About

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").

Terms Glossary

In Alphebetical Order:


Agonist: A compound which positively activates receptors which it binds to.

Antagonist: A compound which occupies receptors without activating any cellular response (i.e. signal) - it simply blocks receptors

Anxiolytic: Any compound with anxiety reducing properties.

Autonomic: Pertains to involutary or sub-conscious function. The autonomic nervous system controls basic involuntary functions such as breathing, heart rate, and perspiration.

Bioavailability: Percentage or proportion of a non-systemic (non injected) dose which reaches systemic circulation after metabolism, etc; relative to a systemic dosing route such as intravenous injection - which is what the notion of bioavailability is based off of.

Cannabimimetic: A drug which targets the cannabinoid neuromodulatory system; either directly or indirectly. THC, the main active compound in the cannabis plant, is the prototypical cannabinoid, while adenosine is the primary endogenous (i.e. naturally occuring in the body) cannabinoid.

Central: Affecting, pertaining to, referring to, or involving the central nervous system (or "CNS") - the central nervous system is composed of the brain, brainstem, and spinal cord; together which form a tadpole/sperm like structure. The central nervous system is the primary component or "hard-drive" of all vertebrates.

Central Nervous System (CNS): Includes the brain and spinal cord. To produce psychoactive properties, a drug must act on the CNS. Opioid analgesia is largely mediated centrally within the spinal cord.

Cholinergic: A drug which targets the acetylcholine neuromodulatory/neurotransmission system, whether it be by acting at cholinergic receptors directly, or by affecting acetylcholine transmission indirectly.

Cortical: Affecting, pertaining to, referring to, or involving the cerebral cortex of the human brain. The structures of the cerebral cortex are referred to as the "cortical" areas of the brain; the cerebral cortex is the largest, outermost, and most visible area of the forebrain. Composed of the higher, executive structures which are involved in reason, logic, cognition, critical thinking, memory, imagination, ego, personality, advanced sensory processing, etc. Components of this cortex are referred to as the "lobes" of the brain.

Dopaminergic: A drug which targets the dopamine neuromodulatory/neurotransmission system, whether it be by increasing synaptic dopamine release, inhibiting dopamine reuptake, activating the dopamine receptor, or inducing reversed flow of the dopamine uptake transporter.

Empathogen (i.e. Enactogen): A drug which induces a sense of affection, sociability, and empathetic feelings toward others. Technically, some drugs which are considered empathogenic may simply distort ones perception of others to induce the illusion of empathy (as suggested by recent studies of MDMA). MDMA (i.e. ecstasy) has long been the prototypical empathogen/enactogen.

Endogenous: Naturally occurring within the body

Entheogen: Refers to any one of a large number of psychoactives which may be taken for religious, meditative, or spiritual purposes. Most classical entheogens are plant based products which have a history of cultural use, often in the context of religious ceremonies or coming of age rituals.

Euphoria: A state of well being or particularly positive mood & contentment, which may lead to feelings of emathy, affection, motivation and excitement.

Exogenous: Derived/obtained from an external source (not within the body)

GABAminergic: A drug which targets the GABA neuromodulatory system, whether it be by activating GABA receptors, increasing GABA signalling, or enhancing the inhibitory action of GABA itself through allosteric modulation.

Glutamatergic: A drug which targets the glutamate neuromodulatory/neurotransmission system, whether it be by acting at glutamate receptors directly, or by affecting the excitatory action of glutamate itself through allosteric binding.

Half Life: Determines an drug's duration of effect; half life in simple terms is the amount of time it takes for levels of a systemic compound to decrease by half. Also refers to a drug's rate of dissociation from its target receptors. 

Morphinomimetic: An opioidergic drug which acts similar to morphine, through activation of the mu opioidergic system, to produce the prototypic spectrum of narcotic effects - analgesia, sedation, and well being.

Noradrenergic: A drug which targets the noradrenaline (i.e. norepinephrine) 
neuromodulatory/neurotransmission system, whether it be by increasing synaptic NE release, inhibiting NE reuptake, activating the adreno-receptor, or inducing reversed flow of the NE uptake transporter.

Opioidergic: A drug targeting the opioid neuromodulatory system, by action at one or more of any opioid receptor type.

Parasympathetic Nervous System: Branch if the autonomic nervous system. Maintains the body's baseline functions at rest. Runs in contrast with the sympathetic nervous system. During times of stress of "arousal", the workload is shifted from the parasympathetic branch to the sympathetic branch.

Partial Agonist: Activates receptor to a limited degree relative to a regular agonist, after which point no greater of an effect may be produced - often resulting in simply a receptor blocking effect similar to an antagonist.

Peripheral: Affecting, pertaining to, referring to, or involving the peripheral nervous system - composed of the motor and sensory nerves which project to and from the spinal cord, and control sensory reception, brain communication, involuntary motor function (such as heart beat & breathing) and voluntary motor function (such as walking, jumping).

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS): System of neurons and ganglia outside of the CNS, serving as the communication network between brain and body (organs, tissues, etc).

Serotonergic: A drug which targets the serotonin neuromodulatory/neurotransmission system, whether it be by increasing synaptic serotonin release, inhibiting serotonin reuptake, activating the serotonin receptor, or inducing reversed flow of the serotonin uptake transporter.

Somnolence: Derives from the term "somnos, or somnia" (meaning sleep). Somnolence simply means "sleepiness". It is a common side effect of many drugs, including benzodiazepines and opioids.

Subjective Effects: The pronounced and perveivable effects of a drug which one is able to feel/notice, recall, or describe. Subjective effects are typically centrally-mediated and include euphoria, analgesia, anxiolysis, excitement, delerium, psychedelia, etc. But may include all effects, whether psychological or physiological, that can be perceived by the subject using the drug.

Sympathetic: Branch of the autonomic nervous system. Mobilizes the body's resources in times of stress, and induces a state of arousal, known at full-function as "fight or flight" mode. Works in contrast to the parasympathetic nervous system.

Sympathomimetic: A drug which activates the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system - essentially producing a fight or flight state of arousal. Sympathomimetic is basically a technical term for stimulant.

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