Drugs and the ensuing debate regarding their use has been a part of human history since prehistoric times. With residual traces of alcohol, hallucinogens, and opium dating back as far as 7000 B.C. we can’t dismiss the possible effects on humanity. Conservative can’t stop ranting about their immorality, liberals can’t stop praising it, but what is the truth behind popular drugs, and why is science starting to back their use.
Marijuana is often the first drug that comes to peoples mind, moreso if you live in the U.S. with states slowly legalizing, or at very least decriminalizing it’s use. But it’s use is far from modern, evidence from Asia has shown humans to have used cannabis in some form for close to 8000 years with additional documentation from ancient Egyptian and Persian texts that lauded its medicinal use.
With modern scientific tools scientists have managed to separate out THC, the main psychoactive component of Marijuana, and CBD, the pain relieving component. THC has proven it’s effectiveness at reducing tumor growth, while CBD is being used to treat epilepsy, antibiotic resistant infections, and many neurological disorders. British scientists have even published studies suggesting they are close to being able to eliminate the negative side effects such as; dependence, memory loss, and paranoia. It’s no wonder a recent poll showed that 68% of U.S. physicians support it’s use, including past U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
Another drug circling around news circuits right now is LSD, more specifically the micro-dosing of LSD occurring in Silicon Valley currently. Microdosing refers to the act of taking below dosage levels, general ⅕ normal dosage, 3 to 5 times a day. The founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, Dr. Rick Doblin states that taking small doses of LSD creates an energy boost, but not a “trip”. The effects of this microdosing seem to especially benefit busier people, improving performance, creativity, and emotional responses. The long term effects of microdosing are still unknown however, John Hopkins University psychologist Matt Johnson has confirmed that while microdosing is less impacting on the brain, they have no way of knowing what extended use will result in, until further studies are done.
For more information on the history of LSD refer back to a previous article published here
The final drug that has popped up recently in news circles is Shrooms. Shrooms which are often referred to as magic mushrooms receive their “magic” from the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin, a heavily debated substance in regards to origin. In extremely technical terms psilocybin is the only naturally occurring 4-phosphorylated indole, but what that means for everyone who isn’t a biochemical engineer, is that they are unique. Science heavily supports the idea that nature always builds off existing molecular structures, so to have a completely unique organic design such as psilocybin is odd, and may even further scientific studies into panspermia, the belief that the seeds of life can appear on planets via meteors and asteroids.
With well over 200 varieties of shrooms, they have a long history of influencing artists and religions, but their usages seems to go back as far as 9000 B.C. Rock paintings have been found in northern Africa which suggest shamanic use, and it has even been suggested that many Vikings consumed shrooms before battle to eliminate their fears.
Recently medical professionals have begun heavy research on its medical benefits, finding that shrooms increase brain connectivity. King College researchers have tested the effects of psilocybin on the brain using MRI machines and found that connections were formed enabling communication between parts of the brain not normally present, ultimately resulting in a heightened synchronization of brain activity.
Shrooms are currently classified as schedule one drugs, meaning they are illegal in most countries, and according to U.N. standards, of no medicinal use. Modern medical research is beginning to change that belief, current research has proven that psilocybin reduces activity in the Thalamus, a sort of command center for information in the brain, combined with irrefutable scientific proof of Serotonin like effects, may result in a better way to combat depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Most importantly is the theoretical discovery that psilocybin may stimulate completely new cell growth in damaged brain cells. This theory could result in a completely new age for humanity, and the potential curing of numerous diseases.