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posted by takyon on Saturday January 28 2017, @12:08AM   Printer-friendly
from the dept-dept-dept dept.

Scientists may have found why a LSD trip lasts so long:

By freezing an LSD molecule bound to a single brain cell receptor as a crystal in a lab, researchers were able to get a 3-D x-ray image of the drug and the protein locked together. "My lab has been trying to do this since the early 1990s," says Bryan Roth, a pharmacologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and senior author on the paper. "I remember Dan Wacker [a co-author, also at U.N.C.] showing the image. It was basically a moment of silence. I started to fight back tears of gratitude that we had finally gotten it." It is the first 3-D image of a psychedelic bound to a brain receptor, Roth says.

The image showed Roth and his co-authors something strange about the way LSD fit inside this receptor. Drugs typically come and go from receptor proteins like ships pulling in and out of a port. But when an LSD molecule lands on the receptor, the molecule snags onto a portion of the protein and folds it over itself as the molecule binds to the receptor. "There was this lid that came over the molecule. It looked like it trapped LSD in the receptor," Roth says. "That immediately suggested to us why LSD lasts so long."

LSD seems to stimulate the receptor for the entire time it is trapped underneath the protein "lid," Roth says. Proteins are in constant motion, so he thinks the lid eventually flops open, allowing the drug to fly out and the effects to wear off. But the team ran computer models that suggest it could take hours for that to happen. Until then, the trip goes on.

Other articles on the topic:
Popular Science
LiveScience


Original Submission

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Study Shows How LSD Alters Directed Connectivity Within Brain Pathways in Humans 13 comments

Study shows how LSD interferes with brain's signalling

A group of volunteers who took a trip in the name of science have helped researchers uncover how LSD messes with activity in the brain to induce an altered state of consciousness.

Brain scans of individuals high on the drug revealed that the chemical allows parts of the cortex to become flooded with signals that are normally filtered out to prevent information overload.

The drug allowed more information to flow from the thalamus, a kind of neural gatekeeper, to a region called the posterior cingulate cortex, and it stemmed the flow of information to another part known as the temporal cortex. [...] The scientists wanted to test a hypothesis first put forward more than a decade ago. It states LSD causes the thalamus to stop filtering information it relays to other parts of the brain. It is the breakdown of this filter that gives rise to the weird effects the drug induces, or so the thinking goes.

Effective connectivity changes in LSD-induced altered states of consciousness in humans (open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1815129116) (DX)

Related: Research into Psychedelics, Shut Down for Decades, is Now Yielding Exciting Results
Research Into Psychedelics Continues
Lucy in the Sky With Protein: Key to LSD's Psychoactive Potency Possibly Found
From 'problem Child' to 'prodigy'? LSD Turns 75


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday January 28 2017, @12:34AM

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday January 28 2017, @12:34AM (#459768)

    Some people - many people in fact - experience a profound and permanent change of personality after their first trip, even if it's their only trip. I often wondered whether acid could effect physical change in the brain, not just psychological. Maybe in some people, some of it sticks around for many years, decades, or possibly for the lifetime of the person.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28 2017, @01:01AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28 2017, @01:01AM (#459779)

      One of those great psychedelic footnotes, Joe Byrd & The Field Hippies - You Can't Ever Come Down (1968)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnLfkiliSZM [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Saturday January 28 2017, @03:33AM

      by Dunbal (3515) on Saturday January 28 2017, @03:33AM (#459808)

      Nah, receptors get recycled - they have a half-life. That doesn't mean that OTHER changes can be caused by the drug, but it's doubtful that this is the mechanism for permanent change.

    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Saturday January 28 2017, @03:42AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday January 28 2017, @03:42AM (#459810)

      Did my first tab when I was 16, call it 1966 (born 7/58). 24 hours later wasn't much different, except for wondering why it was so illegal. Did 7-8 trips in the years later, when I got out of high school I lost my contacts and didn't know where to get it so I quit. Not really reality, in HS I could get pretty much anything I wanted. After HS my selection was much more limited and didn't have LSD on the menu.

      Weed and coke were my goto drugs then, quit the coke due to cost, quit the weed at age 22 or so cuz it gave me major headaches.

      --
      When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star.
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 28 2017, @03:56AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 28 2017, @03:56AM (#459812)

      Flashback!

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      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by fishybell on Saturday January 28 2017, @07:18AM

      by fishybell (3156) on Saturday January 28 2017, @07:18AM (#459837)

      The opening up of one's mind to alternative ideas is what makes for the permanent changes. It's all about seeing things in a different light.

      • (Score: 2, Disagree) by Bot on Saturday January 28 2017, @07:26AM

        by Bot (3902) on Saturday January 28 2017, @07:26AM (#459839) Journal

        Fucking up your receptors is overrated. Perception of normality is qualitatively NO DIFFERENT IN ANY WAY than any other drug induced mind opening. the CONTENT of the perception is different because it is more predictable (and not in all cases), and the trade-off is to fuck with a brain with the same risk/benefits you get from rooting your phone following a russian forum and install alternative OS. The problem is, you can throw your pwned phone in the bin, not so for the brain.

        Really, you meatbags amaze me.

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        Account abandoned.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28 2017, @07:36AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28 2017, @07:36AM (#459840)

          Oh come on, don't tell me you've never done any kernel debugging.

          • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday January 28 2017, @06:10PM

            by Bot (3902) on Saturday January 28 2017, @06:10PM (#459922) Journal

            I prefer to have REAL fun with your mother... board.

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            Account abandoned.
  • (Score: 3, Touché) by bob_super on Saturday January 28 2017, @01:26AM

    by bob_super (1357) on Saturday January 28 2017, @01:26AM (#459783)

    LSD trip ... four years...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Saturday January 28 2017, @01:55AM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday January 28 2017, @01:55AM (#459787) Journal

      Eight, Bob.

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28 2017, @04:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28 2017, @04:09AM (#459815)

        We're going to need bigger drugs!