When a new drug is created that is different than any other drug, how does somebody find out it is psychoactive?

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Like did they just create a new molecule and go, “hmm, maybe I should eat this?”

Typically they start with animal testing to see if there are effects, usually in rats. The animals are trained to differentiate between different drugs so they get an idea of the effects based on what drug the rats think it’s closest to. There are a bunch of different ways to determine effects, though.

It’s pretty abnormal for researchers to test the drugs on themselves, but it’s not entirely unheard of, Shulgin is a good example of someone who did that by starting with an incredibly small dose and slowly titrating up every few days until activity was found. It’s pretty much unheard of for legitimate researchers in the pharmaceutical industry to test new drugs on themselves today, though. That’s my understanding of it anyway.

Yeah that’s what I thought, but I wasn’t entirely sure. That’s why I went through a few different ways to word that. Should’ve probably looked it up first but I knew it was at least rare. Thanks for the links though, always interested in reading about stuff like this.

It really depends heavily on what the self experimentation involves. The guy who proved h pylori bacteria cause stomach ulcers by infecting himself and then curing his new ulcers with antibiotics won a Nobel Prize for his work. But yeah, I’d say if it involves searching for new psychotropic drugs by ingesting random chemicals you’ve synthesized yourself that’s going to be universally frowned upon by legitimate institutions. I wouldn’t even recommend it and I’m a pretty illegitimate institution. There are just way too many serious risks. Like even if you start at what sounds real low you could still fuck yourself. Like imagine if back in the day someone created LSD for the first time and thought a good small tester dose was 1 mg since they had never heard of a drug being active at ug before. It’s not inconceivable you could stumble across something exponentially more potent than LSD (or maybe it is, I’m not a chemist).

Start out low at like 1ug and slowly work your way up over weeks until activity is found or until it is deemed inactive. By this method you’d realize its toxicity before being exposed to a lethal dose (if the molecule turns out to be poisonous)

Yes, the Shulgin method. I think it’s important to point out that there could be other toxicities that wouldn’t be readily apparent before they could cause harm. Things like neurotoxicity and carcinogenesis. Shulgin was a brilliant chemist and had enough biochemistry knowledge to predict that certain novel chemicals would be unlikely to be dangerous based on exactly what substitutions were made relative to a known parent compound. (e.g. substituting larger moieties in place of methyl at the N-position of tryptamines are likely safe, alpha-position could be more dangerous).

Bottom line is there are always risks, known and unknown with RCs. We can research in a “safe” way but nothing can be guaranteed.

First the molecular geometry is fitted into a program to simulate receptor binding, if the compound acts as a ligand at receptors known to alter consciousness it’s then sent to animal testing and works it way up to humans.

This is the contemporary way. It used to be “let’s inject 500mg/kg in to a chimpanzee and see what happens”. A lot has changed in 50 years that’s for sure!

Idk the correct answer but I think they run some softwares and base on its structure (and so its properties) they see the affinity for the receptors and if it cross the BBB (very important). Then they test with animals and see if they have strange behaviour and so on.

Or yes, you could eat it but it’s not a very wise idea..

Nowadays we can predict pharmacology using computational ligand binding assays. I did it for my undergraduate research

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