Octopuses were Given MDMA by Scientists – Here’s how they Reacted

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A new study that was published in the scientific journal Current Biology describes how researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine did an experiment involving drugging octopuses by giving them ecstasy to see how they would react.

How were the octopuses drugged?

The scientists placed the sea creatures in a solution that contained MDMA and they were provided with three different chambers in a tank to swim in. One of the compartments was empty, a second one had an octopus in a cage, while a third one had a small action figure: Chewbacca from “Star Wars”. Isn’t that innovative?

What happened next?

What the researchers observed is that the octopuses which were high on the drug became friendly, thus they reached a very simple conclusion: the MDMA drug clearly makes the creatures very affectionate. As you may probably know, octopuses are usually solitary, however, during this experiment, thanks to the drugs that they were “administered”, they became very cuddly with the other octopus that was in a cage.

According to Gül Dölen, who was the main investigator of the study, the sea creatures were trying to hug the cage and place their mouths on it, which is in fact how humans react when they take MDMA. When it comes to the furry character from Star Wars, it seems that the octopuses only spent some time with Chewbacca throughout the control test, when they were not on drugs.

So what was the point of doing such experiment?

Based on what the scientists said, the purpose of this demonstration is to see how serotonin can affect social interaction. Dölen mentioned that even though the octopuses’ brains are closer to those of snails than ours, studies have shown that they can actually sometimes have similar behaviors to ours. A difficulty that the researchers had with this experiment was that it wasn’t easy to determine just how much ecstasy the octopuses should be given. At the beginning, they used a higher dose than they should have and the sea creatures got scared, starting to undergo color changes. What won’t we do for science?

Karen and her husband live on a plot of land in British Columbia. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. They are also currently planning a move to a small cabin they hand built. Karen’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Thus sprung Anna’s interest in backyard gardening, chicken and goat keeping, recycling and self-sufficiency.


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