“Molly” is one of the most widely used slang terms for the club drug methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA).
There are a number of reasons why “molly” became so popular among club and concert and music-festival goers. The psychedelic and stimulant combination of MDMA floods the brain with dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters creating feelings of euphoria and heightened sensory perception.
- It is known as an empathic drug because it increases feelings of closeness to others.
Whether it is snorted, injected or, most commonly, taken in capsule form, its effects kick in 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.
German chemists developed the psychoactive substance more than a 100 years ago. It was only outlawed by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1984. The result was a spike in popularity at all night parties known as “raves”. It also resulted to both overdoses and fatalities.
- The name “Molly” comes from a derivative of molecule.
Often classified as a “club” or “designer” drug, it wasn’t until the late 1990s, when it became the drug of choice in nightclubs and the electronic dance music scenes.
The chemical makeup of MDMA causes neurotransmitters to flood the brain with serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals bring about feelings of euphoria, increased sociability, a sense of inner peace, mild hallucinations and enhanced sensation, perception or sexuality.
- Generally found in pill or powder form, users either ingest or inhale the drug.
- Molly is rarely smoked, as it tends to diminish the effects on the brain.
MDMA has become a popular drug, in part because of the effects a person may experience within an hour or so after taking a single dose.
- Feelings of mental stimulation
- Emotional warmth
- Empathy toward others
- General sense of well-being
- Decreased anxiety
In addition, users report enhanced sensory perception as a hallmark of the MDMA experience.
Depending on the dosage and a user’s tolerance, individuals “peak,” or feel the full effects of the drug, anywhere from 75 to 120 minutes after taking it.
As the drug induced euphoria levels off, users continue to experience a dissipation in their “high” for as long as three and a half hours.
Often pitched by drug dealers as pure MDMA, and an allegedly safer version of the drug ecstasy, the DEA reported from 2011 to 2015 only 13 percent of the “molly” seized in New York state contained any MDMA at all.
Instead, what is sold as pure MDMA contained any number of other dangerous chemicals.
- “You’re playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds,” Al Santos, associate deputy administrator for the DEA, told CNN, “because we’re seeing significant batch-to-batch variances.”
In fact, much of what’s marketed as “molly” is actually unknown synthetic compounds that skirt U.S. laws by altering the molecular makeup of already illegal substances.
Some of what’s sold as “molly” is smuggled in from Canada or Mexico or made in the states. The vast majority of the drug supply comes from underground labs in China that sell their compounds online.
The pop culture acceptance and promotion of MDMA in music and film. It’s reputation as a party drug has created a dangerous demand.
- Even test centers, which are more and more common at music festivals, cannot identify bulking agents, such as lactose.
They can only inform users as to whether the MDMA is pure or not. It’s then up to the individual whether to take the drug.
MDMA goes by different street names, including:
- XTC or X
- Molly – U.S.
- Mandy -UK
Potential Side Effects
- Sleep problems
- Poor judgement
There are, as with most illicit and illegal drugs, serious negative side effects, both long and short term, that can arise after the temporary “high” ends.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the demographic most likely to abuse “molly” are those aged 18 to 25.
More than 13 percent of people in that age group admit using the drug at least one in their life and more than 4 percent admit to taking it in the past year.
Even more disturbing, NIDA reports that almost 7 percent of children 12 or older also confess to using MDMA at least once.
- Hyperthermia, overheating the body which can lead to liver failure
- Intense sweating and perspiration
- Teeth grinding
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mild hallucinations and altered sense of time
- Increased emotions and heightened feelings of sexuality
- Increased confidence, sociability and a reduction in anxiety
- Irritability, anxiety and chronic depression
Because MDMA depletes the brain from so many neurotransmitters and creates a lack of serotonin, individuals who have consumed the substance over the weekend can experience anxiety and depression days after using it.
- The nickname for this is “suicide Tuesdays.”
Other symptoms than can last from a few days to a week are:
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
Overdosing & Death
Intense physical activity (dancing) and warm environment can cause kidney failure and even possible death. Especially susceptible to overdose are teenagers and first time users.
Sadly, a college senior – Joana Burns – died after taking “Molly” at a club for her pre-graduation party.
- Even a “one-off” experiment with “molly” is dangerous considering there are very few ways in which to be sure the drug is not laced with deadly synthetic chemicals.
While MDMA remains a schedule I narcotic, a substance with no accepted medical use, some physicians and psychiatrists express an interest in the drugs ability to help people treat some people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Even with authorities on high alert at these events, two teenage girls fatally overdosed in August of 2015, at a music festival in Pomona, California.
Originally created in 1912 by a chemist at the pharmaceutical company Merck. MDMA saw its first applications by a small set of psychotherapists in the late 70s and early 80s.
- Because MDMA makes users feel uninhibited, researchers believed the compound might have some therapeutic benefits.
However, by 1985 the drug received a Schedule I classification from the federal government.