Filled Under: Hallucinogens
By now most of us know that we can alter the brain with the consumption of certain beverages. Sometimes the altered state is good and can lead to something great (GENIUS IDEA) and some are bad (POOR CHOICES). So when it comes to beer & coffee, which is better for your brain? First let’s learn a little about the brain.
What happens to your brain when you drink beer?
Have you ever been drinking with your friends and thought, “WOW, I’m really smart and eloquent. People should really listen to me.” That would be because the alcohol is having its way with your cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex processes information from your senses, processes thoughts, initiates the majority of voluntary muscle movements and has some control over lower-order brain centers. When alcohol hits your cerebral cortex you feel less focused, BUT it frees up your brain from all the distractions that normally keep you in your inhibited box.
What’s the sweet spot?
This is going to vary between people, but typically 2 drinks will get you into the perfect zone of crazy quick wit, more confidence and of course your idea machine will kick into overdrive.
Beer makes you less worried about the world around you, which frees up your brain to make deeper connections and come up with great ideas.
A couple of beers makes you less focused and decreases your memory, so keep a pen and pad of paper handy if you are using beer to lubricate your idea machine. You don’t want to lose that million dollar concept.
Okay, so beer is good if you are searching for an initial idea. Now you need to get to work and bring that idea to life.
What happens to your brain when you drink coffee?
Feeling tired? That happens when receptors and adenosine bind together. Drowsy time. When caffeine enters the scene, the receptor instead binds with caffeine and you then get more energy. Yippee. Pretty obvious right? But why does this happen?
Caffeine Makes Me Happy But Why?
According to HowStuffWorks, we have something called adenosine that is created in our brains. As it binds to adenosine receptors, it slows down our nerve cell activity, which then causes drowsiness. A nerve cell mistakes caffeine for adenosine. Therefore, caffeine binds with the adenosine receptor, but rather than slowing down the cell’s activity, the nerve cells speed up. While adenosine opens up blood vessels, allowing for more oxygen intake, caffeine constricts these blood vessels. This is why some people who get frequent headaches take medication that has caffeine in it- the caffeine closes the blood vessels and relieves the headache. http://bit.ly/1ltDIDJ
Gives you more energy and stronger ability to focus. This is when your idea magic gets put to the test. Did the beer work wonders or just send you on a wild goose chase?
Drinking too much coffee can keep you awake during your nighty night time, but hey, if you are trying to come up with, and build, the next Apple Computers then sleep really isn’t an option is it? Just saying.
Need an idea? Have a couple of beers.
Need to figure out how to get your idea off the ground? Brew that pot of coffee.
Neither of these beverages are great for you in mass quantities, but in moderation great things can happen.
Created with care and awesomeness: http://en.ilovecoffee.jp/posts/view/79
JONES: Taking magic mushrooms can create a transformative experience
By Dillon Jones on August 30th, 2013 opinion
The next time you see your drug dealer, ask for some magic mushrooms.
Now there’s a strong chance this column will become classified as “another column saying YEAH DRUGS!!! WOOOO DRUGS ARE GREAT! GO DO ALL THE DRUGS!” To do so would be a mistake, because this is not a blanket endorsement of drug use. This is an endorsement of careful, practical and safe use of a particular drug: Psilocybe semilanceata, i.e. magic mushrooms. My central argument is that if any recreational drug should be done in college, it is magic mushrooms.
There are a few assumptions I make that form the foundation of this column. The first is that the majority of people reading this can talk and read about recreational drugs without giggling uncomfortably. The second is that most people who read this will have come into contact with recreational drugs at some point in their lives up to this moment. This doesn’t mean you used the drug, only that you were in the same room as the drug while it was being done. The third is that using drugs is not morally objectionable and that in some cases drug use can deliver significant health benefits. I also assume that there are people reading who either do recreational drugs on the regular, casually or once every full moon — or perhaps they’re just waiting to summon the nerve. Bracket any biases or prejudices you may have, at least for the duration of this column.
A short definition: a magic mushrooms is a mushroom that contains the chemical psilocybin. When ingested, this chemical produces mind-altering effects during a short period.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that taking mushrooms can result in horribly random and awful things. If you were to Google “taking magic mushrooms = horribly random and awful thing happens” you’ll get few interesting results. Back in May, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder went on a hiking trip with her friends, tripped mushrooms, stripped naked and tried to fight her friends. In June, an Ohio man attempted to rip off his penis and scrotum with his bare hands, while high on mushrooms. And two days ago, a 20-year-old man walking his dog in his quiet Florida neighborhood, naked, tripping on mushrooms, was tasered three times by the police after he tried to attack them when they approached him.
So, yes, some who have taken mushrooms have personally mutilated their genitals, had naked fistfights with their friends and been tasered, while naked, and in front of their dog. However, this is the exception to the general rule. In fact, magic mushrooms numbers among the recreational drugs that have potential health benefits when consumed safely — like marijuana and ecstasy, for example.
A 2011 study on the effects of psilocybin conducted by the John Hopkins University School of Medicine concluded that, when taken at the right dose, magic mushrooms could result in long-lasting psychological and spiritual growth.
Of the 18 adults who participated in this study, “94 percent … said it was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39 percent said it was the single most meaningful experience.” In addition, “their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.”
The whole study is worth a read, but again the takeaway here is that, at the right dose, this drug can have a ton of benefits.
Mushrooms have even received an endorsement from a technological entrepreneur, following in the tradition of famous tech entrepreneur’s endorsing psyedelic drugs. Here is Evan Reas, co-founder of a social network called Circle on why you should take mushrooms:
“It completely changes how you think. … About your problems, about yourself, everything. It forced me to ask, ‘Is what I’m doing important?’” This is what you can expect to hear from most people who’ve taken mushrooms.
This is probably also a good place to acknowledge that I’ve personally ingested magic mushrooms, several times. At no point during any of my experiences, did I feel the desire to rip off my penis, fight my friends or strip naked and walk my dog.
Clearly, though, these things can happen. There are a few ways to mitigate the potential for self-mutilation, public embarrassment or dangerous encounters with law enforcement: take the recommended dose; make sure you’re with a small group of people you trust; make sure there’s at least one other person who’s planning on taking the mushrooms with you.
The most important thing to consider when doing mushrooms is the atmosphere. Who you’re with and what you’re doing can be the difference between having a good trip versus a bad trip. I’ve only ever taken mushrooms in small groups with close friends, and all we did was walk around in the sun talking about what was happening to us (and it was incredible). My mushroom experiences forced me inward. They broke down my various internal defenses and forced me to take a long hard look at myself. What I saw, I didn’t like: and I was forced to ask myself why. Mushrooms forced me to do years of personal work I’m not sure I’d have done otherwise.
For me, like the participants in the John Hopkins study and the Circle co-founder, taking mushrooms was transformative. This is also something I’ve heard many people say, and it can come off trite or cliche. But rather than trivialize or romanticize the experience, it shows how difficult it is to describe. However, it’s worth noting that mushroom experiences are intensely personal and subjective, and that my experience might not resemble yours.
There’s one more thing you should know: In encouraging you to take mushrooms, I’m explicitly telling you to break the law. Possession of mushrooms will get you arrested. In addition, it’s not unheard of for people to mistake magic mushrooms for another poisonous mushroom. There’s risk involved here. So don’t be stupid. If you receive mushrooms from someone you don’t know, it’s not a good idea to take them. Similarly, if they can’t verify that the mushrooms are safe to eat, don’t eat them.
But let’s say you do decide to try mushrooms. Let’s say you know a guy who knows a guy. Be safe. Do your own research. Don’t get caught. And don’t mention my name.
Dillon Jones is a senior English major. Follow him @doornut_jazzy, and reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
a short story
2817 Third St. #C
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 392-7316 (h)
(917) 553-2147 (c)
I’ve been to Burning Man twice and have never had sex there.
The first time I didn’t have sex because I didn’t go with my
girlfriend. The second time I didn’t because she came along.
If you’ve never been to Burning Man, I should make clear that
going there means you are going to have sex. And drugs.
Not having either is like flunking Phys Ed in elementary school.
For the uninitiated, Burning Man is an annual temporary arts
community which arises out of sheer willpower from the playa of
the Black Rock Desert in a barren wasteland two and a half hours
north of Reno, Nevada. There’s nothing there until thirty
thousand freaks from around the world descend on those plains to
make it a walking techno-performance-art-sex-drugs-and-drum-
It’s also the third largest city in Nevada for the week.
My girlfriend, let’s call her Meadow, came with me my second
time there. We were helping create a ‘ritual opera’ based on
some odd interpolation of Haitian voodoo mixed with early Hindu
Wasn’t my idea. But it was something to do while there. And it
got us free tickets, food and a tent.
My job was to create a series of initiations to put people
through to prove themselves and earn the right to join our
group. We built a pentagonal open-top hut (voodoo in design I
was told) which we carpeted with remnants we found in Reno’s
finest back alley trash bins. Then I put the candidates through
trust-building games and guided meditations from midnight ‘til
Every night for a week I kept up this nocturnal schedule –
initiating almost two hundred people who willingly subjected
themselves to this torture. No drugs or stimulants were used.
No animals were harmed. No sex was had, but people were
stripped naked and made to endure the nearly freezing
temperatures of the desert night. It made them huddle and
become friends very quickly. Everyone was just looking for
something to do and a group to be a part of. And when you work
for it, somehow it means more. So I made’em work.
People also joined us because we supplied body paint for the
performances so they could dance around essentially naked in the
glow of burning sculptures to the moves Meadow had choreographed
The ‘opera’ came to fruition on a frigid midnight the night
before ‘The Burn’. ‘The Burn’ is the last night when the powers-
that-be (yes there are powers-that-be even at Burning Man) torch
a sixty-foot tall wooden sculpture of a man. ‘The Burn’ over
the years has turned into a Disney-esque spectacle complete with
fireworks instead of the unruly Bacchanalian orgy it once was.
But our event was unsullied by the bureaucracy.
AND it was ART.
Because we said it was. HA!
There was running and dancing and making of music and wearing of
symbolic body paint in well-researched designs. Of course, no
one could see anything in the dark, so, should anyone have been
able to decipher the Haitian iconography mixed with Sanskrit
they were not afforded the opportunity. Nonetheless, five
thousand people (quite sensibly dressed with hats and scarves)
cheered us on as we cavorted about. They didn’t have a clue
that there was purpose to it all, but we burned things at the
end, so everyone was happy.
The morning after our little show, it was the last day before
everyone went home to clothes and jobs and trees and cars.
Meadow and I had worked so hard the entire week we hadn’t had
time to enjoy the rest of the festival. So we found ourselves a
plush and pleasantly cool tent that some Silicon Valley
billionaire (back when there were still Silicon Valley
billionaires) had brought from Morocco. It was eighty feet long
and twenty feet wide and there was a light mist coming down onto
us from sprinklers he’d installed above. Thanks. It was 75
degrees inside the tent and 115 outside. Sweet.
So we laid on these plush pillows – emerald and ruby and ivory –
and we luxuriated.
“Now!” I thought, “was the perfect time for those ‘shrooms.”
I’ve never done much drugs. I hate the smoking and the shooting
and the snorting, and I’d never done ‘shrooms before, but I’d
always liked the idea of getting high naturally. So I take out
the little plastic baggie that I’d traded some guy for a gallon
of water earlier in the week and it’s just then that I realize I
have NO idea how much of this to take. So I put a little in my
mouth and wait to see what happens.
Nothing. So…I give a little to Meadow…
And then I take a little more, because I’m bigger, and, well,
drugs don’t really affect me all that much.
When I was younger I learned I have a very high tolerance to
drugs. I had trouble falling asleep in high school – at night,
not in the classes. I could fall asleep just fine then.
So I was given a prescription of L-Tryptophan which is supposed
to make you drowsy. It did nothing for me in the recommended
dosage, so…extremely frustrated, one morning around 3AM, I ate
half the bottle. The pills in it – not the bottle itself. The
bottle would have been bad for me. The pills on the other hand
didn’t so much as give me an upset stomach, much less put me to
But it seems the ‘shrooms or the sun or just sheer exhaustion
did send me napping that afternoon at Burning Man because the
next thing I remember was gently waking after a pleasant rest
and feeling my girlfriend lightly clawing at my chest, saying:
“I know we’ll be OK if I can just get inside you.”
Isn’t she sweet?
“I know I’ll be OK if I can just crawl inside your
“Uh…Meadow, you’re hurting me.” Her nails dug in.
“I know we’ll be fine if I can just get IN-SIDE your
body! Everything’s going to be ALRIGHT if I can just
crawl inside you!”
At this point, the thought wafted over my head that I ought to
ask her if she’s feeling OK. But before the words came to my
mouth, she leapt to her feet, pointed in the corner and yelled:
“Oh my God! There goes my spirit guide!!!”
Then she promptly collapsed.
I was not fazed. Living in California, I’d had a tendency to
date women with made up names and spirit guides. This one had a
guide who took the form of a mouse. She wouldn’t tell me his
name though. It was a secret between them. Why he was a mouse
I never found out either. It didn’t seem like a very powerful
totem to me, but, then again, he wasn’t
After lying there musing about her guide for…I don’t know how
long, I realized she lay lifeless in a heap at my feet and I
thought, “Someone really ought to do something to make sure
Then I realized no one else was going to do anything. This was
Burning Man and they didn’t realize that this was not normal
behavior. And it struck me, right then, that there wasn’t
anyone in the entire world who cared about her except for me.
She was completely my responsibility. Her health, her
happiness, her security, her getting married and having children
and living a perfect and fulfilled life. It was ALL up to me.
So I did the only think I could think of doing.
I screamed at the top of my lungs and ran over to a group of
topless women. Somehow all that managed to emerge from my mouth
was a disturbing gurgling. When they didn’t respond, I spotted
an army of male belly dancers and lunged in their direction.
They had great costumes. Really elaborate. I screamed
something that was meant to alert them to the unfolding drama,
but instead, a high pitched squeal emanated from my throat.
Progress, perhaps, but not what I was aiming for.
I tried crying out for a medic, but all I heard was my own voice
laughing…really quite hysterically. I didn’t see what was so
funny though. My girlfriend must have overdosed and here we are
in the desert two and a half hours north of Reno, Nevada and
this is where she’s going to die!! And I’d killed her!!!
And while things had been a bit on the rocks between us, I was
hoping we could turn it around. Perhaps we’d get involved in
some sort of Burning Man orgy. They had those here! I’d been
told about them. That would enliven the relationship! Right?
I, of course, in the openness of the entire event, was stupid
enough to tell her about this desire and not only did sex cease
to be an option for the rest off the time there, but in the
moment she responded, her voice deepened and like the witch that
transmogrifies into a lethal dragon, her grammatical skills were
overpowered by her reptilian brain as she bellowed:
And although I was growing furious that her jealousy was
reigning me in with the power of a steel-belted tether, and
although she rejected me when I expressed my true authentic
desires – which I must point out
(as well as many
other women). And although that rejection took the form of a
silent refusal to copulate in any form…
That didn’t mean I wanted her to die!!!
I dropped to my knees in front of her body and tried to remember
CPR from my days as a Cub Scout. And thank the stars above,
before I began, she leapt to her feet in one move and exclaimed:
“My God, that was so beautiful! You won’t believe what
just happened to me. My spirit guide took me to the
underworld where he lead me across a deserted continent.
I asked him ‘Where are all the souls’ and he declaimed:
‘Back in the 19th Century, medical advances created
an unprecedented population explosion in the Living
Realm. We had to send up the souls of every human we
could find. But still they needed more. So we
started sending to Earth the souls of monkeys and
dogs and rats and we put those into the newborn human
It explains a lot when you think about it.
‘But there were still too many people being born so
we sent out the souls of every salamander, every
guppy and every weeping willow – until there was
nothing left in the after-world at all!’”
As she recounted her journey in a torrent of sound, she took off
all her clothes and began dancing and singing and giggling like
a four year-old. She spun in circles, naked and giddy, when
somehow, she floated off the ground!!! She was more beautiful
than I’d ever known her to be and for the first time in my life,
I wanted to be with her and no one else.
She looked down at me and started speaking poetry. She rhymed
her way through her ecstatic journey, telling of how she was
picked up by a metal bird and flown across the desert. How her
mouse guide looked so cute, sitting on the nape of the bird’s
neck. “You could just tell he was finally at home, flying in
She was dropped off at a cave where she was attacked by a ghoul.
No worries. There was no struggle. He just lopped her head
right off, took her body and boiled it in a huge cauldron. She
assured me she’d been put back together, better than new, and
that now she could see the fabric of all living things as she
never had before. As few have ever seen before.
“Now I can look directly into your eyes and see if your
soul is really, completely human.”
Finally, gently, she floated to the earth.
She took my face in her hands and looked deep inside.
I’d never been penetrated like that before.
I don’t know how long it lasted. Her eyes were so brown and
timeless. I could say they were deep umber, but they were truly
a simple puppy-dog brown.
I was powerless as she searched my soul.
She never told me what she saw. When she broke away she just
said, “It’s been quite a day and I could use a drink.”
We lay down together. She laid her head on my chest, and she
laid her hand on my heart and voice trembling joy, I heard:
“I love you sooo much. It’s good to be home.”
She faded away, tucked into the crook of my neck and we slept
right through the Burning of the Man.
* * * * *
She didn’t remember the trip when she woke up the next morning.
I had to remind her of the entire story. It was as though it
happened to someone else. To this day, she thinks I made it up.
But I can’t make up stories. Not like that. Not me.
How Sex Affects Intelligence, and Vice Versa
New research says sexual activity can grow brain cells. Keeping them may be another matter.
Dan Hurley Jan 13 2014, 9:00 AM ET
Forget mindfulness meditation, computerized working-memory training, and learning a musical instrument; all methods recently shown by scientists to increase intelligence. There could be an easier answer. It turns out that sex might actually make you smarter.
Researchers in Maryland and South Korea recently found that sexual activity in mice and rats improves mental performance and increases neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) in the hippocampus, where long-term memories are formed.
In April, a team from the University of Maryland reported that middle-aged rats permitted to engage in sex showed signs of improved cognitive function and hippocampal function. In November, a group from Konkuk University in Seoul concluded that sexual activity counteracts the memory-robbing effects of chronic stress in mice. “Sexual interaction could be helpful,” they wrote, “for buffering adult hippocampal neurogenesis and recognition memory function against the suppressive actions of chronic stress.”
Even brief viewing of pornographic images does interfere with people’s “working memory.”
So growing brain cells through sex does appear to have some basis in scientific fact. But there’s some debate over whether fake sex—pornography—could be harmful. Neuroscientists from the University of Texas recently argued that excessive porn viewing, like other addictions, can result in permanent “anatomical and pathological” changes to the brain. That view, however, was quickly challenged in a rebuttal from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, who said that the Texans “offered little, if any, convincing evidence to support their perspectives. Instead, excessive liberties and misleading interpretations of neuroscience research are used to assert that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage.”
Whether or not porn “addiction” literally damages the brain, even brief viewing of pornographic images does interfere with people’s “working memory”—the ability to mentally juggle and pay attention to multiple items. A study published last October in the Journal of Sex Research tested the working memory of 28 healthy individuals when they were asked to keep track of neutral, negative, positive, or pornographic stimuli. “Results revealed worse working memory performance in the pornographic picture condition,” concluded Matthias Brand, head of the cognitive psychology department at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
If having sex can make people smarter, the converse is not true: being smarter does not mean you’ll have more sex.
One myth about sex—or perhaps it’s just a joke?—is that “testosterone poisoning” makes young men stupid. Actually, a 2007 study in the journal Neuropsychologia measured the level of testosterone in the saliva of prepubertal boys, including some who were intellectually gifted, with an IQ above 130, some who were average, and some who were mentally challenged, with an IQ less than 70. They concluded that “boys of average intelligence had significantly higher testosterone levels than both mentally challenged and intellectually gifted boys, with the latter two groups showing no significant difference between each other.”
But if having sex can make people smarter, the converse is not true: being smarter does not mean you’ll have more sex. Smarter teens, in fact, tend to delay their initiation of coital activities. A 2012 study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that high working memory decreases the likelihood of early adolescent sexual debut. Some researchers have attributed the delay to greater overall “competence” among smarter teens. But a 2010 study found that adolescents at both the upper and lower ends of the intelligence distribution were less likely to have sex. Most recently, a study of 536 same-sex twin pairs concluded that intelligence may be a red herring: the association is really between school achievement, not IQ per se, and age at first sexual experience.
In old age, too, cognitive abilities affect one’s chances of getting lucky. A study published just last month found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often a forerunner of Alzheimer’s disease, were only about half as likely to have engaged recently in sexual activity as were their cognitively healthy peers. Of those with MCI, just 32.5 percent had recently engaged in sex, compared to 62.3 percent of those without MCI.
Perhaps, however, the dream of getting smarter through sex is just an alluring fantasy. Tracey J. Shors, a psychologist at the Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University, has reported that while many activities can increase the rate at which new brain cells are born, only effortful, successful learning increases their survival. As she said at a meeting on “Cognitive Enhancers” at the Society for Neuroscience in 2012: “You can make new cells with exercise, Prozac and sex. If you do mental training, you’ll keep alive more cells that you produced. And if you do both, now you have the best of both worlds—you’re making more cells and keeping more alive.”
American craft brewing just got a little stranger, and a little less animal-friendly. The brewsters at Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Co. have announced the release of a new beer inspired by AMC’s zombie smash hit “The Walking Dead”: an American Pale Stout made with wheat, oats, flaked barley, organic cranberry and, of course, smoked goat brains. Yes, that’s right — smoked goat brains.
According to a press release, the line of thinking underpinning the brewery’s decision was, “Screw it, let’s use brains!”:
Gourmet mushrooms and potentially hallucinogenic herbs are one thing, but smoked brains… really? Believe it or not, much of the world considers brain to be a true delicacy. Think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but not ridiculous. Many also believe that using every part of an animal not only increases and encourages sustainability, but also honors the animal’s life and death.
Apparently, consuming an animal’s brain is also a way to honor one’s favorite television show. Dock Street Brewing Co. says their new brew is “quite possibly the smartest beer you’ll ever drink” — and we already know that goats are smarter than we’re wont to give them credit for being — but it’s unclear if there are benefits to adding the organ to beer.