorized as a stimulant with hallucinogenic effects, vice versa, or a distinct class of drugs entirely of its own.

The sought-after effects of MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly include elevated mood and energy, euphoria, hallucinations, increased sociability, empathy, emotional warmth, and sexual desire. Due to its social effects, MDMA is commonly used in large group environments such as raves, parties, clubs, festivals, and concerts.

What Is in Molly?

Although Molly is often claimed to be “pure” MDMA and more potent than Ecstasy, the reality is much different. Moreover, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) recently reported that only about 13% of Molly seized in New York actually contained MDMA. Even then, Molly frequently consists of other intoxicating and potentially harmful drugs, including cathinones found in “bath salts” such as Methylone, MDPV, 4-MMC, and Pentedrone.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports that initially, both tablet and powder forms of products claiming to be MDMA were only about 30-40%. The rest of the substance was comprised of adulterants intended to expand the product and boost dealer profits. The organization also states that Molly, as sold on the black market, is probably even less pure and can contain any number of substances, including synthetic cathinones, methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine (Special K), and over-the-counter cough and cold medications.

How Molly Works

What Is Molly? | Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment | Just Believe Detox

MDMA was synthesized by a German company in 1912, reportedly for use as an appetite suppressant, and was eventually picked up by the psychiatric community in the 1970s to aid in psychotherapy. The drug peaked in popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s among teens and young adults through social scenes.

The DEA currently classifies MDMA as a Schedule I controlled substance, indicating that the drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse and dependence and serves no legitimate medical purpose.

Molly affects three key brain neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine (adrenaline). When these chemicals are dramatically increased, they hijack the brain’s reward and pleasure center and cause dependence. Dependence is a condition that develops as the brain gradually adapts to a drug’s presence and becomes unable to function normally without it.

After Molly has been broken down in a person’s system, an effect known as a “crash” is likely to follow. This is a condition caused by a significant decline in feel-good chemical messengers in the brain, such as dopamine, and can lead to unpleasant psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability, anxiety, dysphoria, and emotional withdrawal.

Molly Side Effects

Short-term side effects of Molly may include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Reduced appetite
  • Hyperactivity
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching)
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Hyperthermia (overheating)

Possible Long-Term Effects

  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Damage to liver and kidneys
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Feelings of apathy
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Increased aggression
  • Impaired concentration and memory
  • Dependence and withdrawal symptoms
  • Sleep disturbances and fatigue


What Is Molly? | Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment | Just Believe Detox

Hyperthermia is a condition in which body temperature becomes way above normal. In addition to dehydration, it is one of the most dangerous effects associated with Molly abuse. It can result in seizures, heatstroke, heart problems, and other potentially life-threatening complications.

While overdoses are relatively rare, they can and do happen, especially considering that drugs purchased as Molly likely contain other toxic substances such as bath salts. Also, many people who abuse Molly are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs that can result in unpredictable interactions and effects. For example, in January 2018, Joel Taylor, co-star of A&E’s television series “Storm Chasers,” died while on a cruise. The cause was later revealed to be toxicity related to MDMA, and traces of ketamine were also found in his system.

Treatment for Molly Addiction

Treatment for an addiction to Molly, Ecstasy, or MDMA should begin with medical detox to rid the body substances in a supervised environment. Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer detox services and feature programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. We offer evidence-based services such as behavioral therapies, individual and family counseling, group support, experiential activities, mindfulness therapy, aftercare planning, and more.

If you are ready to begin your life anew free from addictive substances, we urge you to contact us today to discuss treatment options! We are dedicated to helping those who need it most leave active addiction behind for good and reclaim the health and wellness they deserve!

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