Scientists Give MDMA to Octopuses & Get "Unbelievable" Results

Henrietta Strickland
September 24, 2018

Ecstasy has increased social activity octopus, Scientists have studied how ecstasy affects the California two spotted octopus Octopus bimaculoides, which is known for its aggressive behavior in all organisms including their relatives.

"These molecular similarities are sufficient to enable MDMA to induce prosocial behaviours in octopuses".

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University and the Marine Biological Laboratory on Cape Cod found that, just like humans, notoriously reserved (and sometimes violent) octopuses act friendly and social when they're exposed to MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy or Molly.

There were four octopuses that were used in the study and each was placed in a water diluted with MDMA as the octopuses absorbed the drug through their gills. She said that this could mean that the signalling molecules such as the neurotransmitters may be similar in octopuses and humans and may have been conserved over evolutionary progress.

Octopuses' social response is curious because humans and octopuses have more than 500 million years of divergent evolution, making us very different creatures indeed. Octopuses can open jars, pick the World Cup winners and make escape attempts.

Scientists have been giving a lonesome California two-spot octopus MDMA to see if it would become more sociable. "The fact that they induced this very sort of gentle, cuddly behavior is really pretty fascinating". The results of this preliminary experience, so we need a new study before octopi becomes necessary organisms for the study of brain and behavior.

They also hugged the pot with several arms, showing off their ventral ends, or mouths, nearly like how the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus, the only known social octopus species, mates beak to beak in an eight-armed hug.

The design of the experiment testing the octopus' interaction with novel objects and other another octopus. They add that the octopuses may rely on common pathways to behave socially at certain times, such as during mating season. But an octopus on MDMA would get up-close and personal with the new neighbor.

Scientists conducted this test to understand the brain mechanism which controls social behavior, publishing their findings in the journal Current Biology.

But given a dose of presumably high-quality lab MDMA, the research team found that it responded in much the same way as humans would - by "becoming much more interested than usual in engaging with one other". In turn, it would show them that the drug wound into the octopuses serotonin transporters.

Then, the animals 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. However, on a lower dose, one octopus appeared to be "doing water ballet", swimming around the tank with tentacles outstretched.

"I have to admit that it was totally trial and error".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article