People have used various substances to alter their state of consciousness for the entirety of written history. Whether you like to kick back and smoke a blunt with your friends or throw back brews until you cant walk straight, chances are pretty good you haven’t been sober every day of your life. College is often seen as a hub for various kinds of experimentation, and drugs are no exception. I am not here to tell you whether you should or shouldn’t do drugs, but I do think that everyone is better off knowing a little more about them and how they affect your brain. For the purposes of this article, I have selected five drugs that I believe are used more often than most when college students decide to partake. We will examine what effects these substances have on your brain, and why that makes you feel the way it does. Enjoy!
LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) was pretty commonplace in the 70’s and is making a comeback today. The use of hallucinogenics has not grown significantly in recent years, however it has grown slightly and artists like Flatbush Zombies and Chance the Rapper are helping to once again popularize the infamous molecule. LSD was discovered by Albert Hoffman in 1938 after he accidentally absorbed some through his skin and became the first human to trip acid. The chemical essentially works by turning off the part of your brain that filters your consciousness. It does this by acting on one of your brains serotonin receptors. The drug activates what is know as the HT2A serotonin receptor, which plays a role in impulsiveness. This increase in serotonin is the prime cause for a lot of what you feel while on LSD, although there are other factors at play, and scientists still aren’t 100% about all of the effects LSD has on your brain. If you are not sure what exactly serotonin does, it is essentially a regulatory chemical that slows down or speeds up the release of other chemicals in your brain to affect hunger, mood, sleep, and more. The serotogenic system in our bodies seems to be one of the oldest biological processes we possess and scientsists have, to date, discovered around 17 different receptors serotonin can bind to (meaning 17 feelings or biological processes it is known to regulate.) This makes sense if you think about it considering LSD is known to increase sensitivity to time, sound, your surroundings, and nearly everything else that is going on around you. It is also interesting to note that abnormal amounts of serotonin in ones brain is thought to play a major role in schizophrenia.