What Is Molly and Why It Is Dangerous For Kids?

You may have seen molly take the form of symbolism in the anti-norm film, Dope.

It’s featured in songs and may even appear in that risqué conversation about last night’s shenanigans at the club.

“Popped a molly, I’m sweatin’”

The past several decades have introduced young thrill-seekers to a novelty of euphoric concoctions, most notably: ecstasy.

Ecstasy is typically made in the form of pills, and it’s considered an MDMA duplicate, although most ecstasy pills contain very little or no MDMA at all, according to DrugFreeWorld.

As the popularity of this drug is starting to surface in the party culture, its effects are giving birth to a younger, hipper generation of MDMA known as molly.

To counteract the temporary ban on MDMA in 1984, street dealers began to market ecstasy, a synthetic methamphetamine substance, as candy lookalikes with different animal or word logos. By the time mollies were introduced, the appearance had further evolved into a white powdery substance that was labeled as a more pure version of MDMA.

Yet, when these tablets are dissolved or digested, their pastel exteriors do more than just curb a sweet tooth.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people who purchase mollies may be getting blindsided by their appearance as many molly capsules actually contain bath salts, a similar designer drug to methamphetamines.

Still, molly has an unrelenting hold on festival-goers and young adults throughout the country.

In a Daily Beast article, “Molly: The Dangerous Drug That’s Too Good to Quit,” Adam, a 25-year-old, spoke about his six years of experience of “rolling” in molly. “It was impossible, my mind was racing, and I was super aware of my surroundings,” he said about his hangovers from the drug. “I felt paranoid.”

However, Adam’s comedown experience wasn’t enough to keep him from molly’s seductive cling.   

“The high, he decided, was worth the pain,” said Abby Haglage in The Daily Beast.


As government bans on MDMA become more enforced, there are still loopholes to regulating the designer drugs.

The history of MDMA dates back to 1912 when researchers were using it as a potential treatment for uncontrollable bleeding. The query about MDMA and its effects on users didn’t arise again until the early 1950s when research on the substance began at the University of Michigan for the U.S. Army. By the late 1960s, chemist Alexander Shulgin, also known as the “godfather of ecstasy,” was bringing attention to its psychedelic effects rather than its medicinal purposes, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA.)  

Soon after, Shulgin teamed with psychologist Leo Zeff, who introduced the drug to psychotherapists as a new tool to overcome emotional barriers felt by clients, despite it not being approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Eventually, it was given a new name by a former seminary student, Michael Clegg, who had deemed himself as the “ecstasy missionary.”  

In 1984, Clegg’s business model to sell MDMA was at its peak, reaching half a million users in the Dallas area every month. Although the DEA was alarmed by the growing number of MDMA abusers being fed the drug by doctors, psychologists, and psychotherapists, MDMA was briefly legal in 1988 until it was officially classified as a Schedule 1 drug and permanently banned on March 23, 1988.   

Today, the new generation of MDMA poses new threats to the DEA because of its large synthetic chemical makeup.

According to the CNN article, “9 Things everyone should know about the drug Molly,” most of the chemicals found in molly are made in Chinese labs and discreetly intercepted by U.S. middlemen who cut the substances into a powdery form.

This guerilla method of drug handling only perpetuates a cycle of continuous substance substitution in the drug. “The DEA says it’s seen about 200 individual compounds since 2012. As soon as a compound is discovered and banned, another one is created to take its place,” wrote CNN reporter, Drew Griffin.

In fact, Al Santos, associate deputy administrator for the DEA, said in the article that officials had confiscated packages of the amphetamine with different compound ingredients in each capsule.

“You’re playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds because we’re seeing significant batch-to-batch variances,” Santos said.

Despite its lethal consequences, “Molly” is still attracting first-time drug users to her voluptuous construct, full of pleasure and enhanced sensations.

“It just feels so good. It enhanced the whole experience of being at the party, being drunk,” described Leo, a 25-year-old biochemist, in the Daily Beast article.

Another asset of the drug is its relatively cheap price. Selling cheaper than alcohol and marijuana, molly can be purchased for about $30 to $40 for 100 mg, roughly the amount of powder found in one capsule. The high produced by molly lasts between three to six hours, usually the duration of a rave or festival.

Even with the difficulty of unveiling each substance in molly, the drug is still being sold as a purer form of MDMA than its precedent, ecstasy.

In 2010, the UN World Drug report estimated that around every 10 to 25 million people use molly at least once a year.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 600,000 people ages 12 and older reported using ecstasy or molly in the past month. SAMHSA also reported that the number of ecstasy or molly-involved emergency department visits increased 128 percent from 2005 to 2011.

“People think molly is this flower-child drug,”said Cat Marnell, a 30-year-old former beauty director. “It’s true that it’s not like cocaine in that it doesn’t make you bloated and it doesn’t make your nose raw, but sometimes you take it, and you can’t sleep, or you get really sick. It’s a really hardcore drug.”

People, such as Marnell, who have seen the widespread influence of the MDMA derivative suggest that molly may be the physical symbol of what young adults lack in such a fast-paced culture: human interaction and emotion.

Its contents may hint at why this is the case.


The drugs frequently found in molly are Methylone, MDPV, 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Pentedrone, and MePP.

Molly, a less harmful twist on its actual name “molecular”, contains mostly stimulants that flood the brain with high levels of dopamine and serotonin.

Two of the biggest risk factors of the drug is dehydration and overhydration, which leads to swelling in the brain.

People “rolling” on molly have described the intense happy levels of the drug as surreal.

“When you’re on molly, even a touch on your shoulder feels like a full body massage,” Adam said in the Daily Beast article.

Other not so elating side-effects of molly include:

  •        Confusion
  •        Increased heart rate
  •        Delusion
  •        Convulsions
  •        Organ failure
  •        Hyperthermia
  •        Coma
  •        Death

The chronic abuse of molly or any form of MDMA can cause an onset of depression, fatigue, and hopelessness. Many people will commit suicide or have suicidal thoughts in their experience coming down from the drug. This event has been dubbed as Suicide Tuesday, which refers to a trend of people who get high on Saturday and experience severe depression when they come down from their high that following Tuesday.

Currently, the DEA is still trying to find ways to ban the drug altogether. Most of the chemicals found in molly are still legal in China, although they are being unlawfully used in the U.S. and Europe. The DEA is combating this issue with reference materials for state and local law enforcement and by constantly testing the synthetic compounds found in the drug, according to CNN.


As people become more aware of the dangers behind molly, it is not too late to seek help if you or a loved one is abusing MDMA. At Maryland House Detox, we offer quality treatment in a secure and comfortable environment. Call our 24-7 specialists today at (855) 928-0596 or contact us online to get the help you need to live your young adult life safely, and holistically.

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