Managed by small electric pulses, the dopamine overfloweth …

Taking drugs and listening to music is embedded in our humanistic DNA. From eons-old indigenous tribes of the Outback, to the dorm-jumping ragers of college campuses, the practice is everywhere. But unless you're boiling your own ayahuasca or foraging for mountain mushrooms, the probability that street drugs being laced with some ridiculous shit is sky high. Who even really knows what's in that crap? But if you could shoot electric pulses into your brain and feel similar effects while listening to your favorite deep-house track, would you?

A Florida-based startup company called Nervana is giving you that option. Its new headphones promote the creation of dopamine by exciting the brain's Vagus nerve through a small electric pulse (nothing too crazy, it's powered by a 9V battery) — which in theory doesn't necessarily get you super "woo-hoo and shit" like a handful of whatever would, but it does reportedly make the user happy and more tolerant of the outside world.

One pleased user gave this account of the experience:

“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. I felt like I reached a personal high point. I couldn’t stop smiling or laughing. I was like, ‘Oh wow.’ For about five minutes, my happiness level was a 10 out of 10. Then it got foggier, but I was still unusually happy for about an hour.”

But yet another, self-proclaimed "permanently-wound" user says this:

"I could certainly feel some sensation, although nothing too discomforting. After about 14 minutes, I did feel a mild sense of elation that lasted until I shut down the device, and for the next five minutes, I was a little spaced out. … (But) sitting down and listening to 15 minutes of music, drowning out the din of a loud and busy trade show, could probably make you feel similar levels of relaxation. With all of these things, it's impossible to say if their effective without significant testing under less chaotic conditions."

So while the idea of being able to hit play on the new Keys N Krates EP and trip legal balls sounds like an interesting endeavor, we worry that A) the $299 price tag just isn't worth it and B) blasting your brain with too much dopamine over a long (and probably short, too) period of time will overload receptors and cause a sort of addiction, likely leading to severe depression down the road. You know, like other drugs.

The key here might be moderation, but try telling that to a 14-year-old kid who thinks they know every-god-damned thing about the world and wants to just "live life to the fullest." It seems like a safer alternative to drugs, sure, but good advice would say to tread with caution before anyone goes blasting their brains with an electrical charge.

Rage responsibly …