A team of researchers from the Netherlands and Switzerland have confirmed that the drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) — commonly known as ecstasy or molly — enhances empathy towards others.
The findings, published April 3 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, are based on a pooled sample of 118 participants from six double-blind placebo-controlled studies. The participants ingested either 75 mg or 125 mg of MDMA or a placebo pill before completing an empathy test.
Psychedelics are similarly safe physiologically, Rucker said, even compared with the least toxic current prescription drugs, such as fluoxetine. He did note that they can be “psychologically toxic,” potentially leading to tragic, if rare, events such as accidental death, suicide, or homicide if taken irresponsibly in recreational settings. But the most clear adverse physical events with psychedelics were short-term nausea, anxiety and disorientation.“You would need to eat many, many kilograms of magic mushrooms before the dose of psilocybin you ingested with them was harmful to your body,” Rucker said. “Psychedelics are much, much safer than opiates, which are routinely used in medical practice and kill thousands of people every year from overdose, but they are more legally restricted. It is quite a perverse situation, really, and certainly not an evidence-based one.”
Robin Carhart-Harris presentation on psychedelic science, at Imperial College London 25 October (57 mins)
“What brings you to Canada?” the Border Patrol asked Dr. Michael Mithoefer in the spring of 2015. Mithoefer, a psychiatrist, and his wife Annie, a psychiatric nurse, are pioneers in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Mithoefer had been invited to Toronto to address the largest gathering of psychiatrists in the world—the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association—on the results of their research into treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using MDMA.
Needless to say, if there’s ever a time to avoid ruffling feathers with the mention of psychoactive substances, international border-crossing fits the bill. Mithoefer succinctly explained that he was presenting his PTSD research at the APA conference.
Ecstasy should be studied to understand the roots of empathy and sociality, and as potential treatments for disease, two psychiatrists argue.
Scientists are currently studying the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Significantly reduced depression scores were observed in all patients at 1 week and were sustained out to 3 months.
“The results are not conclusive, but we strongly suspect that it is the psilocybin playing a role, because the quit rates are so much higher than even the best current psychological or pharmacological treatments for tobacco addiction, which are typically around 35%,” says Johnson. Based on the success of the initial trial, he and fellow researchers at Johns Hopkins have now embarked on a phase II randomised controlled trial with 80 participants, which started in October 2014.
Psychedelic users and sexual minorities are both involved in the same struggle. We both represent a valid threat to the same obsolete control mechanisms. We are on the same team.
In the 1960s, mind-altering drugs like LSD helped fuel the counterculture. Today, psychedelics are turning on a new generation – of scientists.
Neuroscience PhD student Mendel Kaelen researches the relationship between psychedelics and music. He explains how he picks the songs.
PLOS ONE: Effects of MDMA Injections on the Behavior of Socially-Housed Long-Tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis)
3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methyl amphetamine (MDMA) is one of the few known molecules to increase human and rodent prosocial behaviors. However, this effect has never been assessed on the social behavior of non-human primates. In our study, we subcutaneously injected three different doses of MDMA (1.0, 1.5 or 2.0mg/kg) to a group of three, socially housed, young male long-tailed macaques. More than 200 hours of behavioral data were recorded, during 68 behavioral sessions, by an automatic color-based video device that tracked the 3D positions of each animal and of a toy. This data was then categorized into 5 exclusive behaviors (resting, locomotion, foraging, social contact and object play). In addition, received and given social grooming was manually scored. Results show several significant dose-dependent behavioral effects. At 1.5mg/kg only, MDMA induces a significant increase in social grooming behavior, thus confirming the prosocial effect of MDMA in macaques. Additionally, at 1.5 and 2.0 mg/kg MDMA injection substantially decreases foraging behavior, which is consistent with the known anorexigenic effect of this compound. Furthermore, at 2.0 mg/kg MDMA injection induces an increase in locomotor behavior, which is also in accordance with its known stimulant property. Interestingly, MDMA injected at 1.0mg/kg increases the rate of object play, which might be interpreted as a decrease of the inhibition to manipulate a unique object in presence of others, or, as an increase of the intrinsic motivation to manipulate this object. Together, our results support the effectiveness of MDMA to study the complex neurobiology of primates’ social behaviors.