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Drugs & Health Blog

Meet Molly: The Truth About MDMA (Ecstasy or “E”)

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/CC0

The NIDA Blog Team

We published this post originally in 2012. This updated post reflects current research as of May 2020.


Molly is a nickname for MDMA, a human-made drug that has similarities to both stimulants (like methamphetamine) and hallucinogens. MDMA (also known as Ecstasy or “E”) is sometimes used at dance clubs and concerts. It can make people feel more energetic and more sociable.

Molly is billed as being “pure” MDMA, but that’s usually not true. It’s often loaded with fillers and other illegal drugs. In some recent cases, tests found that drugs sold as Molly didn’t contain any MDMA at all.

Molly/MDMA/Ecstasy can also have serious side effects—and the side effects don’t stop once it leaves a person’s system. Here are some other facts about Molly.

Molly is often mixed up. 

MDMA is a synthetic drug, meaning it’s made in a lab with chemicals. Molly comes in colorful pills, tablets, or capsules that sometimes have cartoon-like images on them.

Each pill can have different combinations of substances in it. A lot of the Molly seized by the police contains one or more added substances like:

Each substance in that list has its own health risks, and those risks can increase when it’s combined with MDMA. Combining this mixture with other substances, like marijuana and alcohol, can increase the risks even more.

Molly can make you hyper—at a cost. 

People who use Molly might feel very alert, or “hyper.” But MDMA can also cause muscle cramping, nausea, and blurred vision, and increase your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also cause a very high temperature and even death—especially in crowded hot places that are already raising your body temperature.

Molly can be depressing. 

Studies suggest that Molly can disrupt the body’s serotonin system. Serotonin is a mood-enhancing chemical, and low levels of serotonin are associated with poor memory and depressed mood. Some people who use Molly regularly experience depression and memory impairment, as well as anxiety, paranoia, and confusion.

The bottom line is: You never know what you’re getting with Molly, but it probably won’t be good.

Learn more: Can you get addicted to Molly?

Categories: 
Other Drugs
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.

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