MDMA, often referred to as “ecstasy” or “molly”, is short for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a psychoactive drug derived from safrole oil. MDMA produces effects that resemble both stimulants and psychedelics, as well as its signature effect: a feeling of connectedness.
Because of the drug’s effects of increasing empathy and reducing fear, it was legally used in psychotherapy practices in the 1970s and early 80s, as well as recreationally. In 1985 it became classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug, meaning among the “most dangerous,” along with marijuana, LSD and heroin. Studies have shown, however, that MDMA is among the least harmful drugs. Despite its Schedule I status, MDMA is still commonly used at festivals, concerts and clubs; and research is ongoing into its therapeutic benefits.