The important events that influenced the change in existing paradigms and gave rise to neurochemistry and neuropharmacology and led to the direct development of psychopharmacology as a scientific discipline ...

By Balthazar Benevolent


The simultaneous effect of psychedelic drugs on many or even all of the 40+ currently identified receptor sites, with each psychedelic agent having a unique receptor binding and activation profile (pharmacological fingerprint), generates many of the subjective sensations elicited by these drugs.


Antipsychotics, Stilumants, Depressants, Hallucinogens Drug Chart

Thus, while the term "psychedelic" is often used as a simplifying term, psychedelic drugs, while producing similar subjective effects in humans, do not produce the same subjective effects as people who have taken these drugs readily report. The effect of LSD is completely different from that of mescaline, which in turn is different from that of DMT, which is different from TMA-2, which is different from psilocybin, which is different from that of 2C-B, etcetera.

While in vitro and animal behavioral data are typically used to study these materials, these approaches are limited in that they tend to blur qualitative, empirical differences between psychedelic drugs - differences that are easy can be determined by people. Laboratory data from test tubes and data from animal studies can complement, but not replace, the human experience that is undoubtedly a sine qua non for testing psychedelic effects. The problem of defining uniform criteria for defining psychedelic substances and the experiences they cause is, of course, not new. 

"If there is confusion in the choice of a term to describe the class of drugs that we will call [psychedelic drugs], then when we agree on the description of their action, we will end up in complete confusion." One approach, proposed in the 1970s, was to define psychedelics as drugs that mimic the effects of LSD." - ALEXANDER SHULGIN


Sasha Shulgin's Basement Lab The Father Of MDMA

Psychedelic research provides a deeper understanding of brain function and continues to influence psychopharmacology. Linking the molecular effect of a drug to animal behavior and human experience remains a tempting but not fully realized goal. Much of the progress that has been made in this area has been made possible by the work of Alexander Shulgin, who has developed, synthesized, and characterized over 200 new psychedelic drugs in his private laboratory. 

Shulgin's compounds have been used by many other scientists around the world to study receptor binding and drug activation in laboratory conditions, for computer modeling of substances and mapping of receptor shapes, to study the electrical activity of neurons, to study the behavior of animals, etc. Shulgin's developments also made a significant contribution to a variety of psychedelic human experiences.

It is clear from the literature review above and from other sources that much of the current research on neurotransmitters and drugs that affect their function in the brain can be traced back to experiments and studies by scientists studying the mechanisms of action of LSD, DMT, and other psychedelic compounds.

In light of these discoveries in neurochemistry, the assumptions of psychology and psychiatry about the origin and nature of consciousness and mental illness had to be revised. It has become necessary for psychology and psychiatry to incorporate observations of neuroscience into models of mental functioning. Neurochemistry and neuropharmacology began to play a dominant role in the study of consciousness and in the treatment of mental illness by the late 1950s and 1960s.

For example, it has become mandatory for psychotherapeutic practices to use psychoactive drugs, which were obtained on the basis of experimental discoveries of neuropharmacology, as the main approach for psychological treatment. Thus, psychopharmacology appeared as a medical and scientific discipline. While there is still a lot that can be improved, the effectiveness of these drugs.

Although clinical research on psychedelics in humans was temporarily suspended in the late 1960s and 1970s, research into their basic chemistry, pharmacology, and neurobiology continued. In academia, research with chemical synthesis and pharmacological research on psychedelic drugs has been centered in the laboratories of the aforementioned Richard Glennon and David Nichols at Purdue University College of Pharmacy in West Lafayette, Indiana, George Aghajanian at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, contributed to our understanding of the effects of psychedelics on the neural signaling and brain systems. Other scientists, whose names we will not mention due to their large number, have used various animal behavioral models to study these substances.

Ongoing academic research focused on psychedelic studies takes place in various pharmaceutical and medical institutions and in the departments of medicinal chemistry, neurology, pharmacology, psychology, and psychiatry. If an interested student diligently studies the scientific literature, research potential can be identified in educational institutions around the world.

For a person seriously interested in such research, especially if it involves psychedelic drugs, a Ph.D. or medical doctor's degree is essential for academic or clinical research. Several years of postdoctoral training may ultimately lead to the role of Principal Investigator of Basic Research or Clinical Research Leader in human research. In any case, after completing a bachelor's degree and admission to graduate school, the number of opportunities in this area will increase, whether it is the role of a team member in conducting research with psychedelic drugs at a university, a pharmaceutical company, the National Institutes of Health or a private research foundation.

As described above, psychedelic drugs have been used over the past several decades to answer mechanistic questions about receptors, neural processes, and animal behavior. Research with psychedelics provides a deeper understanding of brain function and continues to influence psychopharmacology and the development of drugs for the treatment of mental illness. However, until recently, research into the possible enrichment of people's lives through psychedelic experiences has been in stagnation.

Over the past few years, there has been a resurgence of clinical trials using psychedelic drugs in volunteers. It is now recognized that their use has a positive effect on therapy and personal growth. A list of planned, ongoing and completed clinical trials with psychedelic drugs can be found at clinicaltrials.gov; search for the words "psilocybin" or "psychedelic".

The renewed interest in human research on these drugs is good news for those interested in the psychological and psychotherapeutic aspects of psychedelic drugs, as well as for those interested in the non-medical use of these drugs, including their apparent value in self-discovery, enhancing creativity, and improving learning. , solving problems, as well as finding spirituality. It is likely that these properties of psychedelic substances will be studied in more detail and, perhaps, in the near future, these drugs will find new applications.


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