Know your drugs: The good, the bad and the ugly.

August 14, 2013 7:35 pm

So, drugs, we all have our favourites. Whether its chilling for an hour or so with a spliff or an 8 hour trek into the land of the cactus king I think it’s safe to say there are some awesome times to be had under the influence. However, as most of you probably know this is not the case for all drugs, not by a long shot. Some drugs should definitely be illegal while others have us scratching our heads as to how they could possibly be considered dangerous. A lot of the time the physical harm done by drugs has little to nothing to do with its legal status (the obvious example being weed) but, every so often something new turns up and the usual shit storm of misinformation and sensationalism ensues. Often is the case that the media are responsible for causing the authorities to clamp down on certain substances by feigning public outrage when in actual fact most non-drug users are pretty much in the dark about new drugs when the first arrive. Illegal Drugs

For example, whenever I tell anyone about my experiences with LSD I will, without fail, be “informed” by whomever it may be that I’m speaking to about “a friend” they know who thought he could fly while on acid and jumped off a roof. Yeah, everyone has heard that one, even the late and great Bill Hicks was prodding at that story way back when most of us where in our infancy, so I think its safe to say it’s more than likely a shit scare tactic that been going round for years. Another story that is more common in colleges and universities is of people (and in my experience with hearing this story they are usually on magic mushrooms for some reason) is of people kidnapping midget’s and hiding them and/or trying to sell, kill or my personal favourite “free” them..

Now..

I’ve taken my fair share of tryptamines and phenyethylamines and I can safely say, as I’m sure anyone else with any actual drug experience can, that at no point was there ever-present any desire to “Catch me a live one”.

The problem comes when people begin to have trouble separating the fact from fiction, which to be fair isn’t exactly hard to do considering the sheer amount of callous bullshit floating about in the drug debate cesspool. The current “war on drugs” is obviously a failure whereby draconian policies can flourish and scientific research is hindered, withheld or ridiculed. Back in 2008 Professor David Nutt was sacked from his position on the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for stating that taking ecstasy or smoking cannabis was as dangerous as riding a horse. Something anyone who has ever smoked cannabis or dropped an E could tell you. Let me just put that in simpler terms, a scientist was sacked by a politician for telling the truth about drugs. Sounds like a real evidence based policy to me…

The only way people nowadays can learn the truth about the harms of drugs is by doing their own research and actively NOT listening to whatever propaganda those pesky politicians churn out. This is not easily done because, as we mentioned earlier, there is so much bullshit to wade through. Enter this article. After the first time I took acid (4 tabs at once, not recommended for a first dose) I became slightly obsessed with drugs, psychedelics in particular and the effect they had on the human brain. That was nearly four years ago now and since then I have read countless scientific papers, clinical trials, experience reports and books on the subject and what I learnt from that was this.

Drugs are sweet if you know what you’re taking and roughly what you can expect from them.

Now, I am by no means an expert but what I do know is that a lot of what I learnt is not taught to students in schools or colleges. People are taught early on in life that drugs are bad mmm’kay but that’s as far as it goes, they are not taught about why drugs are bad. So, for the benefit of public health I’m going to attempt to fill that gap left over. Starting with the good drugs, the ones that probably shouldn’t even be illegal but a for whatever reason they are. So, let’s get started kiddies.

The Good

  • Cannabis: Ok this was an obvious start. Weed is good, end of. Not to much of a head fuck yet still good enough to keep you occupied for an hour or so. Included as one of the “fundamental” herbs of traditional Chinese medicine, it is known to help with Glaucoma, spasticity in multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, brain cancer and opioid dependence as well as helping to prevent deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s not a bad repertoire to have on your side.
  • Magic Mushrooms: Only made illegal in the UK in 2005, shrooms are actually relatively safe despite the fearmongery that generally comes with them. The biggest risk to people isn’t actually from the mushrooms themselves but rather the potential for people to pick similar-looking, poisonous mushrooms instead. There is even research being done right now about the possible positive effects shrooms can have on people suffering with depression or anxiety.
  • MDMA: The drug of choice throughout the raving world, ecstasy can have you hugging everyone within arms reach with its temporary feelings of love and unison. The problem with Mandy is similar to that of shrooms where the dangers aren’t posed by the drug itself but what it can be mixed with. In the worst cases you don’t get any MDMA at all and are stuck with a baggie full of some unknown shit that smells slightly like detergent. However, a recent study found that in some parts of the country the amount of MDMA in ecstasy was increasing. Right on!
  • LSD: If you have an unnatural obsession with kaleidoscope or geometrics the this is the drug for you. Acid is funny one, while there is no evidence LSD causes any kind of long-term physical or psychological damage it has been known to set off underlying mental illnesses in those with a predisposition to such things. It is one of the least addictive illegal drugs known to man due to its chemistry, what happens is that after you trip you need to wait at the very least a few days before you’ll get the same effects from the same dose.

So those are the relatively harmless drugs, obviously there are more but for the sake of my keyboard I’m not going to list them. So now lets take a look at the bad guys of the drug world.

The Bad: 

  • Heroin: Probably one of the worst drugs you could get your stinky little mitts on. As well as being extremely addictive, one of the worst features of smack is how good that first time is. A lot of users became instantly hooked after their first time making it an extremely dangerous pond to dip your toes into. One of the other problems with heroin is that, to some people, it has a kind rock star image to it making it appeal to all those who blindly failed to notice the walking anti-skag campaign that is Pete Doherty. I mean, yeah he banged Kate Moss but C’mon, just look at that twat.
  • Cocaine: Wall street’s all time favourite before/during/after work treat. Whatever form you take it in, whether it be freebase or crack, cocaine damages your body. What makes coke that bit more insidious is that the effects don’t exactly last long whereas the come-downs do, and they’re not pretty either meaning people take more to come back up and the damage continues. It can boost your confidence and makes you feel pretty buzzed  but some people can get over-confident, arrogant and aggressive and end up taking very careless risks. Bankers anyone?
  • Alcohol: It had to make the list somewhere didn’t it? In plain english, no amount of alcohol will ever have any benefit to your body. Ever. It’s really only through tradition that it’s legal in the first place and, due to the way it poisons your body, If it were re-classified using a harm reducing evidence based drug policy it would most likely be scheduled as a Class A substance. The US brought in alcohol prohibition from 1920-1933 but, unsurprisingly, this only caused more problems by handing over control of the alcohol market to criminals.
  • Crystal Meth: Those of us who watch Breaking Bad will have some of an idea of what meth can do to the lives of those who experience its effects, both physical and social. While the show does showcase some fairly accurate aspects of life with the drug, the real life situations the show takes inspiration from are a little less pleasing on the eye than say, Bryan Cranston’s shaved head. Psychosis, brain damage and, in cases of overdose, liver, lung and kidney  damage have all been linked to crystal meth as well high blood pressure and lowered inhibitions.

Some nasty stuff there but still these are all fairly common things to find nowadays. However, there are some drugs out there that not so common over here and some of them can be absolutely terrifying. Here’s a few of the worst.

The Ugly:

  • Scopolamine: This stuff is scary shit. We published an article on this stuff earlier on in the year which you should definitely check out. This stuff relieves you of all your free will and pretty much makes you a mindless puppet, ripe to be taken advantage of. People in Colombia have reported having this stuff blown into their face then being escorted to a cash point by a “stranger” and instructed to give them everything they have, which under the influence of this crazy shit seems completely normal until the effects where off. That’s if they don’t die during their trip.
  • PCP: Remember that LA cannibal guy? The one that ate that homeless dude’s face? What about the rapper Big Lurch who ate his roommate? Well they where both under the influence of PCP more commonly known as bath salts when they died. Psychosis, self-mutilation, aggression and in a few cases cannibalism are but a few of the known effects. This really is one of those cases where you would have to be bat shit insane to try this after reading some of the horror stories associated with it.
  • Bromo-DragonFLY: A psychedelic first synthesised in 1998, One user whose friend actually died when they took an overdose described its effects as “like being dragged to hell and back again. Many times. It is the most evil thing I’ve ever tried. It lasted an eternity”. Sounds pretty messed up right? This stuff has the same kind of potency as LSD with an active dose being measured in the millionths of a gram. Personally this shit is way down on my to-do list, somewhere between having sex with a cactus and dying.
  • Jenkem: I’ve always considered myself to have a fairly strong gag reflex but when I first read about this said reflex was severely tested. Jenkem is an apparently hallucinogenic inhalant created from capturing the fumes of human excrement, usually using a bottle and some kind of balloon. In the mid 90’s some irresponsible journalist created the impression via invalid internet research and speculation that it’s use was popular amongst secondary school children, this was absolutely untrue as they only known reports of its use involve Zambian street children.

So you probably don’t want to try any of those. I mean as tempting as cannibalism and inhaling actual shit fumes sounds I’ll probably stick to the blunts personally. The lesson here is educate yourself to know what you’re putting into yourself and what it’s going to do to your body and stop giving the rest of us a bad name. Maybe if we all did that legalisation of some of these might become a possibility? Hopeful thinking I know but hey, we can always dream right?

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