Drug and Alcohol

Molly: What it is, What it Looks Like, & Why it’s Dangerous

What is Molly? Our blog takes a deep dive into this club drug. Learn about its effects, potential addiction, dangers, and more.

What is Molly?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

July 13, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Molly is often associated with recreational use, but it is illegal in many countries and carries various health risks. With regular use, the body develops tolerance to Molly, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This escalating use pattern is a hallmark of addiction and can contribute to more severe health risks.

MDMA addiction can result in neglect of essential responsibilities such as work, school, and personal relationships. Individuals may start prioritizing drug use over their obligations and lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. 

There are no specific medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating MDMA addiction currently. It is crucial to seek healthcare professionals specializing in addiction medicine to determine the appropriate use of medications in individual cases.

Stats About Molly:

2.2 million adults over the age of 12 reported using MDMA (Ecstasy) in 2021, making up 0.8% of the population, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

What is Molly?

Molly, also known as MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is a synthetic psychoactive drug in the amphetamine and psychedelic classes. It gained popularity as a recreational drug in the late 20th century due to its euphoric effects. Molly is associated with the EDM and rave scenes.

Molly is usually consumed orally in tablets or capsules, although it can also be found as a powder or in crystal form.

What Does Molly Feel Like?

Chemically, Molly is a derivative of amphetamine and has both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. Its primary effect is the release of large amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain, leading to increased feelings of empathy, emotional warmth, and a heightened sense of well-being. It also enhances sensory perception, including touch, sound, and light, making music and social interactions more pleasurable.

Molly's effects typically begin within 30 to 45 minutes after ingestion and can last for several hours. Users describe the experience as a combination of increased energy, emotional openness, heightened sensory perception, and connectedness with others.

Many people use Molly in social settings like parties, clubs, or music festivals due to its ability to enhance social interactions and promote a sense of unity.

What are the Different Ways in Which Molly is Consumed?

MDMA is consumed orally, but it can be ingested in various forms. Here are the different ways in which Molly is consumed:

Oral Consumption

The most common and straightforward method of consuming Molly is swallowing it in pill or capsule form. These pills are colorful and stamped with unique logos or designs. The MDMA content in each pill can vary, and users usually take a single dose, although some may take more for stronger effects. The onset of effects typically occurs within 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.

Powdered Form

Molly is sometimes available as a powdered substance, which can be either pure or mixed with other substances. People may ingest the powder directly by swallowing it or mixing it with a beverage or food. Some people also prefer to place the powder inside a small piece of paper, known as a "bomb" or "parachute," and swallow it like a pill.

Crystal Form

Molly can be found in crystals or rocks. This form of MDMA is often referred to as "Molly rocks" or "moon rocks." The consequences of crystal Molly are similar to other forms, but the potency may vary depending on the purity and composition of the crystals.


Some individuals choose to snort Molly. In this method, the powder or crushed crystals are divided into lines and then inhaled through the nostrils using rolled-up paper or straw—Snorting MDMA results in a more rapid onset of effects but a shorter duration than oral ingestion.

Rectal Administration

A less popular method of Molly consumption is rectal administration, also known as plugging. In this approach, MDMA is dissolved in a liquid and then inserted into the rectum using a syringe or an oral medication syringe without the needle. This method allows for rapid absorption and can produce intense effects, but it is not commonly practiced due to its inconvenience and potential risks.

The purity and composition of Molly can vary significantly, which increases the potential for harmful side effects and unintended consequences. 

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What are the Symptoms of MDMA Addiction?

Molly is commonly associated with the party and rave culture due to its euphoric effects and the ways it creates a feeling of connection with others. However, the repeated and excessive use of Molly can cause addiction, characterized by a range of physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. Some of the detailed symptoms of MDMA addiction:

Cravings and Preoccupation

Individuals addicted to Molly often experience intense cravings for the drug. They may constantly think about using Molly and find it difficult to focus on other aspects of their life.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When individuals addicted to Molly try to quit or reduce their usage, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include depression, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and an increased appetite.

Social and Relationship Problems

Addicted individuals may face conflicts with family members, friends, or partners due to their drug use. They may become increasingly isolated, preferring the company of fellow users or drug-seeking behaviors over maintaining healthy relationships.

Physical Health Issues

Chronic use of Molly has various physical health problems. Some common symptoms include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, rapid breathing, excessive sweating, muscle tension, and jaw clenching. Over time, these physical symptoms can worsen and lead to cardiovascular problems or other medical complications.

Mood Disturbances

MDMA addiction can cause significant mood disturbances. Individuals may experience frequent mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression. They may also have difficulty experiencing pleasure without the drug, leading to anhedonia (the inability to feel joy or happiness).

Financial Difficulties

Sustaining a Molly addiction can be expensive, as the drug is typically sold illegally at high prices. Addicted individuals may face financial problems, including financial instability, debt, or resorting to illegal activities to support their drug habit.

Loss of Control

Despite negative consequences, individuals may have unsuccessful attempts at quitting or reducing their usage. They may continue to use Molly despite knowing the potential risks and negative impact on their life.

Psychological Distress

Addiction to Molly can cause significant psychological distress. Individuals may feel trapped, experience guilt or shame about their drug use, or develop co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, or substance-induced psychosis.

What are the Consequences of Taking Molly?

While MDMA can produce pleasurable effects, it also carries potential risks and adverse effects. Here are the details:

Euphoria and Increased Empathy

Users often experience increased sociability, empathy, and emotional openness. These effects can promote a sense of connection with others and enhance interpersonal relationships. However, in some environments, this can put someone at risk for assault or worse.

Enhanced Mood and Reduced Anxiety

Molly can induce a state of elevated mood and decreased anxiety. Many users report feelings of contentment, happiness, and emotional warmth while under the influence of the drug.

Increased Sociability

Another effect of MDMA is increased sociability. Users often feel more comfortable conversing, expressing their emotions, and forming connections. This effect has led to using MDMA in therapeutic settings to facilitate communication and empathy in psychotherapy.

Cognitive Effects

While MDMA can enhance mood and sociability, it can also affect cognitive function. These effects can impair tasks requiring complex thinking and may persist until after the drug's acute effects have worn off.


It's possible to overdose on MDMA. Also, there's a massive risk to buying and using club drugs like Molly.


MDMA can cause dehydration due to increased body temperature and excessive sweating. Users are often advised to maintain adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration, especially in hot environments or strenuous physical activities.

There’s a dangerous side to this, however. There is a case of a woman who died from water intoxication after drinking so much water while on MDMA she diluted her system.

Mood Swings and Emotional Instability

After the initial euphoric effects wear off, some individuals may experience a comedown or "crash." Feelings of depression, irritability, and fatigue characterize this phase. In addition, the brain's serotonin levels can be temporarily depleted after MDMA use, contributing to these negative feelings.

How Long Does Molly Stay in the System?

Several factors, including metabolic rate, quantity, frequency of usage, and testing method, affect how long it stays in the body. The half-life of Molly, which is the time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the body to decrease by half, is approximately 6 to 7 hours. This means that after this period, roughly half of the ingested MDMA has been eliminated.

However, certain metabolites may still be detectable even after the drug has been metabolized and eliminated.

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How Long Do People Feel the Effects of Molly?

The effects experienced after taking Molly typically last between 3 to 6 hours, but individual experiences may vary. After the effects wear off, the drug is broken down by the liver through a process called metabolism. The primary metabolic pathway for MDMA involves the enzymes CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. These enzymes convert MDMA into various metabolites, including MDA (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine), which has psychoactive properties.

Molly and its metabolites are eliminated primarily through urine, although small amounts can also be excreted through sweat, feces, and saliva. The drug's elimination half-life can range from 8 to 24 hours, meaning it can take several days for MDMA to be completely cleared from the body.

Molly and Drug Tests: How Long Does Molly Show Up on Drug Tests?

When it comes to drug testing, Molly's detection window depends on the test type being used. Some of the common testing methods and their associated detection windows:

Urine Test for Molly

MDMA can be detected in urine for up to 2 to 4 days after use. 

Blood Test for Molly

MDMA is typically detectable in blood for a shorter period compared to urine. It can be detected within the first few hours after ingestion and up to 1 to 2 days, but the exact duration can vary.

Saliva Test for Molly

Molly can be detected in saliva within the first few hours after use and up to 1 to 2 days. 

Hair Follicle Test for Molly

This type of test has the longest detection window. MDMA and its metabolites can be detected in hair follicles for up to 90 days or even longer, depending on the rate of hair growth.

Treatment of Addiction to Molly

MDMA or ecstasy is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Addiction to Molly can have severe physical, psychological, and social consequences, and it is important to seek professional help for its treatment. Various treatment options for addiction to Molly are:


The first step in treating addiction to Molly is often detoxification, which involves clearing the drug from the body. During this process, the individual may experience withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, and cravings. 

Inpatient or Residential Treatment

In some cases, individuals with severe addiction may require inpatient or residential treatment. This involves staying in a specialized facility where they receive comprehensive care and support 24/7. The focus is on addressing the underlying causes of addiction, developing coping skills, and providing a structured and supportive environment for recovery.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs are more flexible, allowing individuals to live at home while attending therapy sessions and other treatment activities. Outpatient programs may vary in intensity and duration, ranging from several hours per week to daily sessions. They involve individual counseling, group therapy, support groups, and educational sessions.

Outpatient treatment can be suitable for individuals with less severe addiction or those who have completed inpatient treatment and need ongoing support.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach in treating addiction. It focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with drug use. Through CBT, individuals learn healthier coping mechanisms, develop strategies to manage cravings and address underlying issues contributing to addiction. CBT may be conducted in both individual and group settings.

Contingency Management

Contingency management is a behavioral therapy approach that provides incentives for abstaining from drug use. Individuals are rewarded with tangible rewards, such as vouchers or prizes, for meeting treatment goals, such as adverse drug tests or attending therapy sessions. This approach has shown effectiveness in promoting abstinence and improving treatment outcomes.

Support Groups

Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or SMART Recovery can be valuable for individuals recovering from addiction. These groups provide a supportive and understanding community where individuals can share their experiences, gain encouragement, and learn from others facing similar challenges.

In addition, support groups can be essential for ongoing support and accountability during and after formal treatment.

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If Your Molly Use is Getting Out of Control, The Forge Recovery Center Can Help

The Forge Recovery Center provides comprehensive treatments that help people overcome their MDMA addiction. Our team of highly experienced nurses, therapists, and counselors work together to offer customized treatment for their specific needs. In addition, our facility provides robust aftercare and counseling services.

We’re committed to helping patients recover and lead a healthy, sober life. If you’d like to learn more about our effective MDMA treatment program, reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today.

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