You or a loved one may be offered molly for a party or a night out. Is snorting molly dangerous, and could a person develop an addiction to it?
What Is Molly?
Molly is the crystal form of MDMA, which stands for methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is a central nervous system stimulant that is potent, and in tablet form is referred to as ecstasy, while in crystalized powder form is known as ‘molly’ or ‘mandy’.
MDMA acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic and can distort time and perception. MDMA is often a key ingredient in party drugs and is used recreationally at raves or dance clubs as it increases pleasure and euphoria, and gives energy.
It does so by increasing the activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain. The higher levels of dopamine make a person feel more euphoric and give them more energy, while norepinephrine causes stimulant effects like increased blood pressure and heart rate. The high amounts of serotonin cause a person to feel more empathy, increases sensory perception, and make a person feel closeness. That is why the synthetic drug ecstasy is sometimes also referred to as the ‘love drug’.
The heightened sensory perception, euphoria, and hallucinogenic effects caused by molly are usually what people seek when abusing the drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration lists the street names of MDMA as Adam, Beans, Biscuit, Clarity, Disco Biscuit, E, Eve, Go, Hug Drug, Lover’s Speed, Peace, STP, X, and XTC.
How Is Molly Taken?
When molly is taken orally, it is usually swallowed as ecstasy pills. Ecstasy tablets are often brightly colored for visual effects.
The crystalline powder or ‘molly’ form is supposedly purer. Snorting molly can produce faster and more intense effects. However, the negative side effects of snorting MDMA are high, and so are the risks.
Effects of Molly
Taking molly causes high energy, creates a positive mood, and increased sensory perception. The first euphoric effects are usually felt around 45 minutes after taking it, and the drug reaches its intense peak another fifteen to twenty minutes after this. Usually, the effects will last between five and six hours, but when snorting ecstasy, it may last only one or two hours.
Snorting molly intensifies the euphoria but also increases the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, very unpleasant side effects, and other negative consequences once the high passes.
Negative Side Effects
Molly or ecstasy use comes with many risks. A person may experience the following adverse effects when taking MDMA, especially in high doses :
- Clenching teeth
- Muscle cramps
- Blurred vision
- Chills and sweating
- Dry mouth
- Lack of appetite
- Memory impairment
- Sexual dysfunction
- Decreased pleasure
- Liver or kidney failure when used over time
Once the body breaks down or metabolized MDMA, the byproducts interfere with the body’s ability to further metabolize MDMA. This means that any additional doses of the drug can cause high blood levels, worsening the toxic effects of MDMA.
Combining MDMA with other drugs or taking it in high doses can increase a person’s chances of experiencing withdrawal symptoms after taking it. An increase in body temperature may cause a person to sweat more than usual, making dehydration occur.
A person may overconsume water as they feel thirsty, causing dangerously low levels of sodium, called hyponatremia. Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- Feeling anxious
- Feeling depressed
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling agitated
- Elevated body temperature
- Trouble concentrating
One aftereffect of MDMA is a ‘crash’ that happens after its use. Feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin will drop after the drug reaches its peak. That causes chemical levels to fall, making a person feel paranoid, tired, anxious, or depressed. The ‘crash’ or comedown usually lasts around three days after the drug was taken, and reaches its peak on the last day.
What Is Serotonin Syndrome
The abnormally high levels of serotonin caused by the drug can put a person at risk for developing serotonin syndrome. The potential side effects of MDMA and this syndrome are what places a person at lethal risk when they snort molly.
This potentially life-threatening condition poses a major risk to brain health and is caused by the deregulation of serotonin levels. While an increase in serotonin can cause euphoria, an excess amount affects the ability of the brain to send important signals to the body.
A build-up of drugs increasing the amount of serotonin in the body can cause a severe drug reaction, which can be fatal if left untreated. Even though mortality of severe serotonin syndrome is estimated to range from 2% to 12%, severe symptoms could occur more commonly.
Serotonin syndrome will present with vomiting, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and an elevated heart rate. But more severe symptoms could occur and include an irregular heart rate, fever, seizures, and a loss of consciousness.
Other symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Muscle twitches or rigidity
Snorting molly may put a person at an increased risk for developing addiction or dependence on it than using it orally. Variables, like the purity of the drug and time taken between doses, play a role in developing dependence, and snorting can cause a person to take the drug more frequently as the ‘high’ does not last as long.
An MDMA addiction can be dangerous and, like other substances, require immediate treatment help. Signs of a molly or ecstasy addiction include:
- Spending a lot of time trying to obtain or using ecstasy
- Experiencing cravings for the drug
- Attempting to reduce or stop using but being unsuccessful
- Ecstasy use interferes with responsibilities at home, work, or socially
- Negative mood or depression when a person is not able to use MDMA/ecstasy
- Continuing use of the drug despite the negative life consequences related to it
- Memory issues
- Cognitive performance deficits
- Problems with sleep
- Lower sex drive
The Dangers of Snorting Molly
The dangers of snorting molly have in part to do with how the drug passes through the body. When ingesting the drug orally, it has to pass through the digestive tract. Snorting MDMA means that blood vessels of the nasal passages absorb it and it reaches the brain more rapidly. This can be life-threatening, as a swelling of the brain, called cerebral edema could occur, as well as cardiovascular failure, seizures, and strokes.
Snorting ecstasy could also mean that the peak of the drug is more intense than with oral administration. Even though rewarding effects are more intense, especially a heightened sensory perception, they wear off faster too. Snorting MDMA, as with snorting other drugs, often cause people to use a lot more of it over a short amount of time because the effects do not last as long. It creates an increased risk of the negative side effects of molly, as well as the chance of suffering an overdose.
An increased rate of drug use can also encourage the development of ecstasy addiction.
Snorting ecstasy or snorting MDMA affects the respiratory system. Nasal passages have frail mucus membranes, and snorting MDMA can damage the delicate nasal tissue. Snorting MDMA could lead to an inflammation of the nasal lining and could block the nasal airways and the respiratory tract. In cases of substance abuse over a longer time, it has caused some people to lose their ability to smell.
A person may experience nose bleeds or have chronic sinus infections, have nasal abscesses, or develop holes in the cartilage of the nose, called septum perforation.
Although viral infections are more common with drug use administered intravenously, they can also occur with snorting. One of the dangers of snorting molly is a higher risk for infections. As different chemicals are in the powder, lung infections can easily occur, and the damage caused by snorting MDMA can become permanent.
Those who share paraphernalia for snorting ecstasy have a higher risk of contracting infections. If it has been contaminated with blood, hepatitis could spread. Other physical dangers include the risk of infections through unsafe sexual behaviors, as the drug lowers a person’s inhibitions and enhances intimacy.
Purity and Other Drugs
Drug purity plays a big part in the dangers of snorting molly.
Usually, people do not test recreational drugs before snorting them. MDMA pills may have many other drugs or substances in them, with their own separate set of dangers. Apart from feeling an enhanced effect of MDMA, a person will experience a set of other unexpected effects that they can not predetermine, and could have lasting negative consequences.
If the powder form contains fentanyl, for example, the result could be life-threatening. Not always receiving a pure drug means that a person is at risk for side effects of cocaine, ketamine, or other potentially harmful drugs on top of that of MDMA. Drug interactions could in some cases be fatal, and will place a person at higher risk for developing substance use disorders.
Snorting molly in combination with another illegal drug also places a person at higher risk for an accidental overdose, as they do not know what exactly it is they are consuming.
Risk for Overdose
Since the liver does not get to break down ecstasy pills when they are snorted, more of the drug gets into a person’s body. The faster and more intense peak caused by snorting the drug places a person at higher risk for an overdose, as people may take more doses of the drug to maintain their high.
An MDMA overdose is a medical emergency. One of the first elements that are affected by an overdose is the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. A dangerously high body temperature, liver failure, kidney failure, and cardiovascular failure makes an MDMA overdose very dangerous. Symptoms of a molly overdose may also include brain swelling.
Often, molly is taken in a party environment where there a person may be dancing or partying all night. While fueling energy levels, people often forget to eat or drink water. Several exaggerated physiologic responses by the body affect vital life functions, such as heart rate and temperature levels. Rather than drug toxicity, this is more often the reason for a molly overdose.
Molly and Mental Health
As with most drugs, physical health is not the only element affected or involved. Drug abuse and mental health often interact in a vicious cycle, and a substance like MDMA is no exception.
It offers a person a temporary feeling of euphoria or happiness. The dopamine rush can complicate mental health issues, as this feeling is usually followed by an intense low. An intense high and low could be unbearable for someone who is suffering from a mental health condition.
Like most other substances, the effects of MDMA on mental health depend on the individual. Factors such as the dosage of the drug, or a history of panic attacks, anxiety, or depression play a role, as well as any existing substance use disorders.
People that snort drugs are more likely to be binging drugs since the effects don’t last as long. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), binge use – meaning regular use for several days- of MDMA can cause depression, irritability, and anxiety. Some studies indicate anxiety even after only one dose, although it is considered a mild effect. It is a high risk for those suffering from mental health issues, as anxiety or depression might be long-lasting or worsen.
Any form of substance abuse is a health problem that requires help, and addiction treatment at a treatment facility can allow a person to achieve long-term recovery.
While there are no FDA-approved medications for treating an MDMA addiction, the most effective treatment for molly or ecstasy addiction is considered cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
While the type of treatment depends on the severity of addiction and the duration of use, as well as other substances or co-occurring mental health conditions, treatment specialists can design a program that suits a person’s specific needs.
Substance abuse and drug addiction are addressed by uncovering the reasons for starting drug use in the first place, and by recognizing triggers that may cause a person to use the drug again. Learning how to respond healthily to these triggers instead of returning to drug use is part of the addiction treatment process, and can help a person to stay sober.
Support groups provide a peer community for anyone struggling with addiction and are a vital part of addiction treatment. People who have similar difficulties share their experiences and this helps to develop empathy, as well as support for each other. It can greatly help in preventing relapse and ensures that a person knows they are not alone in their battle against drug abuse or addiction.
Where Can I Find Treatment?
Seeking addiction treatment and help for substance abuse is the first best step to recovery.
At the NP Addiction Clinic, we understand that the journey to recovery is unique. That is why our addiction treatment uses specialized therapeutic techniques, and we offer treatment placement tailored to your needs. Caring and experienced staff are available at each stage of the treatment program and will provide you with help, support, and guidance 24/7.
Our holistic approach and a wide range of activities at our treatment facility will ensure the nurturing of both your mental and physical health, giving you the best chance for leading a healthy, sober life. Get in contact today to find out how the NP Addiction Clinic can help you.