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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012 edited
    Figured maybe we out to take the (really quite interesting) discussion from the Newstrange thread and give its own room to breathe.

    What are everyone's experiences with things that mess with your mind and body, whether pleasant or painful, legal or less-than?

    (Note to the Mods: I don't mean this to be a yarn-spinning thread, though I'm sure stories will be told. The idea is more to disseminate information, whether anecdotal or backed up with citations and all that good stuff. Don't mean to step on anyone's toes in that regard.)
  1.  (10709.2)

    Thread starter ramble:

    I often wonder how much and to what degree personal chemistry effects how drugs take hold, and if these differing reactions could in themselves end up being a good litmus test for mental imbalances. My mother and myself both have very similar reactions to marijuana; we get MORE talkative and hyper and visually oriented and often start to organize things. Most people become sedate and mellow. People who become energetic when stoned must have a different kind of cannibinoid receptors, or some sort of altered ratio of chemicals. I'd love for the psych-pharm doctors to have some kind of tangible means to measure what is wrong with a person (aside from just a list of symptoms) before handing them a three month supply of pills (that may or may not produce suicidal thoughts) and tell them to ride out the terrible first stages of a drug regimen without having any idea if it will help.

    [I hope this made sense. I'm somewhat stoned. :D]
  2.  (10709.3)
    Carrying on the discussion of caffeine from the Newstrange thread, I have a habit of getting hooked on (of all things) Coke Zero. I don't drink coffee (blasphemy, I know - I've just never liked the taste) so I get my daily "arrive-at-the-office-in-the-morning-not-want-to-kill-everyone" boost from colas and energy drinks. As the supply of Red Bull at the supermarket over the street is erratic I usually end up drinking Coke Zero, and after a few weeks of consumption I find myself craving that sweet, chemical taste. Hell, I'm fairly tempted to pull on some shoes and walk down to the 24 hour shop to get some now.

    I noticed on Friday that the supermarket had plenty of Red Bull in, so I'll switch across to that for a few weeks, which should see me right.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    I'd be very interested to hear folks opinions on the idea of a genetic predisposition towards addictive patterns of behaviour.
    I myself have a tendency towards getting into unhealthy relationships with various substances and certainly in my father's side of our family there is a long history of heavy drinking and smoking, features of which I have seen in both my own and my brother's lives.
    Any thoughts on this?
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    On the actions of cannabinoids in the human nervous system, Israeli scientists discovered several years ago a complex network of receptors in the brain, liver and intestinal tract that seem to be made to receive molecular structures very similar to the various active cannabinoid molecules. They named it the anandamide system (after the sanskrit word for bliss). article
    There is a similar network in the body for opiates and much research has already been done on the effect of various drugs on our dopamine system.
    That the natural world is capable of producing molecular structures so capable of effecting and mimicking our bodies' own chemical factories is totally fascinating to me and the fact that prohibition is preventing valuable scientific research in this field is, in my mind, one of the major harms of the world wide war on drugs.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    I've been taking Concerta and Zoloft for about three weeks now, and I feel...perfected.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    For a fascinating look at the social history of prohibition, I heartily recommend a book called "the Devil's Picnic" by Taras Grescoe. From smelly cheese to poppy seeds, absinthe to phenobarbitol the author travels the world exploring our relationship with forbidden substances. I thought it a great read.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    Of course I come on Whitechapel after a night of getting throw-up drunk and find this this thread waiting for me.

    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012 edited
    My only vices are beer and caffeine, although I drink a lot less of both than I did in my twenties. I tried giving up caffeine altogether, but the headaches never seemed to go away even after some weeks. In the end I dropped down to only drinking decaff coffee, and only drinking caffeinated sodas in the mornings.

    On the few occasions that I've hung out with people smoking weed it's just made me vomit. And that's just passively breathing in the smoke drifting around, so lord knows what my reaction would be to actually smoking it myself.

    I have a minor genetic liver disorder which means my metabolism of drugs in general is slower than normal. I can't take aspirin without getting horrendous stomach cramps for example.

    Oh, and I'm allergic to penicillin. Which is a complete and utter git of an allergy to have.
  3.  (10709.10)
    @Flabyo And it makes every other antibiotic so ridiculously expensive.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    Thanks for the thread, Alan!

    I really don't have any experience with substances myself. The religion I associate with discourages drinking coffee and tea, and requests abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes. The only thing that has come up so far on the thread that I've ever ingested is caffeine, and it doesn't have an affect on me, really. The only reason I ever have it is because I like the taste of Dr. Pepper.

    At a party once, I stood outside with some friends as they smoked and had some vodka and wine, and someone asked me what my vice was. I couldn't think of anything, so I answered "men."

    So everything I know about substances is through what I've heard from other people. When I was younger, all I heard was the urban legends about the people who went completely insane because they tried pot once. In high school, I knew some people who were obviously stoned when they went to class, or who brought beer with them to school, called it apple juice and got away with it. It was laughable to me, and the people seemed sort of pathetic. Then in college, I was in an art department and dated a guy who had done everything but mushrooms, and still frequently smoked pot. So I heard a lot about how marijuana was a wonderful thing in every possible way.

    I still have no desire to use anything, but this conversation is really interesting. Hearing both the good and the bad in an honest manner on this topic is not something I get a lot, so I'll certainly be lurking about, even if I don't have much of value to add.
  4.  (10709.12)
    As a law enforcment officer, of course I've never done any illegal drugs. But if I did, they would sound a lot like this story I wrote earlier.
    That night, my girlfriend told me cops were looking for me, and I should hide out at some punk house. So I stay at this guy Brandon’s house, it’s this beat the fuck up house in the ghetto, and I crash there for the night. While I was hanging out, everybody’s smoking a pipe, and I hit it too; assuming it’s weed. It was, mostly. Later, I found out it was laced with heroin.

    First, I was just happy to sit with everyone, but then I got really sleepy. I kind of folded up into a ball on the couch and hid my head. To me, it felt like I was on the inside of an old television; when the channel “flips” and you see it rolling over and over, and each time I closed my eyes, the momentum would increase; but each time I opened them I would come to a crashing halt that was terrifying. I could overhear people around me talking; like I was a lightweight, and that I was passed out. Truthfully, I didn’t sleep all night; I was even awake when someone took my wallet and someone else drew on me; I just couldn’t move. Later I found out the cops were not looking for me and that whole night was a total waste of time.
    In general, I always found that mixing intoxicants, other than occasionally getting drunk & stoned, is a bad idea. Fans of speedballing might tell you different, but I wouldn't listen to them.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    Not telling any personal stories cos :internet:, but I will tell you what a friend of mine has told me about drugs, because he's really into them, but only the "safe" ones.

    I've been told by friend who is very open about using drugs and who also has a degree in Cog Sci and has actually studied the effects of drugs in an academic setting that most hallucinogenics aren't addictive, at least not in the way nicotine, caffeine, and heroin are. They also don't directly destroy your body the way drugs like cocaine & heroin do. Cocaine literally starts destroying your frontal lobe when you take it. Mushrooms, MDMA, and LSD do not. The problem with hallucinogenics is that some people take massive doses that can mess with their psyche (some of the more spiritual types will say that if you take too big a dose, your inner self kind of gets lost in the ether, or that when you take such an intense trip that you have out of body experiences, you leave your body vulnerable to something else coming in), or they take them habitually and then just don't take care of themselves bc they're too busy tripping. But those ones don't give you withdrawals the way addictive drugs do, which is why they aren't considered addictive. It's not like addictive drugs, caffeine included, where you wind up having to take the drug just because you start feeling like shit without it. So generally, MDMA and mushrooms, and to a degree LSD, are the "safe" drugs to take, because they go into your system, and them come out, and aren't addictive in the ways that heroin, caffeine, and nicotine are, and they don't literally start breaking down your body the way coke & heroin do. The danger with LSD and MDMA is that sometimes people will give you a substance and tell you it's LSD or ecstasy, but it's either not or will have some other weird substances mixed in that do fuck you up.

    Also that whole thing with mushrooms and LSD building up in your spinal cord and giving you flashbacks when you crack your back is complete bollocks. The body gets rid of it all.

    As far as bad trips on hallucinogenics go, from what I've heard, people only have them they use the drug as an escape, or are really worried going into it or are in a bad mood. They're really happy drugs, generally, but you have to be in a positive mindset going into them. Supposedly the come down from mdma/ecstasy is really harsh and a negative emotional experience because your brain chemicals have been put out of balance, but not everyone has this experience.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012 edited
    Taking the wrong drug unwittingly or,even worse, being spiked can be an absolute nightmare.
    I was once spiked with mushroom tea, and though i coped ok, I have never forgiven the fucking pricks who thought it would be a funny thing to do.
    The only time I have ever done heroin was when a guy offered to share a bag of white powder that he had been given thinking that it was ketamine.
    A long and weird cautionary tale ensued, ending with me learning to ride a horse down a himalayan mountain. I don't think this is quite the sort of tale to be sharing here, other than the obvious lesson that it is NOT CLEVER to snort unidentified white powders.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012 edited
    Oh yeah, I've heard horror stories about being spiked. My friend's sister used to do that to him with mushrooms. That shit is not okay, even if it's a drug the person usually likes. There's a huge difference between taking something on your own terms and then being unexpectedly spiked with it.
  5.  (10709.16)
    I enjoy weed while relaxing at home. Used to smoke up to an ounce a week (about fifteen years ago), but daily use started making me extremely paranoid to the point where I'd go through my house and throw out anything I figured was even vaguely illegal (fertiliser in the garage, machete from my camping kit, the hard drive from my computer in case it had porn on it) because I was convinced the cops were coming to bust me. I've cut back to about an eighth per week, and it gives me a pleasant evening of listening to music, watching cartoons and creating psychedelic art.

    Don't believe the stoners who tell you weed has no negative effects. It's probably safe for most people in moderate amounts, but a heavy weed habit can mess you up psychologically as well as leaving you broke.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012
    Oh my. I could go into several dozen long, incriminating stories. I've had a long history with various substances. Weed was a daily habit for nearly 20 years. Funny thing is that the first time I toked was with my parents when I was 14. They had this half-cocked idea, since they were both alcoholics (Dad recovered, Mom didn't until much later), they'd get me acquainted with weed so I'd stay away from alcohol. Well, they'd steered me away from alcohol already, just having grown up with their behavior. I very much believe that I have a genetic predisposition for addiction, because of how I always tend to go overboard. I was smoking an ounce a week easily at the height of my weed smoking. In high school I also dabbled with LSD and shrooms. Once I went to a hippie gathering (this time with my mother and stepfather) and accidentally drank a fuckton of shroom tea. I say accidentally because I didn't know it was shroom tea, I was just naive and thirsty. That ended up being a story I often tell these days to explain why I twitch when I see Smurfs.

    As I transitioned into my late teens and early 20's, I got into cocaine. I got into that way too hard, and eventually lost a really good job and home and several friends before I wised up and got off it. The weed was a steady constant throughout all this. I did slow to a crawl with everything when I had my twins. I didn't need anything else for a while after they were born because of all the medications my doctors gave me. Everything stayed pretty chill until my fiance died in a motorcycle accident in 2007. Then I just went into self destruct mode and did everything I could get my hands on and stayed pretty well fucked up for a couple of years, until I got into an accident myself and decided to get my shit together. It was hard because everyone around me where I was were using one thing or another, and my willpower was shit. So I up and moved to the other side of the country with some friends and went through a bit of an excruciating detox. Now I've been clean for nearly 3 years. I even finally gave up cigarettes a few months back. That was another 20 year habit that I thought I'd never break.

    I won't lie, I miss it sometimes. But I've done so much more since I've been clean, and I've always got the memories. That's enough for me.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012 edited
    The insidious thing about drugs is that you're having such a good time you don't realize what a bad time you're having.
    - Eric Bogosian (co-signed)
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2012 edited
    A couple of observations:

    1. If you're buying street drugs, with the partial exception of shrooms and pot, you have no real idea what you're buying.

    The stuff you're told is E is probably E, mostly, along with a bunch of left-overs from the production process and whatever the guy who sells it to you may have cut it.

    2. Drug use is heavily dependent on social context. So while some people in western societies, where marijuana is usually illegal and/or socially stigmatized, develop paranoid symptoms, these symptoms are much less common in Jamaica where marijuana use is less marginalized.

    Similarly, during the Vietnam War, the great majority of US military personnel who were using in Vietnam stopped cold turkey when they got back to the US.

    Conversely, if your friends are all drug users and your relationship with them revolves around that interest then when you stop using you'll find yourself alone and miserable and at risk of depression and suicide quite apart from any physiological withdrawal symptoms.

    3. For most drugs, the severely dependent addicts are a minority of users. The stereotype of the heroin user is the junkie on the street corner, sleeping rough and panhandling for their next hit. Those people exist - but the majority of heroin users, use the drug recreationally once a week or less and hold down jobs.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2012
    @kosmo - sort of agree on #1 I can see your point on #2 and heartily and TOTALLY agree with #3. It's been frustrating to note how the "war on drugs" means don't talk about what they're for and honestly talk about why they're attractive and just push the "never talk about it, always disapprove, never allow for the possibility of safe recreational use, the way we do with alcohol." I've known perfectly functional users of Ecstacy, LSD, meth (to say nothing of pot, sometimes I wonder if I know anyone who doesn't regularly use it)... and if they're not rock stars at any particular career it's because I don't personally know rock stars. They keep it together in school, they get and keep jobs, they maintain stable relationships, etc.

    But. I *have* known and lost people to drugs. And it's frustrating and pisses me off. But it has more to do with the culture of keeping someone in. When you're in a group where that's what everyone does it's a bitch to quit and try to stay friends while staying clean. Maybe impossible. And when someone leaves me behind because they like the drug better than they like me it fucking sucks.

    I'm addicted to tobacco and coffee. And it's really habitual. When I don't have the time to stop for either (rare, but happens, like the last few days) it doesn't bother me except that I just want a moment to stop and just *be* and for me, I conceptualize that as enjoying a cup of coffee. I drink alcohol plenty, but in no kind of regular basis. Used to be I drank a lot of wine, a glass or two a night give or take. But once I couldn't afford it anymore it just made me sad not to have the wine with my dinner. Didn't really upset my evening otherwise.

    Did a bit of pot in college because it was always around at theatre parties (and college parties in general) but it actually never seemed to have an effect on me. Nowadays I turn it down just because it seems like it would be wasted on me. Have used acid but sometimes it had no effect - once it wouldn't let me sleep but that was it. But the one time I tripped it was actually pretty cool. I wouldn't mind doing it again but I recognize I would have to clear out a lot of time and make sure it was in a really safe place with people I trust. Used meth a few times. I only noticed it kept me awake for a long time, and once realized I couldn't tell if the lights were flickering or dimmer than usual (they weren't). Handed some mushroom tea one New Year's Eve as I was tossing back champagne and mixed drinks. It seemed to exacerbate the drunk effect.

    Wouldn't willingly touch cocaine or heroin. Curious about X and MDMA. Maybe speed but also nervous of it. I've never done it but used ephedra back when it was legal - when following the instructions it helped me lose weight and did not make me feel jittery (but neither does coffee). I'm still a bit bitter that its illegal now. *grumble* gained back the weight*grumble*I've more of an addiction to french fries than anything else*grumble*