What Does Molly Look Like?
Molly is the powdered or crystalized form of the drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. Ecstasy is normally sold in the form of small colored pills, usually with the imprint of a logo or a cartoon or other character. Molly is sold in capsule form or simply as a powder in a small plastic bag. The full chemical name of MDMA is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
Molly was originally sold with the claim that it was “pure MDMA” after it became known that pills sold as Ecstasy often contained other very dangerous drugs. While dangerous reactions and even deaths have been attributed to pure MDMA, the other synthetic substances adulterating the pills sold as MDMA are even more dangerous.
There’s no way of identifying Molly just from its appearance. That was always the problem with Ecstasy as well. Dance venues and music festivals sometimes have a tent or booth where you can test your drugs for purity. But a test showing that a pill or powder contains only MDMA is absolutely no guarantee of safety because healthy people who have taken only MDMA occasionally have fatal reactions to the drug.
What Other Substances Might Be in a Batch of MDMA or Molly?
Molly was supposed to be a solution for a person who wanted to know what to expect when they consumed what they thought was MDMA. Possibly some of the first Molly on the market was pure MDMA but if so, it didn’t last long. A person manufacturing illicit drugs seldom has any concern about their customers and so will use whatever drug he has to hand that will make people high and make him plenty of money.
Here’s some of the substances that might be found in powders or pills being called Molly or MDMA:
- Methylone (methylenedioxymethcathinone) and MDA (methylene-dioxymethamphetamine) are drugs that are chemically similar to MDMA but with some different effects.
- Commonly-abused drugs methamphetamine, cocaine and the cough suppressant dextromethorphan
- Ketamine, an animal anesthetic and drug abused for its dissociative effects
- PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine) and PMMA (paramethoxymethamphetamine), both stimulants with hallucinogenic qualities.
- A few substances from the category of drugs nicknamed “bath salts” have been found, such as MDPV (methylene-dioxyprovalerone) and 4-MEC (4-methyl-n-ethylcathinone).
A five-year long research project found that out of 529 samples of MDMA, only 60% contained any MDMA at all. The most common adulterants were bath salts. In 121 of the samples, researchers could not even determine what the drugs were. A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration said that among their samples, 80% to 90% of the substances that were supposed to be MDMA were actually something else.
A doctor at the UCLA School of Medicine summed up the situation this way: “Ecstasy had terrible reliability and it's the same with Molly. Though it's being marketed as pure MDMA, it's a hoax.”
One sample of supposed Molly tested in 2017 showed these results:
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM, a substance used by some people to alleviate pain)
- 25C-NBOMe (a psychedelic drug)
What Is Pink Molly?
There is little official information on this form of the drug. A 2016 law enforcement report from Nevada identifies Pink Molly as a highly potent form of MDMA that is packaged in smaller-than-usual capsules.
Online forums where drug users discuss their experiences usually identify Pink Molly as methylone. Pink Molly can also be the result of a drug dealer coloring his product with food coloring as a branding tactic. A person who likes their experience on Pink Molly may go back to the same drug dealer looking for more pink product, no matter what it might contain this time.
Deaths Resulting from Ecstasy or Molly
Whatever form it comes in, MDMA can cause very bad reactions and even deaths. Take a look at the chemical name of this drug:
You can see that it is related to the street drug methamphetamine. This makes MDMA a very strong stimulant.
MDMA is often taken at dance clubs, nightclubs and music festivals. In some of these venues, it is not easy to take care of yourself. When a person dances for hours and doesn’t drink enough cold water, he or she can become overheated and dehydrated. That’s enough to cause serious and life-threatening problems. A user’s temperature may skyrocket, triggering organ breakdown that causes death.
People take Molly or Ecstasy not only for the euphoric effects, but also because their sensations of touch, hearing and sight are heightened. Music venues know this and hand out light sticks so people can enjoy the sight of lights moving through the space, and they have elaborate light shows to further titillate people’s senses.
MDMA is known as an empathogen and an entactogen—a drug that produces feelings of empathy, openness and emotional communion and an increased enjoyment of touch. But the sensations from this drug aren’t so pleasant when you come down from it.
In other words, that pleasurable time comes with a serious price tag. Research on MDMA shows that use of the drug causes degenerative changes in the brain. Depletion of important neurotransmitters contributes to negative aftereffects that many people suffer after they come down from this drug. A desire to alleviate these effects can make a person reach for more of the drug. And that is exactly how addiction starts.
Those who use MDMA regularly often experience poor memory, depression, confusion, anxiety and paranoia. That’s a very high price to pay for a few hours of artificial pleasure while dancing at a nightclub or music festival.