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2C-B vs. Molly

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Molly is one of the most popular party drugs available through black market trade in the United States and around the world. There are also dozens of designer drugs out there that are intended to mimic MDMA to capitalize on its popularity. One of those synthetic substances is a drug called 2C-B or Nexus. How similar are these chemicals, and how are they different? Learn more about 2C-B and Molly and how they compare. 

What is Molly?

Molly is an illicit recreational drug with the official name 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. It’s is a class of psychoactive drugs called entactogens, which have some properties of both psychedelic and stimulant drugs. 

Drugs of this category often affect your emotions and may increase empathy and sociability. MDMA and other entactogens have been studied as a potential medication to be used in therapy. The emotional effects of the drug may be able to help people lower their defenses and open up more in therapy sessions. However, MDMA isn’t currently approved for any medical uses.

MDMA is popularly used as a recreational drug, and it’s closely related to club culture as a party drug. The drug’s mood-lifting and social enhancing abilities make it a popular choice in social dance settings. It’s often illegally sold at clubs and in house parties. 

Adulterants are a significant issue that plagues the illicit MDMA trade. Adulterants are substances that are added to drugs that can dilute or add to the drug’s effects. Diluted drugs can create a dangerous situation for their users. If a person gets used to a diluted version of MDMA, they may assume their dose is a typical dose. When they encounter a purer version of the drug, it can cause a dangerous overdose. 

Molly can cause a number of unwanted side effects, including jaw clenching, dry mouth, sweating, hyperthermia, insomnia, and impaired balance. High doses can cause hyperthermia to the point of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, dehydration, brain damage, and death in certain circumstances. 

Users are often told to treat MDMA like a hot day outside and to watch for signs of heat exhaustion. If you start to overheat, it’s important to retreat to a cool place and relax. If you start to feel faint or if you have blackouts, seek medical attention. 

MDMA users are also often told to drink plenty of water to rehydrate. However, overhydrating is also a problem. MDMA causes you to retain water when you drink too much, which can cause your cells to swell, leading to brain damage and blackouts. 

What is 2C-B?

2C-B is another illicit, recreational drug that’s used as a club drug. It’s in a class of chemicals called phenethylamines, and it’s often thought of as a cross between entactogens and psychedelics. 

It’s used for positive effects including mood lift, euphoria, increased empathy and sociability, brightened colors, psychedelic visuals, and increased libido. The drug was first synthesized along with a host of other similar substances by chemist Alexander Shulgin in 1974. 

Like MDMA, it was thought that the drug could be useful in therapeutic settings, allowing patients to be more at ease opening up to their therapist and unlocking repressed memories.

It was used by therapists in Europe and then adopted by club culture after it gained a reputation as a sexual enhancement drug. It was outlawed in the United States in 1995.

2C-B also has some negative side effects, including nausea, vomiting, muscle tension, and confusion, insomnia, paranoia, sweating, and chills. At high doses, the drug can become a powerful hallucinogen with significant psychedelic effects. Users also report that the effects of 2C-8 are unpredictable. In some cases, the high is pleasurable, and in others, it’s uncomfortable. 

The lethal dose of 2C-B is unknown, and the drug is not yet well understood. There have been no reported deaths attributed to 2C-B since it was synthesized. However, high doses can affect your heart rate, causing tachycardia. This can be risky for people with high blood pressure, arrhythmias, or heart disease.

How are they Similar?

MDMA and 2C-B both work on some of the same neurotransmitters in the brain to achieve their psychoactive effects. MDMA works by causing the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which have a variety of functions in the nervous system. 

Serotonin is closely tied to mood, reward, and feelings of well-being. It’s released in high amounts when someone takes MDMA, and it could account for many of the positive feelings and psychedelic effects of the drug. It also depletes your serotonin sources and leads to feelings of depression until your body can replenish your supply of the chemical. 2C-B also works by causing the release of serotonin and dopamine, causing feelings of excitement and mood lift. 

Both drugs cause similar effects and side effects. They both lift mood, cause an increase in sociability, and can increase libido. They can also cause an elevated heart rate, high body temperature, and heart palpitations. They both cause sweating and may cause heat exhaustion in high doses.

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How Are They Different?

Both MDMA and 2C-B have similar but different effects on the brain. For instance, MDMA’s effects mostly come from its serotonergic effects and only affects dopamine to a much lower degree. 2C-B may have more significant impacts on dopamine in the brain, which may cause it to have more significant effects as a stimulant. Dopamine may also account for 2C-B’s reputation as an aphrodisiac over MDMA.

There have also been more instances of heatstroke, dehydration, and body temperature-related complications associated with MDMA. However, this could be because MDMA is more widely used. 2C-B also appears to cause more significant physical sensations like jitters, tingling, and body load. In many cases, these effects are considered uncomfortable and unpleasant. 

Why Seek Addiction Treatment?

MDMA and 2C-B aren’t known to have a high risk of chemical dependence, but their positive effects can lead to abuse and psychological dependence. Plus, the use of illicit drugs is inherently dangerous because it can be difficult to know what you are actually taking. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder related to either of these drugs, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. 


National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, June). MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, April). Hallucinogens. from

Papaseit, E., Farré, M., Pérez-Mañá, C., Torrens, M., Ventura, M., Pujadas, M., … González, D. (2018, March 13). Acute Pharmacological Effects of 2C-B in Humans: An Observational Study. from

Páleníček, T., Fujáková, M., Brunovský, M., Horáček, J., Gorman, I., Balíková, M., … Höschl, C. (2012, July 29). Behavioral, neurochemical and pharmaco-EEG profiles of the psychedelic drug 4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine (2C-B) in rats. from

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