Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Thursday, April 26, 2012

NMDA Antagonists & Dissociation

Drugs such as PCPketamine, and dextromethorphan produce an inhibitory effect on neural circuits of the central nervous system. This manifests as a peculiar anaesthetic state referred to as "dissociation" - best described as a disconnection of conscious awareness from sensory and environmental processing. This is due to the blockade of communication between sensory input and the processing structures of the brain; and between various circuits of the brain itself - depending on the dose. 

Simply put; dissociatives inhibit the complex processing capacity of the brain to translate sensory stimuli into experience or awareness, leaving the "mind" detatched from the senses, the environment, and the reality at hand (or in higher doses, detatched from essential data stored in other areas of the brain pertinent to identity, self awareness, and memory).

The overall inhibition of neural communication produced by these drugs is due to their ability to block the function of the NMDA complex - The NMDA complex is the molecular device responsible for modulating synaptic plasticity. By the opening or closing of a gate-like structure known as an ion channel, it modulates the intensity at which nerve cells effectively transduce signals between one another, at "synaptic" neural intersections. PCP, ketamine, and DXM, all attatch to specific sites on the inner surface of the NMDA complex (PCP1 site), subsequently blocking the opening of the ion channel.

A summary of the workings of NMDA system is available here

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