When a person takes molly, it’s rapidly absorbed in the intestines and reaches its peak level in the bloodstream about two hours later. That’s when people will typically feel the most intense hallucinogenic effects of the drug, which usually last for three to five hours.
But long after the effects of molly wear off, the drug can still be detected in the body.
A person’s urine will usually test positive for molly — also known as ecstasy, MDMA, X and E — within a few hours of taking the drug. Urine samples will continue to test positive two to four days after last use. The detection window for ecstasy in saliva is one to two days. Traces of the drug can be found in hair for up to three months.
MDMA can typically be detected in the bloodstream for up to 24 hours.
That makes blood tests inadequate for pre-employment screenings or court-mandated drug testing. But in an emergency situation where it’s unclear what drugs a person may have consumed, blood tests can be quite valuable.
Molly’s effects can be unpredictable and life-threatening. During an MDMA overdose, an individual may develop a high body temperature and elevated blood pressure. Some people lose consciousness and have seizures.
Using a blood test to identify ecstasy in a person’s system could mean the difference between life and death during an overdose involving an unknown drug.
Once the liver breaks down MDMA, the drug and its byproducts are excreted in the urine.
Ecstasy and its metabolites will show up in a urine test within two to seven hours after a person uses the drug. Evidence of the drug will remain in the urine for two to four days.
Because of their cost effectiveness and detection window, urine screenings are the most commonly used type of drug test.
According to a 2011 study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, MDMA can be detected in a person’s saliva for one to two days.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, analyzed the saliva of 29 adults who were given typical recreational doses of MDMA.
It took 1.25 hours for the MDMA to show up in in the saliva of all participants, and some tested positive in as quickly as 15 minutes.
A 2002 study published in Clinical Chemistry found that 24 hours after eight individuals were given 100 milligrams of ecstasy, the concentration of MDMA in their saliva was ten times the level in their blood.
Like many other drugs, ecstasy can be detected in a person’s hair for up to 90 days.
That’s because the scalp is fed by a rich network of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. When someone takes ecstasy, small amounts of the drug bind to hair follicles in the scalp.
Within five to 10 days of taking MDMA, the hair will have grown long enough for the drug to show up in a hair sample. The typical amount of hair tested is about 1.5 inches measured from the root end. Hair samples of that length can reveal up to three months of previous drug use, according to Quest Diagnostics.
Molly is eliminated from the body rather slowly. The half-life of MDMA is about eight hours — meaning it takes the body about eight hours to break down and eliminate 50 percent of the dose a person takes.
All told, it takes the body about 40 hours to eliminate 95 percent of the drug. While that can make occasional use challenging to detect, a person with an MDMA addiction who is using the drug daily will likely test positive via most testing methods described.
MDMA is primarily broken down in the liver by several enzymes. When someone takes a large dose of molly, however, these enzymes can become overwhelmed. As a result, higher levels of the drug can accumulate in the blood and brain. This can lead to an MDMA overdose.
Other factors, including a person’s individual metabolism, the dose taken and the presence of other drugs in the system can also affect the speed at which the body metabolizes ecstasy. Results of drug tests may vary depending on the test kit used.
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