This is your brain after taking ecstasy

Using ecstasy or MDMA does not seem like a good idea, although this designer drug has become increasingly popular with young people, and not so young.

MDMA, ecstasy or or molly is one of the various hallucinogenic drugs that we know today. Like all drugs, it has its good (and not so good) side effects, some of them still unknown, and the fact that it causes hallucinations that sometimes cannot be controlled is not too good from a medical point of view.

On the other hand, consuming ecstasy or other hallucinogens like LSD could have benefits for the human body according to some studies. Although specifically the work that we echo today does not think the same: MDMA could increase the risk of dementia.

Consume ecstasy, a long-term brain deterioration

The investigation, carried out by the Liverpool University and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, has gone so far as to state that consuming ecstasy not only produces important changes in brain function, but also increases the risk of cognitive deterioration: MDMA may increase dementia.

The objective of the investigation was to see How long-term ecstasy use affected the brain, noting how MDMA stimulates the release of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters; Serotonin being the most notable, as it is the most important neurotransmitter in the prefrontal cortex responsible for cognitive processes.

Intelligence tests after consuming ecstasy: An excess of brain activation

During the experiment, 20 individuals who had consumed ecstasy up to 11 times were compared with 20 other control individuals, who had never tried the substance. All volunteers performed two intelligence tests while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI (a neuroimaging test that analyzes brain activity based on blood flow). The study area was, of course, the aforementioned prefrontal cortex.

Interestingly, both MDMA users and control individuals performed well on intelligence tests. Similarly, consuming ecstasy was also found to lead to excess brain activity in the prefrontal cortex. According to the researchers, this could be compensation from the brain of the drug users.

In other words, those who had used ecstasy needed to activate their brains more to get the same results as those who had not tried the substance. In addition, the greater the consumption, or more recent, the greater the peak of activity in this brain area.

Conclusion: Consuming Ecstasy Damages the Brain

The overall conclusion of the study was that MDMA damages serotonin receptors, leading to a worsening of cognitive brain processing. In addition, this process is cumulative, which means that it is getting worse with consumption: The repetition of the use of MDMA, or the use of high doses of the substance, would lead to worse brain effects.

Still, the authors believe that the brain can recover over time, despite the fact that paradoxically these negative effects were more intense the more recent the consumption had been.

Finally, it should be noted that MDMA or ecstasy seems to be the only drug capable of altering the brain in this wayBecause neither marijuana nor alcohol have demonstrated these long-term cognitive disorders.

Source | Journal of Psychopharmacology.