Sex and Drugs and Chemistry
As you guys have probably gathered by now I do love my chemistry and for me it’s cosmetic chemistry that keeps my wheels spinning. However, every now and then I am reminded that chemistry is both totally awesome and mind boggling tricky in so many ways.
Take Friday night for example, I sat down with my bar of chocolate and cup of tea (dark chocolate – I’m trying to cut back on sugar) only to find the telly full to the brim with chemistry magic. First we had a documentary about Breastfeeding other people’s babies and then a program following Transexuals in Thailand. As if that wasn’t enough for one night I was then treated to an hour-long reality TV style docco exploring how drugs affect our brains and consequently our behaviour and moods. Well I was all eyes and ears as I watched how what to my mind was pure chemical wizardry change the course of these people’s lives either willingly or inadvertently.
Did you know that a woman can trick her body into producing breast milk? I had suspected that might be the case but had not given it much thought but low and behold, a little bit of chemical wizardry and a bit of pumping and voila, body thinks you are a new mother and the milk flows.
I have always been fascinated by gender identity and especially about the link between our expressed gender (personality) and our biology so finding out that girls born into boys bodies in Thailand are able to halt puberty and bring on changes best suited to the gender they wish to express by taking the contraceptive pill and boosting their oestrogen levels was truly fascinating.
Now before I go on I have to say that I do find drugs quite disturbing and have never been tempted to try to get ‘out of my head’ even though it is a very weird place to be sometimes. That said the way that our moods and personality can be changed by drugs is immensely fascinating. I wasn’t aware that MDMA and a few other ‘party’ drugs have also been used in therapy situations to help people relax and delve into deep emotions such as those bound up in post-traumatic-stress-disorders. All very interesting. However, I did hear myself ‘tut-tut’ when one of the chemists analysing street drugs found all sorts of things in the pills including some pills completely devoid of any ‘active’ substance – Russian Roulette came to mind….. I am definitely no Breaking Bad!
I found all of this truly fascinating and it has spurred me on to keep reading and pushing the boundaries of my chemical knowledge as while I am not in the game of changing minds, genders or babies (been there done that) I do still love to help people feel good about themselves and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.
Oh and to top off my gender bending, mind-altering chemical week I also spotted this photographic exhibition doing the rounds and thought it fitting for todays post.