According to the federal government of the United States, the drug ecstasy is categorized as a Schedule 1 controlled substance which means that it has no value in the medical field and it has a very high possibility of getting abused. This led to the development of ecstasy drug rehab which is a facility dedicated to those who are addicted to this specific kind of drug.
In the last 10 years, scientists have been conducting research focusing on the active ingredient of ecstasy known as the 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA. Clinical trials have been conducted for different conditions such as autism.
This is where it was found out that the drug has the capacity to improve the sociability of a person because of the brain circuit that is separate from the one responsible in making one feel high. With this new discovery, researchers are hopeful that they might be able to develop a drug that can help boost social interactions while eliminating the possibility of drug misuse.
This unpublished discovery was presented by researchers during the yearly meeting of the 2018 Society for Neuroscience held in San Diego, California.
Boris Heifets, the lead researcher, said during the presentation that they wanted to separate to the rewarding effect of the drug from its prosocial effect. This way they will be able to develop a drug that can be used safely and less chances of being abused. They want, as much as possible, to avoid the same stigma that was created by MDMA. Heifets is currently an assistant professor at Stanford University located in California. He is majoring in anaesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine.
Heifets and his team of researcher monitored mice injected with MDMA. Different doses were given and after 15 minutes the ones that were given the two highest doses are found to be more social. They prefer to stay inside the chamber with fellow mouse rather than one with an inanimate object. They are hoping to use this information to create a safe drug so that fewer individuals will need to check into ecstasy drug rehab since they will be able to enjoy the prosocial effect without the high and abuse that comes with it.