Headphones that will get you high? Although the creative concept of dopamine headphones may seem a bit far-fetched to some, apparently, they’re not exactly baseless to scientists. Although you’ve probably read a number of outlandish, satirical reports about marijuana, but this time, it’s the real deal. Apparently, the euphoric, inebriated high that comes from smoking marijuana can also be achieved by listening to music through these dopamine headphones.
But, how? Well, here is how it works.
According to Nerdist, these revolutionary headphones contain dopamine, defined as “a neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain,” according to Psychology Today. Since music usually produces feelings and emotions that affect listeners, one company has discovered a cool way to expound upon that. The slight dose of dopamine only adds to the excitement of listening to music.
Nervana, a technology company headquartered in Florida, recently shared details about the internal functions. While listening, a tiny device is built into the ear canal that stimulates the Vagus nerve, according to Discovery. The headphones will release small amounts of dopamine into the brain to create the euphoric feeling a person has when they’re high. With the new dopamine headphones, you’ll feel much more than just music.
During an interview with Futurism, Nervana’s co-founders, nurse and CEO Ami Brannon and electrical engineer Gregory Mayback, shared details about the release of dopamine into the ear canal through a neurotransmitter.
“We have a device that sends an electrical signal through the ear canal to stimulate the release of dopamine in your brain. There’s an electrical signal that’s paired with music. It follows the beat of the music, and it makes it really pleasant. Through a conductive earbud, it sends a message through the vagus nerve in your ear, which sends a message to the brain to release dopamine, your feel-good neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in the brain.
“The vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve in your body, and through it, we can access the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that helps the body to relax and feel good.”
Although many fans are trying not to get their hopes up about the dopamine headphones due to the possibility of sales restrictions and the possible postponement of the conceptual item, it appears the show will go on as planned.
According to Science Alert, the dopamine headphones are expected to go on sale as early as next month. Nervana featured the dopamine headphones at the 2016 annual meeting for the Council of Science Editors. A number of consumers, tech specialists, and journalists had the opportunity to catch the dopamine wave through the intriguing set of headphones. Amanda Gutterman, a journalist for Furturism who tested the headphones, agreed that the feeling is quite nice and the effect lasted for approximately one hour.
“I felt the electricity go into my arm, and everything was tingling there, but the best moment for me was afterwards when I finished and stood up,” Gutterman wrote. “I felt like I reached a personal high point. I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing. I was like, ‘Oh wow’. For about 5 minutes, my happiness level was a 10 out of 10. Then it got foggier, but I was still unusually happy for about an hour.”
In most cases, an innovative electronic device like this would have to undergo series of tests before being released to the public, but apparently, this one poses no threat to consumers. When Brannon and Mayback were asked about any potential risks or dangers the dopamine headphones might pose, they responded with a relatively surprising answer and scientific explanation to support her arguments.
“There are actually several decades of science behind Vagus nerve stimulation. Historically, vagus nerve stimulators have only been implanted through surgery. So bringing that feeling to consumers without the surgery was our goal from the beginning,” said Brannon.
Do you believe the dopamine headphones could serve as a replacement for marijuana? Share your thoughts.
[Photo by David Becker/Getty Images]