What do these drugs do for/to me anyway?
Welcome back. First, the good news.
Opioids, deriving from the poppy seeds, have been identified many thousands years ago to help the wounded hunters, the stumbling clumsies, the sick and the elders with their pain. They probably helped, if not saved, many millions of people, from the caves to the huts, and the villages, and the towns and the cities that sheltered humankind over its evolution. I would think only the discovery of antibiotics offered a more revolutionary medical tool. Over time, opioid use has been refined to include natural, partially processed (semi-synthetic) and fully engineered (synthetic) brethren. Of note, in this context, “natural” has no advantage whatsoever over the other products. Equally useful, and risky.
Once they enter our bodies, they attach to little sites on the surface of different cells and activate pathways leading to different effects: in the brain and spine, they prevent the creation, transport and effect of other substances (neuro-transmitters) that send pain signals to the main receiving area-the cortex. But pain pathways end up in other areas of the brain, where emotion, hope, happiness, self-confidence, and our inner sense of security and comfort are nested. It’s easy to understand now why pain is not only a sensation, but also a feeling, a state of mind that affect negatively our deeper selves. Preventing the changes creating this widespread damage is what makes these opioids so effective and appreciated.
Next week, something about the dark side..
But until then, something to think about: Exercise makes us younger!
Have a wonderful, blessed, painless week.
C. Savu, MD