Delivering Mind-Enhancing Drugs To The Brain

Schematic sketch showing the transport types a...Image via Wikipedia In Humankind‘s never-ending quest to transcend its own limitations, nootropic drugs for cognitive enhancement, anti-aging (longevity), and even altered or multidimensional perception have appeared to be the natural accelerants of choice.

Going further, there are many who believe that in escaping the anchor of the perceived limitations of the “standard-issue” mind, virtually every aspect of the body and soul will naturally follow. I don’t choose to make any judgment as to the truth of this assumption, or to the sequence of causes and events which lead to the sentient process, but as a long-time proponent of accelerated learning for self-growth and professional development, the expansion of the mind’s abilities would seem to be a desirable thing.

Since the workings of the mind and the brain (with its hormones, neurotransmitters, and unarguably complex electrochemistry) are still largely a mystery, any mind-altering substance also works in a mysterious fashion. There is a great deal of trial and error here — read some of the Erowid Drug Vault postings on Google — and the idea is to try to find several things:

1) The mechanism by which a nootropic drug works (its mechanism of action, as well as its side-effects, both fortuitous and unfortunate);

2) The means by which it can be modified or compounded to maximize its benefits and minimize its poisonous or potentially pernicious side effects and inadvertant contraindications.

3) The most efficient means of delivery, so that the desirable effects can be achieved or maximized at the lowest possible dosage (remember the expression, “The toxicity is in the dose“?). Many nootropics are consumed orally so that the stomach’s digestive action renders them ineffective before they can even enter the bloodstream. Other methods of administration including injection, transdermal, sublingual and even rectal have been used in order to simply get the substance into the blood stream before it has been altered to ineffectiveness by the digestive and other natural bodily processes;

4) The most efficient means of catalysis (i.e., taking the nootropic in combination with other substances) to assist in getting the greatest amount of the useful, undigested nootropic “essence” across the blood-brain barrier, which is the greatest challenge of all. The neural connections of the brain are where the payload of the nootropic must make their ‘surgical strike’.

5) An objective means of determining to what extent nootropic efficiency (i.e., penetration of the blood-brain barrier) has been achieved. This is, at present, a guess at best. It is further complicated by the lack of objectivity in the anectotal reports of persons observing the effect upon themselves when these drugs are used.

Certain substances seem to have an ease of crossing the barrier, and one school of thought has it that these substances (we’ll call them “carrying agents” here) can help clear a path for a more efficient barrier crossing for the more stubborn nootropic. Some of these carrying agents, such as ethanol, have a toxicity potential that far outweighs their benefit as barrier breakers.

You might wish to research the following possible carrying agents for your study (academic or experimental) in terms of their potential to be reasonably effective but non-toxic drones for the delivery of any given (or chosen) nootropic payload into the neuronal headquarters (Q: Is this ongoing metaphor business as annoying to you as it is to me?):




Happy hunting…


Douglas Castle
Article Title: Nootropics: Crossing The Blood-Brain Barrier


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One Response to Delivering Mind-Enhancing Drugs To The Brain

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