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neurotransmitter


dopamine

dopamine

Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including important roles in behavior and cognition, motor activity, motivation and reward, regulation of milk production, sleep, mood, attention, and learning. The phasic responses of dopamine neurons are observed when an unexpected reward is presented. These responses transfer to the onset of a conditioned stimulus after repeated pairings with the reward. Further, dopamine neurons are depressed when the expected reward is omitted. Thus, dopamine neurons seem to encode the prediction error of rewarding outcomes. In nature, we learn to repeat behaviors that lead to maximize rewards. Dopamine is therefore believed to provide a teaching signal to parts of the brain responsible for acquiring new behavior.


serotonin

serotonin

In the central nervous system, serotonin is believed to play an important role as a neurotransmitter, in the regulation of anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite. As with all neurotransmitters, the effects of serotonin on the human mood and state of mind, and its role in consciousness, are very difficult to ascertain.


endorphin

endogenous opioid peptides

There are three well-characterized families of opioid peptides produced by the body: enkephalins, endorphins and dynorphins. An enkephalin is a pentapeptide involved in regulating pain and nociception in the body. The enkephalins are termed endogenous ligands, or specifically endorphins, as they are internally derived and bind to the body's opioid receptors.

Endorphins resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a sense of well-being.

Endorphins are "natural pain killers." Other drugs may increase the effects of the endorphins. The term "endorphin" implies a pharmacological activity as opposed to a specific chemical formulation. It consists of two parts: endo- and -orphin; these are short forms of the words endogenous and opium, intended to mean "a morphine-like substance originating from within the body."

The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress due to the influence of endorphins. Dynorphin is a class of peptides which has some opiate-like activity.

The dynorphins, which include dynorphin A, dynorphin B, alpha- and beta-neoendorphin, and big dynorphin, are all the products of a single gene, 'preprodynorphin'. Dynorphin functions primarily as a kappa opioid receptor agonist, meaning that it acts mainly at kappa opioid receptors. Other opioid peptides include beta-endorphin, met-enkephalin, leu-enkephalin and endomorphins.

neuron synapse

neuron synapses

One of the most important features of neuron synapses is that they are the site of action for the majority of psychoactive drugs. Neuron synapses are affected by drugs such as curare, strychnine, cocaine, opium, alcohol, LSD, and countless others. These drugs have different effects on synaptic function, and often are restricted to neuron synapses that use a specific neurotransmitters.

Curare is a poison which stops acetylcholine from depolarising the post-synaptic membrane, causing paralysis. Strychnine blocks the inhibitory effects of the neurotransmitter glycine, which causes the body to pick up and react to weaker and previously ignored stimuli, resulting in uncontrollable muscle contractions.

Ethanol increases the inhibitory effects of the neurotransmitter GABA.

Morphine hydrochloride acts on synapses that use endorphin neurotransmitters.

Cocaine hydrochloride blocks reuptake of dopamine and therefore increases its effects.

Lysergic acid diethylamide interferes with synapses that use the neurotransmitter serotonin to cause hallucination.

Entheogens modulate the serotonin system in such a way to produce psychedelic alterations in perception, emotional response, and thought process'.

These include psilocin/psilocybin, ibogaine, mescaline, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine and 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine .



entheogen

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Down to a sunless sea
...
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome, those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge



starry snoppy


"While I was sitting at tea, I felt a strange sensation, totally unlike anything I had ever felt before; a gradual creeping thrill, which in a few minutes occupied every part of my body, lulling to sleep the before-mentioned racking pain, producing a pleasing glow from head to foot, and inducing a sensation of dreamy exhilaration similar in nature but not in degree to the drowsiness caused by wine, though not inclining me to sleep; in fact far from it, that I longed to engage in some active exercise; to sing, dance, or leap...so vividly did I feel my vitality - for in this state of delicious exhilaration even mere excitement seemed absolute elysium - that I could not resist the tendency to break out in the strangest vagaries, until my companions thought me deranged ... before my entranced sight magnificent halls stretched out in endless succession with galley above gallery, while the roof was blazing with gems, like stars whose rays alone illumined the whole building, which was tinged with strange, gigantic figures, like the wild possessors of lost globe...I will not attempt farther to describe the magnificent vision which a little pill of 'brown gum' had conjured up from the realm of ideal being. No words that I can command would do justice to its Titanian splendour and immensity..." - William Blair

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents ... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age." - HP Lovecraft

Insanity is properly defined as repeating the same actions over and over and expecting a different outcome than those already experienced.

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