Brain Studies

Someone at UCLA wants to know how drugs affect the brain and what they can do to help patients with terminal illnesses. And so we get a scholarly reference to Peyote.

The way hallucinogens such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), psilocybin and mescaline (the active ingredient in the peyote cactus) act on the brain is reasonably well understood by scientists. The drugs stick to chemical receptors on nerve cells that normally bind the neurotransmitter serotonin, which affects a broad range of brain activities. But how this leads to the profoundly altered states of consciousness, perception and mood that typically accompany a “trip” is not known….

Since the 1970s, scientific research into the effects hallucinogenic drugs have on the brain and their potential benefits has become a pariah field for any scientist who wanted to keep their reputation…

“As a culture we just decided clinical research shouldn’t be done with this class of compounds”…

“These drugs, these experiences are not for the mystic who wants to sit on the mountain top and meditate. They are not for the counter-culture rebel. They are for everybody,” he said.

Such a long quote when the part about the cactus was really quite minor. I wonder what that says about me? Now you’ll all think I’m some kind of drug addict, when really my drug of choice is vodka. And gin. A little rum on occasion. Lot’s of California red wines. Sometimes a french red. My mom thinks I’m an alcoholic since she once saw me have a 2nd glass of wine with dinner. She doesn’t know about the 16 shots of Jameson I did in my fraternity days, Go Delts.

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September 2023

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