Octopuses On Ecstasy - Scientists Find The Drug Makes Them Friendlier and Sociable

Octopuses on MDMA turn into relaxed and friendly creatures

Yes ecstasy - molly, E, MDMA, the party drug, which in humans reduces fear and inhibition, induces feelings of empathy, distorts time and helps people dance to electronic music all night.

"They tended to hug the cage and put their mouth parts on the cage", says Gül Dölen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the lead investigator conducting the experiments.

Instead of reaching out to touch objects with one arm, the octopuses would reach out with six to play with a flowerpot and appeared more relaxed in their posture.

While there could be alternative explanations for the octopus's friendliness, the conclusion provided by the researchers seem to be the most robust out of all of them.

Octopuses have always stood apart from other invertebrates when it comes to intelligence, having evolved with a greater cognitive complexity.

Previously, scientists were able to instill addiction fishes Dario rerio providing them with food with the addition of opioids.

"The fact that they induced this very sort of gentle, cuddly behaviour is really pretty fascinating". But an octopus on MDMA would get up-close and personal with the new neighbor. The octopuses then ingested the MDMA through their gills.

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Then they were placed in the experimental chambers for 30 minutes. Also in that tank was another octopus that was confined to a cage - well, really an upside-down flower pot with holes in it. Octopuses would ordinarily stay far away from the imprisoned stranger, but not so on ecstasy. Before the octopuses received the MDMA, they all avoided the male octopus.

"They spent significantly more time in the side of the tank, the chamber, that had the other octopus in it", says Dolen. It's also the only octopus to have its genome fully sequenced. Multiple research into the psychoactive drug 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known by its street name Ecstasy, shows that it temporarily enhances the serotonin levels in humans - resulting in increased social behavior and elevated levels of happiness. At first, when they had ingested too much of the drug their breathing became erratic and they turned white.

So what was the point of doing such experiment?

The researchers said the findings may open opportunities for accurately studying the impact of psychiatric drug therapies in many animals distantly related to people. She added that the study of psychedelics and other recreational drugs is no longer deemed to be a "risque topic".

For more information regarding the study, check out the links below.

According to NPR, scientists also recently discovered, after sequencing the full genetic code of an octopus, that the "protein that binds the signaling molecule serotonin to brain cells" is nearly identical in humans and octopuses.

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