The Philosophical Implications of the Urge to Urinate. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that I decided what breakfast cereal to eat this morning. I opened the cupboard, Iperused the options, and when I ultimately chose the Honey Bunches of Oats over the Kashi Good Friends, it came from a place of considered judgment, free from external constraints and predetermined laws. Or did it? This question—about how much people are in charge of their own actions—is among the most central to the human condition. Do we have free will? Are we in control of our destiny? Do we choose the proverbial Honey Bunches of Oats? Or does the cereal—or some other mysterious force in the vast and unknowable universe—choose us?
The Greek playwright Sophocles seemed convinced that people have no real control over their fortunes. Fortunately, though, for social scientists (and for readers of this column), the task of the experimental psychologist isn’t to settle once and for all whether we have free will, but rather to see whether people think they do. Drugs and the Meaning of Life. (Photo by JB Banks) (Note 6/4/2014: I have revised this 2011 essay and added an audio version. —SH) Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. Drugs are another means toward this end. One of the great responsibilities we have as a society is to educate ourselves, along with the next generation, about which substances are worth ingesting and for what purpose and which are not.
However, we should not be too quick to feel nostalgia for the counterculture of the 1960s. Drug abuse and addiction are real problems, of course, the remedy for which is education and medical treatment, not incarceration. I discuss issues of drug policy in some detail in my first book, The End of Faith, and my thinking on the subject has not changed. I have two daughters who will one day take drugs. This is not to say that everyone should take psychedelics. (Pokhara, Nepal) Recommended Reading: Dennis McKenna: DMT strips away the brain's filter on reality. DMT: THE SPIRIT MOLECULE [Official Trailer] Pineal gland. The pineal gland, also known as the pineal body, conarium or epiphysis cerebri, is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces melatonin, a serotonin derived hormone, which affects the modulation of sleep patterns in both seasonal and circadian rhythms. Its shape resembles a tiny pine cone (hence its name), and it is located in the epithalamus, near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres, tucked in a groove where the two halves of the thalamus join.
Nearly all vertebrate species possess a pineal gland. The gland has been compared to the photoreceptive, so-called third parietal eye present in the epithalamus of some animal species, which is also called the pineal eye. René Descartes believed the pineal gland to be the "principal seat of the soul" and viewed it as the third eye. Structure Blood supply Innervation The pineal gland receives a sympathetic innervation from the superior cervical ganglion. Histology Development DMT & The Mysteries of The Pineal Gland. Blisshrooms. Mescaline. Mescaline or 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine is a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid of the phenethylamine class, known for its hallucinogenic effects similar to those of LSD and psilocybin. It shares strong structural similarities with the catecholamine dopamine.
It occurs naturally in the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), the San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi) and in the Peruvian torch (Echinopsis peruviana), and as well in a number of other members of the Cactaceae plant family. It is also found in small amounts in certain members of the Fabaceae (bean) family, including Acacia berlandieri. Naturally derived mescaline powder extract. History and usage Peyote has been used for at least 5700 years by Native Americans in Mexico. Europeans noted use of peyote in Native American religious ceremonies upon early contact, notably by the Huichols in Mexico. Potential medical usage Notable users Biosynthesis of mescaline Synthetic Mescaline Hallucinogen. Lysergic acid diethylamide. Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD or LSD-25, also known as lysergide (INN) and colloquially as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed- and open-eye visuals, synesthesia, an altered sense of time and spiritual experiences, as well as for its key role in 1960s counterculture.
It is used mainly as an entheogen, recreational drug, and as an agent in psychedelic therapy. LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose. However, acute adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, paranoia, and delusions are possible. LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1938 from ergotamine, a chemical derived by Arthur Stoll from ergot, a grain fungus that typically grows on rye. Effects Physical LSD can cause pupil dilation, reduced or increased appetite, and wakefulness. Psychological Sensory Potential uses. Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca (UK: /ˌaɪ(j)əˈwæskə/, US: /-ˈwɑːskə/) or ayaguasca (in Hispanicized spellings) from Quechua Ayawaska (aya: soul, waska: vine), or yagé (/jɑːˈheɪ, jæ-/), is an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and other ingredients. The brew is used as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin and is known by a number of different names (see below). B. caapi contains several alkaloids that act as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Another common ingredient in ayahuasca is the shrub Psychotria viridis which contains the primary psychoactive, dimethyltryptamine (DMT). MAOIs are required for DMT to be orally active. Nomenclature Ayahuasca is known by many names throughout Northern South America and Brazil. Ayahuasca is the hispanicized spelling of a word in the Quechua languages, which are spoken in the Andean states of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. History Preparation DMT admixtures: Psilocybin. Psilocybin[nb 1] (/ˌsɪləˈsaɪbɪn/ SIL-ə-SY-bin) is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe, such as P. azurescens, P. semilanceata, and P. cyanescens, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera.
As a prodrug, psilocybin is quickly converted by the body to psilocin, which has mind-altering effects similar (in some aspects) to those of LSD, mescaline, and DMT. In general, the effects include euphoria, visual and mental hallucinations, changes in perception, a distorted sense of time, and spiritual experiences, and can include possible adverse reactions such as nausea and panic attacks. History Early Modern Albert Hofmann (shown here in 1993) purified psilocybin and psilocin from Psilocybe mexicana in the late 1950s. Occurrence Psychoactive drug. An assortment of psychoactive drugs—street drugs and medications: Psychoactive substances often bring about subjective (although these may be objectively observed) changes in consciousness and mood that the user may find rewarding and pleasant (e.g. euphoria or a sense of relaxation) or advantageous (e.g. increased alertness) and are thus reinforcing. Substances which are both rewarding and positively reinforcing have the potential to induce a state of addiction – compulsive drug use despite negative consequences – when used consistently in excess.
In addition, sustained use of some substances may produce a physical dependence or psychological dependence syndrome associated with somatic or psychological-emotional withdrawal states respectively. Drug rehabilitation aims to break this cycle of dependency, through a combination of psychotherapy, support groups, maintenance and even other psychoactive substances. History Alcohol is a widely used and abused psychoactive drug. Uses Concord Prison Experiment. The Concord Prison Experiment was designed to evaluate whether the experiences produced by the psychoactive drug psilocybin, derived from psilocybin mushrooms, combined with psychotherapy, could inspire prisoners to leave their antisocial lifestyles behind once they were released.
How well it worked was to be judged by comparing the recidivism rate of subjects who received psilocybin with the average for other Concord inmates. Staff The experiment was conducted between 1961–1963 in Concord State Prison, a maximum-security prison for young offenders, in Concord, MA by a team of Harvard University researchers under the direction of Timothy Leary, which included Michael Hollingshead, Dr.
Allan Cohen, Dr. Alfred Alschuder, Dr. Results Records at Concord State Prison suggested that 64 percent of the 32 subjects would return to prison within six months after parole. Follow-up study Related research See also References Marsh Chapel Experiment. The rose window above the altar at Boston University's Marsh Chapel The Marsh Chapel Experiment, also called the "Good Friday Experiment," was a 1962 experiment conducted on Good Friday at Boston University's Marsh Chapel. Walter N. Pahnke, a graduate student in theology at Harvard Divinity School, designed the experiment under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Pahnke's experiment investigated whether psilocybin (the active principle in psilocybin mushrooms) would act as a reliable entheogen in religiously predisposed subjects. Experiment Prior to the Good Friday service, graduate degree divinity student volunteers from the Boston area were randomly divided into two groups.
However, the feeling of face flushing (turning red, feeling hot and tingly) produced by niacin subsided over the first hour or so. Doblin's follow-up Griffiths' study See also Notes Jump up ^ Pahnke WN. (1966). References Roberts, T. Brain. This article compares the properties of brains across the entire range of animal species, with the greatest attention to vertebrates. It deals with the human brain insofar as it shares the properties of other brains. The ways in which the human brain differs from other brains are covered in the human brain article. Several topics that might be covered here are instead covered there because much more can be said about them in a human context. The most important is brain disease and the effects of brain damage, covered in the human brain article because the most common diseases of the human brain either do not show up in other species, or else manifest themselves in different ways.
Anatomy Cross section of the olfactory bulb of a rat, stained in two different ways at the same time: one stain shows neuron cell bodies, the other shows receptors for the neurotransmitterGABA. Cellular structure Neurons generate electrical signals that travel along their axons. Evolution Terence Mckenna - Trust Yourself. Neuropsychopharmacology - Serotonin and Hallucinogens. Rare footage of 1950s housewife in LSD experiment. Mckenna discusses if reality is real. The Effects of LSD on the Brain (Hallucinations) Updated May 20, 2014. Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board. LSD obviously affects the brains of those who use it, distorting and altering their perceptions and sensations, but science really does not understand specifically all of the effects the drug has on the human brain.
What we do know is that LDS (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most potent mood-altering drugs available. Trippin' Since 1938 Although the use of LSD reached its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, the drug has been around since it was discovered in 1938, although that date is debatable. LSD is usually sold in tablets or capsules, but sometimes in liquid form. No Controlled Studies Despite the fact LSD has been around for more than 70 years, there are few, if any, properly controlled research studies about the specific effects LSD has on the brains of those who use it. The Nature of Hallucinations The Effects of LSD Bad Trips and Flashbacks LSD Is Unpredictable.
LSD Effects - HowStuffWorks. What Happens To A Brain On MDMA. Terence McKenna. Psychonautics. Psychonautics (from the Greek ψυχή (psychē "soul/spirit/mind") and ναύτης (naútēs "sailor/navigator")—a sailor of the mind/soul) refers both to a methodology for describing and explaining the subjective effects of altered states of consciousness, including those induced by meditation or mind-altering substances, and to a research paradigm in which the researcher voluntarily immerses himself or herself into an altered mental state in order to explore the accompanying experiences. The term has been applied diversely, to cover all activities by which altered states are induced and utilized for spiritual purposes or the exploration of the human condition, including shamanism, lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sensory deprivation, and archaic/modern drug users who use entheogenic substances in order to gain deeper insights and spiritual experiences. A person who uses altered states for such exploration is known as a psychonaut.
Etymology and categorization Peter J. Tabernanthe iboga. Tabernanthe iboga or simply iboga is a perennial rainforest shrub and psychedelic, native to western Central Africa. Iboga stimulates the central nervous system when taken in small doses and induces visions in larger doses. In parts of Africa where the plant grows the bark of the root is chewed for various pharmacological or ritualistic purposes. Ibogaine, the active alkaloid, is also used to treat substance abuse disorders. A small amount of ibogaine, along with precursors of ibogaine are found in Voacanga africana. Normally growing to a height of 2 m, T. iboga may eventually grow into a small tree up to 10 m tall, given the right conditions. Traditional use Bark of Tabernanthe iboga. The Iboga tree is the central pillar of the Bwiti spiritual practice in West-Central Africa, mainly Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo, which uses the alkaloid-containing roots of the plant in a number of ceremonies.
Addiction treatment Legal status Conservation status N,N-Dimethyltryptamine. History Another historical milestone is the discovery of DMT in plants frequently used by Amazonian natives as additive to the vine Banisteriopsis caapi to make ayahuasca decoctions. Biosynthesis Biosynthetic pathway for N,N-dimethyltryptamine This transmethylation mechanism has been repeatedly and consistently proven by radiolabeling of SAM methyl group with carbon-14 (14C-CH3)SAM). Evidence in mammals In 2013, researchers first reported DMT in the pineal gland microdialysate of rodents. A study published in 2014 reported the biosynthesis of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in the human melanoma cell line SK-Mel-147 including details on its metabolism by peroxidases.  In a 2014 paper, a group first demonstrated the immunomodulatory potential of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT through the Sigma-1_receptor of human immune cells.
INMT Endogenous DMT The first claimed detection of mammalian endogenous DMT was published in June 1965: German researchers F. How Do Hallucinogens (LSD and Psilocybin) Affect the Brain and Body? The Biological Basis Behind Magic Mushroom Mind Expansion. Psychedelic mushrooms put your brain in a “waking dream,” study finds. Brain mechanisms of hallucinogens and entactogens.