Tag Archives: drugs

April 06

THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: A SOBERING VULNERABILITY OF THE HUMAN BRAIN

Opioids are a class of powerful psychoactive drugs that are often prescribed for pain relief, but can produce an intense euphoria that has proven remarkably addictive.  Opioid use disorder, a diagnosis characterized by compulsive opioid use and withdrawal, affects or has affected approximately 3 million Americans and 16 million people worldwide.  According to the Centers […]

January 25

Instant Gratification: Weighing the Psychological Benefits and Costs of MDMA Use

Can a pill exist that brings instant happiness without any negative side effects? Probably not.

September 28

Dopamine is NOT your brain’s reward chemical

Dopamine is NOT your brain’s reward chemical.  Or rather, dopamine is not JUST your brain’s reward chemical, nor is it your brain’s ONLY reward chemical.

August 18

Mind your P’s and T’s: How tainted drugs revolutionized Parkinson’s research

[En español] In 1982, a man was brought to a hospital in the Bay Area of California in a curious condition.  The man was completely catatonic (immobile), and was frozen into an awkward, statue-like posture.  Doctors initially diagnosed him with catatonic schizophrenia, a sub-type of schizophrenia characterized by rigidity and unresponsiveness. However, this diagnosis did […]

January 28

Dawn of the DREADD

[En Español] There are few things I find more satisfying than a good acronym, and DREADD  or Designer Receptor Exclusively Activated by a Designer Drug has got to be my favorite.  The name is just so evocative.  Whenever I think about DREADDs, I find myself picturing some sort of Star Wars villain; maybe due to […]

December 12

A (Not So) Brief History of Psychedelic Science

Psychedelics* (i.e. chemicals that reliably produce altered states of consciousness characterized by sensory distortion and changes in cognition) have been subject to human ritualistic, therapeutic, and recreational use for millennia.  Their profound perceptual effects have the potential to elucidate countless mysteries of human neurobiology, illuminating the sensitivity of our conscious experience to stereotyped, chemically-induced changes. […]