Mixing Ecstasy (Molly) & Weed: Effects & Risks
Polydrug use occurs when someone misuses more than one addictive substance at a time.1 There are several reasons why this may occur, including to increase or decrease the effects of one of the substances or to experience the high of using both substances simultaneously.1 Unfortunately, combining drugs can be very dangerous and it can increase the risk of developing a number of physical and psychological health problems as well as overdose, which can be fatal.1
Marijuana is one of the most widely misused drugs in the US, especially now that recreational use of the drug is legal in several states and the District of Columbia. Many people across the country feel that marijuana is not dangerous or addictive. Such perceptions mean that, like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana may be more likely to be misused in combination with other substances, including prescription medications and other recreational drugs.
One drug often mixed with marijuana is ecstasy. This drug is famous for being used at parties, raves, or nightclubs as a primary drug of misuse. People who misuse ecstasy are more likely to engage in polydrug use, including marijuana.
Effects of Marijuana (Weed)
Marijuana is derived from the leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant.2 THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two of the active chemicals in marijuana that people seek out when they ingest the drug.2,3 Many consider CBD to be a potentially therapeutic chemical, as it may be associated with relaxation, pain reduction, and better appetite. Those who use marijuana for recreational reasons often enjoy high levels of THC , which can produce mind-altering effects.2
When a person is high on marijuana, they may experience:2
- Changes to visual, auditory, and tactile senses.
- Altered sense of time.
- Mood changes, including positive mood.
- Impaired body movements.
- Trouble with cognition, memory, and judgment.
Effects associated with chronic cannabis use can include:2
- Breathing problems (including daily cough and higher risk of lung infections).
- Long-term nausea and vomiting.
- Worsening of symptoms in people with schizophrenia.
- Poor brain development in those who chronically misuse marijuana at a young age.
The concentration of THC in recreational marijuana has been increasing through plant cultivation for several years. Various strains can have very different, very intense effects.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 19% of Americans ages 12 and older reported the misuse of marijuana in 2021.4 More people misused marijuana in 2021 than any other illicit substance.4 This means that marijuana one of the most widely misused drugs in the country even despite the associated dangers.
Effects of Ecstasy (MDMA/Molly) Use
Ecstasy is one name for a drug containing 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA.5 This substituted amphetamine was once used in small doses in therapeutic settings in the 1970s, but the substance grew in popularity as a drug of misuse in social or nightclub settings in the 1980s. Ecstasy, usually taken in pill or tablet form, reached peak popularity in the 1990s.5 Although it is still around today, other “branded” versions of MDMA, like Molly, are more commonly circulated because they are mistakenly believed to be purer and therefore safer.
People use ecstasy for its somewhat unique milieu of psychoactive effects—including mild hallucinations and other changes in sensory perception, as well as its impact on mood. The drug affects serotonin neurotransmission, which may underlie an elevation in mood and changes in how the brain experiences sensory input.5
Some of the associated effects of ecstasy include:5
- Increased energy.
- Increased pleasure.
- Changes in the perception of time.
- Sensory hallucinations, including visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations.
Several potential negative side effects may occur both during and after taking ecstasy. On average, the effects of ecstasy can last anywhere from 3-6 hours after it is taken, however many people take another dose shortly after the effects of the first dose start to fade.5
Dangerous Effects of Ecstasy (MDMA/Molly)
Dangerous side effects associated with ecstasy may include:5
- Muscle cramps.
- Jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
- Increased body temperature.
- Chills and sweats.
- Fatigue from heat.
- Rapid breathing.
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Dizziness or faintness.
- Blurred vision.
- Nystagmus, or eyes shaking quickly from side to side.
The comedown from ecstasy can be uncomfortable as the brain slowly recovers from the high spike in serotonin levels, only to have a sudden decrease in serotonin as the drug wears off. Depression is one of the most common comedown effects. Users may feel drained for up to two days afterwards due to the strain that the drug causes on the body.5
Other after-effects include:5
- Changes to memory.
- Sleep changes (e.g., insomnia or oversleeping).
- Cravings for MDMA.
- Decreased appetite.
- Aggression and impulsiveness.
The comedown effects often lead people to use other drugs to moderate these effects, either in combination with ecstasy or during the withdrawal period. One of the most common drugs used with ecstasy, as a way to moderate the strong effects of the drug is marijuana.
Why Do People Mix Ecstasy (MDMA/Molly) & Weed?
There are a number of various reasons why people may chose to combine MDMA and weed. Some of these reasons can include:6
- Viewing both substances as “social” drugs that can be used together at parties, raves, or clubs.
- Using marijuana as a means of reducing the negative comedown effects that ecstasy or molly can produce.
- Using marijuana to increase the pleasure, relaxation, and psychedelic effects of ecstasy.
- Using marijuana to help make the euphoria associated with ecstasy last longer.
Some reports suggest that the first two reasons—using both substances in social settings and to ease comedown effects—are the most common reasons people combine ecstasy and weed.6
Risks of Mixing Ecstasy (MDMA/Molly) & Weed
The consequences of combining MDMA and weed are potentially serious. For example, both drugs can impair memory. Ecstasy disrupts long-term memory formation while marijuana reduces the ability to form short-term memories and also harms motivation and cognition. People who ingest both drugs may be more at risk of significant problems with memory.6
Other cognitive deficits associated with both drugs may also worsen with greater consumption. Though a period of abstinence might allow for some resolution of these issues, people who consistently misuse multiple drugs may require a relatively longer period of abstinence for full restoration of cognitive functioning.6
Taking marijuana and ecstasy, either alone or in combination, could also increase the risk of certain mood disorders. Marijuana may cause anxiety while the comedown from ecstasy can induce depression. If a person takes one drug and experiences the symptoms of a mood disorder, they may begin taking other drugs to alleviate these issues. It is important to note that while this is a possibility, using both ecstasy and marijuana simultaneously does not guarantee that a person will experience a mood disorder.
Using drugs to moderate the symptoms of other drugs can lead to an accumulation of mental and physical health issues and could increase the risk of polysubstance overdose.1
Substance Misuse Treatment in Riverview, FL
If you or a loved one are missing marijuana and ecstasy and need help, we are here for you. Our inpatient rehab near Tampa offers several different types of addiction treatment that can get you started on the road to recovery.
Do not wait any longer. Reach out to us at River Oaks by calling right now. You will be connected with one of our experienced and compassionate rehab admissions navigators who can answer any questions you may have, including those about paying for rehab with health insurance and and additional rehab payment options.
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