Drug and Alcohol

MDMA: What Does Molly Look Like?

MDMA: What Does Molly Look Like?

What does Molly look like? We answer that question and more in our blog. Learn about Molly, its dangers, the risks of counterfeit pills, and more.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

March 27, 2023

MDMA addiction is an issue in the United States. MDMA addiction can have serious physical and psychological consequences. Addiction to MDMA can also have adverse social effects, such as strained friendships with friends and family, challenges at work, and legal issues.

In the US, several resources are available for people addicted to MDMA. Inpatient drug rehab and outpatient drug rehab programs, drug detox, behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups are available.

By the Numbers:

According to data from National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2021, 2.2 million people over 12 reported using MDMA (Ecstasy), which constitutes 0.8% of the population.

What Is Molly?

Molly is a street name for MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), a psychoactive drug classified as a synthetic amphetamine. It is also commonly known as ecstasy or Molly. MDMA is a stimulant and hallucinogenic substance that affects the levels of three neurotransmitters in the brain: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

The drug was initially developed in the early 1900s as a potential medication to control bleeding. However, it was later discovered that the drug had psychoactive effects and could produce euphoria, empathy, and heightened sensations. In the 1970s, MDMA became popular as a recreational drug. Its profile increased even more in the 1990s rave scene.

Molly is usually consumed orally as tablets, capsules, or powders. The effects of MDMA can last for several hours and typically begin within 30 minutes to an hour after consumption. Users commonly report feeling increased energy, emotional warmth, pleasure, and a sense of connection to others. However, some users also experience sensory distortions and altered perceptions of time and space.

MDMA works by increasing the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. The drug also increases dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter involved in motivation and reward, and norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter responsible for the "fight or flight" response.

While Molly can produce positive effects, it also has the potential for negative side effects and long-term health risks. Some of the short-term side effects of MDMA use include dehydration, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, nausea, and sweating. In high doses, Molly can cause hallucinations, seizures, and even death. In addition, long-term use of MDMA can lead to memory problems, depression, and anxiety.

Finally, Molly use is occasionally fatal. The drug increases body temperature, which in a crowded club can cause heat exhaustion and stroke. There have also been cases of dangerous water intoxication due to Molly use. Water intoxication severely depletes the body of sodium, causing life-threatening problems.

MDMA is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical uses. However, researchers are currently exploring the potential therapeutic benefits of MDMA for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions.

Clinical trials have shown promising results, but further research is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of using MDMA as a medication.

How Does Molly Work?

MDMA affects the levels of several neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that carry signals between neurons and specialized cells in the nervous system.


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. MDMA works by increasing the release of serotonin from neurons, causing a flood of serotonin to be released into the synapse, which is the small gap between neurons. The increased serotonin levels create a sense of euphoria, increased sociability, and empathy.


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in motivation and reward. MDMA also increases dopamine release, causing a rush of pleasure and reinforcing the drug's positive effects. Unfortunately, this reinforces drug-seeking behavior and can lead to addiction.


Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter in the body's "fight or flight" response. MDMA increases the levels of norepinephrine, causing increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

MDMA also affects other neurotransmitter systems, such as glutamate and GABA. These systems are involved in regulating mood, cognition, and behavior.

MDMA can have both short-term and long-term effects on the brain. In the short term, MDMA can cause a depletion of serotonin levels in the brain, leading to mood changes, memory problems, and cognitive deficits. The brain can recover from this depletion over time, but repeated drug use can cause long-term damage to serotonin-producing neurons.

Thus, MDMA works by increasing the levels of several neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which cause euphoria, sociability, and empathy. However, the drug also has adverse effects on the brain and can cause long-term damage with repeated use.

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What Are the Symptoms of MDMA Addiction?

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is a psychoactive drug that alters one's state of mind. Although MDMA is not considered as physically addictive as other drugs like heroin or cocaine, it can still lead to psychological dependence and addiction.

The symptoms of MDMA addiction can vary from person to person, but some common signs and symptoms of MDMA addiction include:

  • Cravings: A strong desire to use MDMA even when not using it regularly or in large amounts

  • Tolerance: The need to take increasingly larger doses of MDMA to experience the desired effects

  • Withdrawal: The experience of unpleasant physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop or reduce MDMA use, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, fatigue, and decreased appetite

  • Continued use despite negative consequences: Using MDMA even when it leads to negative consequences like relationship problems, financial difficulties, legal issues, or physical and mental health problems.

  • Preoccupation with MDMA: Spending a significant amount of time thinking about, obtaining, and using MDMA

  • Loss of interest in other activities: Losing interest in hobbies, social activities, or responsibilities due to preoccupation with MDMA use

  • Changes in behavior: Changes in behavior such as becoming more secretive, dishonest, or distant from loved ones.

  • Using MDMA to cope with stress or emotions: Using MDMA as a way to escape from problems or cope with negative emotions like anxiety, depression, or stress.

Although addiction is not guaranteed for everyone who uses MDMA, it can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Therefore, you or a loved one should get professional assistance from a healthcare physician or addiction specialist if you or they exhibit signs of MDMA addiction.

What Are the Reasons for Molly Abuse?

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is a psychoactive drug that alters one's state of mind. Although it is not as physiologically addictive as heroin or cocaine, psychological dependence, and addiction can develop. 

There are various reasons why people abuse Molly, including:

To Enhance Experiences

Many people use Molly to enhance their experiences of social gatherings, parties, or concerts. Molly use can produce euphoria, increased sociability, empathy, and intimacy with others, making social events more enjoyable.

To Cope With Negative Emotions

Some people use Molly to cope with negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, or stress. MDMA can produce feelings of relaxation, calmness, and reduced inhibition, which can help users feel better temporarily.

To Enhance Sexual Experiences

MDMA use can increase libido and reduce inhibitions, leading some individuals to use it to enhance sexual experiences.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be a powerful motivator for drug use, including Molly. People may use MDMA to fit in with a social group or to please friends who use the drug.


Some individuals may use Molly out of curiosity to see the drug's effects.

Misconceptions About Safety

Many believe Molly is safe because it is not as physically addictive as other drugs like heroin or cocaine. However, Molly can still have serious side effects, including dehydration, hyperthermia, and serotonin syndrome, which can be life-threatening in some cases. Also, buying street drugs like Molly is inherently risky. Counterfeit pills are a danger; a tab of Molly might contain another drug, such as fentanyl.


As with any drug, some people may become addicted to Molly, leading to continued use despite negative consequences.

What Are the Side Effects of MDMA Abuse?

Although it is occasionally used therapeutically in medical settings, Molly is also a substance that is frequently abused and has adverse consequences that can be life-threatening. The following are some of the common side effects of MDMA abuse:

  • Dehydration: Molly use can lead to dehydration, which can cause symptoms such as dry mouth, thirst, and headache. This is why people sometimes drink dangerous amounts of water when on Molly.

  • Hyperthermia: Molly can cause a dangerous increase in body temperature, known as hyperthermia or heatstroke. Symptoms can include sweating, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, and confusion.

  • Organ damage: Molly can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and other organs over time. Prolonged use can also lead to cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

  • Memory problems: Molly use can cause short-term and long-term memory problems and difficulty with learning and concentration.

  • Anxiety and depression: Molly use can trigger anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, particularly in people with a history of mental illness.

  • Sleep disturbances: Molly use can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders.

  • Dental problems: Molly use can cause teeth grinding and clenching, leading to dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Seizures: In rare cases, Molly use can trigger seizures, which can be life-threatening.

  • Overdose: Molly overdose can cause many symptoms, including high blood pressure, seizures, and heart failure, and can be fatal in some cases.

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How Long Does Molly Stay in the System?

The length of time that MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) stays in the system can vary depending on several factors, including the dose taken, the individual's metabolism, and other factors such as age, weight, and overall health. Generally speaking, MDMA can be detected in the body for several days after use.

The following is a breakdown of how long MDMA can be detected in different parts of the body:

Blood Test for MDMA

In a blood test, Molly can be detected for up to 24 hours after use.

Urine Test for MDMA

Molly can be detected in a urine test for up to 3-4 days after use, although this can vary depending on the dose taken and individual metabolism.

Saliva Test for MDMA

Molly can be detected in saliva for 1-2 days after use.

Hair Test for MDMA

MDMA can be detected in hair for up to 90 days after use, although this test is not commonly used for drug screening.

The effects of MDMA might persist even after the drug is no longer present in the body. For instance, a few days after ingesting Molly, some people may experience prolonged mood swings or other psychological impacts.

Molly is a banned substance, and using it can have adverse effects on your health that could be deadly.

Recovery From MDMA Addiction

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic substance that affects perception and mood. Because of its euphoric effects, it is frequently used recreationally in social contexts under ecstasy and Molly. However, prolonged or repeated use of MDMA can result in addiction and impairment of the user's physical, psychological, and social well-being.

A holistic approach that addresses the addiction's physical, psychological, and social facets is required for MDMA addiction recovery. The recovery process may differ depending on the severity of the addiction, the person's general health, and the treatment options available. 

Here are some steps and approaches that are commonly used in the recovery from MDMA addiction:

Medical Detox

The first step in treating MDMA addiction is to undergo medical detoxification. This process involves the gradual withdrawal of the drug while managing the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal. This is often done under the supervision of medical professionals in a specialized detox center or hospital.

Behavioral Therapy

Once the individual has completed detox, they may benefit from different types of behavioral therapy. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors, and motivational interviewing, which helps individuals resolve ambivalence and increase motivation for change. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is also a very useful form of talk therapy.

Support Groups

Support groups can help provide individuals with a sense of community and support as they recover from addiction. These groups offer a non-judgmental environment where individuals can share their experiences and learn from others who have gone through similar struggles.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

In some cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be recommended to help individuals manage the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal. This may involve the use of medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is an essential part of recovery. This includes regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, sleeping well, and avoiding triggers that may lead to drug use. Individuals may also benefit from hobbies and activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Continued Support

Recovery from MDMA addiction is a lifelong process, and individuals may benefit from ongoing support to maintain their sobriety. This may involve regular counseling or therapy sessions, participation in support groups, and continued lifestyle changes.

Thus, recovery from MDMA addiction requires a holistic approach that addresses addiction's physical, psychological, and social aspects.

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Avoid Counterfeit Molly Pills & Other Dangers: Get Treated for MDMA Addiction at The Edge Treatment Center

There are serious risks to buying and using club drugs like Molly: accidental poisoning, MDMA overdose, heatstroke, and more. The Edge Treatment Center specializes in providing comprehensive treatment for Molly addiction. Our drug rehab offers a safe and supportive environment where people can receive behavioral counseling, undergo medical detoxification, and medication-assisted treatment.

To foster a sense of community and accountability, we provide frequent counseling or therapy sessions and promote participation in support groups. We proudly offer a dedicated LGBTQIA+ process group.

Tired of Molly abuse? Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today!

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.