are neurotransmitters "drugs"?

Could naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain - neurotransmitters like serotonin, endorphins, norepinephrine - ever be meaningfully classified as “drugs”?

What would that imply about consciousness?

If they’re produced in the brain they’re endogenous. The word ‘drug’ is usually only applicable to substances produced outside of the body. It isn’t actually the substance itself that determines whether it’s a drug or not, it’s where the substance is produced. Various substances are produced inside and outside the body. It’s only when they’re produced outside of the body that they’re called drugs.

brain.oxfordjournals.org/content … 9.full.pdf (pdf)

Yes, usually that’s how we define ‘drugs’ - but are we committed to that? I mean, if you were able to manufacture serotonin in the lab and then inject copious amounts of it into your bloodstream, would this not count as “doing drugs”? It would sure have the same effects.

I guess the point I’m leading up to is the implications this would have for consciousness - chiefly, I’m thinking that we could say that we’re all super-baked all the time and that life is just one grandiose trip. I mean, what is sobriety? Sobriety is the result of a certain number of chemicals in our brains maintaining themselves at fairly stable levels having actions therein which result in our have a whole variety of subjective conscious experiences. Just because we’ve been living in this state all our lives, and have become used to it, doesn’t mean we can’t take the perspective that this is all just a major psychedelic trip.

I just thought that was interesting. :confused:

That is interesting imho, LSD is called ‘acid’ for a reason.

It makes one consider the notion that we are constantly at various ‘acid’ states, perhaps the spiritual state is the only one that’s not like that ~ or that’s how it feels to me, …a kinda natural thought-state.

The more disengaged we are from the brain the nearer we get to this state, one which I think is ultimately arrived at via drugs/drink ~ though in a distorted way. I have often felt that in this effort we are in some way attempting to arrive at our natural spiritual state, its like coming home.

If they are used for medicinal purposes any chemical substances are drugs. So they are not drugs while normally found in the brain, but if they are used for medicinal purposes and given to the person, they are drugs. That’s in terms of pharmacology. If we mean it in the street sense, sure, if someone takes one to get high, which has likely happened, it was a drug.

It would imply to me that there is no neutral not ‘high’ experience of the world. And given my experience of what are supposedly normal people, this seems clearly to be the case.

drugs are bad, always. purity, purity, purity.

but alcohol…?

And if neurotransmitters were drugs? I guess we’d all be fucked.

i guess i have a high drug tolerance

:wink:

i’m quite pleased with the content of the posts I typed last night when I was pissed.

this may actually be relevant to this thread – I find I feel sharper than usual the day after heavy drinking, and not - as one might think - sluggish or dull. I feel a lot more creative and mentally refreshed (barring the hangover, of course), as if perhaps I’ve re-calibrated my neurotransmitters. Or maybe it just seems that way after having been drunk off my ass for so long the night before. It’s a very distinct experience of clarity I consistently get the day after a night of binge drinking – it would be a shame if the feeling doesn’t correspond to reality. Anybody else experience this?

I think you mean if neurotransmitters were genitalia.

I think you’re confusing the feeling of being high with actually being high.

Ever heard of datura? I’ve never done it but I’ve heard it makes you hallucinate wildly and have major delusions, all the while thinking they’re completely normal - as though you were complete sober.

It seems to me the difference between a drug and an endogenous chemical is that the drug is introduced from outside the body while the endogenous chemical is produced by the body. That would mean that neurotransmitter chemicals produced in a lab as exact duplicates are drugs while those chemicals produced within the body aren’t.

Some individuals, having levels of endogenous secretions in their brains that are above or below ‘normal’ levels, may experience consciousness in unique ways. So, no matter how much you attempt to alter consciousness by thought control, it’s ineffective because it has to do with the whole chemistry. That’s why it’s said, if you want to experience this or that in consciousness, just take this or that pill or drug for that temporary state.

Normal is a very tricky concept. I would say that most people probably have abnormal levels of neurotransmitters, given the sensory overload and high stress with low physical response potential of modern society. How can most not be normal? Because conditions are not normal.

Is that a real difference?

IN 2020 all drugs are illegalized… in 2040 neurotransmitters are declared drugs… so goes litigation…

THC is a cannabinoid… one produced and used naturally by the brain…(i believe)