Researchers Robert Malenka and Boris Heifets at Stanford University have expressed the need for an in-depth study of the drug ecstasy, scientifically known as MDMA. According to the pair, the workings of the MDMA drug in humans have not been studied well. The drug is classified as Schedule -1, which indicates that it has a high abuse potential and has no accepted medical use. So far, the regulated status of the drug has prevented researchers from studying it despite them having adequate tools to do so. Understanding the molecular pathways MDMA affects could hold the key to explain important workings of the central nervous system. Moreover, those who have used the drug have reported that it produces feelings of empathy and positive social feelings, leading MDMA to be described as an “empathogen.” The researchers suggest that this effect of the drug could be useful in treating autism and PTSD. They have begun conducting preliminary studies on the effect of the drug in mice and plan to approach National Institute on Drug Abuse with a proposal to conduct a large project aimed at uncovering the effects of the drug in humans and exploring its potential in treating mental disorders.
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