Schedule One Drugs: War on Consciousness- Part 2
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers, synthesized from amino acids, that transmit signals across the neural synapse, which bind to and activate specific receptors in the body and brain. Dopamine is known as the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter, and is often associated with drug use. This chemical helps regulate movement and emotional responses and is also linked to addiction, attention and motivation; dopamine also assists in the function of memory, mood, sleep and learning.
Upon ingesting a drug, its chemical components are broken down and processed by our neurons, which propagate across neural pathways and stimulate the reward centers in the brain, leaving feelings of pleasure and happiness. This neurotransmitter is associated with the compulsive, drug seeking behavior that individuals feel when ingesting certain drugs.
Our culture categorizes drugs on a superficial level according to what society as a whole agrees upon; often basing drug use off of stereotypes, race, and the poverty level of the drug user. But these classifications are just arbitrary guidelines based on a false hierarchy of drug safety and efficacy. On a molecular level, the body and mind do not discriminate against feelings of pleasure derived from a drug or feelings of pleasure derived from an ordinary legal dopamine-filled activity like gambling, sex, music, exercise, or tasty foods.
The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a major role in happiness and well-being, and is also linked to mood, balance, and regulation of bodily functions. Serotonin functions as a regulator for sexual desire, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, and also contributes to overall feelings of calmness and peace. Serotonin is synthesized from the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is found in specific types of foods such as eggs, cheeses, nuts, and dairy products, among others. Studies show that decreased serotonin levels may be associated with depression and other mood disorders.
The mind is inhibited from proper brain cell production in an individual suffering from depression; a lack of neural activity in certain areas of the brain interrupt brain chemistry, which damages serotonin receptors. Both dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters play significant roles in neural chemistry with their contributions to pleasure and happiness. It is important to create a healthy environment in the mind and body for these neurochemicals to flourish. A proper diet with foods that are high in tryptophan, exercise, high water intake, vitamin supplements, and a mindset with clear feelings and intensions are simple and important changes within everyones grasp to guide the mind and body in a positive direction.
American culture is waking up to the lies and propaganda about marijuana, a physically nonaddictive substance with numerous medical benefits that range from: Assisting individuals in controlling epileptic seizures and muscle spasms; treating symptoms of ADHD by decreasing activity and overestimation of dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain; reducing inflammation in the body; helping people with their addictions to alcohol, opioids and tobacco, among many other benefits.
Even with our cultures evolution of our views on marijuana, politicians and federal agencies continue to push their socially oppressive propaganda agendas against cannabis users as a form of control with roots dating back our overtly racist past. Like the more recent racially discriminatory policies of mandatory minimum prison sentences and the sentencing disparities of crack cocaine versus powder cocaine, marijuana prohibition was viscerally argued for as a subtle reason to lock up minorities, who were the primary users of weed in the United States during the early twentieth century.
The bigoted and xenophobic prohibition of weed begins in the 1930s, with the production of the movie, “Reefer Madness,” a propaganda film that used fear tactics to scare American society into believing that weed causes Mexicans and African Americans to rape white women; causes users to commit murder and suicide; pushes people towards insanity by committing horrendous acts of violence and criminality; leads to uncontrollably violent laughter, addiction, and hallucinations.
Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner, Harry Jacob Anslinger, asserted these claims as a justification for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively criminalized the possession and sale of weed. This law was repealed and declared unconstitutional after a Supreme Court case in 1969; the government responded one year later with the creation of the Controlled Substances Act, which again established weed as a banned substance with no medical benefits along with LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. This act was at the height of the anti-Vietnam war, counter-culture movement, and the federal governments move to punish dissenters as criminals- by labeling them as clinically insane for arguing against the war- fit into the familiar fear tactics, propaganda, and control as a means to suppress unwanted opinions that politicians and federal agencies use when their power and authority over the culture begins to slip.
Psychedelic substances are unique and unlike any other drug, either legal or illegal. LSD-25- more commonly known as Acid- is a nonaddictive compound first discovered by Swiss chemist, Albert Hoffman, at Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland in 1938. Hoffman was in search of a substance that would stimulate the respiratory and circulatory systems when he stumbled upon the accidental synthesis of a consciousness altering substance derived from ergotamine- a psychoactive substance from the Ergot family, a type of fungus that grows on rye.
Believing that he had failed in his attempts to create a respiratory and circulatory drug, Hoffman ended his study of LSD-25 for five years before returning to his research in 1943. After accidentally absorbing the substance through his fingers, Hoffman described a dreamlike experience, composed of an “uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.” Several days later, Hoffman intentionally dosed himself with a large amount of LSD-25, which completely dissolved his feelings, sensations, and perceptions about the nature of reality.
The psychedelic compound enjoyed several years of further scientific research and clinical trials as a psychiatric medication for anxiety and depression, as well as a cure for addiction. However, after the early renaissance period as an effective medication, LSD became the target of the American government due the the substances role in the counter-culture, anti-Vietnam war movement of the 1960s. The government treated the psychedelic compound as a threat to the social fabric of America after rebellions by the youth against the established and militaristic order in the United States.
LSD and other psychedelics are catalysts for intellectual dissent; they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing, which threatens the dominator, patriarchal, and pedagogical culture in the American government, whose goal is to stifle dissent and convince the population of an underlying structure of ridged social behavior that must be obeyed. On October 24, 1968, LSD was placed on the Schedule One substances list by the U.S. government, effectively blocking further scientific research and clinical trials of the substance as a medicine.
On a neurological level, LSD acts as a serotonin receptor activator. LSD increases overall serotonin levels in the brain and acts as a hyper-connector of specific areas of the brain that do not normally communicate. The psychedelic compounds of LSD mimic the shape and function of naturally occurring serotonin neurotransmitters, a process which produces feelings of euphoria, hyperperception, and hyperawareness.
A common effect of ingesting LSD is the feeling of synesthesia, which is the process of the senses merging so that the user may taste music, hear colors, or see sound. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA envisioned DNA’s double helix structure while on LSD.
The loss of the sense of the dominating, ego-self, and the understanding of the connection of oneness with the universe that many feel after taking LSD are due to a reduction of blood flow to the highly active areas of the prefrontal cortex, located in the frontal lobe of the brain, behind the forehead. The prefrontal cortex is known as the Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain, responsible for complex cognitive and social behavior, personality expression, problem solving, reasoning, and decision-making, and is considered the center of the Self- the seat of human ego- that distinguishes each human beings subjective experience from one another. The DMN is active in humans during self-reflection, self-conscious thinking, during metacognition, while day-dreaming and during thoughts of the past and future; this area of the brain is responsible for our subjective, self-conscious feelings and is hyperactive in individuals that are suffering from anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
Similar to LSD on a molecular level, psilocybin mushrooms- also known as magic mushrooms for their psychedelic effects- produce intense feelings of interconnectedness and interdependence between what is traditionally understood as the self and the other. Psilocybin mushrooms integrate sensory and perceptual experiences, induce a feeling of transcending space and time, and produce a profound insight into the nature of the universe.
Like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms reduce neural activity in the DMN of the prefrontal cortex, allowing users suffering from depressive mood disorders the opportunity to limit the barriers separating the overactive, self-conscious mind with the rest of the world. Psilocybin mushrooms have been used in indigenous peoples religious ceremonies for tens of thousands of years for their intense spiritual and emotional experiences. Only recently- over the past several decades- have governments and media distorted public perception of psychedelics and their mind-altering effects in favor of consciousness suppressing substances like alcohol, opioids and tobacco. Part 3