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Drugs & Health Blog

Meet Molly: The Truth About MDMA

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Recently, Madonna created some buzz when she mentioned “Molly” at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival. Madonna shouted to the audience, “How many people in the crowd have seen Molly?”

Madonna was talking about the song “Have You Seen Molly?” by Cedric Gervais. However, “Molly” is also a nickname for MDMA. Many news outlets reported that the legendary pop singer was talking about drugs, not the song. Madonna responded by saying, “I don't support drug use and I never have.”

All About Molly

We were happy to hear that Madonna doesn’t encourage her fans to use MDMA, because it’s a very dangerous drug. MDMA is manmade—similar to the stimulant methamphetamine. It’s commonly used at dance clubs and concerts, and can make people feel like they have more energy and less fear. But the myths about MDMA being "pure and safe" are definitely not true.

Let us introduce you to the real Molly.

  • Molly Is Often Mixed Up. MDMA is a synthetic drug, meaning that it’s made of chemicals. It comes in colorful pills, tablets, or capsules that sometimes have cartoon-like images on them. Sometimes each pill, or batch of pills, can have different combinations of substances in the mix and cause unknown consequences.
  • Molly Makes You Hyper. People who use MDMA might feel very alert, or “hyper.” But MDMA can also cause muscle cramping, nausea, blurred vision, increased heart rate and blood pressure—and in rare cases, hyperthermia and even death.
  • Molly Can Depress You. Potential side effects of MDMA include feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression, and memory difficulties. These can last for several days to a week (or longer in people who use it regularly).
  • Molly Is Dangerous. MDMA can be extremely dangerous in high doses—increasing the risk of seizures and compromising the heart's ability to maintain its normal rhythms. A study in animals showed that exposure to high doses of MDMA for 4 days produced brain damage that could still be seen 6 to 7 years later.

Ecstasy and MDMA Use Is Rising

Despite these harmful consequences, NIDA’s Monitoring the Future study shows that past-year Ecstasy use is up significantly among college students and young adults age 19–28. Another report shows that emergency room visits related to Ecstasy increased nearly 123 percent from 2004 to 2009; two-thirds of these visits involved 18–29 year olds. This is troubling news, since we’re still learning how Ecstasy affects the brain.

Tell us what you think of Madonna’s “Molly” mix-up. If Madonna’s comment had been referring to drug use, would that change your opinion of her? Are you more likely to buy her album “MDNA” (coincidentally similar to MDMA) since hearing about this in the news? Let us know in the comments.

Update: For more on Molly, check out our post, “Have You Seen Molly? Even if You Think So, You May Have Been Fooled.”

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


My twin sister and 9 of my other friends popped "Molly" two days ago, and the capsule was filled which was probably about 3 dosages of Molly. All 10 of them experienced the good roll that "Molly" gives a person for about 5 hours. After 5 hours, they've been coming down from the Molly for two days experiencing what looked like to be schizophrenic episodes. I said no to taking the pill, because who knows what the hell is in those pills. From the research I've been doing it seemed to be an infected Molly. Before taking a Molly, do damn research on these pills. Make sure you trust the person you're getting them from. As dangerous and horrible this pill could be, no one is going to make it stop. Just accept the fact that teenagers want to experiment. This is how it's been since the world was introduced to mind altering chemicals. Look at acid. So instead of saying all of these things, just accept it, and make sure if you're thinking of doing these pills, realize the life long affects. Everyone's body's and brains are different so the chemicals in Molly could affect everyone differently. My advice to anyone that knows anyone around someone who's taking Molly then and there, let them do their thing. My friends went into schizophrenic episodes and as scary as it is, once the drug is ingested and in your bloodstream, the only thing you could do is to let it keep going until all off it gone and out of your system. Human's can't control other peoples decisions. It's just how it is. Obviously the Molly my friends and sister took were infected with other things, but it has to come to an end at one point or an other. You just need to be careful and aware of what you're about to do to yourself.
I never knew that "molly" was another word for MDMA. I feel sorry for anyone with the name Molly now.
For the past little while I have been doing some studying in the area of pharmacology and was wondering if some one could provide me with a paper on the long term effects of MDMA on the brain

Hi Cameron.  Sorry it took so long!  We spent a little time digging.  Here's a list that might help you:

  • Human psychobiology of MDMA or ‘Ecstasy’: an overview of 25 years of empirical research, Andrew C. Parrott, Hum. Psychopharmacol Clin Exp., 2013
  • Elucidating the neurotoxic effects of MDMA and its analogs, Senthilkumar S. Karuppagounder et al., Life Sciences 101, 2014
  • The acute effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and methamphetamine on driving: A simulator study, Con Stough et al., Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2012
  • Multiple molecular and neuropharmacological effects of MDMA (Ecstasy), Rabi Simantov, Life Sciences, 2004
  • Behavioral and Neurochemical Effects of Chronic Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Treatment in Rhesus Monkeys, David L. Frederick et al., Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 1995
  • Neuroimaging in Human MDMA (Ecstasy) Users, Ronald L. Crown et al., Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2008
  • Sustained Recreational Use of Ecstasy Is Associated with Altered Pre and Postsynaptic Markers of Serotonin Transmission in Neocortical Areas: A PET Study, Nina BL Urban et al., Neuropsychopharmacology, 2012
Y'all is. Crazy I first took Ecstasy when I was 13 took regular every weekend for 4 years now i take it about once a month to two months I'm fine I'm happy when I dont have it i can think right and my doctor says I'm OK I've had a ct scan about 2 years ago nuthin wrong with me so im good I'm just saying this its ur choice wat u do,it is fun and u will enjoy it so there u go on wat I think
Im hooked on it right now and im only fifteen years old. I normally only take it at raves but when im with my friends that's when it occurs also, I would advise you to not take it because after the first time you take ''molly'' you would want to try it again because its wonderful feeling but after all that you will regret it. DONT DO IT.
to be honest, i have been taking ecstasy for 6 months now, ive been taking it twice a month, of course the day after the rolling i drink nd eat (orange juice, milk, water, somthing not fried, proteen,nd fruits)... nd of course exercise.... i only roll .5 nd the the other .5 at the endd. the doctor says that if i do rolling once every two months it would be fine if i did all the eating nd drinknig stuff
this isnt about ecstasty and it says it was not cool
My comment will be brief and to the point .My son almost lost his life over this Molly, we had to take him to the ER, So, all you young people need to beware. Yes, It scared me to see someone you love so much to be over taken by something you can't touch. .We tried to help him but we were loosing the battle. We pray that will be his last time to ever do this again..... .It can take your life and belive me your friends will leave you high and dry, ALSO, ALL ALONE FOR DEATH,,,,, GOD WAS WITH HIM!!!!!! PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! POISON,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I've taken Molly twice and E twice, the most recent time my trip was really bad. It's a beautiful experience for a while and you learn a lot about yourself however it can definitely scare the life out of you. Last dose was 2 days ago. I still feel horrible now and my sleeping pattern is well and truly screwed. I feel that the drug itself made me realise that It was a bad thing for me. You have people that love you, don't risk them losing you for one night of fun with some dudes you'll probably lose touch with in a few years.
I'd advice you not to do it... 5months ago I was introduced to ecstasy by a guy I had just met and fallen in love with. I remember the 1st time I took it like it was yesterday. We had went out of a friday night with is friends. I didn't even know they were on drugs. Then later on that night I told him I was feeling cold,and he then gave me half of a pill and said I'd feel better. The rest is history,but 2months down the line from that day I was hooked. We took them every weekend. I started having bad headaches,and experienced memory loss. Lost a lot of weight too.The relationship wasn't healthy. Whenever we'd be in the buzz,he always accused me of cheating and said I flirt with his friend. He would get very paranoid,as tough he was out of his mind. Had to leave him and moved back to my home town. That's when I stopped taking them,but my memory is still very short and I still get these bad headaches. Sometimes I even get very anxious and very depressed. And some days I'd zone out,and be really lost..So please if want to live a healthy normal life stay away from ecstasy. Its highly addictive,especially if you have an addictive behavior like me.
heathly good, molly bad!!
i am a victim of molly use i used it 3 times now have psychosis and depression cry all day and my family cant help me i fell into peer pressure it is bot safe if your read this you need listen an not take it please.
I took some yesterday and the day before. But today i feel really weird like something isnt right. I hope it doesnt stay like this forever i want to be back to my normal self. I dont even recognize my room rn its like everything is fake and im living in a dream. Will it get better? And any tips on what i should do?

This sounds like a serious situation. We recommend you talk with a trusted medical professional for help.

MDMA could be pure and clean if it wasn't for the ridiculous "war on drugs" that is being fought. Thanks government for looking out for us! Now instead of pure, clean, regulated MDMA we get stuff that is "all mixed up" by chemists from China who don't care if American teens die. This is YOUR fault .gov, not ours.
Risk from MDMA is not from the drug itself, but from the adulterants added to it or sold as substitutes. That these adulterants exist and are being used is not the fault of the clandestine chemist, but of the drug policy. If the DEA did not prevent safe access to MDMA and it's precursors, then the MDMA on the street would be non-toxic. Simple as that. However, the DEA and the NIDA so consistently mislead, misinform, and block safe access to these drugs, in order to add as much risk as possible to the users. And then, when youths die of overdoses on PMA or another toxic substitute... ECSTASY takes the blame, rather than the drug laws, the DEA, and the government.
AMEN, someone else who is educated. Thank you and my point exactly.
first of all id like to make it clear that MDMA is not the chemical compound that is affecting your children or yourself. MDMA if you do your biochemical research is a drug made and invented by the germans early 20th century. it wasnt till the 70s that it was ingested by humans given to them by the american FDA via psychiatrists. It was labelled pencillin for the soul. Pure MDMA will have less long term harmful effects on you than alcohol. period. the facts are out there.
don't take ecstasy because it could cause brain damage and if you mix it up with a another drug when you go to sleep you might never wake up so don't take it and also it can make you liver and kidney failure don't take the risk of if
I never took it but my friends are wanting me to this weekend. But after reading this I'm a little scared. Can it harm me, if it's my first time?

It can definitely hurt you, even if you only take it once. In addition to affecting the brain, MDMA can mess up the body's ability to regulate its temperature. In some cases, this can cause liver, kidney or heart failure, or even death. You can read more about the effects of MDMA here:

Another problem with Molly, like a lot of illegal drugs, is that it's often mixed with other dangerous chemicals. Even if someone says a pill is pure MDMA, you have no way of knowing what is actually in it. In Europe, for example, some people were selling "Superman" pills that they said were MDMA, but which actually contained a lethal dose of another chemical:

don't if you do you might get addicted to it :)
Yeah, molly isn't in mint form; that's ecstasy they are talking about, there is a difference. Molly is the pure powder or crystal thats an off white/yellow color. Its sometimes even pink depending on how it is cooked. This website is talking about ecstasy. Anything that is a pill with a stamp or shape on it is not Molly.
yes it can harm you might get addicted to it so don't take it ok People who use MDMA describe themselves as feeling open, accepting, unafraid and connected to people around them. Typically used in social settings, especially among the rave and dance club cultures, MDMA’s effects are stimulated by visuals, sounds, smells and touch. Some people experience nausea at the outset, but after about forty-five minutes, most people report feelings of relaxation and clarity. MDMA causes dilation of the pupils and, often, sensitivity to light. People using MDMA experience heightened sensations and want to intensify these feelings by dancing, talking and touching. ◾Most of MDMA’s potential harms derive from the setting of its use. Although few adverse effects have been reported, hyperthermia – a dangerously high increase in body temperature – is the most common problem related to ecstasy. Hyperthermic reactions result from physical exertion (such as dancing) in an overheated environment without replenishing fluids, which is why users take breaks and consume fluids like water or Gatorade. Overdoses are extremely rare. ◾Because MDMA is illegal – and, therefore, unregulated – it is impossible know what a “dose” contains. In fact, many drugs sold as “ecstasy” or “molly” are not MDMA. Besides MDMA, ecstasy pills may contain varying levels of MDA (methylene-dioxyamphetamine), other stimulants such as caffeine, or anesthetics such as Ketamine or dextromethorphan (DXM) – which can significantly amplify potential harms. Testing kits are available to detect if pills contain MDMA or another drug, but cannot determine potency or purity. ◾Research evaluating MDMA’s therapeutic and medical applications has shown promising results. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy combines traditional psychotherapy with the administration of MDMA. Because of MDMA’s unique effect of diminishing fear and enhancing interpersonal trust, it is an ideal adjunct medicine to psychotherapy, and it has been administered to over 500 human subjects in clinical trials without a single serious adverse event. A seminal study published in 2010 found that PTSD patients who received MDMA-assisted psychotherapy reported overwhelming reductions in the severity of their symptoms – reductions which were sustained, on average, for more than three years. Such findings have been replicated by other studies, and additional research is underway in the U.S., Canada, Israel, U.K. and Australia. so don't take it im been doing research about is don't ok
beer or whisky don't mix with molly or ecstasy you might not wake up I forgot to put that in
Nice Blog, i got a good information about about molly drug. It is really harmful for those is addicted. MDMA causes many diseases like blood preasure etc.I found a video you can check it out, I think it is really useful for you all. [link removed per blog commenting policies]
Jeezzzz people need to realize drugs will always be used and people will do what they want. So why complain? If they were legal no "kids" or adults would have to worry about getting the wrong drug or being poisoned. Hmmmmm lets stop and think. Alcohol related deaths have sky rocketed... And its perfectly legal. Oxycodone has millions hooked and lives claimed.... With a lil back pain anyone INCLUDING KIDS can get it. MAYBE you should be parents and kids would die they used it accordingly. Or maybe the people of the world need to wake up
I personally had a very mixed response from the drug but I would still say to avoid it! When I took it hit me very suddenly and I found myself vomiting and in hot sweats! The first 40 mins was hell but after that it was ok! Not worth the sick and shivering though
MDMA is nothing to mess with. I am an ex user of this substance and this has changed my whole life's perspective.. At first, this drug was so beautiful and would allow me to see happiness in everything, but as the years went by my whole perspective was changing bits by bits, without the drug I can't see happiness anymore. Don't mess up your body, others would be lucky to not try this.
I was addicted then I stop and I crave it after a year and started again 3 times in two weeks but if I was you I will keep myself from that I don't take mollys I took tweety bird it's more visual effects but since I have been I addicted my body ask for it after a while can't do anything about it.
Several causes of lower back pain symptoms but useful treatment and nice workout to get relief from
....Only way to get away these addiction to (if u have determination) to excercise and keep busy in social and family events. Excercise will demand more energy in turn demand more oxygen and hence positive thoughts....on basis of my own life story to overcome addiction ....never tell your mind that you are quitting... You have to play game with your mind .... For sometime ..!
Every drug, legal or illegal, has the potential to harm you. The first time I "rolled" I definitely took way too much. I was jittery and hyper. However I don't regret taking it. It was the best experience I've had thus far. Instead of scaring kids about what drugs can do, we should be teaching them what to do when things go wrong. The environment makes the drug, not the other way around. The biggest problems I've seen occur when people start to panic.
my dad use to go out on the weekends and do drugs with his friends and my dad once took a ecstasy tablet back when he was younger, and mum says dad hasn't been the same ever since he took the tablet, it might of been a bad one, mum believes that this has caused him to have really bad anger issues ever since this. i am not sure how many times he has done ecstasy through. so can having a bad ectasty tablet result in permanent anger issues and wild mood swings?
We are sorry to hear of the difficulties your family is having. Drugs that induce psychedelic or psychotic symptoms can have long lasting effects on the brain, but it is impossible to know if this is what has caused any particular person’s problems later in life. People should stay away from street drugs, which can be laced with all sorts of unknown and dangerous toxic chemicals.
Ive had some tonight and take regular medication for high blood pressure, stupid i no, what shall i do now

Hi Tony, if you need medical attention, please call 911 or your doctor.

Ive had mdma tonight, im on regular meds for high blood pressure, stupid i no, what shall i doo now

Hi, if you need medical attention, please call 911 or your doctor.

MDMA nearly ruined my entire life- I only took 2 pills over a few months and now im left with severe anxiety and depression for the last 2 years and will probably be on anti depressants for the rest of my life............
Can Molly affect the same person negative by doing it one way but ok doing it another way? (Mixed with meth)

Taking one illicit drug us dangerous enough, but mixing two together is like playing Russian Roulette. Why would you want to take those risks? There is nothing ok about what you describe. Meth in particular is highly addictive.
Meth can raise your body temperature and can make you pass out. MDMA interferes with your body’s ability to regulate your temperature so this combination could be deadly. We don’t know how many people actually die from this combination because those statistics are not tracked. You can find out more about these drugs here (Meth) and here (MDMA)

needs a lot more info like what if recovery like and how long does it take to recover

Hi Bailey. The recovery experience is different for everyone. A lot of the difference depends on how long they’ve been using a substance, how old they are, and their personal characteristics. If someone needs help in the recovery process, they can talk to a trusted health care provider or call 1-800-662-HELP to find treatment help in their area.