Thursday, June 14, 2007

Medicine for Mania

According to a new article in The Scientist magazine, the psychoactive plant Salvia divinorum, commonly referred to as Magic Mint or Diviner's Sage, could soon become a promising treatment for mania.

Researchers have found that the plant evokes an apathetic state in rats -- they no longer want sugar rewards, for which they'll usually do anything. The reason for this is that Salvia activates biological receptors called k-opioid receptors that induce a depressed-like state in parts of the brain; when these same receptors are blocked, it is as if rats have taken antidepressants. The article states,

The idea, says McLean Hospital's Bruce Cohen, is that if people who are manic are at the opposite end of the mood spectrum from people with depression, pushing them closer to depression with salvinorin A might deliver them to a healthy medium.

The article points out that there are a lot of issues that would need to be ironed out before Salvia might appear on a list of mania medications -- for instance, the plant acts too rapidly, and is incredibly potent -- but nevertheless, the research provides yet more evidence that some the psychoactive compounds that have long been scoffed at do, in fact, have powerful, potentially beneficial, qualities. Now that these plants are being studied under the guise of "science," people are finally taking notice of them and realizing what others have believed for a long time.


Blogger Spyder said...

I read the same article and posted a comment on the fact that these scientists have no idea what the rats were thinking. How dare they assume that they were depressed. I am a salvia user who sees it another way,which may be closer to the truth. I believe that the rats were not depressed,but felt that this physical world was not as important as the spiritual state they were in. Believe me,I've been there. When you enter the salvia dimension, this so-called 'real' world no longer holds a significant place,including food. Just my $.02.

3:26 PM  

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