What is Molly?
Molly is a man-made drug that is also known as ecstasy or MDMA. The drug first became popular among users who frequently visit clubs or raves. However, now use of the drug has rapidly increased among individuals in every demographic subgroup. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported over 11 million individuals in the United States have used ecstasy at least once.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are millions of individuals in the United States who currently use the party drug. One reason so many individuals use the drug is because many believe it is safer than other illegal drugs. The drug contains both psychedelic and stimulant properties, which results in feelings of stimulation and well-being. Furthermore, the drug can also cause users to have a distortion of time and sensory perception problems.
The drug dangerously alters the brain by increasing activity in at least three chemical messengers of brain cells, which are known as neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The drug is an amphetamine, so it causes neurotransmitters to release from neurons, which results in the increase in neurotransmitter activity. When the drug is compared to other stimulants, such as methamphetamine, it releases a greater amount of serotonin but less dopamine is released. The function of serotonin regulates emotions such as mood, appetite, sleep, and more.
What makes the drug so dangerous is the excess release of serotonin causes the brain to rapidly deplete the neurotransmitter, which results in a wide range of negative behavioral after-effects. As a result, those who use the drug will experience the after-effects for several days after using. However, when individuals come down from the drug, it can cause a severe hangover.
Ecstasy and its Effects on the Brain
Those who use the drug should also keep in mind that they may be taking other drugs that are sold as ecstasy. Furthermore, the use of ecstasy may cause an individual to start using other drugs, which will lead to further behavioral effects. There have been several studies that have shown individuals who do not have behavioral problems before using the drug often have behavioral issues after long-term use.
Many individuals who use the drug are young and reproductive, so it is possible that females are at an increased risk for becoming pregnant because it acts as a powerful aphrodisiac. A developing fetus is in great danger when the mother uses, which can result in permanent damage to the fetus.
When the drug is inhaled, parachuted, or eaten, it results in changes in perception. These feelings are linked to an increase of cerebral blood flow in the orbitofrontal cortex. There have been rare cases that have show the drug can be related to severe neurological problems that include subarachnoid hemorrhages, cerebral infarction, and intracranial bleeding. This research also concludes use of the drug causes serotonergic neurotoxicity.
Studies on the Effects of Ecstasy
There have been numerous studies conducted on animals that have shown the drug can severely damage neurons that contain serotonin, and it is suggested that the drug will have the same side-effects on humans. Furthermore, some studies on humans have shown the drug can cause depression, confusion, and severe impairment of attention and working memory. These memory impairments are associated with a loss in serotonin metabolites, and studies have shown these changes in the brain that can result in a long-lasting impact that causes a decrease in cognition, emotion, and motor function. Although these findings are limited, it is clear the drug has a dangerous impact on brain activity in humans.
Research has found that users of the drug feel high, and it also acts as an aphrodisiac. Furthermore, users reported that they were not bothered by rejection because the drug produces feelings of positivity, which is because they are not able to properly process hostility from others. Furthermore, studies have shown through functional MRI experiments the drug causes an increased activity in the ventral striatum, which is a part of the brain that involves reward expectation. The drug also decreases the function of the amygdala, which decreases the function to adequately process frightening stimuli.
The US National Library of Medicine Institutes and the National Institutes of Health published a study that found the change in the ability to correctly understand socio-emotional information toward stimuli related with positive emotional valence, along with the prosocial emotions that were caused by the drug, could enhance behaviors toward social approaches and social interactions that facilitates relationships based on psychotherapeutic feelings.