Is MDMA Dangerous?
Yes, MDMA use can be very dangerous. By itself, MDMA affects both physical and mental health. MDMA often includes a mixture of several drugs, not just MDMA. In fact, a recent study showed that among drugs sold as Molly and tested, only about 60% even contained MDMA.
Other drugs commonly found in Molly and ecstasy include cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine and synthetic cathinones (bath salts).
MDMA by itself can cause both long and short-term effects:
Common Adulterants in Molly
People selling Molly may mix in other drugs for a variety of reasons. This practice makes using the drug more dangerous. Examples of other substances that may be mixed into Molly include:
- 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA)
- Dibutylone (bk-DMBDB)
- Dextromethorphan (an over-the-counter cough suppressant)
- Methylone (MDMC)
- Synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”)
Ecstasy Brain Damage
MDMA causes brain damage because of something called excitotoxicity. The drug works by making brain cells to release excessive amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. High levels of neurotransmitters like these can stimulate brain cells so much they get stuck in an “on position.” This is called excitotoxicity.
Research in animals has shown that MDMA can cause temporary and sometimes permanent damage to brain cells because of this effect. The effects on animals impacted brain systems that are involved in memory and mood, and the findings are consistent with studies in humans that show regular MDMA use causes confusion, depression, paranoia and problems with attention.