Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Video: Understanding How Psychedelics Work In The Brain

Interesting talk, here are a few highlights.  LSD hits many receptors, unlike, say psilocybin or MDMA, including dopamine receptors.  Rats can be taught to discriminate between drugs, which allows us to do some forms of testing without humans.  LSD may have a longer effect (than say psilocybin) based on a metabolite which seems more active on the dopamine receptors.

Some researchers found that the second half of the LSD experience was often marked by paranoia or unsatisfactory qualities, Nichols believes this may be due to the metabolite.  With my buddhist geek background, I'd give another hypothesis and say people got up in the "ecstatic" range of the 4th nana/2nd jhana early in the trip and then moved on to the unsatisfactory dukkha nanas (5th-10th nana, 3rd jhana) as the trip continued.

Description from youtube:
This talk presented a brief overview of what psychedelics are, and several significant events in this field in the past four decades. A comparison will be made between molecular structures, and how they were related to the structure of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The receptors that have been identified as targets for psychedelics were discussed, and their brain localization noted, followed by a brief description of where the receptors are located, and what happens inside the cell after the receptor is activated by a psychedelic. Comments included about the different intracellular signaling pathways that can be activated, and which one(s) may be important for altering consciousness. A diagram of connectivity between key brain regions was discussed, which will show how some of the effects of psychedelics may be induced. Particular note will be made of the difficulty in identifying psychedelic molecules in the absence of human experimentation, which is illegal. There will then be a discussion of the use of drug discrimination to identify "LSD-like" molecules, and an example from the author's laboratory of the use of rigid analogues to identify important structural features of molecules such as LSD. Finally, a discussion was presented of the unique psychopharmacology of LSD, which occurs in two time-dependent phases, and the hypothesis that LSD may be converted in the body into an active metabolite that may be responsible for this time-dependent activity.

Psychedelic Science in the 21st Century, a conference in San Jose, California, April 15-18 2010, organized by MAPS - the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in collaboration with: the Heffter Research Institute, The Council on Spiritual Practices, & the Beckley Foundation

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