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"Neuroactive Quantum Terpenes" -- Really?!
No we are not making this up. Our organic neuro-systems vibrationally, in a quantum tunnelling way, respond and interact with the terpenes that plants "breath" off along with their oxygen.
This has co-evolved since the beginning of life -- it's that ancient and important.
Human systems are not like 'machines' or AI bots. That's a total myth. Here, for instance is how the most critical chemistry of our cellular makeup works:
"Take enzymes. These are the workhorses of the living world, speeding up chemical reactions so that processes that would otherwise take thousands of years happen inside living cells in seconds. How they achieve this speed-up â€“ often more than a trillion-fold â€“ has long been an enigma. But now, research by Judith Klinman at the University of California, Berkeley and Nigel Scrutton at the University of Manchester (among others) has shown that enzymes can employ a weird quantum trick called tunnelling. Simply put, the enzyme encourages a process whereby electrons and protons vanish from one position in a biochemical and instantly rematerialise in another, without visiting any of the in-between places â€“ a kind of teleportation.
This is pretty fundamental stuff. Enzymes made every single biomolecule in every cell of every living creature on the planet. They are, more than any other component (even DNA, given that some cells get by without it) the essential ingredient of life. And they dip into the quantum world to help keep us alive."
"Letâ€™s start with a few relatively peripheral examples â€“ such as the sense of smell. The conventional theory of olfaction is that odour molecules are detected by odour receptors via a kind of lockâ€‘andâ€‘key mechanism inside the nose: the molecule slots into the receptor and triggers a response, like a key turning a lock. Itâ€™s a nice, intuitive theory, but it fails to account for certain puzzling observations â€“ for example, the fact that very similarly-shaped molecules often smell different and vice versa. A revised approach suggests that, instead of shape, the receptors might be responding to molecular vibration. This idea received a further quantum twist in 1996, when the biophysicist Luca Turin proposed that vibrations might promote quantum tunnelling of electrons to open the olfactory lock. A quantum theory of smell sounds outlandish, perhaps, but evidence has recently emerged to support it: it was found that fruit flies can distinguish odorants with exactly the same shape but different isotopes of the same elements, something that is hard to explain without quantum mechanics."
Indeed, this is not WOO. Since this wonderul Aeon article was written, the evidence has piled in. Terpenes activate our Odorant Neuro-Receptor System in a way that has co-evolved with plants and is so important for us to deal with stresses of all types and to keep our immune systems working strong.
We leave this post with a bit of trippy quantum consideration:
"Some clues to a way forward from our current position were recently suggested by Shamit Shrivastava. Reaching back to re-examine some critical ideas from the mind of none other than the man first intuited the existence of gravity waves, Shamit recalls Einstein's conception of a 'complete molecular mechanical theory'. Einstein's key practical intuition was to invert Boltzman's principle (which he felt was meaningless lacking a microscopic distribution function), and use an experimentally obtained formulation of entropy to deduce the distribution function. These arguments appear in Einstein's 1910 paper where he also defines a quantitative link between critical opalescence and Lord Rayleigh's Rayleigh scattering.
Explaining these two phenomena in terms of density fluctuation in a fluid mixture approaching its critical point Einstein effectively solved the question of why the sky is blue. To now solve the questions of why fish is fishy and sugar sweet we await someone with an inordinate fondness for terpenoids to imagine sitting on a molecule of carvone."
More quantum fun here:
"Turin mentioned above that insect olfactory receptors are quite different from mammalian receptors. This raises an important question. While mammals use GPCRs that indirectly modify downstream ion channels, insects have opted for heteromeric ionotropic receptor complexes that are gated directly by odorant binding. Insects apparently have ample evolutionary access to GPRCs because they readily employ them elsewhere in their bodies. Therefore, it's perhaps not so much that insects can't use GPCRs for olfaction, but rather that they have chosen not to. Why? Even more beguiling is the devilish conundrum of how nature seems able to convergently muster up different solutions to the same problem of optimally detecting odorants, i.e., receptors with vastly different footprints that use conserved vibrational mechanisms.
Perhaps one surprising answer to the issue of ionotropic receptors is that flying insects simply don't have any time to spare on elaborate second messenger mechanisms. While one might imagine that a moth or butterfly casually meandering up an odor plume should not be constrained by synaptic delays of just a few milliseconds, the reality for smaller flies might be much different. Central pattern generators were discovered in locusts as the main control systems behind their ballistic aerial jaunts. Flies, however, must employ a direct stretch-activated myogenic flight control because there is no way that spiking motor neurons can match their rapidly beating wings one-for-one."