Summary: A study published in the journal Nature has demonstrated that MDMA (AKA ecstasy or molly) significantly boosts feelings of social connection, which could be beneficial for MDMA-assisted therapy. The study involved 18 participants who engaged in conversations with strangers under the influence of MDMA or a placebo, revealing that MDMA led to a robust increase in feelings of connection.
Study Reveals MDMA’s Impact on Social Connection and Enjoyment
The study, which aimed to explore MDMA’s potential in enhancing social interactions, was conducted with 18 participants aged 18-35 years old. These individuals, who reported low-to-moderate drug use and had used MDMA at least once in their lives, were given either 100 mg of MDMA or a placebo in a controlled, double-blind setting. During the study, participants engaged in semi-structured conversations with a partner, discussing various small talk topics.
Researchers found that MDMA significantly increased ratings of liking the conversation partner and finding the conversation more enjoyable and meaningful. There was also a trend of creating a greater connection with the partner compared to the placebo. A week later, participants reported finding the conversation after MDMA to be more meaningful than the conversation after the placebo. They also rated their MDMA partners as being significantly more physically attractive and warm compared to the placebo partners.
The study highlights MDMA’s potential for greater connection, which could have implications for MDMA-assisted therapy. The feeling of connectedness could help patients feel safe and trusting, thereby facilitating deeper emotional exploration. This construct of connectedness could be valuable in designing MDMA-assisted therapy protocols.
Researchers are still exploring the specific mechanisms that create these results. MDMA releases oxytocin, which affects serotonin receptors, but many of the oxytocin levels were below detectable limits, making it challenging to draw finite conclusions. The study illustrates a novel method for assessing the effects of drugs on social connection, showing that MDMA produces strong feelings of connectedness with a stranger after a brief conversation.
Source: High Times
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