What happens when we use MDMA?
People who use it usually take it as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form or snort the powder. The popular nickname Molly (slang for “molecular”) often refers to the supposedly “pure” crystalline powder form of it, usually sold in capsules. However, people who purchase powder or capsules sold as Molly often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones. When swallowed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine and stomach. When snorted, the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the membranes in the nose, and when injected, it goes directly into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it travels to the brain.
MDMA increases the release of naturally occurring chemicals in our brain that play a role in regulating our mood and energy level. We may feel energetic and exhilarated, peaceful and loving. But the effects of MDMA can be different for different people. Instead of feeling happy and content, some of us may feel anxious or nervous. Some of the factors that can influence how MDMA will affect us include our
- past experiences with the drug,
- present mood and surroundings, and
- mental and physical health condition.
Impact on well-being
MDMA use can have positive effects but it can also be harmful to our well-being. For instance, many people who use MDMA say it helps them dance for a long time. But combining MDMA with dancing in a hot room may lead to a dangerous increase in body temperature and loss of body fluid. The consequences can be life-threatening and include cardiovascular, kidney and liver impairment. And since it is not possible to know the purity and content of the drug, we can accidentally use too much or ingest another dangerous substance.
Using it can also be both beneficial and harmful to our social lives. Small amounts of MDMA may help us feel more confident and outgoing when socializing. But increased openness and affection may lead us to take risks such as having unprotected sex. And using more than moderate amounts can make us feel anxious, affecting our interactions with others.
Studies on the effects of it over time are inconclusive. MDMA use is associated with negative effects on memory. But some researchers suggest the impact may be minimal. Research suggests a link between MDMA use and depression. But it is not clear how much of the association is based on it and how much is due to other factors such as vulnerability to depression.
What are the effects of MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) use?
MDMA stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters such as serotonin from brain neurons, producing a high that lasts from 3 to 6 hours, but its length can be variable based on the user. The drug’s rewarding effects vary with the individual taking it, the dose, purity, and the environment in which it is taken. Repeat doses are often used in the sane day or night.
MDMA can produce stimulant effects such as an enhanced sense of pleasure and self-confidence and increased energy. Its psychedelic effects include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy.