Endorphins: The Brain's Natural Morphine
Stress associated with the uncertainty of combat led to the abuse of a variety of drugs during the Vietnam war. One of the outcomes of this was that the US government then provided a number of grants to study the nature of drug addiction and the neural mechanisms involved.
What is heroin? How did it work? Scientists had always wanted to know this, but after the Vietnam war, the government wanted to know, too. Hans Kosterlitz said, “It’s now time to look for morphine in the brain.” This was in the early 1960s. In 1972, he found this morphine. The substance produced naturally in the brain affected the body just like heroin had. That’s why an extract from the poppy can affect the brain…the brain uses something similar, naturally.
Keywords: morphine, endorphins, neuroscience, brain, chemicals of the body