“Drugs are bad, m’kay?” Even if you’re not familiar with Mr. Mackey from the cartoon South Park, you probably agree with his catchphrase. We all grew up hearing about how drugs can destroy your life and seeing motivational posters with eggs (“This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.”). But guess what? They were ALL WRONG! A new study has confirmed that drugs are actually OK in moderation!
How the heck is that even possible? After all, don’t years of medical and scientific studies say that drugs are one of the worst things you can do to your body? What happened to that scrambled egg brain? It all comes down to the fact that, despite what doctors and neuroscientists claim, we actually don’t know that much about the brain. It’s an incredibly complex organ that uses 20% of all the oxygen and calories the body consumes. Billions of dollars have been spent on research into the brain by scientists around the world. Some of these scientists have even won Nobel Prizes for their work.
But despite all of this, there’s a lot we don’t know. How do memories actually work? What brain impulses fire off to say the word “plant” instead of “calendar”? No one knows! And, as it turns out, no one really knew how drugs affected the brain.
Previous research suggests that drugs change how neurons in the brain send and receive signals. Some drugs make mimic the structure of neurotransmitters, activating neurons that come into contact with them. Others increase the number of neurotransmitters released by neurons. Both change how the brain functions, and this change has always been seen as negative.
A recent study conducted in Sweden by Dr. Mary Jane Snow and Dr. Molly White used various imaging devices, including PET scans, CAT scans, and the team’s newly created DOG scan (Drug Origination Graph) to view how drugs were activating or deactivating parts of the brain. After months of examining drug users of all ages, their conclusion was that moderate drug use actually didn’t matter. The study shows that what seemed like damage to the upper layers of the brain is actually the result of lower, previously unknown layers of the brain activating and changing how the organ operates.
“People talk about the harm of drugs all the time,” Dr. Snow said. “But our DOG scan goes deeper than any of the tools used in those studies. What we see is that the brain has hidden layers. It’s like a seven-layer dip. The further down you go, the more gooey, delicious stuff you find.”
Dr. White added that these hidden layers are actually stimulated by most drugs, allowing the brain to access levels of consciousness it otherwise couldn’t. “What you see when you’re high? That’s your brain’s hidden layers activating and changing your perception of the world around you. It’s not actually harmful at all, it’s just changing how your brain works. What people believe are hallucinations may be quite real, like other planes of existence or other dimensions. We don’t know, but we do know that drug use, in moderation, can activate more parts of the brain than we ever suspected.”
When asked if this means that everyone should get high, the scientists pointed out that using drugs all the time can certainly be dangerous. “Over-using drugs leads to ignoring the world around you,” Dr. White said. “It’s fine to smoke a joint after work or snort some coke on the weekends, but don’t let it get in the way of your personal obligations. I would never have completed my doctoral degree if I hadn’t bought Ritalin off my nine-year-old cousin, but I’m not popping those pills every day.”
While the new DOG scan has revealed new layers of the brain, the researchers believe they’ve only just scratched the surface. “We’re only on about layer three of that seven-layer dip,” Dr. Snow said. “Today, we’ve learned that drugs in moderation are fine. They actually do a lot for the brain. Tomorrow, who knows what we’ll find.”
When asked if drug use could give people superpowers, both scientists laughed. “Until we understand 100 percent of the brain, there’s always a possibility,” Dr. Snow said. “However, do I think doing blow is going to turn someone into Superman? No. Could it allow you to do faster calculations or be more creative? That’s a much more realistic possibility. But hey, you want to see if coke will give you psychic powers? Go for it. In moderation, of course.”
The full report is currently undergoing evaluation by the FDA, the CDC, the ATF, the DEA, and the NRA. Each of these organizations is expected to release response statements in the future.