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Is There a Difference Between Molly and Ecstasy?

Drug dealer at spring break party selling molly to a teenager  

Molly and ecstasy are both considered teen party drugs. Teenagers may take them before attending concerts or other social events to get a euphoric feeling or increased sensations, especially touch. But what are molly and ecstasy? Are they the same drug or are they different? While they do contain the same underlying chemical, which causes the euphoric effects, molly and ecstasy are slightly different and have unique properties that distinguish them.

Both are of concern when it comes to teen drug abuse. Because of the way that both ecstasy and molly act on the brain, and the euphoric feelings they cause, they can be highly addictive.

Are Molly and Ecstasy the Same Thing?

Both molly and ecstasy contain the chemical compound 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA. MDMA causes euphoria by increasing chemicals in the brain that affect mood, emotions, energy, appetite and sleep. Molly is different from ecstasy in that molly contains pure MDMA and ecstasy has fillers added to it. They will both have the same effect because they both contain the same active ingredient: MDMA. Therefore, both names are used to describe the chemical compound MDMA, despite them having slight differences.

Appearance Differences Between Ecstasy and Molly

What is the difference between ecstasy and molly? The main difference between ecstasy and molly is their appearance and how the drugs are made. The drug molly looks like an off-white, or white powder or crystal, that is sometimes sold in a capsule. It gets its name from being the pure or “molecular” form of the drug. Ecstasy looks like a powder that has been pressed into a pill and usually contains fillers in addition to the pure drug.

Dangers of Molly and Ecstasy

Teen ecstasy use may be more common than one would think. In a 2018 survey of teenagers in 8th to 12th grade, 1.6% of 8th graders and 4.1% of 12th graders had tried MDMA in their lifetime. Both molly and ecstasy can be dangerous due to their effects on the brain and body.

MDMA interacts with pathways in the brain to increase the availability of neurotransmitters that regulate many different processes such as emotions, energy and mood. It can also make a person feel “high” or euphoric. When people crave that feeling, it can be highly addictive. Additionally, MDMA affects normal body functions like heart rate and temperature regulation, making it extremely dangerous to take too much of it.

In addition to the dangerous effects of molly and ecstasy, neither drug is legal. Therefore, their production is not regulated. There have been reports of ecstasy pills being filled with dangerous compounds, as well as reports of molly containing a completely different chemical but being sold under the same name. In either case, the added compounds can have harmful effects. Some of the substances that have been mixed with MDMA without people knowing are methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine (a potent sedative) and the cough suppressant DXM.

If you, someone you know, or your teenager is using molly or ecstasy, Next Generation Village is here to help. We have comprehensive treatment programs specific to teens that are struggling with a substance use disorder. Contact Next Generation Village today to speak with a representative about getting the help you need.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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