It’s been a week now since I started back at university, and everything’s going great — we’ve dived head first into my first module, Pharmacology: from Molecules to Man. This comprises of 25% coursework and a 75% exam right at the end. The coursework is further divided up into essays, lab write-ups and …a 10 minute presentation on the topic of my choice! Right now, I’m pretty certain I’ll be talking about Salvia Divinorum, as it’s just plain more interesting than anything else, both for me to talk about for ten minutes and for everyone else to listen to it. Soooo, what to talk about for ten minutes?
Although this will be a serious pharmacological talk, I think I can get away with a bit of history of it’s use and what the plant represented to the ancient civilization that used it. If anyone has any interesting facts, now’s the time to share them! But what about the serious pharmacology stuff? Well, these papers are pretty good.
The first talks about the extremely selective action of Salvinorin-A on kappa opioid receptors. The
hallucinogenic properties of this compound, mediated by activation of these receptors could be useful clinically. If activation of these receptors is capable of bringing about hallucinations, turning them off (with a selective antagonist) could help diseases in which hallucinations are promenant, such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.
The second paper is much more easy going. This one focuses on the method of absorption and its effect on the experience. By comparing what happens when the compound is vaporised and inhaled, absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) and eaten, it proves that absorption through the gut has little or no effect.
But what else is there to talk about? Any other papers worth a read? I might write up a transcript of the presentation here, along with the PowerPoint presentation itself..