New Drugs Function Like Real Life Love Potions
As much as you believe that love stems from the pitter-pattering of your heart or butterflies swarming in your belly, it doesn’t—it’s all up in the brain. The chemical cocktail of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and oxytocin pumping through your gray matter translates into the rush of feelings and clammy hands.
So, if the feeling of love is strictly chemical, does that mean researchers and scientists can develop psychoactive drugs to help either combat one-sided feelings or fire up a relationship? Some scientists say yes.
Research into chemical love potions started with MDMA during the 1980’s in the United Kingdom. However, since the ban of the drug, studies have been stopped. Some researchers at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics are still hopeful about the positive effects that drugs, like MDMA, can have on romantic relationships; they even published a paper about the potential usage of intranasal oxycotin, which improves trust and attachments with humans.
Brian Earp, a research fellow at the University of Oxford, where the research group is based, told Motherboard that “As the taboo against researching [MDMA] wears off, we might find that there could be a safe, therapeutic use for it, in a controlled setting.” For a yin, there must be a yang. Researchers are also looking at “anti-love drugs” that can create “chemical breakup” so that users can stop obsessions and lessen heartbreak.
There are more issues to experimenting with “love drugs” than just the safety. One of the greatest accomplishments of humankind is the development of medicine. In the United States, we are fortunate enough to not have to worry about smallpox, polio, measles (for the most part), or other largely eradicated diseases. No question, medicine is good. But as research gets stronger, we have a new issue – overmedicalization. Earp mentions that love drugs would ideally be used as supplements to “traditional ways of fostering love between partners.” Despite good intentions of the researchers, medicalizing love and having these drugs available may mean users run the risk of constantly relying on them.
However, there are some serious, hard-to-tackle issues that love and anti-love drugs can possibly help combat. Issues like depression from unrequited love, love for an abusive partner, pedophilia, or love for cult leader can be potentially fought by anti-love drugs. Only more research can tell us the future of this field.
Who knew that the love potion you concocted in your mind as an ten-year-old could live in the form of a psychoactive drug?
Stay tuned to Milk for more love and other drugs.
Images via MDMA Team, Not on the High Street, and Google.