Octopuses are notoriously known to be unsociable. They are often described as solitary creatures. They isolate themselves from other octopuses and sea creatures. Study shows that octopuses only become sociable when they are hunting or mating. In fact, they were observed to attack and eat each other.
So it came as a huge surprise for scientists when in an experiment, octopuses high on Molly displayed a totally different social behavior—if not the complete opposite—because of the drug.
Octopuses High on Molly Reveal Shocking Truth About MMDA
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Molly, MDMA (Methyl
Although octopuses and humans are separated by more than 500 million years of evolution and their brains do not closely resemble, they do have something in similar. They share nearly identical genes for a protein involving Serotonin, which Esctacy particularly targets.
According to The Cut, the team of researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Gul Dolen, conducted an experiment aimed at determining the effects of the drug on animals, particularly the octopus. The experiment had two phases: phase one contains the sober octopuses, and the other involved octopuses high on Molly.
The sober California two-spot octopuses used in phase one spent majority of their time in isolation. That was an expected outcome because as previously mentioned, octopuses are naturally shy and reserved.
In phase two, four California two-spot male and female octopuses were submerged into a beaker containing a condensed form of the drug. This process resulted in octopuses getting high on the drug.
Then all octopuses were laid in a three-sectioned experimental tank for 30 minutes. One cage was empty, the other had a plastic action figure, and the last one had an octopus exposed to the drug as well.
Octopuses rolling on Molly exhibited behaviors similar to ones observed in humans under the influence of the drug. They became extremely friendly and sociable. It was even observed that the two octopuses high on Ecstasy inside the third experimental cage were hugging each other. The MDMA’s effect on the octopuses was similar to when a human takes the drug, as they become more cuddly and sweet.
And why is this even a big deal? As Molly affects the octopuses’ social behavior like it does on humans, it shows a significant link between serotonin and social behavior. This suggests that basic brain chemistry plays a major role in an individual’s behavior. Continuous study on the octopus social behavior reaction to psychoactive drugs can pave way for better understanding of the human mind.
Psychoactive drugs are becoming more conventional in the medical field for treating behavioral and mental-health conditions. Ecstasy, for example, has been proven to provide therapy under special protocol for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
It will not be long before these drugs would be clinically approved for psycho-social treatments in the future.