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The Truth Behind Molly

3,4-Methylenedioxy-Methamphetamine a.k.a. MDMA, a.k.a. Molly, a.k.a. Ecstasy, although relatively a new drug — only being around for about 40 years or so, originally created for medicinal purposes — has quickly become the drug of choice for Generation-Y.

And for a good reason too: it makes us happy. Unfortunately, right after that we become miserable for a few days — maybe weeks. Molly was outlawed in the U.S. back in 1985 by the DEA, but nevertheless has managed to become a part of our culture and part of the "teen experience" of growing up.

How bad is Ecstasy for you exactly? Well, like all things in life, there’s the good and then there’s bad. It’s sort of like our moms always used to say: too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

I have to say that finding research on the topic was a bit more difficult than I expected. I found a bunch of facts about the drug itself, which I will share with you so that you know exactly what it is that you are dealing with, and on the effects it has on the body.

However, I have to admit that finding conclusive evidence of the danger of Molly was rather hard. But let’s start out with some of the basics. I’m going to assume that you all know that MDMA is taken either in capsule or pill form and that the effects of the drug literally give you the feeling of being consumed by ecstasy. Let’s move on to what really matters: the effects the drug has on your body and your brain.

The main effect that MDMA has on the brain is in regards to three neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. The emotional effects as well as the increased sociability and mood change is all credited to the release of a large amount of serotonin, causing the release of the hormone vasopressin and oxytocin, which have important roles in trust, sexual arousal and social interaction, as well as love.

This is also believed to account for the empathy produced by this drug. MDMA causes serotonin to surge through your brain making you feel happy and leaving you energized. Afterwards, however, your brain becomes depleted of serotonin so becoming content or happy directly after consumption of MDMA proves to be difficult and may remain so for weeks. There have been reports of some heavy users experiencing long-lasting confusion, sleep abnormalities and depression.

Some short-term effects of taking MDMA include an increased heart rate and increased blood pressure, urinary retention, increased body temperature and possible erectile dysfunction in males — which really sucks because you will be horny as a goat and soft as a Twinkie. What’s more important to worry about, however, are the adverse effects that taking ecstasy may have.

It is important to keep in mind that most of these effects are very rare, although several factors greatly increase the risk. The most common serious cases of overdosing on MDMA occurs when MDMA is mixed with other drugs or if taken with preexisting medical problems.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that when people take MDMA in the form of an ecstasy pill, the pill is mixed with other drugs — sometimes MDMA isn’t even present in the pill — not knowing what you are consuming is rather dumb. So first thing to remember is that if you are going to take ecstasy, then know where you are getting it from.

Those taking large amounts of MDMA for extended periods of time may lead to hypernatremia — low blood sodium levels. People tend to overhydrate when rolling on E. This causes water intoxication, thinning the blood and causing possible swelling of the brain.

Another problem is dehydration. You don’t want to be dehydrated, but you must also make sure that your water to sodium ratio levels remain the same. It seems counterintuitive, but it's true: people rolling on E will either drink too much to keep hydrated and put themselves into danger, or not drink enough and become dehydrated. Your best bet would be to drink sport drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.

Hypernatremia may cause death. The second most prominent death from a MDMA overdose is Hyperthermia: overheating. MDMA will raise your body temperature, if taken in large amounts for extended periods of time, your core temperature could rise to 42 degrees Celsius (107.6ºF), shutting down your major organs and causing death.

This most often happens when users mix MDMA with other drugs. However, most people do not experience any short-term adverse effects. Most people just roll, have a good time and move on with their lives.

Dr. Julie Holland said:

"Not only are MDMA related cases a small percentage of all drug-related emergency room visits, but a large percentage of MDMA cases are not life-threatening. In a recent study conducted by the physicians in the Emergency Department of Bellevue, (Rella, Int J Med Toxicol 2000; 3(5): 28) regional hospital ecstasy cases phoned into the New York City poison control center were analyzed. There were 191 cases reported during the years 1993 to 1999 inclusive. This is a rate of fewer than thirty cases per year. 139 cases (73%) were mild and experienced minor or no toxicity. The most commonly reported symptoms were increased heart rate (22%), agitation (19%), and nausea and vomiting (12%). In these seven years, only one ecstasy-related death was reported, which was due to hyperthermia, or overheating.”

This is the main reason why Molly is so popular among celebrities and simple people alike; it makes you feel good with minimal risk of harm. Of course, everyone reacts to drugs differently and not being sure of what you are taking heightens your chances of damaging your body or brain. Likewise, mixing drugs ought to be avoided. If you decide to roll, then stick to rolling — don’t mix.

Truth be told, there isn’t any conclusive evidence — at least none that I came across — that proved any permanent effects on the human brain from continuous use of the drug. Some of the longer lasting effects like serotonergetic neurotoxicity (changes in the neurons that make serotonin.) and behavioral & psychiatric problems may present themselves, but full recovery after prolonged abstinence has generally been found. However, taking too much too often can damage your stomach as well as your liver.

Currently, Molly has been trending amongst the teens of the world, especially with the sudden boom of EDM and the relative music festivals. This article is not written in order to ward you away from MDMA, nor to suggest that you ought to take it. I am writing this simply so that you understand exactly what it is that you are ingesting and the common effects.

Although research into permanent damage caused by MDMA is inconclusive, there have been deaths. Sure, only 1 in 7 years, but that is still 1 too many. If you do decide to take E, then make sure you can trust the person giving it to you to be knowledgeable enough about what it is that they are giving to you and make certain that you watch out for dehydration and water intoxication.

It’s always fun and games until someone gets hurt — then it just all sucks. Watch out for yourself and watch out for your friends, or just avoid drugs entirely.

Paul Hudson | Elite. 

For more from Paul, follow him on Twitter @MrPaulHudson