Researchers Push to Study MDMA And Effects on Empathy

Two researchers are calling for rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA (ecstasy) to identify exactly how the drug promotes strong feelings of empathy, according to a Commentary in the journal Cell. Such research may help researchers develop new therapeutic compounds, particularly for autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

MDMA is described as an “empathogen,” a compound that promotes feelings of empathy and close positive social feelings in users. The drug is a strictly regulated Schedule I compound, a category reserved for substances with no accepted medical use and high abuse potential.