Pharmacology

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Pharmacology

1960s Ritalin ad

This advertisement for Ritalin comes from a 1966 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is widely – and controversially – prescribed to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The drug is an amphetamine-like stimulant which blocks reuptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) in the prefrontal cortex.…

In the January 4th, 1961 episode of One Step Beyond, director and presenter John Newland ingests psilocybin under laboratory conditions, to investigate whether or not the hallucinogenic mushroom can enhance his abilities of extra-sensory perception. The programme was apparently inspired by a 1959 book called The Sacred Mushroom, by parapsychologist Andrija Puharich, who is known…

SciCurious has written an interesting post about Sigmund Freud’s experiments with cocaine. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was also a pioneer of psychopharmacology; as well as being one of the first to scientifically investigate the properties and effects of cocaine, he also played a key role in the growth of the pharmaceuticals industry. In 1884,…

MDMA for PTSD

A lengthy article in last weekend’s Washington Post Magazine discusses the work of Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) who has almost completed the first phase of a clinical study into the use of ecstasy as a therapeutic tool for post-traumatic stress disorder. Ecstasy (MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is a…

The toad is in custody

From KMBC: Clay County sheriff’s deputies said David Theiss, of Kansas City, possessed a Colorado River toad with the intention of using it as a hallucinogenic. Experts said it’s possible to lick the toad’s venom glands to achieve psychedelic effects. Most pet stores don’t sell the Colorado River toad because the venom can sicken humans…

The ethnobiology of voodoo zombification

The word “zombie” usually brings to mind the creatures depicted in numerous horror films – the mindless, rotting “living dead” who shuffle with their arms stretched out in front of them, devouring the flesh of their victims.    Zombies feature widely in popular culture, but the idea of the zombie originates in the Vodun religion.…