Taking Ecstasy can have a long-term effect on your brain, research has revealed.

MDMA – the synthetic drug which is often referred to as Ecstasy or Molly – has been found to lead to poorer cognitive functioning.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, studied the brain activity of 40 volunteers – 20 who had taken MDMA 11 times or more and 20 non-drug users – while they completed two intelligence tests. Researchers from the University of Liverpool found the brains of the MDMA users had to work harder to complete tasks than those of people who had never touched the substance before.

MDMA leads the brain to release neurotransmitters including oxytocin and serotonin, which is why users feel happy, empathetic and less anxious. But this can lead to damage in the brain’s prefrontal cortex where a lot of our serotonin receptors are found.

The research found “increased neuronal activation” in the prefrontal cortex of the group which had used MDMA. This means that their brains found it harder to complete the same tasks as the control group.

Regular Ecstasy users have poorer cognitive function

This increased activity was most extreme in people who used MDMA regularly or who took high doses of the drug. The impact on cognitive functioning was also bigger in people who had taken Ecstasy recently. This suggests that giving up the drug completely could possibly see their brain function improve or even return to normal in time.

AlphaBiolabs offers a series of drugs tests which can detect the use of MDMA. Hair strand tests can give you an accurate picture of someone’s substance misuse over a period of time, while urine and blood tests can tell you if an individual has taken drugs recently.

If you’re concerned about the drug use of someone you know, it is important to help them seek advice and support. Peace of mind drug tests can be a useful tool in monitoring someone’s drug use as they recover from an addiction and can provide a powerful deterrent to those who are tempted to misuse substances again.

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