MDA vs MDMA, What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between MDA and MDMA? Neither of these substances has been approved by FDA for medical use and is illegal to use, buy, or sell. Read more about the treatment options for you or your loved ones struggling with MDA or MDMA abuse.

MDA vs MDMA. The Difference Between MDA and MDMA

Although there are a few differences between MDA and MDMA, abusing both drugs can be dangerous. A formal treatment plan may be needed to overcome “Molly” or “Sally” abuse or addiction. Known on the street as “Sally,” the MDA illicit drug is closely related to “Molly” or “Ecstasy,” the street names for MDMA. MDA and MDMA 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 MDA and MDMA are categorized as hallucinogens and stimulants because of the effect they cause. In addition, both substances can be categorized as amphetamines, but their effects can also be significantly different. In general, MDMA leads to greater feelings of euphoria. It may feel like someone is being transported to a different dimension, as space and time will be perceived differently. In contrast, MDA tends to cause someone to feel more energetic. It could also lead to a longer-lasting high.

what’s the difference between MDA and MDMA? Both MDA and MDMA lead to changes in how visual and auditory stimuli are perceived, as they are both hallucinogens; however, what they do to these senses can be different. Keep in mind that users who take the same drug may also have markedly different experiences. MDMA affects many of the same neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are targeted by other addictive drugs. Even though MDA isn’t a well-known drug, it can be sold as MDMA, Ecstasy or Molly often since they look so similar.

What is MDA?

Methylenedioxyamphetamine or MDA is a synthetic recreational drug used as a club drug and sex enhancer since the 1960s. It shares some similarities with MDMA and LSD regarding its stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. Even though MDA has stimulant-like properties, it is more commonly considered a psychedelic or hallucinogen. Many users claim to have a considerably stronger visual high than they would with MDMA, and some claim to experience side effects like seeing tracers. Depending on the dose, it is also linked to a “heavier body high” and energy lasting up to six hours or longer.

What are the Side Effects of MDA (Sally)?

After an individual consumes Sally, they might experience:

  • An increased amount of energy
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Sweating, dry mouth
  • Jaw clenching 

Once the effects of MDA wear off, the person might undergo:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory loss/confusion
  • Sexual problems 
  • Headaches
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Convulsions
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety

These side effects can be heightened in a negative light if Sally is taken alongside other drugs or laced with more drugs. 

What is MDMA?

Most people have heard of the drug ecstasy, which is also known as MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine [1] which is grown synthetically in a lab. Ecstasy rose in popularity in nightclubs during the 1980s and 1990s. The pills gave users the euphoric high of amphetamines and the psychedelic effects of hallucinogens. Molly contains MDMA in a crystalline powder contained in a capsule. It’s a concentrated form of ecstasy, but users don’t always know if it’s truly “pure.” Like all synthetic drugs, it could be diluted with other psychogenic substances.

Molly is short for “molecule”. Any drug that is purchased on the street is always subject to being named something different. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA). An estimated 11 million Americans have used ecstasy at least once in their lives. The drug can be adulterated with other chemicals like bath salts, a relatively new synthetic powder that often contains amphetamine-like chemicals.

What are the Side Effects of MDMA (Molly)?

Chemically, it’s similar to stimulants and hallucinogens and produces effects such as:

  • Enhanced energy levels
  • Increased feelings of pleasure
  • Emotional warmth
  • Distortions in sensory and time perception

 The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the negative side effects of Molly include:

  •  Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Sweating

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MDA vs MDMA Drug Fact Sheet

What is MDA Drug?

MDA is mainly used for recreational purposes and is an empathogen-entactogen, psychostimulant, and psychedelic substance of the amphetamine family. MDA’s main pharmacological effect is releasing serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Other names of MDA:

  • Methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • Sass
  • Sally (MDA Street Name)
  • Sass-a-frass

Recreational Uses of MDA:

Due to its improved mood and empathy, MDA is purchased, sold, and used as a recreational “love drug.” MDA dosage recommendations for recreational use have been given, ranging from 100 to 160 mg.

What is MDMA / Molly / Ecstasy?

MDMA acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic,
producing an energizing effect, distortions in
time and perception, and enhanced enjoyment of
tactile experiences.

Adolescents and young adults use it to reduce
inhibitions and to promote euphoria, feelings of closeness, empathy, and sexuality.

Other names of MDMA:

  • Adam
  • Beans
  • Clarity
  • Disco Biscuit
  • E, Ecstasy
  • Eve
  • Go
  • Hug Drug
  • Lover’s Speed
  • Peace
  • STP
  • X
  • XTC

MDA vs MDMA Abuse Statistics

Almost 21 million Americans have at least experienced drug addiction, yet only 10% receive treatment. According to toxicology results, MDMA accounted for 86% of cases and MDA for 13% of cases.


According to toxicology results, MDMA accounted for 86% of cases and MDA for 13% of cases.

Source: NIH

2.6 million

In 2020, 0.9% (or over 2.6 million) of those 12 and older reported using MDMA (Ecstasy) in the previous 12 months.

Source: NIH


Over ten percent of seniors in high school have used MDMA at least once.

Source: NIH

MDA vs MDMA. Neither of these substances has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use and are illegal to use, buy, or sell.

MDA vs MDMA. Neither of these substances has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use and are illegal to use, buy, or sell.

Dangers of MDA and MDMA

MDA and MDMA affect neurotransmitters in an individual’s brain that help to regulate serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Dopamine assists in balancing the brain’s natural reward system, while serotonin affects an individual’s sleep, appetite and mood. In addition, norepinephrine helps in regulating heart rate and blood pressure. 

When an imbalance is caused by any of these chemicals, it can lead to potential side effects such as:

  • Weight or appetite changes
  • New or worsening depression
  • New or worsening anxiety 
  • Memory problems, insomnia 
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Is MDMA Addictive?

People who are addicted to MDMA (Molly) have reported symptoms of addiction, including continued use despite negative physical or psychological consequences, tolerance, craving, and withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Depression
  • Concentration problems

Data implies that MDMA use produces adaptations in the serotonin and dopamine systems that are associated with substance use disorder and related behaviors.

There are differences between tolerance, dependence, and addiction to molly. How the brain and body react to the drug is key. Some individuals develop a tolerance to drugs. With tolerance, the person needs to use more of the drug or use it more often to get the same effects as when they first started taking molly. This is sometimes why people take more molly or ecstasy over time.

When the body becomes dependent on a drug like molly, you can have physical and emotional symptoms, or withdrawal symptoms, from the drug if you stop using it. A substance use disorder involves dependence as well as a complex brain-reward system. The neurotransmitter dopamine plays a major role. In some individuals, it also creates strong cravings for the drug.

This can have serious effects on the brain and body. Use of the drug becomes compulsive even when it causes harm, like experiencing poor health or losing relationships or jobs. There are also genetic, environmental, and social aspects to substance use disorders.

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Is MDA Addictive?

Because MDA (Sally) is manufactured from safrole oil, obtained from the sassafras plant, and is considered a hallucinogen, some people call it “sass” or the “sass drug.” MDA affects the same chemicals in the brain as Molly, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. MDA users may experience the effects of the drug for six to eight hours. Additionally, they may experience more visual hallucinations compared to the “loving” high associated with molly.

After the short-term desired effects of the drug wear off, many of the lasting negative effects can be the same as those described after using Molly. Specifically, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns that illicit MDMA may contain methamphetamine, ketamine, or cocaine. MDA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature which can lead to an overdose in the form of hyperthermia, liver failure, kidney failure, or cardiovascular system failure.

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

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MDA versus MDMA. Both drugs are dangerous because they can be addictive.
MDA versus MDMA. Both drugs are dangerous because they can be addictive.

Overdose Risks on Molly or Sally

Scott Weiland, a former lead vocalist for The Stone Temple Pilots, one of the most famous rock bands of the 1990s, had cocaine, ethanol, and methylenedioxyamphetamine, or MDA, in his system when he passed away on December 3, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Friday. Weiland’s death was ruled an accidental overdose. Amy Winehouse is believed to have died from a mix of ecstasy (MDMA) and alcohol. The tragic singer died at her home in North London.

It is possible for an individual to overdose on MDA or MDMA. One of the greatest risks comes from not being completely sure what an individual is taking or buying. Both MDA and MDMA are sold as powder and pills and can be cut with other drugs and laced. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informs that illicit MDMA might contain the following:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Ketamine 
  • Cocaine 

On their own, Molly and Sally can lead to a potential risk of overdose. These drugs can regulate temperatures which as a result can led to:

  • Cardiovascular system failure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure 

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MDA MDMA Addiction Treatment

There is a strong link between mental health and drug abuse. Individuals who struggle with mood disorders like depression and anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment.

To determine the most effective ways to treat polysubstance, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Detox Treatment in New Jersey Rehab Center

The first step in treatment is a medical detox. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide the necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers New Jersey

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis programs in New Jersey treat both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

MDMA Addiction Rehab Near Me

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our opioid addiction treatment program medically. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

MDMA addiction is a condition that can cause major health problems, such as overdosing. We Level Up NJ rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and clarify issues like withdrawal symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

MDA vs MDMA. If you or someone you love wants to overcome drug abuse, including problems with MDMA or MDA, we can help you.
MDA vs. MDMA. If you or someone you love wants to overcome drug abuse, including problems with MDMA or MDA, we can help you.
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