MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) | Ambrosia Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center
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MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)

MDMA, also popularly known as Ecstasy or Molly, is a trending club drug used amongst young adults and teenagers. MDMA produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others and distortions in sensory and time perception. In 1985, MDMA became classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug, meaning the “most dangerous”, after being used in the 1970’s for psychotherapy practices. Despite the Schedule I status, MDMA is still largely used at music festivals, concerts and clubs. The average starting age of abuse is 20 years old.

Adam, Clarity, Speed, Uppers
Colorful tablets with imprinted logos, capsules, powder, liquid
Swallowed, Snorted

Health Effects

Short-Term Effects

The effects of MDMA can last anywhere between 3 to 6 hours, including:

  • rapid heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • muscle tension
  • involuntary teeth clenching
  • nausea
  • blurred vision
  • faintness
  • cold sweats
High Doses
In high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and can cause liver, kidney or cardiovascular failure or even death.

The History of MDMA

Although MDMA has become popularized in modern music (Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop", French Montana's "Molly"), the drug was originally synthesized in 1912 by a drug manufacturing company, Merck.
MDMA's psychoactive effects were used later on in 1976 by a biochemist, Alexander Shulgin during a psychotherapeutic practice. The empathetic effects of the drug were reported in 1985 to the Food and Drug Administration, classifying it as a Schedule I controlled substance with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.

Long-Term Effects

MDMA affects the body by releasing large amounts of serotonin into the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, sleep, and appetite. Serotonin also releases hormones such as oxytocin and vasopressin which arouse love, trust, and sexual pleasure.

Because of the neurotransmitters and hormones that play a part in the overall effect of MDMA, the emotional warmth and closeness towards others can be intense.

The effects of MDMA last about 3-6 hours, although many users take more than one dose.

MDMA depletes the brain of the necessary chemical serotonin, replacing the neurotransmitter with synthetic versions of the same degree. After a time of not using the substance, the serotonin can be restored slowly. The depletion of serotonin can cause adverse effects such as:

  • confusion
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • drug craving
  • anxiety

More Details on MDMA

How is MDMA made?

MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA can be chemically compounded with a mixture of substances like LSD, bath salts, meth, cocaine and heroin.

What is withdrawal from MDMA like?

People who use MDMA repeatedly often become physically and psychologically dependent on the substance. If used more frequently, the withdrawal symptoms may be more severe compared to only one use. MDMA stays in the body 1 to 3 days after the last use.


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