One of the world's most popular party drugs is being tested as a treatment for social anxiety in autistic adults.
According to the New York Daily News, researchers from Stanford University and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute began a study over a year ago to see if MDMA can help autistic adults conquer the fear of human interaction.
Lead researcher Alicia Danforth called MDMA a "heart-opening" substance. She attributed her claim to its ability to induce social comfort and boost confidence.
Over the years, the drug's effects have been tested in various studies involving approximately 1,133 people.
The current study will involve 12 autistic individuals over the age of 21 who have completed at least two years of college and fit a series of "rigorous criteria."
The participants undergo numerous therapy sessions Danforth says prepares them "for the shift in consciousness" that comes with taking MDMA.
Then, eight of the participants will be given MDMA while the other four receive placebos.
After taking the pills, the participants either listen to music while blindfolded or talk to researchers.
The effects of the experiment are going to be determined in "integrative therapy" sessions each participant attends over a six-month period.
It's here where participants can discuss any changes, positive or negative, they have observed.
Once these sessions are completed, the participants given placebos can decide whether they'd like to try MDMA.
Danforth told the Daily News the study's main objective is to decide if the drug is truly safe and effective as a deterrent of social anxiety.
We're not looking to affect any of the course or trace of autism. We're looking to help individuals who are sometimes held back from living life to the fullest.
Participants are still being recruited today as it appears only seven people have participated in the experiment so far.