The digestive administration of chemical intervention in behavior problems can be fraught with unexpected consequences and results. Many of the side effects that occur can be the result of parenteral (digestive) changes in the chemical structure of pharmaceutical and natural substances that are administered orally (pills, powders, liquids). Knowledgeable people are aware that these changes occur through different systems, including the intestines and microsomal liver processes. To put it directly, the mouth may not be the best way to take medicine.
There are other ways to administer drugs. Intravenous injection is very direct. It has the short coming of being difficult to administer by the general public. Many non-medical people are aware of nose sprays, the recent innovation of administering flu vaccine nasally, and the use of asthma inhalers. The drugs enter the blood stream through the blood vessels in the nose or those that are in the lungs. Transdermal drug administration functions, for the most part, by capillary induction.
This brings us to the issue of what some people might regard as intervention on the edge, or even strange. Aromatherapy is old news to people who like the so-called hippies of yesteryear. Law enforcement officers are aware of the self administration of THC (marijuana for one), and cocaine. Some of the more modern uses are quite dangerous, as in teenagers "huffing" glue, gasoline, aerosol propellants, etc. Those things cause brain damage in the same way that some substances can cause benefits for behavioral and emotional functioning.
The smell of vanillin has been found to prevent apnea in premature infants who did not respond to more traditional treatment (Marlier, L., Gaugler, C., and Messer, 2005). The researchers monitored the respiration rates of 14 infants in the NICU at a University Hospital in Strasbourg, France, and noted that the frequency of apneic episodes occurred significantly less often when the smell of vanillin was introduced in their incubators. One of the major hypotheses about the mode of action of the vanillin was that the substance passed into the bloodstream through the nasal mucosa and was carried into the brain by nerves in the olfactory system.
A more recent finding is based on animal research (the foundation for the discovery of virtually all psychopharmacological products). The smell of jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) has the potential to soothe, relieve anxiety and induce sleep. Researchers (Sergeeva, O, Klerke, A, Poppek, W. Fleischer, S. R. Schubring, G, Goerg, H. L. , Hass, X., Zhu, H. Luebbert, H., Gisselmann, G., and Hatt, G, 2010) cited in http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708104320.htm that the aromatic jasmine derivative Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and its chemical variant have the same neurological mechanism of action as barbiturates or propofol (which is suspected of being the cause of Michael Jackson's death), but with none of the known side-effects, including addiction. Scientists tested many fragrances when making their discovery. The substances had direct effects on the GABA receptors in the brain. Those effects were repeated five times, and cross checked on mice who had genetically modified GABA receptors. Finally, the scientists injected the substances using air with high concentrations of the substance into plexiglass cages of mice. The mice stopped all activity, and sat quietly.
Prospective applications of the use a jasmine aroma spray are only limited by the imagination. To be sure, there is a potential for abuse. However, the potential benefits also abound. One can imagine pumping jasmine laced air into setting where various criminals or terrorists are holding hostages. It might facilitate resolution of a dangerous situation. What if Michael Jackson used jasmine instead of propofol? He might still be alive today.
Marlier, L., Gaugler, C., and Messer, J. 2005. Olfactory stimulation prevents apnea in premature newborns, Pediatrics, 115, 83-88
Sergeeva, O. A., Kletke, O., Kragler, A, Poppek, A., Fleischer, W., Schubring, S. R., Goerg, B., Hass, H. L., Zhu, W.-R., Luebbert, H., Gisselmann, G., and Hatt, H. Fragrant dioxane derivatives identify 1 subunit-containing GABAA receptors. Journal of Biological Chemistry DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.103309