MDMA, also referred to as “Molly” or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, is a powerful synthetic drug that is popularly used by young people at raves, nightclubs, large music festivals and dance parties. MDMA abuse involves ingesting, snorting or swallowing crystalline white powder or capsules.
Ecstasy and “Molly” are two kinds of the same drug, both of which contain MDMA. Ecstasy is usually sold in a tablet or pill form that is pressed with different logos and designs, while “Molly” is thought to be the “pure” form of the drug and is typically sold as capsules containing a white crystalline powder.
MDMA can be dangerous when it is replaced – and often is – by a cheaper drug substitute such as “bath salts.” Ecstasy, the tablet form of the drug, is often combined with amphetamines, methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine and other drugs, which can have other harmful effects. People also commonly mix MDMA with marijuana, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, which can also be dangerous.
How Does MDMA Work In The Brain?
MDMA is a popular drug of abuse by young people who attend raves, music festivals and other large dance parties due to its effects that produce a person’s elevated mood, energy, pleasure and enhanced social experiences.
The activity of three brain chemicals – dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine – is increased by MDMA and responsible for producing the drug’s effects, reported the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). According to the NIDA:
- MDMA produces a surge in dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward, which is responsible for increased energy and euphoric effects.
- The emotional closeness, empathy and enhanced social connections that people experience while taking MDMA is primarily due to the drug’s activity of serotonin, a brain chemical associated with sleep, appetite, sexual arousal and mood.
- Norepinephrine, a brain chemical involved in the physiological response to stress, effects cardiovascular activity, resulting in increased blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and alertness.