May 21, 2008

This is your brain on drugs

Image lifted from James Kent

James Kent of Dose Nation / Tripzone is a reliably sober reporter on the psychedelic beat. He's not a believer in machine elves or other-dimensional beings, which makes him a good counterpoint to most of the stuff a naive psychonaut is going to encounter as they gather more information, Which is not to totally discount the freakier readings, only to make a strong case for the straight approach of How does this substance change the brain? The beliefs on the wilder fringes of the scene seem no better than other religious mythologies. Far better to deal with what is observable and can be shown to be true, than to make up grand theories about things that can never be proven. Still, we'll see looks more foolish in late December, 2012.

Probably me, but for reasons unconnected with the content of this post.

Anyway, sometime ago James Kent produced an excellent classroom poster PDF of his signal theory of psychedelic effects, subtitled "Hallucinogens and recurrent excitation in cortical circuitry", available at the link. No drug education class should be without one. He's now written a new paper developing the same ideas in a much more technical fashion. The title is: Selective 5-HT2A agonist hallucinogens: A review of pharmacological interaction and corollary perceptual effects, and it can be found here.

Related post: A methodology for studying alternate reality

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