Phencyclidine The Dust Of Angles,Emphasis On Molecular Mechanisims Of Pcp

3190 words - 13 pages

The Dawn of a New AgeApril, 1956 : The pharmaceutical company Parke & Davis first synthesize what theybelieve to be the perfect anesthetic (Souza, 1995). When administered to patients, it causes acompletely dissociative state, with no significant respiratory or cardiovascular depression.Patients appear to be awake, eyes open, breathing normally.but are unaware of theirsurroundings or the procedures being performed upon them (Souza, 1995). Indeed, this is theperfect drug. Unfortunately, like all good things, this one has a darker side. 15% of patientsawake from their slumber with what appeared to be an acute case of paranoid schizophrenia(Peterson; Stillman, 1978). The drug is PCP, and to this day it is the scourge of theunderground drug community, and the focal point of intense scientific research. Parke Davis andCompany did not know how terrible, and wonderful, a discovery they made that day; but ourworld has been changed forever because of it.quite possibly for the better.The Dust of AngelsPhencyclidine, more commonly known as PCP, is a polycyclic compound belonging tothe arylcyclohexylamine class of chemicals [figure 1.0] (Souza 1993). In pure form, it is a whitepowder which readily dissolves in water. The cyclohexamines are known for their the potentneurological effects, with PCP being the most potent. Almost every variation has beenadministered to, or abused by, humans at some time (Nintey Fifth Congress, 1978). All thesecompounds have similar pharmacological effects, which vary considerably according to theamount administered. Small doses produce a `drunken' state, in which subjects report anumbness in the extremities, while some species (like dogs and cats) become quite excited(Halberstadt, 1995). Intermediate doses have anesthetic and analgesic effects , with the psychicstate resembling sensory isolation with one important exception: the sensory impulses (whentested electrophysiologically) reach the neocortex but 'the neuronal signals are grosslydistorted' (Halberstadt, 1995). Large doses, especially of PCP, may produce convulsions. Anydose produces cataleptoid muscle effects (Halberstadt, 1995). All the chemicals in this classproduce a range a physiological effects, including tachydardia and hypertension (Halberstadt,1995). Unlike the other cyclohexamines, however, PCP causes severe 'emergence delirium'when taken in moderate to anesthetic quantities (Halberstadt, 1995). On the other hand,ketamine, a close cousin of PCP, produces depressant effects which are more amplified thanPCP without the psychotic aftereffects (although hallucinations are reported by patients duringsedation, (Halberstadt, 1995)). In special cases, ketamine is still used as an anesthetic. (C.H.Badenhorst M.D, personal communication).Ten years after its initial discovery, phencyclidine found a new audience in the scientificand underground drug culture communities (Nintey Fifth Congress, 1978). At this time, a fewFreudian psychologists carried out unauthorized...

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