People have been under the impression that the recreational drug “Molly” (a.k.a. MDMA - a pure version of ecstasy) is mostly harmless, producing a high that allows users to enjoy feelings of euphoria, heightened senses, and uninhibited displays of emotion without the severity of an overdose or other serious side effects.
Molly was even prescribed to patients back in the ‘70s as a psychotherapy drug to help patients better communicate their concerns to their doctors without feeling as inhibited, but as soon as usage of Molly became more popular outside of a trusted and therapeutic setting, the DEA banned it. However, Molly has actually been employed in recent years to treat adult patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, terminal cancer, and autism-related social anxiety.
Despite enjoying what can be up to seven hours of happy feelings after taking Molly, users can also experience unpleasant side effects like paranoia and anxiety (the very emotions it is supposed to quell), as well as depression, loss of appetite, and teeth grinding, among others.
The street version of Molly is a different story, as it is often laced with acetaminophen, amphetamines, and even ketamine, the latter of which is an ingredient found in anesthesia which can be deadly in large doses.
Molly, which grew in popularity back in 2004, used to be more of a “club drug” that would allow its users to dance for hours without feeling the need to stop or slow down as they enjoyed the highs of the music and the company of those around them.
Now Molly has become more of a mainstream drug, with visits to the emergency room increasing to 128 percent between 2005 and 2011 among its users aged 21 and younger. The danger, says Patil Armenian, a University of California physician, is in the dosage, but the problem is that you may not even know how much of a dosage you have consumed until it’s too late.
Pills and powders that are sold under the “Molly” umbrella can be composed of variable ingredients, so it’s impossible to know for sure exactly how strong of a dose you are getting in one shot. Even unlaced Molly - pure MDMA - can cause catastrophic outcomes if you consume too much of it.
Tragically, this is exactly what happened to Shelley Goldsmith, a teenager from Virginia who died a few hours after taking Molly at a club in Washington. Armenian explained that when people die from taking Molly, it’s usually because they have suffered from what is known as “serotonin syndrome,” a condition that causes such symptoms as a rapid heart rate, high fever and blood pressure, and the loss of muscle coordination and consciousness.
Molly users who take antidepressants are at an increased risk of suffering from serotonin syndrome if they take Molly on top of the drugs they’re already taking. This is because the antidepressants are already working to increase the effects of serotonin in their body, so throwing Molly into the mix can have deadly consequences.
Also dangerous is the atmosphere in which Molly is usually consumed: the club. Molly interferes with the body’s internal temperature regulation, so its users can suffer from the high fever mentioned earlier that can be damaging to the body’s internal organs.