What is Molly?

Everything You Need To Know About The Drug Called Molly

Learn what you need to know about the drug Molly. The medical uses might surprise you.

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Quick info

Topic Info
Safe in lab studies? Yes, safe in lab studies1
Chemical names 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
Street names Molly, MDMA, X, E, Adam, Mandy, Pingas
Acute risks 🚫 Fake Molly leading to unexpected reaction
🚫 Heat stroke
🚫 Drinking too much water leading to death
Temporary desirable effects (~3 hours) πŸ˜„ Deeper and more understanding conversations with people
πŸ˜„ Extreme euphoria
πŸ˜„ Enhanced empathy2
Temporary side effects (~3-12 hours) 😰 Anxiety
😰 Feeling cold
😰 Thirst
😰 Jaw clenching3
Medical use πŸ‘©β€βš•οΈ Treatment for PTSD in veterans and sexual assault survivors, in combination with therapy, currently in research trials4

1. Ingredients: Most of the “Molly” that the DEA analyzed contained 0% MDMA.

87% of “Molly” analyzed by the DEA between 2009 and 2013 contained 0% MDMA, instead mostly containing “bath salts” like methylone.5

Another group analyzed Molly and MDMA from 2010 to 2015 and found that only 60% contained some MDMA. The most common identifiable ingredient was Methylone, though the majority of adulterants couldn’t be identified with their colorimetric assay.6

Adulterants in MDMA and Molly

Ingredient % of Molly samples that contained some of this substance6
MDMA 60%
Unknown adulterant 43%
Methylone 7%
Other Cathinones 4%
Methamphetamine 3%

Learn more about what’s in Molly.

Therefore, if you’re ever considering using Molly, you will be safer if you buy a test kit so that you can reduce the odds of ingesting an unknown substance.

A photo of pure Molly (MDMA Powder)

This is what pure Molly (MDMA powder) can look like, via Wikipedia

2. Safety: “In laboratory studies, pure MDMA (pure Molly) has been proven sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses”

MAPS states “in laboratory studies, pure MDMA has been proven sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.”1

Relative side effects of MDMA

3. Acute risks: Fake Molly, heat stroke, or drinking too much water

The main acute risks are:

  1. Consuming a substance that is not real MDMA. Many tablets and powders are fake and/or adulterated with other drugs.5 7 8 9

  2. Heat stroke and/or serotonin syndrome. Like all serotonergic drugs, MDMA increases heat stroke risk due to its effects on the hypothalamus, the part of our brain that helps us regulate body temperature.10

  3. Hyponatremia. Generally caused by drinking too much water. MDMA causes water retention.11 Dancing aerobically in hot environments causes dehydration. Overcompensating by drinking too much water can be fatal.

4. Side-effects: Jaw clenching, impaired balance, and anxiety are side effects of pure MDMA in laboratory studies

Side effects during use include (~5-7 hours):3

  • 😰 Jaw clenching
  • 😰 Heavy legs
  • 😰 Lack of appetite
  • 😰 Thirst
  • 😰 Impaired balance
  • 😰 Anxiety
  • 😰 Feeling cold

Not all users experience these side effects. In MDMA research for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety occured in 19% more people who received MDMA vs those who received the placebo pill.12

5. Molly vs MDMA: When people buy Molly, they’re generally hoping to get pure MDMA

Why do people like MDMA/Molly?

  • πŸ˜„ World feels perfect
  • πŸ˜„ Extreme euphoria
  • πŸ˜„ Enhanced empathy
  • πŸ˜„ Deeper and more understanding conversations

“MDMA, Molly or Ecstasy, if pure and taken in a positive envrionment with a positive mindset, can make users feel like the world is perfect, with extreme euphoria, greatly enhanced touch and bodily sensations, and enhanced empathy and enhanced ability to have deeper and more understanding conversations with other people.”2

Brother David Steindl-Rast told the Los Angeles Times the MDMA experience was “like climbing all day in the fog and then suddenly, briefly seeing the mountain peak for the first time. There are no shortcuts to the awakened attitude, and it takes daily work and effort. But the drug gives you a vision, a glimpse of what you are seeking.”13

6. Safety vs other drugs: Molly is not perfectly safe, though it seems to have a lower risk profile than alcohol

Harm reduction expert Emanuel Sferios estimated that he believes there are around 20 Ecstasy-related deaths per year in the US, or about 0.0008% of the ~2.7 million yearly Molly/MDMA/Ecstasy users.14 15

There are about 88,000 yearly alcohol-related deaths in the US per year, or about 0.05% of the 168 million yearly users of alcohol in the US.16 17

Relative side effects of MDMA

7. Medical uses: Pure Molly, containing 100% lab-tested MDMA, is being tested to treat War Veterans and others with PTSD

“Since 2009, more U.S. soldiers have died from suicide than combat.”18 19

“Based on promising results like Mr. Hardin’s, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission Tuesday for large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug β€” a final step before the possible approval of Ecstasy as a prescription drug.”4

If you’re a private philanthropist and you want to support this research, please reach out to MAPS.

8. Harm reduction: If you’re planning to take Molly, make sure you follow safer use guidelines to lower your risk

Read this guide - it’s extremely important to do this if you might take molly.


  1. http://www.maps.org/research/mdma?pk_campaign=Newsletter-November2016-WebVersion&pk_kwd=text-research-learn-more-mdma [return]
  2. Overall effects of MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy) / How it makes you feel [return]
  3. Side Effects of MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy) [return]
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/29/us/ptsd-mdma-ecstasy.html [return]
  5. http://www.newsweek.com/2015/04/03/college-kids-are-unknowingly-rolling-bath-salts-316550.html [return]
  6. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881117715596 [return]
  7. http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/10/25/molly_mdma_the_club_drug_is_dangerous_but_not_for_the_reasons_you_d_think.html [return]
  8. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/have-you-seen-molly-even-if-you-think-so-you-may-have-been-fooled [return]
  9. Pharmacological content of tablets sold as “ecstasy”: Results from an online testing service [return]
  10. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-ecstasy/section-ii/6-short-term-adverse-effects [return]
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923534/ [return]
  12. MDMA Investigator’s Brochure (2016) [return]
  13. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0147516374/ [return]
  14. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.0014.TO.ZS?locations=US [return]
  15. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/mdma-ecstasymolly [return]
  16. https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_DP05&src=pt [return]
  17. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics [return]
  18. Book: Changing Our Minds [return]
  19. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/healing-invisible-wounds-an-action-plan.shtml [return]

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Recommended documentary about MDMA therapy: Trip of Compassion.