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March 26, 2012 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

How Your Drugs Work

Highly Affective Science

Has Hunter S. Thompson recently put a mysterious piece of paper in your mouth? Are you worried about gobbling down that pill you found on the Sandwiches bathroom floor? Ever wonder what’s going on inside your brain while you’re melting face? A few minutes reading this article may be a wise investment.

Broadly speaking, a drug is a chemical agent, which upon entering the body affects the central nervous system, altering bodily function. Uppers, downers and all-arounders, each yield an individual experience. We’ve picked a few (strictly scientific) favourites to lay down some sweet information nuggets on, hopefully addressing some of the points you wouldn’t usually think about while exploring space.



(Acid; sugar; blotter; tabs; trips).
LSD is a psychedelic drug which is made in a laboratory with some complicated chemistry using compounds obtained from a fungus known as ergot. Dosage is usually in the form of small piece of paper known as blotter.

When consumed, LSD makes its way into your brain where it binds to what are known as serotonin receptors. The serotonin system is involved with the regulation of sensory elements, sleep and emotional states. LSD—along with many other drugs—acts similarly to serotonin neurotransmitters, and thus both activates and suppresses receptor activity leading to a complex and unpredictable experience for the user. The serotonin system in the brain is considered to be very robust, so after a considerable period of time (6-8 hours) the craziness will subside as your brain activity re-stabilises.

If one does indulge, be prepared for a long session of unintelligible conversation and a general improvement in your personal mastery over the time/space continuum.


(Ecstasy; E; rolls; beans; Adam; Molly).
The most common form of MDMA is the popular recreational pill form ‘ecstasy’. However, ecstasy pills are notorious for being adulterated by foreign compounds ranging anywhere from caffeine, to methamphetamine, to sawdust. In addition to this, many similar chemical derivatives are marketed as MDMA, although their effects may be drastically different.

When consumed, MDMA interacts with the serotonin transporters in the brain causing them to pump serotonin in the reverse direction. Serotonin then floods the synaptic cleft, causing over-stimulation of neurons in the brain. Again, this affects areas of the brain responsible for mood and perception. MDMA goes on to interact with the ‘reward pathway’ of the brain by stimulating a mild release of dopamine.

Side effects may include dinner plate eyes, the inexplicable love of house music and savage face munching.


(Marijuana; pot; weed; grass; Mary Jane).
Marijuana is something you are probably already familiar with. What you may not know about marijuana is the way it interacts with your brain to cause some of the experiences associated with its use. Within the brain, there are inhibitory neurotransmitters that prevent dopamine being released from surrounding neurons. Your body has a natural cannabinoid known as anandamide that supresses the release of these inhibitory neurotransmitters preventing them from working. This frees up that delicious dopamine to be released into the synapse, resulting in the rewarding calm, happiness and hilarity associated with the marijuana experience.

Just like your own anadamide, THC and other cannabanoids present in marijuana (as well as other synthetic cannabis products) bind to these receptors and prevent the release of these inhibitory neurotransmitters. Dopamine is released and activates the reward pathways of the brain.

While the effects of marijuana are not as intense as the two substances covered earlier, this altered state comes with its own definitive characteristics. Have a cheeseburger handy.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informative purposes only. Accordingly, neither the authors nor Salient are responsible for any illegal drug use. So if any of you dicks out there plan on blaming us for your meth addiction, think again.




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