The Snake Venom That’s Better Than Morphine

Black mamba (1)One wonders what a Black Mamba high might be like (although the story seems to suggest there might not be one) … from BBC News:

A painkiller as powerful as morphine, but without most of the side-effects, has been found in the deadly venom of the black mamba, say French scientists.

The predator, which uses neurotoxins to paralyse and kill small animals, is one of the fastest and most dangerous snakes in Africa.

However, tests on mice, reported in the journal Nature, showed its venom also contained a potent painkiller.

They admit to being completely baffled about why the mamba would produce it.

The researchers looked at venom from 50 species before they found the black mamba’s pain-killing proteins – called mambalgins.

Dr Eric Lingueglia, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology near Nice, told the BBC: “When it was tested in mice, the analgesia was as strong as morphine, but you don’t have most of the side-effects.”

Morphine acts on the opioid pathway in the brain. It can cut pain, but it is also addictive and causes headaches, difficulty thinking, vomiting and muscle twitching. The researchers say mambalgins tackle pain through a completely different route, which should produce few side-effects…

[continues at BBC News]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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  • Matt Staggs


  • Calypso_1


    My mind is in a search lock through all those courses in Cultural Ethnography for a tribal name and too many Star Trek episodes for some race on a distant world.  

  • NotRetardJQB

    Nice tune to enjoy article with:

  • NotRetardJQB

    Nice tune to enjoy article with:

  • BuzzCoastin

    the analgesia was as strong as morphine,
    but you don’t have most of the side-effects
    because your dead after the first bite

  • Chaorder Gradient

    The snake discovered that terror was the key to delicious flavor. It wants its prey to stay conscious as it is digested, so it prevents them from passing out from pain.