MDMA Reactivates Social Reward Systems In Adult Mice
A new study published by Johns Hopkins University concludes that the effect of just a single dose of methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is enough to reopen a “critical period of development” in the brains of adult mice.
Critical periods are ‘windows’ during development when the brain is particularly sensitive to environmental stimuli. In the case of the study the window was social interactions and the reward systems surrounding them that start around early sexual maturity and end in adulthood proper.
This critical period is characterized by increased oxytocin signaling in a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, resulting in a larger appetite for social interactions. At the end of the period this desire abates, but one dose of MDMA was enough to reopen the social desire of youth in fully mature mice for about 2 weeks.
Times They Are a Changing
In August 2017, based on the results of Phase 2 trials conducted by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, acknowledging that it “may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies” and agreeing to expedite its development and review.
In late November 2018 phase III clinical trials were approved and began, with results and possible approval as a therapeutic treatment for PTSD and depression estimated for 2021.
Organizations like Johns Hopkins University and MAPS are deeply involved with the changing of government opinions towards the use and legality of psychedelics. In 2006 Principal Investigator Dr. Rolland Griffiths conducted the first studies on psilocybin, a classic psychedelic compound, since 1970.
The psilocybin trails led to profound experiences which 67% of participants rated as among the top 5 most meaningful experiences of their lifetime. Griffiths continues his work today, adding MDMA, Ibogaine, and mushrooms to the list of substances in trials for treatments of all kinds.
Note: the study link will not go live until Wednesday 3PM Est