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What are people who use nootropics in search of?  Well we can infer that they are in search of more out of life, more memory, more cognition, solving more problems, creating more things or ideas.  Can we safely say that at least?  It seem like solid ground to walk on. 

Nootropic takers are in search of getting more out of life, finding and pushing boundaries and evolving into something better that they originally started out with.  Intriguing, that kind of sounds like something akin to religion or science, definitely futurism or even utopianism. 

And all of these ideological phenomenon can be both liberating as well as deadly dangerous, depending on how we approach things as well as our level of respect for them.  The Russian peasant in 1917 probably thought that communism would work out wonderfully for him; it didn’t.  Religion and science, though wonderful in so many ways have also contributed more to mass murder than any else on the planet.   

Seeking for more out of life, or clarity, or purpose is one of the grandest goals we have, but it is fraught with dangers.  Large doses of nootropic compounds are potentially dangerous, as was joining the cult of Jim Jones (they all killed themselves, look it up). 

Where exactly do nootropics, psychotropic prescription medications, hallucinogens and spirituality all converge?  Well, we would contend people seeking these things are trying to change the channel on their internal television sets.  Or perhaps increase the clarity of the screen, increase the volume; increase their consciousness.  At the risk of sounding like a new age hippie, this is exactly the territory where all of these seemingly different topics converge. 

All of them manipulate brain states and brain health. 

Would it surprise you to know that all of these things can work surprisingly similarly inside of our brains, or that they can all encourage growth in our neurons?   

From that piece of knowledge we could extrapolate the theory that drugs, entertainment, religion, and science all aim to do similar things, an interesting theory and possibly valid in a broad way of thinking.  It begs the question, is everything that we do here on earth pushing us towards some sort of evolution that we cannot quite see yet?  A lot of very deep thinkers have posed that question, and although we will probably not get to any definitive answers here, it is without a doubt worthwhile to speculate. 

Some Psychotropic Medications Promote Neurotrophic Factors Like BDNF 

Certain prescription drugs can do amazing things inside of our brains, especially if our brains are impaired in a depressive manner (for whatever reasons).  And although many are opposed to SSRI drugs, they do promote BDNF create in the brain.   In fact this may be how the actually work, their mechanism of effectiveness may have absolutely nothing to do with low neurotransmitter levels, as previously thought. 

So, even a somewhat hated class of drugs with tons of side effects and marginal results does something amazing and without a doubt beneficial for many.  BDNF promotes the creation and preservation of neurons within the brain ( it should be noted here that BDNF is the same neurotrophic factor that many natural nootropics encourage).  There is huge and significant overlap here.  In fact nootropics can be used very skillfully to manage mood disorders and addressing mood disorders is decidedly cognitively beneficial.  Many pieces of a seemingly incoherent puzzle begin to converge when we take those facts into account. 

Now, what if pharmaceutical companies were to create a class of drugs that can do this (increase BDNF) but without all the side effects?  It’s coming, surely it is coming.  SSRI’s, in our opinion are like hammering a nail with a jackhammer.  There are just a first step, in fact many scientists will still tell you that they don’t really know how these drugs even work.  Not very encouraging for the depressed seeking professional help through medications. 

The Future Of Medications Is Difficult To Predict, But Newer Side Effect Medications Are Probably Coming 

Drugs like Adderall, Vyvanse, Wellbutrin and so on can work amazingly well for some people in order to create states of cognition that they would otherwise never in a million years be able to attain with them.  Does that mean everyone should take Adderall?  No, of course not.  But it does mean that pharmaceutical drugs can have spectacular effects on the brain, and that in reality these drugs are in their infancy really.  They will continue to evolve, and perhaps will reach a state where they are much safer and more effective. 

The next generations of smart drugs, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills can and will likely be radically different.  Think of it this way, if these drugs have horrific side effects (they do for many people), then how many people are going to stay on these drugs long term?  If big pharmaceutical companies are all about making money then we should assume that they would like to create drugs with no side effects.  Maybe this isn’t possible or maybe it will be, we just don’t know.  It’s also smart to remember that even seemingly harmless plant medicines in larger doses can be very dangerous. 

Do patients will drop off of taking medications if the side effects are too great?  Absolutely.  So, you can hate big pharma all you like but they are working on new drugs that will very likely do amazing things and be nothing like what we have today.  At least we hope that is the case.  It would be satisfying, of course to see a blending of plant medicines and synthetics, and perhaps that is where this is all headed.  Manipulating our consciousness through outside substances is something that has been with mankind from the beginning of time and will probably always be with us, in fact it is possible that we were meant to symbiotically evolve in this way through design. 

It’s interesting to note that if you have ADD or ADHD then Adderall will allow your brain to function properly, but give it to someone who doesn’t have that condition and after a while they will start to have adverse effects.  What’s going on there?  We know that Adderall stimulated dopamine production, but why would it wear out somebody’s receptors and not another’s?  That fact is that the reasoning is unknown to science at this time.  Why can someone take Adderall for years with little side effects and yet someone else can take it for a short period of time and totally ruin their attention span (albeit for the short term).  Do you see how little we know about how drugs really work?  And yes, this should scare you a bit.  But, it should also give you some perspective about what is coming down the pipe in the next generation of pharmaceutical medications, and we’re not even talking about genetically specific medications.  That will totally change the game, or perhaps it will be a combination of pharmaceuticals and nootropics. 

Neurogenesis Is The Single Point Of Convergence 

Back to the topic at hand.  Pharmaceutical medications that treat brain disorders are in many ways like natural nootropics, hallucinogens, and spiritual practices.  They can all induce neurogenesis.   

In addition, could we not say that someone who can barely think straight off of a drug like Wellbutrin is given a chance at a fulfilling life with the aid of this drug?  How can someone pray if they cannot think, if they have no control over their mental processes?  This is overlap here, because without a healthy brain, it is possible to have a healthy connection to our spirit?  It doesn’t seem possible.   

And although it may seem profane to many closed minded people, we can easily bring entheogens or hallucinogens into the discussion.  Yes, they are illegal in most countries and because of this little scientific research gets done on them, however, multiple studies have been done demonstrating that these compounds encourage neurogenesis in the same way as some nootropics, prayer (meditation), and certain pharmaceutical drugs do.   

Fascinating.  And the spiritual teachers of the Amazon have been telling us for years that ayahuasca is a medicine and a healer.  It turns out that they are likely right.  Ayahuasca ingestion causes a large production of serotonin in the brain, which in turn causes a spike in BDNF, which in turn preserves hippocampal neurons, which staves of depressive symptoms.  It utilizes the same serotonin pathway as an SSRI drug does but you only have to take it very periodically and the effects last for months.  Oh and there are no side effects after taking it (though the taking of the ayahuasca can be extremely difficult, that is a fact). 

A lot of people take SSRI’s for depression and they can work, but for many they cause things like weight gain, acne, insomnia, and a host of sexual problems.  Again, it’s like using a jack hammer to hammer a simple nail.  Overkill.  In addition, and this is rarely talked about in the doctor’s office, but SSRI’s are physically addictive.  What this means is that when you go on them you can’t just immediately cease usage without having tremendous withdrawal symptoms.  The medical establishment probably doesn’t refer to this phenomenon as withdrawals, but that is exactly what they are.  The longer that you are on the medical the worse the withdrawals will be, and some people have so much trouble trying to get off of them that that would rather just stay on them.  Last, but not least is the fact that some men have developed long term sexual problems from taking SSRI’s that did not cease after stopping the medication.  In some extreme cases these problems lasted for years.  Again, this is not something they will tell you in the doctor’s office, but they are facts and you can find these people online if you bother to look and do your own research.  SSRI’s are the supposed first line of defense against depression, while nootropics and hallucinogens are basically laughed at in the main stream as viable alternatives.   Something is very wrong there, and this the entire system should be harshly indicted for that attitude.  Do we prize profits or people?  A lot of us need to take a long hard look in the mirror when thinking about that. 

Unfortunately hallucinogens are illegal.  And are considered schedule 1 drugs in the U.S., meaning they purportedly have no medicinal value.  This is, of course, a crock of crap.  And yes, these plant medicines are likely illegal because they are foreign (non-western), spiritual in a historical context (science tends to hate what it can’t see), and not pharmaceuticals (in other words no big money can be made from them).  That is a darn shame.   

And as was stated earlier in this article, there is hope for newer generations of pharmaceuticals, nobody here is completely anti-pharmaceutical.  However, we do think that any person or entity that puts profits above the benefit of all mankind isn’t working with a full deck of cards.  Unfortunately it would seem that too many of us have had a few cards removed from our decks.  Primarily through fear, repetition, and conformity, but that is a whole other ball of bees wax. 

All of the hallucinogenic plants basically work on the serotonin system and in effect create the same serotonin changes as SSRI medications, so how is it possible that they have no medical value and are considered a pure poison by those in authority?  That is, as the kids say, wack. 

Hallucinogens, Meditation & Natural Living Battle Modern Over Stimulation 

Would it surprise you to know that these plant medicines actually turn down the blood flow to certain parts of the brain?  It’s definitely counter intuitive.  When people eat plant medicines their senses become heightened and they start to see things in more intense colors and such.  How is that possible? 

Well, could it be possible that our brains are over stimulated and that is what causes a lot of mental issues.  There’s a lot of evidence that this is the case.  Think about it, from dawn to dusk and in all hours in between we are literally bombarded with screens, lights, flickering, traffic noise, people, annoying people, radio waves, TV waves, cellular waves, and on and on and on. 

Our brains are still evolutionarily programmed for lower stimulation, living in small bands of people out in the quiet woods.  Am I suggesting with go back into the trees?  No, that’s not possible or practical, however we can apply what we know to modern living, can we not?  Complete darkness at night stimulates melatonin release in the brain (serotonin’s flip side), meditation or “turning off” of the brain causes massive regeneration, neurogenesis, and brain repair. 

We know all this stuff today, but it’s not taught in public school or massively applied by many.  Interesting, isn’t it?  The reasons behind why that might be are well beyond this simple little article about evolutionary theory, the brain, and chemical compounds.  But, it’s still important to ponder. 

Spirituality practices include meditation or prayer, this is the case in virtually every culture.  And these practices promote hippocampal neurogenesis and preservation of neurons.  Just like magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, SSRI drugs, and nootropic plants like Lion’s Mane mushrooms and bacopa.  

Meditation is one of the only things we can do to increase dopamine release in the brain as well as up regulate receptors that does not include taking external substances, and of course it’s completely non-addictive and natural.   Prayer is simply meditation, though many people aren’t taught exactly how to pray today.    

A Long Concluding Thought 

It’s interesting to note that Jesus said that we can only reach God through prayer and fasting, did you know that fasting and meditation are proven to create massive and positive brain changes?   

Contained within that last sentence we have the convergence of religion and science, which was really the main conclusion that I would like everyone to take away from reading this.  Don’t put up walls, don’t exclude things based on belief systems, keep an open mind and we can all evolve to a better world.  

The intersection of these topics is utterly amazing, an entire series of books could be written on it.  It would seem that all these things are central to life as human beings, to states of consciousness, to evolution.  Can you imagine a world in the future where every human being is awarded nootropic formulas daily based on genetic material, personality, and daily tasks?  Or does that seem far-fetched?  It seems like a world I would want to live in. 

Nootropics, like pharmaceutical medications are still in their infancy.  In so many ways with our science we are like toddler’s beginning to crawl.  If that’s true they it won’t be long before we start to walk, and then run.  And perhaps mankind will do this exponentially faster as many futurists suggest we will. 

Anything that promotes neurogenesis, especially in the hippocampal region is nootropic in nature, anti-depressive, anti-anxiety, and simply beneficial for our mood and increasing our consciousness.  What really needs to occur in the coming years, in our opinion, is a reintegration of art, science, and religion.  Their divergence and the absolute duality of our thinking today is what keeps things kept separate and it truly keeps a myriad of breakthroughs from occurring in so many fields of study. 

The future is very bright, but not without dangers, but if we can keep to the path of wisdom and putting the common good above personal gain, and we can all push boundaries together then there is nothing standing in our way and we will evolve as we’re meant to. 

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