What is the Difference Between Molly (MDMA) & Sally (MDA)?

Known on the street as “Sally,” the MDA drug is closely related to “Molly” or “Ecstasy,” the street name for MDMA.

Some people call it the “sass drug” or simply “sass” because it is made from safrole oil that comes from the sassafras plant and is considered a hallucinogen.

In December 2015, the body of Scott Weiland, former lead singer of The Stone Temple Pilots, among the most successful rock bands of the 1990s, was found dead on a tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota. Weiland struggled with addiction for decades.

His death has been ruled an accidental overdose from a combination of drugs, including the MDA drug methylenedioxyamphetamine.

Difference Between Molly MDMA and Sally MDA

The untimely death of Scott Weiland has sparked a national conversation about the differences as well as the dangers of MDMA vs MDA.

What are MDA and MDMA?

Before launching into chemical specifics, though, it’s important to note that on the street or at the point of sale, no one can be sure about the makeup of either drug.

MDMA and MDA are rarely ever pure. They are usually sold as either a pill or a powder, and they can be cut with any number of toxic chemicals that users are unaware of and will not be able to tell first responders if necessary.

Both substances fall under the phenethylamine and amphetamine classes of drugs. In other words, MDA and MDMA are both stimulants and psychedelics.

While they’re often sold for the same price, they can cause different “highs.”

Neither drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration or currently deemed safe for treating any medical condition.

That might be changing at some time in the near future because the FDA agreed to a MAPS application for an expanded access program in December 2019. The goal is to study MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

What Are the MDA Drug Effects of (Sally)?

Users do not often report different feelings or side effects because each person’s neurochemical makeup is unique.

The MDA drug, or Sally, causes the brain to release large amounts of serotonin, norepinephrine, and smaller amounts of dopamine.

This causes people to experience a heightened mood and positive feelings of empathy and affection for those around them.

Unfortunately, when the MDA drug wears off, it depletes the brain of serotonin, sometimes for several days, and can leave users in a depressed state.

MDA Drug Sally Side Effects

Short-term side effects of the MDA drug can cause:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Sense of wellbeing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Jaw clenching
  • Extreme energy boost

Long-term side effects of MDA can include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Depression

MDA is considered more of a psychedelic or hallucinogen than a stimulant, although it represents qualities of both.

Many users report a much more intense visual high than with MDMA, and some report seeing tracers and other visual side effects.

It is also associated with a “heavier body high” and energy that can last up to six hours or more, depending on the dose.

What Are the Side Effects of MMDA (Molly, Ecstasy)?

MDMA, or Molly, acts in similar ways to MDA in the brain, although it is thought that structural changes in the brain after the drug wears off might not be quite as dramatic.

MDMA Molly Side Effects

Short-term side effects of MDMA can include:

  • Nausea
  • Lowered appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Euphoria
  • Decrease in negative emotions
  • Reduced insecurity
  • Strong feelings of wellbeing

Long-term side effects of MDMA use can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased negative emotions
  • Insomnia
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Memory problems
  • Feelings of irritability

MDMA is considered more of a psychedelic than a stimulant, but it generally falls into both categories.

It is associated with more of a “Loving” high that doesn’t last quite as long as MDA.

Many experts argue that the term “overdose” is incorrectly applied to drugs like MDA and MDMA because there is no standard “dose” to begin with.

Studies have shown that in fatalities related to this class of drugs, individuals were thought to have ingested an amount accepted as “safe” for recreational use.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms of an overdose must receive immediate medical attention.

Signs that a person is experiencing an adverse reaction to MDMA vs MDA include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Feelings of faintness
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme sweating

The physical and psychological dangers of MDA and MDMA are very real.

There’s some debate about whether or not the drugs are physically addictive, though it’s been shown that users can develop a tolerance. This means they must take more and more of the drug to experience the same effects.

Repeated abuse can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain leading to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Long-term use can also result in structural or functional changes in the brain.

Parents need to talk with their teenagers about the difference between MDA vs MDMA but also about the genuine risks associated with doing any drugs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the use of MDMA among teenagers is down. Still, teenagers remain some of the most at-risk and vulnerable populations regarding drug abuse and addiction.

The Dangers of the MDA Drug and MDMA

Taking designer drugs like MDA or MDMA can be dangerous because the batches are often entirely different depending on where they were made and who is selling them.

For this reason, it’s difficult for users to know what they are getting, despite claims by the person they are getting them from.

Because they are often sold in powder form, many dealers cut them with other chemicals to either increase the intensity of the drug or to get more out of each batch.

Sometimes they are combined with other drugs like meth, cocaine, ketamine, or others.

While there haven’t been any reports about Fentanyl being mixed with MDA or MDMA yet, in recent years, it has been added to heroin, opioids, cocaine, meth, and even fake Xanax. It could make them much more dangerous or deadly if it ever happens.

Are They Addictive?

Long-term use of Molly or Sally can cause changes to the brain similar to addiction and lead to severe depression and other mental health conditions.

Neither of these drugs is considered to have a high potential for addiction, but it cannot be ruled out. Regular users can build a tolerance to them, requiring larger doses each time they use them, which can be dangerous or cause additional complications.

Even though these drugs cause euphoria, they should not be used to cope with depression or similar conditions because the after-effects when the drugs wear off will cause these conditions to worsen.

For anyone experiencing problems related to the use of the MDA drug or MDMA, they should speak with a doctor or consult with an addiction medicine specialist.


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