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Life:Is:A:Frequency :: Drugs

Chapter VI:

This is What I Think About

Drugs

I love them; however, I would like to mention that I have never done heroin, crack, meth,

sherm, opium, oxycodone, PCP, or any combination of those mentioned. Given recent

events, I feel compelled to add ‘bath salts’ to the list as well.

Alcohol

I think that alcohol is the most dangerous drug out of every one on this list;

ironically, it is the only one that happens to be legal. An alcoholic beverage is a drink

containing ethanol, which we refer to as alcohol. Alcohol is legally consumed in most

countries and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and

consumption. In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may

legally buy or consume alcohol. The minimum age varies between 16 and 25 years,

depending on the country and the type of drink. Most foreign nations set the bar at 18

years old. The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the

world, from hunter-gatherer tribes to nations much like ours. Alcoholic beverages are

often an important part of social events in these cultures. Alcohol is a psychoactive drug

that has a depressant effect. A high blood alcohol content is usually considered to be legal

drunkenness because it reduces attention and slows down reaction speed. Alcohol can be

addictive and many families throughout the world struggle with alcoholism.

Beer and wine are produced by the fermentation of sugar or starch-containing

plant material. Beverages produced by fermentation followed by distillation have higher

alcohol contents and are referred to as spirits. Beer is one of the world’s oldest and most

widely consumed alcoholic beverages, and the third most popular drink overall, slightly

behind water and tea. Most commonly malted barley is utilized in brewing, however

wheat, maize (corn), and rice are also used. Alcoholic beverages that are distilled after

fermentation, or fermented from non-cereal sources, such as grapes or honey, are

fermented from un-malted cereal grains are not classified as beer. Two of the most

common types of beer are lagers and ales. Ale is further classified into varieties such as

pale ale, stout, and brown ale. Most beer is flavored with hops, which adds bitterness and

acts as a natural preservitive. Other flavorings such as fruits or herbs may also be used.

The alcoholic strength of beer is usually 4% to 8% alcohol by volume (ABV), but it may

be less than 2%, or sometimes greater than 25%. Beers having an ABV of 60% (120

proof) have been produced by freezing brewed beer and removing water in the form of

ice, a process referred to as ‘ice distilling.’ Beer is part of the drinking culture of various nations and has acquired social traditions such as beer festivals, pub games, and pub-crawling. The basics of brewing beer are shared across national and cultural boundaries.

The beer-brewing industry is global in retrospect, consisting of several dominant

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multinational companies and thousands of smaller producers, which range from regional

breweries to microbreweries.

In many countries, people drink alcoholic beverages at lunch and dinner. Studies

have found that when food is eaten before drinking alcohol, alcohol absorption is reduced

and the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the blood is increased. The mechanism

for faster alcohol elimination appears to be unrelated to the type of food. The likely

mechanism is food-induced increases in alcohol-metabolizing enzymes and liver blood

flow. At times and places of poor public cleansing, such as Medieval Europe, the

consumption of alcoholic drinks was a way of avoiding water-born diseases such as

cholera. Small beer and faux wine, in particular, were used for this purpose. Although

alcohol kills bacteria, its low concentration in specific beverages would have had only a

limited effect. More important was that the boiling of water, which was required for the

brewing of beer; the growth of yeast, required for fermentation of beer and wine, would

tend to kill dangerous microorganisms. The alcohol content of these beverages allowed

them to be stored for months, or even years, in simple wood or clay containers without

spoiling the product. For this reason, they were commonly kept aboard sailing vessels as

an important source of hydration for the crew, especially among long voyages during the

early modern period. In cold climates, potent alcoholic beverages such as vodka are

popularly seen as a way to warm up the body; this is potentially because alcohol quickly

dilates peripheral blood vessels in a process called peripherovascular dilation. This is a

misconception because the warmth you appear to feel is actually caused by a transfer of

heat from the body’s core to its extremities, where it is quickly lost to the environment.

However, the perception alone may be welcomed when only comfort, rather than

hypothermia, is a concern. Proclivity to alcoholism may be partially genetic. Persons who

have this proclivity may have an atypical biochemical response to alcohol, although this

is disputed. Alcoholism can lead to malnutrition because it can alter digestion and the

metabolism of most nutrients. Severe thiamine deficiency is common in alcoholism due

to deficiency of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and selenium; this can lead to Korsakoff’s

syndrome. Alcoholism is also associated with a type of dementia called Wernicke-

Korsakoff syndrome, which is caused by a deficiency in thiamine (vitamin B1). Muscle

cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, nerve disorders, and depression are common symptoms

of alcoholism. Osteoporosis and bone fractures may occur due to deficiency of Vitamin

D.

*Prohibition Era *

  • *

  • *

Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the legal act of

prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the

prohibition of alcohol was harshly enforced. Use of the term, as applicable to a historical

period, is typically applied to countries of European culture. The earliest records of the

prohibition of alcohol dates back all the way to the Xia Dynasty, a civilization that

resided in China between 2070 BC – 1600 BC. Yu the Great, the first ruler of the Xia

Dynasty, prohibited alcohol throughout his kingdom. It was legalized again after his

death during the reign of his son Qi. In the early twentieth century, much of the impetus

!

for the prohibition movement in North American stemmed from moralistic convictions of

Protestants. After several years prohibition became a failure in North America and

elsewhere, as bootlegging, or rum-running, became widespread, and organized crime

took control of the distribution of alcohol. Distilleries and breweries in Canada, Mexico,

and the Caribbean flourished as their products were either consumed by visiting

Americans, or illegally exported to the United States for purchase. Chicago became

notorious as a haven for prohibition during the time known as the Roaring Twenties.

Prohibition generally came to an end in the late 1920’s in most of North America and

throughout Europe; however, a few locations continued prohibition for many more years.

Prohibition in the United States focused on the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

Drinking itself was never illegal, it was entirely in the sale; there were also exceptions for medicinal and religious uses. Prohibition was a major reform movement from the 1840’s

into the 1920’s, and was sponsored by evangelical Protestant churches, especially the

Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Disciples and Congregationalists. Kansas and Maine

were early adapters as well. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union, founded in 1874,

and the Prohibition Party, were major players until the early 20th Century. By using

pressure politics on legislators, the Anti-Saloon League achieved the goal of nationwide

prohibition during World War I, emphasizing the need to destroy the political corruption

of the saloons, the political power of the German-based brewing industry, and the desire

to reduce domestic violence in the home. Prohibition was instituted with ratification of

the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on January 16, 1919, which

prohibited the, “.. manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the

importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States.” Congress

passed the “Volstead Act” on October 28, 1919 to enforce the law, but most large cities

were uninterested in enforcing the legislation, leaving an understaffed federal service to

go after the criminals. Although alcohol consumption did decline as a whole, there was

still a rise in alcohol consumption in many cities, and significant increases in organized

crime related to its production and distribution. The Women Christian Temperance Union

had been pivotal in bringing about national prohibition in the United States, believing it

would protect families, as well as women and children, from the effects of abuse of

alcohol. The sale of alcohol was illegal, but alcoholic drinks were still widely available.

Some people even kept private bars to serve their guests. Often times, large quantities of

alcohol were smuggled in from Canada, overland, by sea along both ocean coasts, and via

the Great Lakes. The government cracked down on alcohol consumption on land within

the United States. It was a different story out on the water where vessels outside the 3-

mile limit were exempt. Legal and illegal home brewing was popular during the

prohibition era. Malt and hop stores popped up across the country and some former

breweries turned to selling malt extract syrup, initially intended for baking and beverage

purposes.

Prohibition became increasingly unpopular during the Great Depression. The

repeal movement was started by a wealthy Republican, Pauline Sabin, who said that

prohibition should be repealed because it made the U.S. look like hypocrites which are

undermined in their respect for the rule of law. Some Republicans were put in office by

the public, and even though they eagerly partook in consumption of alcoholic beverages

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at parties, in the public eye they presented themselves as opposing the repeal of

prohibition, with disregard for the fact that they may be thrown out of office by the dry

voting blocks. This hypocrisy and the fact that women led the prohibition movement

convinced Sabin to start the organization that eventually led to the repeal of prohibition.

When her fellow Republicans would not support her efforts, she went to the Democrats

and Catholics to support a repeal led by liberal politicians such as La Guardia, and

Franklin Roosevelt. She, and they, emphasized that this repeal would generate enormous

sums of much needed tax revenue and begin to weaken the base of organized crime. The

repeal of prohibition in the United States was accomplished with the passage of the

Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 5, 1933. By its

terms, states were allowed to set their own laws for the control of alcohol. The organized

prohibition movement was dead nationwide, but survived for a while in a few southern

and border-states. * *

  • *

*Drunk Driving Statistics *

  • *

_2008 California State Studies _

_ _

-! 3,434 people in California were killed in traffic crashes; 1,355 of these fatalities

were a result of alcohol or other drugs

-! There were 28,463 alcohol involved injuries, just in California alone in 2008

-! There were 214,811 DUI arrests in California in 2008; 80.2% were male

-! The average age of a DUI offender is 30 years old

-! The average BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) for a convicted DUI offender as

reported on by police on APS was .16%, which is double the legal limit[* *]

_ _

2009 National Statistics

-! 33,808 people were killed in traffic accidents; 10,839 of these deaths was a result

of alcohol (32% of all traffic deaths)

-! An additional 254,000 suffered injuries due to an alcohol related accident

-! Drunk drivers kill someone approximately every 48 minutes

-! High BAC drivers (.15% and higher) account for more than half of all deaths in

alcohol related accidents

-! 181 children age 14 and younger died in alcohol related accidents in 2009; over

half were riding with the alcohol impaired driver

-! In 2009, 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence. This is

less than 1% of the amount of self reported by adults. (147 million self reported

episodes of drunk driving)

-! Among motorcyclist killed in fatal crashes in 2009, 29% had a BAC of over

0.08%

-! An average drunk driver will drive drunk 87 times before being pulled over

-! Drunk driving costs each adult in this country around $500 a year

-! 1 in 3 people will be involved in an alcohol related crash in their lifetime

-! Among drivers killed in fatal crashes, 30% have BACs of 0.08% or greater

!

-! Among drivers involved in fatal crashes, those with BAC levels of 0.08% or

higher were eight times more likely to have a prior conviction for DWI than were

drivers who had not consumed alcohol

-! 75 percent of drunk drivers whose licenses are suspended continue to drive

_ _

_MADD Statistics _

_ _

-! About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or

driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders

-! Over 1.41 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of

alcohol or narcotics

-! Driving under the influence of alcohol was associated with age in 2010. The rate

was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (23.4%). An estimated 5.8% percent of

16 or 17 year olds and 15.1% of 18 to 20 year olds reported driving under the

influence of alcohol in the past year. Beyond age 25, these rates showed a general

decline with increasing age

-! The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour.

Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising, or taking a

cold shower will not help.

-! The speed of alcohol absorption affects the rate at which one becomes drunk.

Unlike foods, alcohol does not have to be slowly digested. As a person drinks

faster than the alcohol can be eliminated, the drug accumulates in the body,

resulting in higher and higher levels of alcohol in the blood.

-! A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces

of 72-proof distilled spirits, all of which contain the same amount of alcohol,

which is about .54 ounces.

-! In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes; out of those 211

deaths, 131 (62%) were riding with the drunk driver.

-! The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010

was four times higher at night than during the day (37% to 9%).

-! In 2011, MADD served more than 63,000 victims and survivors of drunk and

drugged driving cashes.

-! Every day in America, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.

-! Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year

-! One in five teens binge drink. Only 1 in 100 parents believe that his or her teen

binge drinks.

-! MADD has helped save over 27,000 young lives with the passage of the 21

minimum drinking age law.

-! Almost one in three 8th graders has tried alcohol.

-! High school students who use alcohol or other substances are five times more

likely to drop out of school or believe good grades are not important.

-! MADD serves a victim or survivor of drunk and drugged driving every eight

minutes.

-! Since 1980, MADD has nearly saved 300,000 lives; this number continues to

grow. * *

  • *

!

*Alcohol Related Deaths *

  • *

Alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide; that is more than AIDS,

tuberculosis, or violence. The World Health Organization (WHO) has made consistent

attempts to warn the public. Rising incomes have triggered more drinking in heavily

populated countries in Africa and Asia, including India and South Africa, and binge

drinking is a problem in many developed countries as well. The United Nations agency

has stated this in the past. Yet alcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority

for most governments despite drinking heavy toll on society from road accidents,

violence, disease, child neglect, and job absenteeism. Approximately 2.5 million people

die each year from alcohol related causes. The harmful use of alcohol is especially fatal

for younger age groups and alcohol is the world’s leading risk factor for death among

males aged 15-59. Binge drinking, which often leads to risky behavior, is now prevalent

in Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine, additionally rising

elsewhere. Worldwide, roughly 11 percent of drinkers have weekly heavy episodic

drinking occasions, with men outnumbering women by four to one. Men consistently

engage in hazardous drinking at much higher levels than women in all regions. Health

ministers from the World Health Organization consist of 193 members that have agreed

prior to try to curb binge drinking and other growing forms of excessive alcohol use

through higher taxes on alcoholic drinks and tighter marketing restrictions.

Alcohol is a causal factor in 60 types of diseases and injuries, according to

WHO’s first report on alcohol since 2004. Its consumption has been linked to cirrhosis of

the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road traffic accidents, violence, and several types of

cancer, including cancers of the colorectum, breast, larynx and liver. Alcohol

consumption rates vary greatly, from high levels in developed countries, to the lowest in

North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and southern Asia, whose large Muslim populations

often abstain from drinking. Homemade or illegally produced alcohol, falling outside

governmental controls and tax nets, accounts for nearly 30 percent of total worldwide

adult consumption. In France, and other European countries with high levels of adult per

capita consumption, heavy episodic drinking is rather low, suggesting more regular but

moderate drinking patterns. Light to moderate drinking can have a beneficial impact on

heart disease and stroke, according to the WHO as they stated, “However, the beneficial

cardio-protective effect of drinking disappears with heavy drinking occasions.” One of

the most effective ways to curb drinking, especially among young people, is to raise

taxes. Setting age limits for buying and consuming alcohol, and regulating alcohol levels

in drivers, also reduces abuse if enforced. Some countries restrict marketing of alcoholic

beverages during the industry’s sponsorship of sporting events. The WHO also stated,

“Yet not enough countries use these and other effective policy options to prevent death,

disease, and injury attributable to alcohol consumption.” Alcohol producers, including

Diageo and Anheuser Busch, have said they recognize the importance of industry self-

regulation to address alcohol abuse and promote curbs on drunk driving and illegal

underage drinking. But the brewer SABMiller has warned that policy measures like

minimum pricing on high excess taxes on alcohol could cause more public health harm

than good by reducing more people to drink homemade or illegally produced alcohol.

!

[*Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Consumption *]

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  • *

The long-term effects of alcohol range from possible health benefits for low levels

of alcohol consumption to severe detrimental effects in cases of chronic alcohol abuse.

There is a strong correlation between high levels of alcohol consumption and an

increased risk of developing alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, chronic pancreatitis,

alcoholic liver disease, and cancer. Damage to the central nervous system and peripheral

nervous system can occur from chronic alcohol abuse. Long-term use of alcohol in

excessive quantities is capable of damaging roughly every organ and system in the body.

The developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of alcohol,

as is the developing brain of the unborn, possibly resulting in the fetal alcohol syndrome

(FAS). Historically, doctors have promoted alcohol for its perceived health benefits and

most recently for protection against coronary heart disease; this is known as the French

paradox. There is evidence of cardiovascular benefits from drinking 1-2 drinks per day;

however, the health benefits from moderate intake of alcohol are often open to debate.

Alcohol should be regarded as a recreational drug that has potentially serious adverse

effects on health, and it is not recommended for cardio protection in the place of a safer

and proven traditional methods such as exercise and proper nutrition. Some experts argue

that the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may be outweighed by other increased

risks, including those of injuries, violence, fetal damage, cancer, liver disease and

hypertension. As the apparent health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption are

limited for populations at low risk of heart disease, other experts urge caution because of

the possibility that recommending moderate alcohol consumption may lead to an

increased risk of alcohol abuse.

Marijuana

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a preparation of the Cannabis plant

intended for use as a psychoactive drug, and additionally used as a medicine. The

principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, referred to as

THC; it is one of 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 84 other

cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), tetrahydrocannabivarian

(THCV), and cannabigerol (CBG). Contemporary uses of cannabis are as a recreational

or medicinal drug, and as part of some religious or spiritual rites; the earliest recorded

uses of this drug date back to the 3rd millennium. In 2004, the United Nations estimated

that global consumption of cannabis indicated that approximately 4% of adult world wide

population, around 162 million people, used cannabis annually, and that approximately

0.6%, around 22.5 million, used cannabis daily. In the United States, cannabis is the most

commonly used illicit drug; 5.1% of Americans said they used marijuana in the past 30

days. In 1977, 38% of high school seniors reported using cannabis in the past month.

Since the early 20th century, cannabis has been subject to legal restrictions with the

possession, use, and sale of cannabis preparations containing psychoactive cannabinoids,

illegal in most countries of the world.

Cannabis has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. Some

alternative media sources report that the minimum amount of THC required to have a

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perceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.

Aside from a subjective change in perception and, most notably, mood, the most common

short-term physical common term physical and neurological effects include increased

heart rate, increased appetite and consumption of food, lowered blood pressure,

impairment of short-term and working memory, psychomotor coordination, and

concentration. Unfortunately, long-term effects are less clear. In humans, relatively few

adverse clinical health effects have been documented from chronic cannabis use. While

many psychoactive drugs clearly fall into the category of stimulant, depressant, or

hallucinogen. THC is typically considered the primary active component of the cannabis

plant; various scientific studies have suggested that certain other cannabinoids, like CBD,

also play a significant role in its psychoactive effects.

Cannabis used medically has several well-documented beneficial effects. Among

these are, the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in

chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure, as well as general for

pain relief. Less confirmed individual studies have been conducted indicating cannabis to

be beneficial for a wide range of medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis and

depression. Currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved

smoking cannabis for any condition or disease in the United States, largely because the

FDA claims good quality scientific evidence for its use from U.S. studies is lacking. The

United States Supreme Court has ruled in [_United States vs. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ _]

Coop and Gonzales vs. Raich that it is the federal government that has the right to

regulate and criminalize cannabis, even for medical purposes.

Although the long-term effects of cannabis have been studied, there remains much

to be concluded. Many studies have investigated whether long-term use of cannabis can

cause or contribute to the development of illnesses such as heart disease, bipolar disorder,

depression, mood swings, or schizophrenia. It’s common effects on intelligence, memory,

respiratory functions, and the possible relationship of cannabis use to mental disorders,

such as psychosis, depersonalization disorder, and depression, are still under discussion.

Both advocates and opponents of cannabis are able to call upon numerous scientific

studies supporting their respective positions. For example, while cannabis has been

implicated in the development of various mental disorders, these studies differ widely to

whether cannabis use is the cause of mental problems displayed in heavy users, whether

the mental problems are exacerbated by cannabis use, or whether both the cannabis use

and the mental problems are the effects of another related cause.

It has been pointed out that as cannabis use has risen, rates of schizophrenia have

not risen. Some argue that cannabis causes psychosis, but it is disproved by the lack of

evidence. Worldwide prevalence of schizophrenia is about 1% in adults, and the amount

of cannabis use in any given country seems to have no effect on that rate. It has been

concluded that recreational cannabis users do not release significant amounts of

dopamine from an oral THC dose, which is equivalent to a standard cannabis cigarette,

leading to vulnerability to psychosis or schizophrenia. Positive effects of the drug have

also been observed. In a recent study, researchers found that compared to those who did

not smoke cannabis, long-term cannabis smokers were approximately 62% less likely to

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develop head and neck cancers. In 2012, the National Academy of Sciences reported an

association between long-term cannabis use and neuropsychological decline, even after

controlling for education dependent use of marijuana before age 18; these effects were

associated with lasting harm to a person’s intelligence, attention and memory, and were

suggestive of neurological harm from cannabis. Quitting cannabis did not appear to

reverse the loss, however, individuals who started cannabis use after the age of 18 did not

show similar declines. Results of the study came into question when in a new analysis,

published in 2012, extracted from proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences;

researchers noted other differences among the study group including education,

occupation and other socioeconomic factors that showed the same effect on IQ as

cannabis use. Existing research suggests an alternative confounding model based on time

varying effects of socioeconomic statues on IQ. A simulation of the confounding model

reproduces the reported associations from the same study, suggesting that the causal

effects estimated that the true effects of the drug could be zero. These researchers pointed

to three other studies, which showed that cannabis did not cause a decline in IQ. The

studies also displayed that heavy smokers had clear reductions in IQ, but these changes

were not permanent.

The high solubility of cannabinoids results in their accumulation in the body for

long periods of time. Even after a single administration of THC, detectable levels of THC

can be found in the body for weeks or longer, depending on the amount administered and

the sensitivity of the assessment method. Several investigators have suggested that this is

an important factor in marijuana’s effects, perhaps because cannabinoids may conjure in

the body, particularly in the lipid membranes of neurons. Until recently, little was known

about the specific mechanisms of action of THC at the neuronal level, however,

researches have now confirmed that THC exerts its most prominent effects through its

actions on two types of cannabinoid receptors. THC and its major inactive metabolite,

can be measured in blood, urine, hair, oral fluid or sweat using chromatographic

techniques as part of a drug use testing program or a forensic investigation of a traffic or

other criminal offense. The levels obtained from such analysis can often be helpful in

distinguishing authorized cannabis smoking for medical purpose from recreational

smoking. The initial screening method for testing physiological specimens for marijuana

presence have different degrees of cross-reactivity with THC and its metabolites. The

Duquenois-Levine (D-L) test is often used as a screening test in the field, but it cannot

definitively confirm the presence of cannabis, as a large range of substances have been

shown to produce false positives. Despite these discoveries, it is common in the United

States for prosecutors to seek plea bargains on the basis of positive D-L tests, claiming

them to be definitive in which to seek conviction without the use of gas chromatography

confirmation, which can only be done in a laboratory. In 2011, researchers at John Jay

College of Criminal Justice produced a theory that dietary zinc supplements can mask the

presence of THC and other drugs in urine.

Ecstasy

MDMA, or Methylenediozymethamphetamine, which when cut with other

substances is known as Ecstasy, E, and X, is a psychoactive drug in the amphetamine

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class. MDMA can cause feelings of euphoria, empathy, and can decrease anxiety. Bad

side effects that often get worse with higher doses can produce effects including

insomnia, jaw clenching, and depression. MDMA has been used to treat post-traumatic

stress disorder, and its use during therapy is currently being investigated throughout the

world. In most countries, MDMA is an illegal drug under a United Nations agreement.

Possessing, making, or selling MDMA in these countries could result in criminal

prosecution, and a potential prison term. It is one of the most widely used recreational

drugs in the world, and is often associated with rave parties and electronic dance music.

MDMA has many effects on the human body and brain. It allows the brain to release the

chemicals serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in ones body.

Mental and Psychological Effects

-! Euphoria

-! Less negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, and fear

-! Increased sociability

-! Feelings of empathy and closeness to others

-! Improved sense of touch

-! A sense of understanding, thoughtfulness, and introspection

-! Increased appreciation of music, often coupled with the urge to dance

  • *

*Effects on the Body *

  • *

-! Increased heart rate and blood pressure

-! Higher body temperature and sweating

-! Pupils dilation

-! Jaw clenching and teeth grinding

-! Insomnia

-! Difficult urinating

-! Men may find it difficult to get an erection

All these effects together can make ecstasy dangerous to use. The change in body

temperature and the urge to dance can also put pressure on the heart; people with existing

heart conditions are extremely vulnerable to this. Roughly one person dies out of every

million that use MDMA. This is mostly due to overheating and dehydration, however it is

possible to drink too much water, swelling the brain and causing death. Many people

have died from this condition after taking ecstasy. Another effect is the hormone

vasopressin, which is released during ones ecstasy use; vasopressin restricts the body’s

urge to urinate, which helps to get rid of excess liquid in the body before it becomes a

problem.

Psilocybin mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms, often referred to as shrooms or magic mushrooms, are

fungi that contain psychoactive indole alkoids. There are approximately 190 species of

shrooms, and most all of them fall into the genus Psilocybe. Shrooms have likely been

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used since prehistoric times and they may have even been depicted in rock art. Many

cultures have used mushrooms in religious ceremonies. In modern Western society they

are used recreationally for their psychedelic effects. Recent studies done at Imperial

College London and John Hopkins School of Medicine concluded that when used

properly, psilocybin acts as an anti-depressant; the results were suggested by fMRI brain

scans. The effects of psilocybin mushrooms come from the chemicals psilocybin and

psilocin. Mushrooms create short-term increases in tolerance of users, thus making it

difficult to abuse them because the more often they are taken within a short period of

time, the weaker the resultant effects are. Poisonous, and sometimes lethal, wild picked

mushrooms can often be mistaken for psychedelic effects. As with many psychedelic

substances, the effects of psychedelic mushrooms are subjective and can vary

considerably among different users. The mind-altering effects of psilocybin containing

mushrooms typically lasts anywhere from 3 to 8 hours depending on dosage, preparation

method, and personal metabolism; the effects can seem to last much longer to the user

because of psilocybin’s ability to alter time perception.

Some users suffer from hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, although this

is not very common. Perceptual disturbances causing discomfort are rarely reported after

using mushrooms, but these effects may be more likely if the drug is mixed with

cannabis. There have been reports of such disturbances lasting months or years.

Nevertheless, magic mushrooms were rated as causing some of the least damage in the

UK compared to other recreational drugs by experts working for the Independent

Scientific Committee on Drugs. Other researchers have said that psilocybin is relatively

non-toxic to the body’s organ systems, explaining that the risks are indirect; higher

dosages are more likely to trigger fear and may result in dangerous behavior. One study

found that the most desirable results could come from starting with very low doses first,

and then trying slightly higher doses over months. These researchers explain that the peak

experiences occur at quantities that are only slightly lower than a hypothetical anxiety

threshold. Although risks of experiencing fear and anxiety increased somewhat

consistently along with dosage and overall quality of experience, at dosages exceeding

the individual’s threshold, there was instantaneously greater increases in anxiety than

before; in other words, after finding the optimum dose there are diminishing returns for

using more, since risks of anxiety now increase at a greater rate.

Noticeable changes to the audio, visual, and tactile senses may arise as soon as

thirty minutes to an hour after ingestion. These shifts in perception visually include

enhancement and vibrant colors, strange light phenomena, and increased visual activity,

which often times leads to surfaces that appear to ripple, shimmer, or breathe; complex

open and closed eye visuals of form constants or images, and changes in solid colors can

arise. A sense of melting into the environment can occur as well, and trails may appear

behind moving objects. Sounds seem to be heard with increased clarity while under the

influence. For example, a visualization of color upon hearing a particular sound can arise.

As with other psychedelics such as LSD, the experience is strongly dependent on set and

setting. A negative environment could possibly induce a bad trip, whereas a comfortable

and familiar environment may allow for a pleasant experience; many users find it

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preferable to ingest the mushroom in groups of people that they are familiar with, or

people who are also under the influence of the drug.

In 2006, the United States government funded a randomized and double-blinded

study by Johns Hopkins University that studied the spiritual effects of psilocybin in

particular. The study included 36 college-educated adults who had never tried psilocybin

nor had a history of drug use, and who had religious or spiritual interests. The

participants were closely observed for eight-hour intervals in a laboratory while under the

influence of psilocybin. One third of the participants reported that the experience was the

single most spiritually significant moment of their lives, and more than two thirds

reported it was among the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lifetimes.

Two months after the study, 79% of the participants reported increased happiness and

satisfaction in life; friends, relatives, and associates were used to confirm these results.

They also reported anxiety and depression symptoms to be decreased or completely

vanished. Fourteen months after the study was conducted, 64% of participants said that

they still experienced an increase in well being or life satisfaction.

Lysergic acid diethylamide

Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug

of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects, which can include altered

thinking processes, closed and open eye visuals, synesthesia, an altered sense of time and

spiritual experiences; this drug played a key role in the 1960’s counterculture. It is used

mainly as a recreational drug and as an agent in psychedelic therapy. LSD is non-

addictive, and it is not known to cause brain damage; it additionally has extremely low

toxicity relative to dose, however, adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, paranoia,

and delusions are possible. LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1938. It was

first synthesized from the chemical ergotamine, a chemical derived by Arthur Stole, a

grain fungus that typically grows on rye. LSD is sensitive to oxygen, ultraviolet light, and

chlorine, especially in solution though it is potency may last for years if it is stored away from light and moisture at a low temperature. In pure form it is a colorless, odorless,

tasteless solid. LSD is typically delivered orally, usually on a substrate such as absorbent

blotter paper, a sugar cube, or gelatin. In its liquid form, it can also be administered by

intramuscular or intravenous injection.

LSD was introduced by Sandoz Laboratories and was nicknamed Delysid; as a

drug with various psychiatric uses in 1947, LSD quickly became a therapeutic option that

appeared to show great promise. In the 1950’s, officials at the U.S. Central Intelligence

Agency (CIA) thought the drug might be applicable to mind control as well as chemical

warfare; the agency’s MKULTRA research program administered the drug among young

servicemen and students. The subsequent recreational use of the drug by youth culture in

the Western world during the 1960’s led to a political outrage that resulted in its

prohibition. LSD can cause pupil dilation, reduced or increased appetite, and

wakefulness; other physical reactions to LSD are highly variable and nonspecific, some

of which may be secondary to the psychological effects of LSD. Among some of the

reported symptoms are numbness, weakness, nausea, hypothermia, elevated blood sugar,

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goose bumps, heart rate increase, jaw clenching, perspiration, saliva production, mucus

production, sleeplessness, and tremors. Rapid tolerance build-up prevents regular use,

and cross-tolerance has been demonstrated between LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin; this

tolerance diminishes after a few days after cessation of use and is probably caused by

actions of receptors in the brain.

LSD’s psychological effects vary greatly from person to person, depending on

factors such as previous experiences, state of mind, and environment, as well as dose

strength. They also vary from one trip to another, and usually time appears to be passing

at an altered rate during a single trip. An LSD trip can have long-term effects emerge

based on what is called set and setting; the set being the general mindset of the user, and

the setting being the physical and social environment in which the drug’s effects are

witnessed. Some psychological effects may include an experience of radiant colors,

objects and surfaces appearing to ripple or breathe, colored patterns behind the closed

eyelids, an altered sense of time, crawling geometric patterns overlaying walls and other

objects, morphing objects, a sense that one’s thoughts are spiraling into themselves, loss

of a sense of identity or the ego, and other powerful psycho-physical reactions. Many

users experience a strong connection between themselves and the outside world. The

quality of the product may also play a role in the spiritual and religious aspects of LSD.

The drug sometimes leads to disintegration or restructuring of the user’s historical

personality and creates a mental state that some users report permits them to have more

choice regarding the nature of their own personality. If the user is in a hostile or

otherwise unsettling environment, or is not mentally prepared for the powerful distortions

in perception, effects are more likely to be unpleasant than if one is in a comfortable

environment and has a relaxed, balanced, and open mindset.

LSD causes an altered sensory experience of senses, emotions, memories, time,

and awareness for a wide range of 6 to 14 hours, depending on dosage and tolerance.

Generally, beginning within thirty to ninety minutes after ingestion, the user may

experience anything from subtle changes in perception to overwhelming cognitive shifts.

Changes in auditory and visual perception are quite typical. Visual effects include the

illusion of movement of static surfaces, image-like traits of moving objects, the

appearance of moving colored geometric patterns, an intensification of color and

brightness, blurred vision, and shape suggestibility. Users commonly report that the

inanimate world appears to animate in an unexplainable way; for instance, objects that

are static in three dimensions can appear to be moving relative to one or more additional

spatial dimensions. The auditory effects of LSD may include echo-like distortions of

sounds, changes in ability to discern concurrent auditory stimuli, and a general

intensification of the experience of music. Higher doses often cause fundamental

distortions of sensory perception such as synaesthesia, the experience of additional spatial

or temporal dimensions, or temporary dissociation.

Dimethyltryptamine

Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is a psychedelic compound of the tryptamine

family. Its presence is widespread throughout nature’s plant kingdom. DMT occurs in

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trace amounts in mammals, including humans, where it functions as a trace anime

neurotransmiller and neuromodulator. It is originally derived from the essential amino

acid tryptophan, and is ultimately produced by the enzyme INMT during metabolism.

The significance of its widespread natural presence remains undetermined. Structurally,

DMT is analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin, the hormone melatonin, and other

psychedelic tryptamines, such as bufotenin, psilocin, and psilocybin. When ingested,

DMT acts as a psychedelic drug. Depending on the does and method of administration,

its subjective effects can range from short-lived milder psychedelic states to powerful

experiences; these are often described as a total loss of connection to conventional reality

with the encounter of spiritual and alien realms. Indigenous Amazonian cultures consume

DMT as the primary psychoactive in ayahuasca, a shamanistic brew used for divinatory

and healing purposes.

DMT is produced naturally in many species of plants often in conjunction with its

close chemical relatives. DMT occurs as the primary psychoactive alkaloid in several

plants. DMT is found as a minor alkaloid in a substance made from Virola bark resin in

which DMT is the main active alkaloind. Psilocin, an active chemical in many

psychedelic mushrooms, is very structurally similar to DMT. The psychotropic effects of

DMT were first studied by the Hungarian chemist and psychologist Dr. Stephen Szara,

who performed research with volunteers in the mid-1950’s. Szara, who later worked for

the US National Institutes of Health, had turned his attention to DMT after his order for

LSD from Swiss company Sandoz Laboratories was rejected on the grounds that the

powerful psychotropic could be dangerous if it fell in the hands of a communist country.

DMT can produce powerful psychedelic experiences including intense visuals, euphoria,

and hallucinations. DMT is generally not active orally unless it is combined with a

monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as a reversible inhibitor of monoamine

oxidase A (RIMA). Without a MAOI, the body quickly metabolizes orally administered

DMT, and it therefore has no hallucinogenic effect unless the dose exceeds the metabolic

capacity. Other means of ingestion such as smoking, injecting, or insufflating the drug

can produce powerful hallucinations, as the DMT reaches the brain before it can be

metabolized by the body’s natural monoamine oxidase; taking a MAOI prior to smoking

or injecting DMT prolongs and potentiates the effects.

Final thoughts

______________________________________________________

I love fun drugs. First present the facts, then write a shit ton right here about it*** TOM

I guess at 27 you could make a case that I have done a lot of drugs. I will be

honest most of them are really fun; that doesn’t mean however that all drugs are safe and

that we shouldn’t worry about their danger. I am really safe when I go about it. I surround

myself with the right people, at the right time, in the right place, and I enjoy the

experience. There are even times where I feel as if drugs have fueled inspiration. As a

matter of fact, this entire book was triggered by a psychedelic trip; I will provide proof

later. I feel as if I have taken only the least dangerous drugs. There was a list at the

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beginning of the chapter of all the drugs I have not done, and you will see that I have

avoided most of the worst ones. I have managed to avoid the ones that are terribly

addicting. I don’t want to develop a dangerous drug addiction. Alcohol is bad enough of a

habit.

In my younger years I was probably an alcoholic. I even got an intervention once

from my friends; I suppose I am the only friend of mine that this has happened to. I had

been drinking since I was 17, however my habit didn’t begin to accelerate until I turned

21. I had broken up with Lisa and I was ready to rage. It wouldn’t have mattered if I was

in a relationship with a supermodel at that time, I just needed to be single. Groundskeeper

Willie had just broken up with his long-term girlfriend as well. Willie is my brother, and

we both have the same tolerance, along with a several other similarities. We were going

to the bars five nights a week and we were spending a ridiculous amount of money. I

maxed out all of my credit cards. We just wanted to go out and blackout every night

because it was fun at the time. Nothing terribly awful happened to me during my

alcoholism, but I was certainly not living a healthy life. At my old age I still drink quite

often, but I do not typically get as fucked up as I used to. I enjoy a cold beer, or a nice

scotch rocks, but I rarely get blackout drunk unless it’s a special occasion; its safe to say a special occasion is described loosely. I feel sometimes that it is good to get drunk and

have a good time, but most of the time I am limiting myself and being safe; a DUI is not

something that I would like to acquire. Sometimes you just need a cold beer after a long

day of work and I do not feel like there is any problem with that.

I started smoking pot when I was 21, right after I broke up with Lisa. I clearly did

not give a fuck at that point. I have a very addictive possibility so I instantly got hooked. I was smoking all day, everyday, for quite a long time. I had so many fun times throughout

that stretch, and weed may have actually made me closer to my brother and father. I never

was a burnt out stoner however. I still was able to consistently keep a job and excel in my

education. I figured if all that was happening that it wasn’t a very big problem. Once I

started graduate school I quit smoking weed for 5 months; there were only three times in

that span in which I broke that streak. This was partly because every time I had smoked

during my time off made me feel the uncomfortable side effects of nausea and paranoia;

that had never happened before. One of the times I gave in was at this house party I went

to. This band I used to be in called Arsonists Get All The Girls was playing their cd release show; I chose to pursue school over being in the band and they have toured the

world, multiple times. I guess I missed out. I walked into the house and the room was

extremely hot boxed. There is no way that I wasn’t contact high. I had four joints passed

to me before I broke down. I started smoking and had joint after joint handed to me; it

was glorious. At this point in my life I still smoke but only if I am productive. I am

usually very stressed with school so sometimes it helps with that. I see no reason that

weed should be disapproved for older adults; in development it is clearly not a good idea

however, as it limits brain growth.

I think out of all the drugs I have done mushrooms are my favorite. Besides the

first thirty minutes while it’s digesting and you want to die, it has the most phenomenal

effects on the human body. Not only are you experiencing the world in a whole new way,

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but you are also thinking much more clearly. I believe one uses more brain power than

instances when not under the influence. I’ve done shrooms about three times and every

time I have had an amazing experience. Some people say you can’t control the trip, but I

was in complete control; I was the creator of my own universe. Music even feels better; I

say ‘feels’ because you can literally feel the frequencies in your body, vibrating around

through your insides. One of these mushroom trips even resulted in me staying up all

night and writing ideas on paper. I saved the pages, copied them into images, and began

working on this book with those initial ideas. I believe that in the right doses shrooms is

not dangerous. If you take more than a healthy dose however, it could become very

dangerous, as you will have completely lost touch with reality.

It wasn’t until much more recently that I did cocaine. Up until this point, I had

never wanted to even touch it. The thought of snorting something up my nose did not

seem very satisfying. After awhile I caved. I had been struggling in finding a good girl

and I was in a very strange place; it just seemed like the right thing to do. I will admit it is fun, however, it’s not something that I want to do on a regular basis. On top of all of that, cocaine is insanely expensive; it is not worth the expense. I have only done it when I was

drunk so I probably didn’t experience the full effect, but it does wake you up and make

you very hyper. Just one line of coke can wake even the most tired of people. It is very

important to understand when you have snorted too much; extremely heavy doses can

cause heart palpitations and even heart attacks. I never took too much. I am still a rookie.

I will probably do it again, but I don’t feel as if it is anything to write home about.

I have only done LSD one time; the acid I purchased was not very potent so I did

not feel the complete effects. As a rookie, I probably didn’t put it under my tongue for

long enough before I swallowed the paper. It was still fun though. I had a great time. I

believe 5 of my friends were over in my neighborhood where we did it. There is a huge

quarry behind my house that looks over the whole valley. It is an amazing site to see, and

even more so to see while on LSD. Nature just appears so much more important then it

usually does. Of course we were drinking at the same time; my friends do not hangout

without involving alcohol in some way. After our nature walk we went to my house and

projected artistic videos over a projector screen, lining it up to instrumental music. I

swear to God that all of the music synched up with every scene. It was a very powerful

site. I might do it again but it isn’t exactly on my priorities list; for a brief minute

however, I was experiencing life to the full amount. I never saw anything that wasn’t

there, or tasted colors, but I did have an amazing experience on LSD.

I feel as if DMT is probably the most dangerous of all the psychedelics. It is the

drug that brings you as far apart from reality as you can possibly be. I do not think my

brain is even strong enough to experience that. DMT is released into your body when you

fall asleep. It is the drug that allows your brain to dream and it is also present naturally in many other plants and animals. Most people who take DMT have a spiritual experience

with the other side. Many feel as if they have seen God during their trip. The experience

only occurs for roughly five minutes, however according to a few people I know, the trip

feels like a lifetime. I am not ready for that. I had an option to do DMT one time and I

had to refuse. Someone in my senior design class slung drugs so it was easy for my

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buddy to acquire it. He offered it one time and I was very tempted. I wanted to do it but I

didn’t know if I was ready. I told him I would smoke a bowl first and think about it.

When I was done with the weed I was down to partake in the experience. Unfortunately

his roommates came home because I didn’t want to do it around people. I didn’t do it, and

I don’t think I ever will. I would be very cautious when pursuing this option of

intoxication.

In this chapter I am not trying to persuade anyone to take drugs. I just wanted to

present the information so that you can make the right decision for yourself.

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Life:Is:A:Frequency :: Drugs

  • ISBN: 9781310039201
  • Author: Steven Borella
  • Published: 2016-04-14 23:20:07
  • Words: 8786
Life:Is:A:Frequency :: Drugs Life:Is:A:Frequency :: Drugs