Skip to comments.Legal highs: the dark side of medicinal chemistry
Posted on 01/06/2011 7:36:30 AM PST by neverdem
Synthetic chemist David Nichols describes how his research on psychedelic compounds has been abused with fatal consequences.
This is the start of the international year of chemistry, intended to celebrate the contribution of my field to mankind's well-being. Yet, during the previous year it has become disturbingly clear to me that some of my scientific contributions may not be aiding people's well-being at all. In fact, they could be causing real harm.
A few weeks ago, a colleague sent me a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal. It described a "laboratory-adept European entrepreneur" and his chief chemist, who were mining the scientific literature to find ideas for new designer drugs dubbed legal highs. I was particularly disturbed to see my name in the article, and that I had "been especially valuable" to their cause. I subsequently received e-mails saying I should stop my research, and that I was an embarrassment to my university.
Online collection.I have never considered my research to be dangerous, and in fact hoped one day to develop medicines to help people. I have worked for nearly four decades synthesizing and studying drugs that might improve the human condition. One type is designed to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and it works superbly in monkey models of the disease. That same research seeks drugs to improve memory and cognition in patients who have schizophrenia, one of the most devastating human conditions. The other substances I work on are psychedelic agents such as LSD and mescaline. It's in that latter area of research that I have published papers about numerous molecules that probably have psychoactive properties in humans. It seems that many of these are now being manufactured and sold as 'legal highs'.
I first became aware that unknown amateur chemists were...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Best “high” I know of is during prayer and worship. And it’s legal—or at least, it is so far.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
I would feel the same as Nichols but knowing that an irrational feeling. No matter what you do, others will do what they do.