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phew
03-10-2010, 05:45
What one field would allow a person to legitimately pursue the following:

- Research psychoactive chemicals
- Isolate and extract psychoactive compounds / alkaloids from plants.
- Learn how to properly (safety first) synthesize, combine or modify psychoactive chemicals.
- Identify and diminish negative effects from psychoactive chemicals.
- Increase the medicinal/therapeutic properties of substances.
- Understand how psychoactive chemicals interact with the body, brain, and mind.
- Explore the structure of the brain to discover what is or might be possible in the future.

Shulgin is possibly my biggest influence. I'm not looking to do exactly what he did, but what I want to do is quite close to what he's done. I want to understand the process behind how psychoactives work in the body. I want to understand the theory so I can invent and innovate.

Unfortunately, there are many options you can take and I don't know how or how much they overlap: Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Neuro/Psycho/pharmacology, Botany and Medicine!

My reasoning is that you can study certain fields on your own, but there are other fields that require a degree if you want to conduct any serious research. I believe that I could major in Organic/Biochemistry and explore the other fields as needed, but I'm not sure.

It's been said that Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry differ in approach/perspective more than they differ in content. Is that so?

If I become an Organic/Biochemist, will I be able to do all I listed above? Shouldn't I be able to study any of the other fields without being inconvenienced? With a degree in Organic/Biochemistry I'd have the most important credential and the all the access that comes with it. As long as I am legally allowed access to the lab and any chemicals and equipment I choose, I should be able to experiment in the other fields without any problems.

I can't see this freedom going the other way. To get access to a lab as a non-chemist would be difficult, I think. It wouldn't be as exclusive. You'd need assistance for certain operations as well. Whereas, from the perspective of a chemist, you can ask for assistance in theory for the other fields and then execute the chemical operations with ease (if I'm mistaken, please correct me).

The one problem I can see is if, in fact, one needs credentials to do research in some non-chemical fields. Maybe I might be able to get my hands on chemicals that a pharmacologist wouldn't be able to get, but then I might not be able to get my hands on chemicals that a pharmacologist would be able to get. I seriously doubt this, but I don't have full knowledge so I can't say for sure.

What path would give me the freedoms/privileges I've described here? I'm asking ADD because this is definitely a more technical, post-education concern.

MyExcuse
03-10-2010, 05:50
To be able to research psychedelics legitimately you would need to have other non-drug related research under your belt or would have to be working under a person who has already been in that line of work.

Until you have your own lab and money/grants to pay for your experiments, everything you think of related to academia should be as far away from substances of abuse as possible.

Study the neurobiological effects of harmala alkaloids on big cats in the rainforest.

phew
03-10-2010, 06:05
To be able to research psychedelics legitimately you would need to have other non-drug related research under your belt or would have to be working under a person who has already been in that line of work.

Until you have your own lab and money/grants to pay for your experiments, everything you think of related to academia should be as far away from substances of abuse as possible.

Study the neurobiological effects of harmala alkaloids on big cats in the rainforest.

Well, yes, that's a given.


The issue here is which of these fields must be studied in school and which can be studied in books. If I'm a legit Ochem/Biochem grad, then studying pharmacology textbooks will add to my knowledge and benefit me tremendously and I wouldn't have to go to school for that. But can a pharmacologist do the same? Real world lab experience and guidance is crucial, but real world pharmacology experience and guidance is not (helpful, but not necessary).

What I'm trying to figure out is if my assumption is correct.

MyExcuse
03-10-2010, 06:09
Being surrounded by a subject definitely makes it easier to retain and learn any information pertaining to that subject.

I wouldn't start in pharmacology and try to move into bio/orgchem.

Other way around seems more reasonable!

Breadth before depth, because it works.

Runera46
03-10-2010, 06:31
These studies are usually a collaborative between most departments Psych, Med, Chem etc. Anything in these fields with psychedelic research in mind will help you. So to answer your question i don't think there is a best field for psychoactive studies. Just do what you are interested in and no doubt if psychedelic research is what you want to do opportunities will present themselves.

Runera46
03-10-2010, 06:35
Being surrounded by a subject definitely makes it easier to retain and learn any information pertaining to that subject.

I wouldn't start in pharmacology and try to move into bio/orgchem.

Other way around seems more reasonable!

Breadth before depth, because it works.

Psychology and pharmacology is defiantly an attractive double major though

ziddy
03-10-2010, 12:05
At the undergrad level, it'd be better to major in chemistry/biochemistry. Find a school with research in the areas that interest you, then by your junior year try your best to get into some research. To help get your foot in the door, you could try to get a job as a lab assistant somewhere. You may not be doing anything more chemically demanding than preparing a PBS solution, but you'll get to know people doing research and stuff. This will let you get to know professors, and most importantly, decide if academia is really what you want to do. I used to have exactly your mindset and then became disillusioned by it and now I'm majoring in industrial engineering. I've still retained my interest in pharmacology, though, and read books on it in my spare time.

It's in grad school that you'll really have a chance to specialize your field of study. You'll definitely want to get a PhD; it'll be a lot of work, but after you complete and defend your thesis, do your postdoc, and get hired as an associate professor somewhere, you'll be well on your way to becoming an expert in your field. Just keep in mind that academia is not nearly as lucrative as industry, so you'll need to really be fulfilled by what you're doing to stay motivated. Good luck!

Sturnam
03-10-2010, 18:58
You're really asking to do several different things. The way I see it you can either:

A) Synthesize compounds, try to maximize certain binding affinities, reduce others, etc

B) Evaluate compounds in animals, to see any toxic effects, or how prominent beneficial effects are

2 completely different areas of study. A being chemistry. B being pharmacology (undergrad won't have this. so maybe biochem or other cell-science type?) I'm more than certain that you won't be able to do both, unless you're looking for a dual PhD.

Shulgin was A. He never figured out that 2C-B induced IP3 turnover more than 2C-E (made up example), he just modified chemicals to what 'felt right.'

Also, it is very very unlikely that you will ever be able to legitimately taste your/someone else's creations. One reason being the possible toxic reactions that may result. Second, because you'd be taking a 'drug of abuse.'

So, my question for you, is what are you more interested in? Lab technique, synthesizing new compounds, modifying them for maximal efficacy? Or evaluating new compounds in mice/rats, to see the effects? Pick one.

phew
04-10-2010, 04:00
This will let you get to know professors, and most importantly, decide if academia is really what you want to do. I used to have exactly your mindset and then became disillusioned by it and now I'm majoring in industrial engineering. I've still retained my interest in pharmacology, though, and read books on it in my spare time.


Thank you for the advice. I appreciate hearing it from someone who experienced things first hand.

But how did you get disillusioned by it? I think "is lab work what I want to be doing for the rest of my life?" and right now the answer is a firm "Yes." But what would lead to burn out?

Below, you mention "lucrative"



Just keep in mind that academia is not nearly as lucrative as industry, so you'll need to really be fulfilled by what you're doing to stay motivated. Good luck!

I don't care for money as much as I care for everything else. Was money the reason you left? Not enough benefit for the salary?


You're really asking to do several different things. The way I see it you can either:

A) Synthesize compounds, try to maximize certain binding affinities, reduce others, etc

B) Evaluate compounds in animals, to see any toxic effects, or how prominent beneficial effects are

2 completely different areas of study. A being chemistry. B being pharmacology (undergrad won't have this. so maybe biochem or other cell-science type?) I'm more than certain that you won't be able to do both, unless you're looking for a dual PhD.

Shulgin was A. He never figured out that 2C-B induced IP3 turnover more than 2C-E (made up example), he just modified chemicals to what 'felt right.'

Also, it is very very unlikely that you will ever be able to legitimately taste your/someone else's creations. One reason being the possible toxic reactions that may result. Second, because you'd be taking a 'drug of abuse.'

So, my question for you, is what are you more interested in? Lab technique, synthesizing new compounds, modifying them for maximal efficacy? Or evaluating new compounds in mice/rats, to see the effects? Pick one.

I'm more interested in the lab and the chemicals themselves. Cleanliness, precision, process, and the discipline required to synthesize compounds appeals to me. I enjoy mastery. For instance, mathematics provides great enjoyment to me and I love how ordered and correct everything has to be. I'm absolutely sure that chemistry is where I'm headed; the processes seem almost algorithmic at times, and I love that. One of my major goals is to refine my technique and control of the environment to the point where I can consistently get excellent yields and understand why.

Evaluating the compounds in animals, while also fascinating, is not equally as fascinating to me, and I wouldn't choose it over chemistry. If it's unrealistic to pursue this in addition to chemistry, then the simplest and most effective would be to be part of a research group and partner with pharmacologists who would be interested in understanding the effects of the compounds I make. :)

Honestly, I'd rather double major in (Org/Bio)Chemistry and Mathematics than (Org/Bio)Chemistry and N.P.Pharmacology. I'm completely interested in both of the first group but I can't say the same for the second. N.P.Pharmacology has a lot of value to my work, but it's not something I love.

***
Now that that's out of the way, perhaps I can explain my thinking for others:

Even though the disciplines are related, it seems that the latter is far more complex and time consuming than I thought. I assumed that one could independently learn a great deal about the pharmacological side so that they'd be more informed about what they were doing on the chemistry side. I also assumed that it would be easy to independently practice N.P.pharmacology at a high level.

Looks like I was wrong.

It seems that pharmacology requires just as much real-world, hands on experience as chemistry, something I did not believe before today.

***

Finally, it looks like Biochemistry specializing in Neuroscience (some Universities offer this, Google if this interests you, I don't want to link any colleges) is the best answer for someone with my interests looking to research psychoactives.

Sturnam
04-10-2010, 08:34
So it sounds like chemistry for you. Good for you :)

Also, a collaboration between chemistry and pharmacology can be possible. My university has a "communal" grant, if you will. Chemistry department synthesizes things (often at their whim 8) ), then the pharmacology side tests for binding affinities. If those looks good, it's on to mouse tests. And then rat testing, and so on. I'm not sure how much the chemist learns of the pharmacology side, and vice-versa.

Lastly, I would say major in chemistry for what you've stated your interests are. It sounds like you're much more into the analytical and precise techniques than the brain/body effects. Biochem/Neuroscience will focus more on the latter, which will lead towards a track in pharmacology.

Best of luck with your studies!

any major dude
09-10-2010, 18:46
Here's a good source of info from MAPS on this subject (http://www.maps.org/resources/students/)

thenightwatch
10-10-2010, 20:27
also read this recent thread if you haven't yet http://bluelight.ru/vb/showthread.php?p=8806742&highlight=nichols#post8806742