brain chemistry and mystical experiences

John M. Price ez001932 at othello.ucdavis.edu
Sat Oct 9 23:51:14 EST 1993

Kerregador (ST201334 at BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU) wrote:

:      Todd Stark mentioned something about Kandel's work on learning
: pathways in Aplysia Californica.  If memory serves me, I believe
: the specific transmitter he found to be involved was serotonin,


: released from axo-axonic synapses.  Hmmm.  Coincidentally or not,
: this has been the transmitter most frequently associated with
: mystical experiences in humans...

I believe this was me, John M. Price, in a response to Todd Stark.  I also
mentioned some techniques for chemical analysis, where he was doubtful
about the possibilities there.

As to the 5HT and mysticism, well, maybe.  I usually link it to suicide,
depression, sleep, agression, and such.  The LSD work would take it right
into the mystical, but I thought that these hallucinations were due to
specifically shutting down the 5HT inhibition in some visual pathways
which are usually active in REM sleep.  Soma, Aminita muscaria, the only
plant made divine, seems likely to be cholinergic, muscarine type.

Phencyclidine, and ketamine, however, have associated with their use an
'emergence psychosis' most often reported as an out of body experience.   

Well, so much for these ramblings....

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