Skip to content Skip to footer
NUMINOUS adj. /ˈnuːmɪnəs/ A term derived from the Latin numen, meaning "arousing spiritual emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring."

MDMA can Enhance Social Connection

Article Title: “Does ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) induce subjective feelings of social connection in humans? A multilevel meta-analysis”

Authors: Annie Regan, Seth Margolis, Harriet de Wit, Sonja Lyubomirsky

Publication Date: October 25, 2021

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258849


MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy or molly, is a psychoactive drug known for its euphoric and social bonding effects. Initially popularised in the 1980s as a “club drug,” its potential therapeutic benefits have garnered scientific interest over the last two decades. Researchers are exploring its impact on social connection, particularly within clinical settings.

Study Overview

This study, conducted by a team of psychologists and neuroscientists, aimed to quantify the effects of MDMA on self-reported feelings of sociability. By performing a multilevel meta-analysis, they aggregated data from 27 placebo-controlled studies, with a total of 592 participants.

Key Findings

The meta-analysis revealed a moderate-to-large effect of MDMA on sociability-related outcomes, such as feeling loving, talkative, and friendly. The effect size was measured at 𝑑=0.86. This means there was a significant enhancement in self-reported social connection under the influence of MDMA.


MDMA’s ability to enhance sociability may be attributed to its impact on empathy, threat perception, and reward salience from social interactions. The drug has been shown to increase emotional empathy, reduce fear responses, and heighten sensitivity to positive social cues. These effects suggest MDMA could act as a social catalyst, intensifying feelings of connection in social settings.


The findings have important implications for therapeutic practices, particularly in treating conditions like PTSD, where social connection plays a crucial role in recovery. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could enhance the therapeutic alliance between patients and therapists, fostering a more open and trusting environment.

Potential Application

Beyond clinical settings, MDMA could be beneficial in addressing social deficits in conditions such as depression, social anxiety, and autism. Its potential to improve interpersonal relationships and social functioning makes it a promising tool for mental health professionals.


This comprehensive meta-analysis underscores MDMA’s potent effects on enhancing feelings of social connection. By providing a quantified measure of these effects, the study lays the groundwork for future research and potential therapeutic applications. MDMA holds promise for transforming social and clinical interactions, offering new hope for individuals struggling with social disconnection.



Regan, A., Margolis, S., de Wit, H., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2021). Does ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) induce subjective feelings of social connection in humans? A multilevel meta-analysis. PLOS ONE, 16(10), e0258849.

You may also like

Find Us

3 Hill Street, New Town
Edinburgh, EH2 3JP

Tel. +44 1312100500

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Be the first to hear about our next retreats and save money with our early bird discounts.

Numinous Ways © 2024. All Rights Reserved.