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Placebos Catalyze Endogenous Drugs

Many of the published case studies in refereed journals describe experiments on medical students. In this one, half the students of a pharmacology class in a medical school were given placebos that appeared in every way to be stimulants and the other half of the class were given placebos that appeared in every way to be sedatives. Just prior to taking what they all believed to be active agents, the medical students were instructed to monitor each other’s vital signs and drug effects. All the medical students who believed they had taken stimulants became very stimulated. All the students who believed they had taken sedatives became very lethargic and calm. Keep in mind that these were medical students who all excelled in the hard sciences. The mind and the power of belief have the power to catalyze extraordinary physiological changes. Endogenous drugs are prescribed by the brain and synthesized in the body. Our state of mind can dramatically influence which drugs are produced.

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Placebos Catalyze Endogenous Drugs

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Berkelhammer is a retired mind-body medicine psychologist. He writes about mindfulness-based practices with a unique emphasis on optimization of wellbeing and health. Dr. Berkelhammer also lectures at San Francisco State University and UC San Francisco, and is currently teaching a class in Marin County through College of Marin. He is the author of the book "In Your Own Hands; New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions".

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In Your Own Hands: Mindfulness-Based Practices to Optimize Wellbeing - College of Marin Community Education

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APA Reference
Berkelhammer, D. (2016). Placebos Catalyze Endogenous Drugs. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Mar 2016
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