Molly is one of the most popular party drugs available through black market trade in the United
States and around the world. There are also dozens of designer drugs out there that are intended to mimic MDMA to capitalize on its popularity. One of those synthetic substances is a drug called 2C-B or Nexus. How similar are these chemicals, and how are they different? Is 2C-B like MDMA? Learn more about 2C-B and Molly and how they compare.
What Is Molly?
Molly is an illicit recreational drug with the official name 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. It’s is a class of psychoactive drugs called entactogens, which have some properties of both psychedelic and stimulant drugs.
Drugs of this category often affect your emotions and may increase empathy and sociability. MDMA and other entactogens have been studied as a potential medication to be used in therapy. The emotional effects of the drug may be able to help people lower their defenses and open up more in therapy sessions. However, MDMA isn’t currently approved for any medical uses.
MDMA is popularly used as a recreational drug, and it’s closely related to club culture as a party drug. The drug’s mood-lifting and social enhancing abilities make it a popular choice in social dance settings. It’s often illegally sold at clubs and in house parties.
Adulterants are a significant issue that plagues the illicit MDMA trade. Adulterants are substances that are added to drugs that can dilute or add to the drug’s effects. Diluted drugs can create a dangerous situation for their users. If a person gets used to a diluted version of MDMA, they may assume their dose is a typical dose. When they encounter a purer version of the drug, it can cause a dangerous overdose.
Molly can cause a number of unwanted side effects, including jaw clenching, dry mouth, sweating, hyperthermia, insomnia, and impaired balance. High doses can cause hyperthermia to the point of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, dehydration, brain damage, and death in certain circumstances.
Users are often told to treat MDMA like a hot day outside and to watch for signs of heat exhaustion. If you start to overheat, it’s important to retreat to a cool place and relax. If you start to feel faint or if you have blackouts, seek medical attention.
MDMA users are also often told to drink plenty of water to rehydrate. However, overhydrating is also a problem. MDMA causes you to retain water when you drink too much, which can cause your cells to swell, leading to brain damage and blackouts.
What Is 2C-B?
2C-B is another illicit, recreational drug that’s used as a club drug. It’s in a class of chemicals called phenethylamines, and it’s often thought of as a cross between entactogens and psychedelics.
It’s used for positive effects including mood lift, euphoria, increased empathy and sociability, brightened colors, psychedelic visuals, and increased libido. The drug was first synthesized along with a host of other similar substances by chemist Alexander Shulgin in 1974.
Like MDMA, it was thought that the drug could be useful in therapeutic settings, allowing patients to be more at ease opening up to their therapist and unlocking repressed memories.
It was used by therapists in Europe and then adopted by club culture after it gained a reputation as a sexual enhancement drug. It was outlawed in the United States in 1995.
2C-B also has some negative side effects, including nausea, vomiting, muscle tension, and confusion, insomnia, paranoia, sweating, and chills. At high doses, the drug can become a powerful hallucinogen with significant psychedelic effects. Users also report that the effects of 2C-8 are unpredictable. In some cases, the high is pleasurable, and in others, it’s uncomfortable.
The lethal dose of 2C-B is unknown, and the drug is not yet well understood. There have been no reported deaths attributed to 2C-B since it was synthesized. However, high doses can affect your heart rate, causing tachycardia. This can be risky for people with high blood pressure, arrhythmias, or heart disease.
How Are They Similar?
MDMA and 2C-B both work on some of the same neurotransmitters in the brain to achieve their psychoactive effects. MDMA works by causing the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which have a variety of functions in the nervous system.
Serotonin is closely tied to mood, reward, and feelings of well-being. It’s released in high amounts when someone takes MDMA, and it could account for many of the positive feelings and psychedelic effects of the drug. It also depletes your serotonin sources and leads to feelings of depression until your body can replenish your supply of the chemical. 2C-B also works by causing the release of serotonin and dopamine, causing feelings of excitement and mood lift.
Both drugs cause similar effects and side effects. They both lift mood, cause an increase in sociability, and can increase libido. They can also cause an elevated heart rate, high body temperature, and heart palpitations. They both cause sweating and may cause heat exhaustion in high doses.
How Are They Different?
Both MDMA and 2C-B have similar but different effects on the brain. For instance, MDMA’s effects mostly come from its serotonergic effects and only affects dopamine to a much lower degree. 2C-B may have more significant impacts on dopamine in the brain, which may cause it to have more significant effects as a stimulant. Dopamine may also account for 2C-B’s reputation as an aphrodisiac over MDMA.
There have also been more instances of heatstroke, dehydration, and body temperature-related complications associated with MDMA. However, this could be because MDMA is more widely used. 2C-B also appears to cause more significant physical sensations like jitters, tingling, and body load. In many cases, these effects are considered uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Is Molly Addictive?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research isn’t conclusive on whether or not MDMA has significant addictive potential. However, the drug affects similar neurotransmitters that other known addictive drugs do. Any drug that produces positive effects could have the potential to cause psychological addiction. Since Molly can cause feelings of emotional warmth and a sense of well-being, people may develop an affinity for the drug that becomes a habit. However, drugs that affect the reward center of your brain often interact with feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. MDMA has been found to increase the activity of serotonin, dopamine, and another drug called norepinephrine.
Serotonin and dopamine are also closely tied to substance use disorders. These chemicals are designed to produce positive feelings in order to teach your brain that an activity is good and worth repeating. Eating your favorite meal causes a release of these chemicals because your brain is encouraging you to repeat that activity. Drugs that release serotonin and dopamine can cause increased impulsivity, which is common in addiction.
Another way researchers investigate the addictive potential of a drug is through animal studies. Animals that self-administer a drug may be a sign that the drug has positive enough effects that animals will use it again. Studies have found that animals will self-administer MDMA, but not to the same degree as other addictive chemicals like cocaine.
Molly may also cause chemical dependence, which is another common factor among addictive substances. Dependence is a chemical adaptation your brain makes as it gets used to a drug. When you stop using the drug, you may feel withdrawal symptoms. MDMA can cause drug cravings, depression, confusions, focus issues, and memory problems as the drug wears off.
People that use Molly for a long period of time have also experienced panic attacks, seizures, and anxiety after quitting. Withdrawal symptoms may make it hard to quit, which can contribute to an addiction. However, the presence of withdrawal symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean a drug is addictive. Certain antidepressants that are not addictive can cause uncomfortable symptoms after you quit abruptly.
Is 2C-B Addictive?
There is even less research into the addictive potential of 2C-B than there is about Molly. However, there are some implications that can be made about 2C-B’s addiction potential using some of the standards used to measure addiction in MDMA. Like Molly, 2C-B has been shown to increase dopamine levels, which can cause positive feelings that can contribute to addiction. It’s also an agonist for a certain type of serotonin receptor. It may also cause some uncomfortable symptoms as it wears off and when you stop using it.
However, another factor in a drug’s addictive potential is its negative effects. It usually takes more than one time to become addicted to a drug. Drugs that offer unpleasant effects that outweigh their pleasurable ones may not have many repeat users. 2C-B can cause indigestion, restlessness, tremors, headaches, muscle spasms, and hallucinations. In studies, the pleasurable effects of a drug are often measured using the term “liking,” which encompasses euphoria, high, and positive feelings. Some research found that 2C-B caused liking and pleasurable highs that were even greater than MDMA.
However, 2C-B is less common than MDMA. As an illicit designer drug, you may not know what you’re actually getting when you buy and use 2C-B.
Why Seek Addiction Treatment?
MDMA and 2C-B aren’t known to have a high risk of chemical dependence, but their positive effects can lead to abuse and psychological dependence. Plus, the use of illicit drugs is inherently dangerous because it can be difficult to know what you are actually taking. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder related to either of these drugs, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible.