Ecstasy, Molly, MDMA and MDA: The Same Thing Or Not?


A while back, I wrote a similar article called “Molly Vs. Ecstasy: What’s the Difference and Does it Matter?” This time I was asked what the difference between Molly, Ecstasy, MDMA and MDA.

*Please read “Molly Vs. Ecstasy: What’s the Difference and Does it Matter?” first because this one is more of a refresher with a few added details.*

It’s easy to be confused or lacks the common knowledge on the differences between Ecstasy, Molly, MDMA and MDA. In many cases, they are similar in effects but have slight variances with each other. The confusion is sometimes caused by either the timeline when the drugs were synthesized, making them more potent and pure or simply a new street name for the newly modified one.

Ecstasy, Molly, MDMA and MDA are names commonly heard in the party scenes like clubs, house parties, music festivals and raves around the world. Of course, there are dangers associated with these drugs. Education is usually the best preventative measure to keep yourself and people you know safe.
I’ve done additional research online and also asked some individuals what they know about the four drugs.


What is what?


A synthetic party drug that has hallucinogenic and stimulative properties like methamphetamine and mescaline. The chemical compound of this drug is methylenedioxymethamphetamine(MDMA) usually in a pill or capsule form.


It’s a synthesized and purer form of MDMA known for being practically free of contaminants and also very potent. Molly is short for “Molecule” and was usually in a powdered or crystallized form.


Methylenedioxymethamphetamine(MDMA) This is the active compound in Ecstasy and Molly. This psychoactive drug has effects of increased empathy, euphoria, and heightened sensations.


Methylenedioxyamphetamine is the drug known as sassafras, sally, sass and MDA. It is a stimulant and hallucinogenic that has been around longer than MDMA. It gives its users a smooth, longer and gentle high compared to MDMA. MDA comes from sassafras oil, which is extracted from the sassafras plant. Safrole oil is used to make either MDA or MDMA.

Why the confusion?

Many people think they’re all the same as long as they get that same high. The main compound in both Ecstasy and Molly is MDMA. The difference between Ecstasy and Molly is that Molly was developed and branded as the new Ecstasy because of the claims of being the purest form of MDMA(Ecstasy’s premium variant).
Over the year’s, drug makers were cutting their batches of Ecstasy with many unknown/dangerous contaminants that were not MDMA. In fact, the DEA in the US tested the Molly and Ecstasy seized from 2009-2014 raids and found that most pills contained only 13% MDMA. Are people taking what they think they’re taking? Of course not! That’s why it is important to know what you’re putting in your body and also investigate the source it came from.


Where does MDA fit in with this confusion?

MDA existed before Ecstasy because MDMA was engineered from MDA. The compound was Methylenedioxyamphetamine(MDA) versus Methylenedioxymethamphetamine(MDMA). MDA went by the street names “Sally”, “Sass”, or “Sass-a-frass”. Sassafras is a plant that chemist used to extract the plant’s oil(Safrole Oil) in producing MDA.
MDA was first synthesized in 1910 by G. Mannish and W. Jacobson and first ingested in 1930 by Gordon Ailes, who licensed the drug to a few distributors.
MDA had a smoother and more potent high compared to MDMA. The high usually lasted six to eight hours instead of three to five with MDMA. It also produces a more classic serotonergic psychedelic effect like visual hallucinations. Higher levels of dopamine have also been noted during observations when human trials started in 1941.

Where can you find MDA today?

MDA became more difficult to produce after the US made Safrole Oil illegal when transported in quantities bigger than the allowable threshold. It is also banned by the US FDA if used in commercially mass-produced foods and drugs.
MDMA was easier to produce because of the small quantities required for production. This is when MDMA was offered as a first choice over MDA.


Final thoughts

It’s easier for dealers to claim it’s pure just to make a sale and this makes it dangerous. Transactions usually occur less than a week or even the day of the party, which leaves little to no time to investigate the purity of the drugs. Also, there is no successful way to test the pills without a lab and experienced lab technician.
Many individuals here in Vancouver have experienced near death experiences with their body overheating, temporary cardiac arrest and even quick deaths within 20 minutes of ingesting the pills.
With the rise of Fentanyl overdoses, drugs are commonly found cut with Fentanyl alongside the other contaminants. As I mentioned before its like Russian Roulette and if you survive it’s YOLO, right?(Are you serious!?)  What if you or your friend’s life was taken?

It’s best to stay away from these scary drugs. Back in the day, it was probably easier to rescue a person overdosing because a paramedic can recognize the cleaner pills and not the mixed and unknown combinations of poisons present in today’s MDMA.
This is only scratching the surface on this topic and I know there are more details to dive into. I will leave that for you guys to discuss within your groups or you can simply chat it up with me. I hope you enjoyed the refresher to my previous article: Molly Vs. Ecstasy