Debunking Myths about Molly

I’ve mentioned in my previous post about sources about how important it is to have credible sources when reading and learning about health facts. Here is my version of myths and truths about Molly with the most credible sources I could find out there. It will answer questions regarding: Is Molly is a “safe” drug? Can it help with post traumatic stress disorder? Do the effects last longer than a few hours? Can taking Molly actually be fatal? Is drinking a ton of water the safest thing you can do? Can it cause you to be depressed? What are the other effects? And finally, how can all this (education, facts, etc.) be so important? Keep reading to find out!!

Myth 1: Molly is a “safe” drug.

False: Molly has gained a deceptive reputation for being a “safe” drug, but this is an unfortunate myth. Often, these emergency room visits are the result of other drugs that are used to make Molly. Because this drug is purchased illegally and therefore is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, no one knows what they could be purchasing when getting it from a drug dealer. For example, it may be mixed with extra substances such as cocaine that the buyer wouldn’t know about. Yet, Molly could contain something else potentially more toxic than MDMA alone. Dr. Ronald Cowan, a psychiatry professor at Vanderbilt University who studies MDMA, said even the purest MDMA isn’t safe. Although it’s considered rare, death from pure MDMA can happen several ways. It can cause blood vessels in the heart and brain to constrict and result in a stroke or heart attack. The stimulant, which raises the user’s blood pressure and heart rate, can also cause the body to get severely overheated, causing permanent or fatal brain damage.

Myth 2: MDMA has been initially popularized by psychotherapists and other mental health practitioners.

Truth: Research has shown that this party drug can help with people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Government regulators criminalized the drug in 1985, placing alongside a list of prohibited substances like heroin and LSD. However, in recent years, regulators have licensed a small number of labs to produce MDMA for research purposes. Soldiers who return from being abroad have no interest in traditional therapy and are the target for this new research. Studies of people taking MDMA suggest that the drug induces the release of a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is thought to increase sensations of trust and affection. The drug also seems to calm the activity in a brain region called the amygdala, which is affected during fearful, threatening situations often referred to the fight-or-flight response.  Thus, this drug could potentially help soldiers return to their normal selves post-war. Although there is a possible benefit—under the supervision of a credible research facility, of course—it’s often outweighed by the negative potential outcomes.

Myth 3: The effects of MDMA only last 3-8 hours.

False: While the high from MDMA may only last three to six hours, the negative health and emotional effects can last a few days to a couple of weeks. There is in fact a “day after” effect where users may need to plan 2 days for the experience: one for the peak experience and a day to recover. The neurotransmitter, serotonin, is responsible for maintaining mood balance and sleep. When people take Molly, there is extra serotonin that is released that causes those “mood-lifting” effects and some even begin to be very touchy. Serotonin also allows for the release of different hormones from the pituitary glands such as oxytocin, which is gives you the “feel good” sensation. This maybe why some users feel the need to be touchy with others.

Negative effects may not occur during the time of being “high”, HOWEVER, there are after-affects that allow for anxiousness, dizziness, confusion, etc. What happens physiologically is that the brain does not have enough serotonin after that initial release caused by Molly. So this can last for even days or weeks afterwards. People can even go as far as to experience depression or sleeping problems.

Myth 4: Molly can result in death.

Truth: The definition of overdose is: an amount of a drug or medicine that is too much and usually dangerous. MDMA death is rarely the result of overdose and calling them overdoses is very misleading. Calling them overdoses leads people to believing that there is an amount of Molly that they can take and they will be good to go, but this is just NOT true; so, STOP CALLING THEM OVERDOSES. A multiple of factors can lead to death from Molly. One, is what we mentioned in Myth 1: it can be mixed with a variety of substances and you simply wouldn’t know. Again, when someone sells this to you, it’s not regulated by the FDA, nor is it actually made by real chemists. Second of all various health conditions can be a result of ingesting this: heatstrokes, dehydration (or drinking TOO MUCH WATER), etc.

Myth 5: Drinking lots of water can make taking Molly safer.

False: Many people who use ecstasy have been told that they need to make sure to drink lots and lots of water so that they don’t become dehydrated. However, the result is hyponatremia which means “low salt” and is the word for water intoxication. Sweating a lot from dancing for hours causes the body to lose salt but so does drinking too much water. Drinking an excessive amount of water dilutes the amount of salt in the body to a dangerous amount. If you’re drinking too much water, in any situation, eating some snacks (to elevate salt levels) or drinking Gatorade will keep your salt and electrolyte levels balanced and could help prevent hyponatremia.

Myth 6: Chronic use of Molly can cause depression.

Truth: Because dopamine and, more importantly, serotonin levels are low, it can lead to side effects of depression. In general, positive events causes the response of serotonin release and the increase in receptor binding. So, when you are happy, you are experiencing more serotonin receptors being activated. Ecstasy has the same neurological response. Serotonin receptor binding is the primary cause of MDMA’s desirable, yet negative effects. When under the influence of Molly, an overloading sense of exaggerated euphoria and happiness prevails. Ecstasy will then flood the brain with serotonin neurotransmitters to release large amounts of serotonin to accommodate the effect. However, this means that fewer receptors are going to be able activate in a normal brain state, so mood in everyday life will decrease and may cause depression. As a result, some people are then tempted to take more ecstasy because the contrast between how they were feeling earlier that day and how they feel on Molly are so extreme. Taking Molly on a regular basis causes the release and depletion of serotonin before it has a chance to fully replenish itself.  Brain cells are affected by serotonin which have a role in sleep, memory, learning, social behavior, and, more importantly, mood.

Myth 7: Other than water toxicity, there are no other adverse effects.

False: Moreover, toxic doses of ecstasy has been known to cause kidney failure. Dehydration is a short term effect that people experience, but when Molly is used chronically it can eventually lead to kidney failure which is fatal in the long run. As mentioned in Myth 5, dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. Ecstasy releases loads of an anti-diuretic hormone, telling the body to suck up as much water as possible and keep it in the system. When paired with activity like dancing, the urge to drink a lot of water becomes apparent and you drown the body with water.

In addition, ecstasy is a stimulant that will cause blood pressure and heart rate to noticeably rise by producing indirect sympathetic nervous system activation by releasing norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Activation of the sympathetic system can lead to varying degrees of tachycardia, vasoconstriction, unpredictable blood pressure effects, and arrhythmias, depending on the dose taken, the purity of the drug, and the presence or absence of coexisting cardiovascular disease. In all, ecstasy causes an unnecessary strain on the heart that may not be recoverable.

Myth 8: The most valuable thing is to educate people.

Truth: @DanceSafe has shared an interesting article by the Boston Globe’s twitter account which discusses an interesting point: there are “efforts to ban drugs and events” but it is seen as “unrealistic in terms of solving the [so called] over dose problem.” The article says that the main reason is that some believe that by banning events from happening that it’s going to end this drugs usage. It may minimize it BUT it may also “move into an underground setting or someone’s house.” This is true. Sometimes by telling someone that they can’t do something, makes them want to do it even more. I believe that the most important thing that we can do, as promoters of healthy living, is simply provide the truth and facts. Whether people will read them, take them into consideration, or even change their lifestyle is completely up to that individual. You can’t force anyone to believe anything or change their mind, the only thing is to educate and hope people will make the obvious healthy choices.

Now that we have gone over eight of the most important myths and truths, it’s up to you to use this information however you want! I can not stress how important it is for Molly users to make a lifestyle change away from using this drug. College is supposed to be a time for fun but also to create a YOU that you could see yourself being in 4, 5, 10, even 40 years!

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