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Why We Say Yes to Drugs
July 21, 2009 9:44 AM   Subscribe

"It takes about seven years," Grim writes, "for folks to realize what's wrong with any given drug. It slips away, only to return again as if it were new."
Why We Say Yes To Drugs -- an interesting review of This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High In America.

Previous article from the book's author: Who's Got the Acid?
posted by empath (114 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm going to need a valium.
posted by Artw at 9:56 AM on July 21, 2009


Today's kids aren't smoking much pot because pot is a "social" drug, shared among peers who gather in parking lots and other hangouts; teens have less unstructured time now and tend to socialize online. They still get high, only on prescription drugs pilfered from adults or ordered off the Internet. "There's no social ritual involved," he observes, "just a glass of water and a pill," which "fits well into a solitary afternoon."

That's kind of depressing in many different ways.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on July 21, 2009 [22 favorites]


Flash from The New York Times. According to the experts who staff government drug posts, marijuana abuse is on the upswing due to the high-THC superpot that is all the rage. More THC=more temptation to suck on the pipe. Or so the theory goes.
posted by Gordion Knott at 10:04 AM on July 21, 2009


If such were the case, a resurgence in acid is LONG overdue. [/impatience]
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


Seems like higher THC would be better from a health standpoint; less actual smoke inhalation to get high.

All depends on whether you see the "smoking" or the "getting high" as the real problem.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seven years, that's a business cycle, isn't it? It makes sense that goods requiring a high degree of disposable income would rise and fall with the business cycle. Now if drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana) were as addictive as people are lead to believe, you wouldn't see such bubble behavior, but a steady inflation to their natural limits. We are creates of fads and bubbles, drugs are no different. I would not subscribe as much psychoanalysis to drug use as the author does, keep it simple.

By the way, does it seem like a coincidence that business cycles and bubbles run on prime numbers? 5, 7, 11 years? I bet there's something we could learn from cicada's and number theory on why that is.
posted by geoff. at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


In Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences, the economist Ted O'Donoghue researches some of the economic factors that influence the level of addiction in society. We know that cigarette taxes reduce levels of smoking, despite the tremendous difficulty of kicking nicotine addiction. I suppose it's not much of a stretch to argue that economic factors also influence the amount of addiction to illegal drugs as well.
posted by jonp72 at 10:15 AM on July 21, 2009


drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana)

One of these things is not like the other.
posted by explosion at 10:18 AM on July 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Seven years, that's a business cycle, isn't it? It makes sense that goods requiring a high degree of disposable income would rise and fall with the business cycle.

So, are you equating the learning curve of drug use -- which entails a cohort experiencing a drug as new, passing through the fascination phase, toying with addicion (whether that be physical or emotional), and finally setting that drug aside as "dangerous" or "tired" or a combination of the two, and then a new group in about 7 years or so rediscovering the drug -- with the business cycle and market bubbles?

I'm not sure I entirely understand how these two fit together very well. Or are you referring only to the time scale mentioned in the FPP? The article seems to not mention a boom/bust business cycle, per se.
posted by hippybear at 10:19 AM on July 21, 2009


Today's kids aren't smoking much pot because pot is a "social" drug, shared among peers who gather in parking lots and other hangouts; teens have less unstructured time now and tend to socialize online. They still get high, only on prescription drugs pilfered from adults or ordered off the Internet. "There's no social ritual involved," he observes, "just a glass of water and a pill," which "fits well into a solitary afternoon."

if teenagers no longer associate with each other physically (and I'm 100% sure that's total crap), I think that's a much bigger story than anything about drugs.

Also, if they're just socializing online, how are they having all that dirty dirty non-traditional sex I read about last week? Seems like the damn kids are both on the lawn and in the house at the same time.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:20 AM on July 21, 2009 [26 favorites]


By the way, does it seem like a coincidence that business cycles and bubbles run on prime numbers? 5, 7, 11 years? I bet there's something we could learn from cicada's and number theory on why that is.

Have you ever looked at a dollar bill? There's some crazy shit going on on a dollar bill? And it's *green!*
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:22 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


The cicada's do prime numbers because they have fewer common denominators. If they came out, say, every 8 years, then any predators that cycled on 2, 4 or 8 years cycles would all hit them every time. And 6 year cycles fairly commonly, too.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on July 21, 2009 [12 favorites]


Seems like higher THC would be better from a health standpoint; less actual smoke inhalation to get high.

Or the same amount of inhalation and tipping over into schizophrenia.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on July 21, 2009


Seven years, that's a business cycle, isn't it? It makes sense that goods requiring a high degree of disposable income would rise and fall with the business cycle.

Interesting theory, but the jury's still out on whether it's true. I suppose, if this theory were true, then you'd see cyclical increases in the consumption of "luxury" drugs during boom times, followed by increases in the consumption of "cheap highs" during an economic bust. I definitely see how somebody could write a great economics or sociology article about this.
posted by jonp72 at 10:28 AM on July 21, 2009


Flash from The New York Times. According to the experts who staff government drug posts, marijuana abuse is on the upswing due to the high-THC superpot that is all the rage.

Experts. LOL. The whole "superpot" concept is absurd. Marijuana isn't like heroin or something. Taking in more THC beyond a certain point doesn't make you "more high" so smoking higher THC pot would just mean fewer tokes.

Here's a quote from an "expert" quoted in the article: With marijuana, “it’s going to take some real fatalities for people to pay attention,” Dr. Volkow said. “Unfortunately that’s the way it goes.”

Right because there haven't been any fatalities on pot. Like ever.
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on July 21, 2009 [11 favorites]


"Seems like higher THC would be better from a health standpoint; less actual smoke inhalation to get high.

Or the same amount of inhalation and tipping over into schizophrenia."

What.

Tipping over into the bag of cheetos maybe.
posted by stenseng at 10:44 AM on July 21, 2009 [17 favorites]


Flash from The New York Times. According to the experts who staff government drug posts, marijuana abuse is on the upswing due to the high-THC superpot that is all the rage.

From the Fed's own report, when people are given a choice, they prefer to consume milder marijuana over highly potent marijuana. Too bad it isn't regulated and labeled.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 10:48 AM on July 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


Artw: "Or the same amount of inhalation and tipping over into schizophrenia."

Or not
.
posted by mullingitover at 10:49 AM on July 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


Please oh please, not the "smoking pot makes your brain fracture" derail again. I'm sure the last thread where that appeared is still open and active.
posted by hippybear at 10:49 AM on July 21, 2009


Today's kids aren't smoking much pot...

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

A completely incorrect one.
posted by cmoj at 10:50 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Perfect - I don't even have to link to this book here! I know I've been pushing this book on Metafilter lately, but it is absolutely worth the read.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2009


The cicada's do prime numbers because they have fewer common denominators. If they came out, say, every 8 years, then any predators that cycled on 2, 4 or 8 years cycles would all hit them every time. And 6 year cycles fairly commonly, too.

Right, industry and companies are cyclical too, usually on a 1, 2, 4 year cycle, yet the business cycle as a whole is on a number with few factors. Maybe it has something to do with lack of competition allowing an industry to take advantage of it? It would be interesting if there was research on this.
posted by geoff. at 10:59 AM on July 21, 2009


Or the same amount of inhalation and tipping over into schizophrenia.

i will agree that in a small segment of the population marijuana use can increase the likelihood that at risk individuals will develop schizophrenia, but only if you agree that in a roughly equal segment of the population marijuana use makes users so super smart they get into harvard despite not having a particularly strong academic record before their marijuana use.
posted by snofoam at 11:04 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


"In reality, there's no such thing as drug policy," Grim writes. "As currently understood and implemented, drug policy attempts to isolate a phenomenon that can't be taken in isolation. Economic policy is drug policy. Healthcare policy is drug policy. Foreign policy, too, is drug policy. When approached in isolation, drug policy almost always backfires, because it doesn't take into account the powerful economic, social and cultural forces that also determine how and why Americans get high."


This paragraph was my favorite from the article. Spot on the nose, that is.


i will agree that in a small segment of the population marijuana use can increase the likelihood that at risk individuals will develop schizophrenia, but only if you agree that in a roughly equal segment of the population marijuana use makes users so super smart they get into harvard despite not having a particularly strong academic record before their marijuana use.

Please let's not go down that awful derail. This thread is open still if you want to debate the "negative aspects" of marijuana. Warning: If you really want to hold the position that pot causes schizophrenia, get a PMID# ready.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2009


If anything, this seven year cycle relates in no way to the market and in every way to the age of the drug user. eg. the years 18-25. An 18yo will huff glue, but by the time you're 25 you might even be trying to quit smoking cigarettes. The article even opens with people complaining E is "too hard on your body." Yeah that shit you're popping that is mostly meth and rat poison probably IS too hard on your body, kids.

The article goes on to note the relative lack of LSD in NA from 2000-present, but then notes that is almost certainly due to the arrest of one man who was responsible for synthesizing the vast majority of supply. Way to contradict your thesis on the first page! LSD isn't easy to synthesize, not nearly as easy as say, meth, nor is there ever as much demand as it's not addictive - so surprise, it took years for people to even start to fill the gap in supply.

The most bizarre claim in this article is "today's kids don't smoke much pot"; maybe these are the same kids that listen to BrokeNCYDE? Prescription drug abuse could start to explain things, maybe? No need to back any of this up with statistics, I suppose! Pot is grown pretty damn easily just about anywhere in North America, and as a result I doubt supply and demand will ever shift much - and if it's crashing, well, a shred of evidence would be nice.

And finally, why does someone always have to bring up this goddamn marijuana=schizophrenia meme when it's totally bunk? Mentally ill people will self-medicate, and therefore marijuana use and alcohol use and other prescription abuse is higher in populations suffering from mental illness. It does not mean that drug use has caused their mental illness; usually the exact reverse.
posted by mek at 11:18 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marijuana causes schizophrenia the same way that vaccines cause autism: coincidence. The onset of schizophrenic symoms most often happens in one's late teens/early 20s, which is exactly when most people start smoking weed (unless you grow up in New York City apparently, and then you start taking bong rips at recess in the fourth grade).
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:24 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


My greatest fear isn't that my kids will smoke pot. My greatest fear isn't that my kids will go on to use other drugs. My greatest fear has nothing to do with the drugs or the lifestyle, and I am acutely aware of the dangers.

My greatest fear is that my kids will get caught, punished by a ruthless system, and endure a lifetime of having doors forever closed to them for minor transgressions they committed while juveniles.

Justice is dispensed only with discretion. Remove discretion, you remove justice.
posted by Xoebe at 11:27 AM on July 21, 2009 [31 favorites]


And finally, why does someone always have to bring up this goddamn marijuana=schizophrenia meme when it's totally bunk?

Because where there is no logically justifiable reason to demonize a relatively harmless substance such as marijuana one must be invented?
posted by metagnathous at 11:29 AM on July 21, 2009


marijuana use makes users so super smart they get into harvard despite not having a particularly strong academic record before their marijuana use.

I saw a fascinating documentary on this topic.
posted by box at 11:31 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


A previous Ryan Grim-focused post
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on July 21, 2009


Was LSD ever associated with rave culture in large numbers? I'm under the impression that it was all MDMA, and terms like "acid house" come from misunderstandings by baby-boomer music journalists.
posted by acb at 11:32 AM on July 21, 2009


Was LSD ever associated with rave culture in large numbers?

personal experience says yes.
posted by snofoam at 11:36 AM on July 21, 2009


acb: Absolutely. LSD and MDMA go together like Cake and Ice Cream...
posted by empath at 11:37 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was LSD ever associated with rave culture in large numbers?

*giggle*
posted by flaterik at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Was LSD ever associated with rave culture in large numbers?

LSD was the driving force with rave culture. MDMA came a few years later and its usage fit in nicely with what had already been developed. Think of MDMA as LSD's less hip and intelligent cousin.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:47 AM on July 21, 2009


If anything, this seven year cycle relates in no way to the market and in every way to the age of the drug user. eg. the years 18-25.

If anything, this is not a seven year cycle.

The article states that it takes about seven years for our society to "forget" the bad things about a particular drug and its use. Nowhere does it state that drug use is on a seven year cycle of highs and lows. I believe what it is trying to say is once a drug has run its course through a cohort, it then takes about seven years of non-popularity before the lessons of the previous cohort are distant enough to make trying that discarded drug again in large numbers. The down time is ~7 years, but the entire cycle likely runs MUCH longer.
posted by hippybear at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2009


Think of MDMA as LSD's less hip and intelligent cousin.

I thought MDMA was meth's cousin, with an extra group of specialness stuck on one end to make it have not really the same effects.

I like the cake and ice cream analogy. LSD is the cake -- rich, flavorful, a lot of interesting textures to explore, and love all the brightly colored decorations! MDMA is the ice cream -- always refreshing, a bit of a shock to the body, but with luxurious creamy smoothness that makes your tongue want more.

Put them together, it's like your birthday all the time!
posted by hippybear at 11:53 AM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


It was called candy-flipping back in my days of yore. That's a drop of liquid LSD on an ecstasy pill.

Slightly less popular was hippy-flipping, which was ecstasy and mushrooms taken at the same time.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:07 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once knew someone who took LSD and then he hallucinated that he had become a glass of orange juice. And then a pot-smoking cicada drank him.

I think the lesson is clear.
posted by yoink at 12:08 PM on July 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Drink more orange juice?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2009


See if the cicada will trade some of his highly-potent marijuana for some of the milder stuff?
posted by box at 12:13 PM on July 21, 2009


Today's kids aren't smoking much pot...

Well, more for the grown-ups then.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:14 PM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


There are even more Ryan Grim excerpts and conversation at TPMCafe this week.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:15 PM on July 21, 2009


Huh. A lot of ex-gang member friends and I had a theory that gang violence went in 7 year cycles.

We figured it had to do more with intergenerational violence and typical jail time - a bunch of folks get killed or busted at the same time, usually within a year or two, and by the time they get out, some new kids have taken their turf, their women have moved on, and basically a new round of drama begins.

This was completely informal, but I imagine there's probably some number to go with that as well.
posted by yeloson at 12:17 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I believe what it is trying to say is once a drug has run its course through a cohort, it then takes about seven years of non-popularity before the lessons of the previous cohort are distant enough to make trying that discarded drug again in large numbers.

This might be what it is implying from its discussion of LSD, but it also disproves itself rather neatly within the article, as I noted. Drug declines and increases can be explained almost entirely by the logistics of supplying said drugs.
posted by mek at 12:17 PM on July 21, 2009


Taking in more THC beyond a certain point doesn't make you "more high" so smoking higher THC pot would just mean fewer tokes.

Anyone who ever went to Amsterdam and ate a second space cake because the first one hadn't kicked in yet would disagree with this "more THC doesn't make you more high" business. I mean, I don't know where this "certain point" is, but it's in a place waaay higher than I ever want to be.

Here in L.A., where most of the people I know who smoke either have a medical card or buy from someone who does, the problem with pot is that it's just too goddamn strong. Sometimes you just want to giggle a bit and eat some corn chips, not get all Pink Floyd about it.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:18 PM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


By now, most informed people know that anti-drug education and P.R. campaigns directed at children don't work, but Grim has noted several studies indicating that they may actually foster experimentation.

This caught my eye. When I got my third or fourth go round of anti-drug education, it was in ninth grade and the guy behind me claimed to have tried half the stuff we talked about(in retrospect he was probably exaggerating). The result was that class went like this:

Teacher: Now, LSD is a hallucinogen, meaning that it....
Guy: OH SHIT MAN. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SOME COOL SHIT I SAW ON ACID

The result was that it made LSD sound super cool, so long as you were okay with being a retard who used the word shit in every sentence. And most 9th graders are.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:21 PM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Warning: If you really want to hold the position that pot causes schizophrenia, get a PMID# ready.

Before you laid this out there, you should actually have done the search. There is a fairly large literature out there examining this question considering the general dearth of good medical research involving illegal drugs. For example, this meta-analysis from The Lancet seems representative: Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review. (You may need access to a university library to get at this.) The current (as of 2007) best evidence (which is not to imply that it is necessarily great evidence) suggests odds ratios for psychosis that are greater than one, up around two in heavier users per this review. So I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that marijuana can precipitate psychosis in some people; even if this assumption is wrong, it's good to err on the safe side.

That said, with these odds ratios the change in absolute risk for moderate users with no family background of psychosis is modest. The per capita generated morbidity from marijuana use is considerably lower than that produced by tobacco or alcohol. If we're willing to accept those drugs as a society, harm prevention arguments for banning marijuana use make little sense. Marijuana is pretty safe: for almost everyone the risk to benefit ratio is comfortably acceptable. But this is not to say that it's completely harmless.
posted by monocyte at 12:22 PM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


metagnathous : Because where there is no logically justifiable reason to demonize a relatively harmless substance such as marijuana one must be invented?

An interesting idea. I'd be curious to see how a meme like this would spread amongst people who have no real vested interest in perpetuating the drug war.

Like if I were to come up with a plausible, albeit completely fabricated study that demonstrated that male pattern baldness was more prevalent among people who engaged in marijuana use, how long would it be before I heard that rumor circle back to me from people who never actually looked at the "study" and who probably didn't care about marijuana use in general.

Has the pervasiveness of anti-drug propaganda for most people's entire lives sowed the seeds of doubt in such a way that, even when we know that many of the other facts are bullshit, we still retain enough paranoia that we might accept certain risks as plausible.

"Pot will kill you"

"No, that's a load of crap. Pot will not kill you, though it might make you bald..."

And would such a rumor find legs in a culture that wasn't as saturated with anti-drug propaganda?
posted by quin at 12:27 PM on July 21, 2009


Wait, wait, what was the part about the baldness?
posted by box at 12:30 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know about that essay. She seems to be winging it: Even less excusable in Grim's eyes is the predominance of law enforcement strategies in America's disastrous war on drugs, initiated by the Reagan administration.

I mean, I despise what Reagan did to this country and the shell game he played with the American people, but the predominance of law enforcement started with Henry J. Anslinger following the repeal of prohibition, not with Reagan.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:35 PM on July 21, 2009


The article even opens with people complaining E is "too hard on your body." Yeah that shit you're popping that is mostly meth and rat poison probably IS too hard on your body, kids.


If you're going to make statements like 'there is rat poison in E', could you provide citations to sources? Because there are organisations out there that test pills, and I'm pretty sure none of them have ever found rat poison in pills.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:38 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


By now, most informed people know that anti-drug education and P.R. campaigns directed at children don't work, but Grim has noted several studies indicating that they may actually foster experimentation.

I have believed this since 1968, when I first tried pot. It was clear to me that the anti-drug campaigns were lying and that many of my acquaintances were using pot to no ill effect. It made me want to try all the other supposedly evil drugs, since it was very likely they were lying about them as well. Some they were, some they weren't, but it was up to me to find out.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:40 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


the problem with pot is that it's just too goddamn strong

If you're smoking it, it's easy to titrate. Smoke a little, wait a bit, see how it feels. Want a little more high? Smoke a little more. It's not rocket science. It's barely chemistry. I've smoked weed that was from strains previously unknown and undescribed to me and I've never gotten "too high" from smoking. Eating it is an entirely different matter.
posted by rtha at 12:43 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana)

One of these things is not like the other.


Oh totally! Heroin makes me so nauseous.
posted by milarepa at 12:47 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


So before things in Miami got cleaned up to some extent, "one-fifth of all real estate transactions were paid for in cash."

Wow.
posted by ambient2 at 12:48 PM on July 21, 2009


drugs (cocaine, heroin, marijuana)

One of these things is not like the other.


Indeed- only two of those things are fun.
posted by spaltavian at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2009


Yeah, wouldn't that kind of make you wonder as a real estate agent? "So, can I recommend a mortgage broker"--"No no, that's fine...I have this briefcase of cash which should amply cover the full cost of my fine new domicile".
posted by Go Banana at 1:09 PM on July 21, 2009


The problem with Drug Education programs is that it doesn't matter whether you're lying or being honest about risks involved when you're dealing with the segment of the population most likely to find risk-taking to be the height of cool and with the least comprehension of personal consequences.

And the cyclical nature of certain drugs makes total sense when you tie it to the cyclical nature of fashion and music trends, with which it is, of course, inextricably entwined.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:42 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that marijuana can precipitate psychosis in some people; even if this assumption is wrong, it's good to err on the safe side.

Yes, it probably can. So can being dumped by your girlfriend, getting a bad grade, fighting with your best friend or any other common experience of stress. So even if it were possible to reduce marijuana use to zero, it wouldn't have a measurable impact.

Which is why despite marijuana use in the population going from 1-2% to something like 70% at its peak, schizophrenia rates HAVE NOT INCREASED.

This is *not* what happens when you have a causal factor adding to the burden of disease. With smoking and lung cancer, the odds ratios are more like 10 -- ie, smokers are 10 times more likely than nonsmokers to get lung cancer and lung cancer rates in the population track smoking rates.

Whereas marijuana smoking rates and schizophrenia rates show no correlation.
posted by Maias at 1:48 PM on July 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


Also, I'm curious about this 20% of Miami real estate transactions paid in cash thing - does somebody who knows the history a little better know what happened in Miami once the coke bubble burst?
posted by Navelgazer at 1:58 PM on July 21, 2009


I'm gonna go with the metastudy over the single study cited by SF Weekly, to be honest.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on July 21, 2009


Taking in more THC beyond a certain point doesn't make you "more high" so smoking higher THC pot would just mean fewer tokes.

Just like grain alcohol. After 7 or 8 jello shots, you're just not going to get any drunker. This is why so few college kids die of alcohol poisoning.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 2:18 PM on July 21, 2009


I agree that the marajuana causes schizophrenia ideas is false. But I have seen a a young woman react profoundly to taking her first toke - it seemed like she was taking acid. Turns out she was diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly thereafter.

As was her brother, who did not try the experiment with pot. So, based on my sample of one, it seems that some people with schizophrenia can react to pot in a suprisingly profound manner. This may give rise to the false impression of a causal link.

Actually, I think I have seen this profound reaction in a couple of folks with schizophrenia, though only one I who know was diagnosed. And I know at least one other person so-diagnosed, who may well benefit from smoking.

Plus what Maias said.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:19 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, those typos. And I'm not even smoking.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 2:19 PM on July 21, 2009


If you're going to make statements like 'there is rat poison in E', could you provide citations to sources?

Sorry, I was being hyperbolous, which was supposed to be indicated by the swearing and dismissive language. My point is the article discusses these drugs in a terribly naive way. In any given dose of street E, there are often adulterants (usually methamphetamine, but also MDA, cocaine, caffeine, DXM, pseudoephedrine) in pills sold as pure MDMA, a bunch of which are stimulants which are very hard on your body, but MDMA is not. It's easy to tell, too... are you coming down after four hours, or are you jittery as hell after eight? If you are a habitual user who takes 3-4 doses of MDMA at once, and then accidentally get a set that is basically pure methamphetamine, you may end up with a toxic dose, which could even kill you. But none of this leads to the conclusion that "ecstasy is hard on your body." If anything the conclusion should be "legal ecstasy would be harmless."

This is why the linked article sucks. The reasoning is basically nonexistent, it's just a haphazard pile of opinions with no basis in fact, which takes the war on drugs as a given.
posted by mek at 2:23 PM on July 21, 2009


Just like grain alcohol. After 7 or 8 jello shots, you're just not going to get any drunker. This is why so few college kids die of alcohol poisoning.

I know you're being snarky... but I think you'll be hard pressed to find statistics about anyone, college kids or other, dying from THC poisoning.
posted by hippybear at 2:24 PM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


MDMA is hard on the body. That's why there are all these things attached to the taking of it -- watching your body temperature, making sure you get plenty of fluids, etc. It's not a trivial drug, but when taken with proper measures it should not lead to complications.
posted by hippybear at 2:29 PM on July 21, 2009


"I like the cake and ice cream analogy. LSD is the cake -- rich, flavorful, a lot of interesting textures to explore, and love all the brightly colored decorations! MDMA is the ice cream -- always refreshing, a bit of a shock to the body, but with luxurious creamy smoothness that makes your tongue want more. "

Yeah, but MDMA plays havoc with my seratonin levels, and it's not worth it anymore taking days to recover.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:30 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


MDMA really is the false gospel. It's a counterfeit feel good thing but there's no real insight to be had.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:32 PM on July 21, 2009


Too much fluids will kill you too. Then there's the serotonin imbalance, which I'm sure people will get all upset at my mentioning as well.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on July 21, 2009


"there are often adulterants (usually methamphetamine, but also MDA, cocaine, caffeine, DXM, pseudoephedrine) in pills sold as pure MDMA"

Well, cocaine is actually more expensive than MDMA, so not sure why anyone would cut it with that.

As far as adulterants, check out Dancesafe and this page.

"If you are a habitual user who takes 3-4 doses of MDMA at once, and then accidentally get a set that is basically pure methamphetamine, you may end up with a toxic dose, which could even kill you."

That's highly unlikely, as the amount of meth in four purported E pills is smaller than what most people do recreationally. What is the greater danger is taking something like DXM, or drinking too much water if you're on real MDMA, or taking MDMA while you're on a MAOI, which can cause hypertensive crisis.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:40 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, it probably can. So can being dumped by your girlfriend, getting a bad grade, fighting with your best friend or any other common experience of stress. So even if it were possible to reduce marijuana use to zero, it wouldn't have a measurable impact.

I agree with you on the first point and partially on the second. As I hoped to make clear in my post, the reported odds ratios are modest, especially given the rates of psychosis reported in the general population, and certainly insufficient to make a good case for a harm prevention justification. As to whether the impact would be measurable, that's not clear. My gut feeling is that it probably would not, or that it would but it would not be significant from a clinical or policy standpoint.

This is *not* what happens when you have a causal factor adding to the burden of disease. With smoking and lung cancer, the odds ratios are more like 10 -- ie, smokers are 10 times more likely than nonsmokers to get lung cancer and lung cancer rates in the population track smoking rates.

Well, most identified risk factors for disease have a considerably smaller magnitude than smoking and lung cancer. This is not to say that they don't exist. Additionaly, I don't think I argued that marijuana has a direct causal role in psychosis; I would at best say there's the potential for it to be contributory in unmasking underlying vulnerability, the argument I see most researchers making.

Whereas marijuana smoking rates and schizophrenia rates show no correlation.

I'm always a little wary of picking out single studies to prove a point. Consider the first reference supplied in that paper, which suggests that there is in fact such a correlation in a different population: Changing incidence of psychotic disorders among the young in Zurich. If you've done a closer reading of the relevant segment of the literature than I have (and I haven't done much more than make a few pubmed searches and skim a few papers) fire away and tell me if the discrepancy is more likely to be methodological or reflective of population and environment.

Again, I want to point out that the expected risks of marijuana use are quite low, even if they truly are the magnitudes measured in the analysis I quoted, and that there is very poor justification from this standpoint for making it illegal or even focusing much attention on harm reduction. As drugs (legal or illegal) go, marijuana seems remarkably benign-- but to say that it has no ill effects at all contradicts a large fraction of the available literature.
posted by monocyte at 2:53 PM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would agree that the impurity of street drugs is more problematic than the toxicity of the drugs themselves. After seeing firsthand a near-fatal oregano overdose from a bad batch of street weed, it is a harrowing experience. Oddly, the smell was very pleasant.
posted by snofoam at 2:56 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the schizophrenia/dope angle, I have one bit of anecdata. My brother had a brief (but scary) psychotic episode after a time when he was getting high and doing solitary repetitive work all day. Hasn't recurred, but I'm pretty happy believing that there's some link.

Just as it seems 'just' that heavy E use can lead to depression, it's not intrinsically absurd to me that toking hugely brings a risk of more permanent brain effects on the genetically vulnerable.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:02 PM on July 21, 2009


Speaking of pot and the UK... Nice guy, shit dad, appalling DJ.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on July 21, 2009


Well, Americans are weird about sex, and drugs..and rock n' roll. There is a counter-counter culture going on demonizing all three.

But when you mix them all together, the true nature of neo-Libertine freedom comes out. Which is good for those willing to go there. For everyone else, there's American Idol and Budweiser.
posted by Chuffy at 3:25 PM on July 21, 2009


Warning: If you really want to hold the position that pot causes schizophrenia, get a PMID# ready.

Monocyte beat me to this, but does not quote from the study, and it deserves to be reiterated in any case, so please allow me:

PMID 17662880

Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review.

INTERPRETATION: The evidence is consistent with the view that cannabis increases risk of psychotic outcomes independently of confounding and transient intoxication effects, although evidence for affective outcomes is less strong. The uncertainty about whether cannabis causes psychosis is unlikely to be resolved by further longitudinal studies such as those reviewed here. However, we conclude that there is now sufficient evidence to warn young people that using cannabis could increase their risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life.
[my emphasis]

I also think there is a very strong theoretical case to be made that pot would be expected to cause (in the sense of trigger) schizophrenia.

In the first place, we already know that pot intoxication can cause temporary effects that look a lot like schizophrenia, such as hallucination and paranoia-- perhaps even the munchies:

Yet the correlation between obesity and schizophrenia, especially among female patients, antedates the availability of atypical antipsychotics. Allison and colleagues[5] analyzed 1989 data on 150 individuals with schizophrenia from the 1989 National Health Interview Survey which showed that females with schizophrenia had significantly greater body mass index (BMI) compared with age-matched US norms from the same study (27.36 kg/m2 vs. 24.50 kg/m2 respectively, ...). There was also a trend toward greater obesity, which did not reach statistical significance among males with schizophrenia...


If we can adduce a component of positive feedback in the development of schizophrenia-- that is, once it starts, it makes itself worse, so to speak, we are most of the way toward a mechanism by which marijuana can trigger schizophrenia.

Such positive feedback effects are a feature of autoimmune illnesses, and there is accumulating evidence of an autoimmune aspect to schizophrenia:

From the data studied researchers found that people with a history of one or more autoimmune diseases had a 45 percent higher risk of schizophrenia. In addition, patients with schizophrenia had a higher prevalence of nine specific autoimmune disorders, including celiac disease, autoimmune thyroid disorders, acquired hemolytic anemia, Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic active hepatitis, alopecia areata, interstitial cystitis (bladder condition characterized by urinary frequency and pelvic pain), polymyalgia rheumatic, myositis, and type 1 diabetes, compared to control subjects.


posted by jamjam at 3:49 PM on July 21, 2009


In any given dose of street E, there are often adulterants

Thanks to ever more creative chemists, there are any number of easily obtained, semi-legal stimulants that superficially resemble MDMA in initial effects (notably BZP) that are definitely passed off as the real thing by dealers who aren't likely to see you again (eg at festivals etc.). The thing is, the comedown off these is murder, waking up crying but not knowing why murder, that's likely to stop any sensible person ever trying ecstasy again.

At least that's what a friend told me.
posted by kersplunk at 5:20 PM on July 21, 2009


I'm specifically talking about BZP, by the way.
posted by kersplunk at 5:21 PM on July 21, 2009


kersplunk, it's usually just DXM, actually.
posted by empath at 5:33 PM on July 21, 2009


Wouldn't DXM produce a sedative, as opposed to a stimulant effect?
posted by kersplunk at 5:35 PM on July 21, 2009


It makes you feel kind of funny and tingly for about 30-40 minutes and then it wears off and you feel like shit. Basically you get a little bit of a body high for long enough for the guy to sell everything and dip out of the club.
posted by empath at 5:44 PM on July 21, 2009



Whereas marijuana smoking rates and schizophrenia rates show no correlation.

I'm always a little wary of picking out single studies to prove a point. Consider the first reference supplied in that paper, which suggests that there is in fact such a correlation in a different population: Changing incidence of psychotic disorders among the young in Zurich. If you've done a closer reading of the relevant segment of the literature than I have (and I haven't done much more than make a few pubmed searches and skim a few papers) fire away and tell me if the discrepancy is more likely to be methodological or reflective of population and environment.

Again, I want to point out that the expected risks of marijuana use are quite low, even if they truly are the magnitudes measured in the analysis I quoted, and that there is very poor justification from this standpoint for making it illegal or even focusing much attention


I just cited the one study to make the point-- but I have looked at the data and basically, the overall trends in marijuana use around the world went from virtually no use before the 1960's outside of a few populations to worldwide exposure of 60% of many populations.

At that same time, schizophrenia rates were stable or slightly declining worldwide. Higher use countries don't have higher schizophrenia risks-- the correlations just aren't there. You would expect, for example, Jamaica to have higher rates-- they don't. Jamaican immigrants to other countries do-- but immigrants in general have higher rates, suggesting a social stress link, not a marijuana link.

Is it possible that marijuana is pushing some genetically at-risk people over the edge? Sure. But the odds ratios are higher for alcohol as a cause of schizophrenia (if you are interested, I'll dig out the studies) and no one looks further or calls for prohibition as a result.
posted by Maias at 5:58 PM on July 21, 2009


Jamjam, you left out this bit from the conclusion of the study you cite:

In conclusion, we have described a consistent association between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms, including disabling psychotic disorders. The possibility that this association results from confounding factors or bias cannot be ruled out,

This is a controversial area in which people's biases play a strong role. These researchers preferred the interpretation of a causal effect; many other researchers don't buy it. I personally don't buy it because you'd think we'd have seen *some* increase in schizophrenia in the United States especially around 1978-82 when you had 2/3 of high school seniors trying the stuff (and schizophrenia onset tends to happen in late teens/early 20's), when 20 years prior, you had single digit percents.

Should you smoke pot if you have a family history of schizophrenia? I certainly wouldn't recommend it and would recommend strongly advising against it. Is there anything else we can really say given the data? Nothing more than that excessive use of anything usually isn't healthy but if you have to use something excessively, marijuana and caffeine are your two safest choices.
posted by Maias at 6:22 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


the only thing wrong with most drugs is that they're illegal - - and that I don't have any right now
posted by yesster at 6:38 PM on July 21, 2009


Fantastic book review, well done, Salon. I really want to read this book now.

Could it be that the supply of Heroin or Cocaine, like with other drugs, has become more pure/potent and consequently (or reverse causation) has fewer instantly-harmful side effects from chemicals it is cut with? Could this be the reason for the lower perceived risk? Anecdotal or not, hearing a respected peer's horror stories about a certain could be enough to deter one's use. It certainly kept me from even wanting to try certain things.

I know many a pothead who would rather not get high at all if it means smoking the really cheap, dirty weed. Could this kind of savvy be prevalent in casual users of all drugs these days? I could believe it considering how easily this information can be accessed and how forthcoming users have become with the anonymity of the internet.
posted by hellslinger at 6:45 PM on July 21, 2009


Is it possible that marijuana is pushing some genetically at-risk people over the edge? Sure. But the odds ratios are higher for alcohol as a cause of schizophrenia

Yes, this. My sister's ex husband was, from what I could glean, a previously heavy marijuana user, and turned out to be a bad schizophrenic. But I think he was also a speed user, and whether the use of either of these drugs contributed to him eventually freaking out to the point that he was was holding his ear up to a glass against the wall to try to hear whether the neighbours were talking about him, I'll never know. Neither will his ex wife or 2 kids, thank the FSM.

Perhaps people with those kinds or problems are more likely to get into drugs more heavily?

But, I am not casting dispersions either way here. I just find it interesting. I smoked a helluva lot of pot in my time, and have played with a lot of other stuff too, and I think I turned out reasonably mentally stable (.... so the voices tell me).

In fact, I wouldn't have done anything different for myself. I definitely value the perspectives that imbibing of certain substances has given me. But perhaps some people are just not cut out for it.
posted by Diag at 7:10 PM on July 21, 2009


But I think he was also a speed user, and whether the use of either of these drugs contributed to him eventually freaking out to the point that he was was holding his ear up to a glass against the wall to try to hear whether the neighbours were talking about him, I'll never know.

Classic tweaker behavior. I was never so paranoid as the few times years ago that I had been up too long with chemical assistance. Never have had that with pot. YMMV.
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on July 21, 2009


Totally Wasted: Just who is winning the War on Drugs?
posted by homunculus at 8:17 PM on July 21, 2009


Massive favourite. Bang on, mek.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 PM on July 21, 2009


Anyone who ever went to Amsterdam and ate a second space cake because the first one hadn't kicked in yet would disagree with this "more THC doesn't make you more high" business.

My guess is that you did not wait long enough to the effects to kick in. Ingested orally, THC and CBD take up to a couple hours to really reach full absorption and effect. As well, there is only so much capacity for THC and CBD reception in the brain; once the spaces are filled, there's no more to do.

You might already have been at peak capacity by the time the first cake kicked in. The second might have a chance of extending the length, but it might not have made a difference in the strength.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:35 PM on July 21, 2009


(OTOH, I have ingested and it was the most ripping holyfuckhigh that I've had. More than I wanted, by far. It ceased being groovy and became... absurdly numbing and dumbing and droolly. Simply stupid. That doesn't happen to me when vapourising or smoking.)
posted by five fresh fish at 8:38 PM on July 21, 2009


I know you're being snarky... but I think you'll be hard pressed to find statistics about anyone, college kids or other, dying from THC poisoning.

Oh, man, I couldn't agree more. I know the internet is a bad forum for sarcasm, but I just meant that ignoring dose response curves is stupid.

Of course you continue to feel effects if you increase the dose of THC, though the amount it would take to kill you is phenomenally high (that said, it's possible if you were doing insane doses of extracted cannabinoids). Alcohol, on the other hand, is a drug with which the dose-response curve and/or ED:TD ratio is much more readily apparent.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:55 PM on July 21, 2009


Wow, I don't think I've ever read anything as uninformed as that review. Kids still smoke loads of pot, cocaine never went away and LSD fell out of favor because the the government finally cut off the supply.

And this seven year cycle business is utter nonsense. One can apply whatever theory they want when they cherrypick evidence, or better, fail to provide any real evidence at all.

Last, marijuana causes schizophrenia? Dude, anyone who believes that should see a doctor.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:12 PM on July 21, 2009


The possibility that this association results from confounding factors or bias cannot be ruled out

While you refer to this quotation in terms of cognitive biases, I think that the authors were referring to bias in the statistical sense. These are interlinked in many ways, though. However, I would hope that reflections of bias in the designs of the considered studies would be at least partially smoothed over by the relatively rigid evaluation rules of the systematic review.

I personally don't buy it because you'd think we'd have seen *some* increase in schizophrenia in the United States especially around 1978-82 when you had 2/3 of high school seniors trying the stuff (and schizophrenia onset tends to happen in late teens/early 20's), when 20 years prior, you had single digit percents.

Remember, though, that the likely effect size is low, considerably lower than many other environmental or psychosocial stressors; for example, the odds ratio for schizophrenia risk given migrant status is apparently about 7 according to one of the comments on the meta-analysis. Schizophrenia prevalence over time is likely influenced by fluctuations in many variables beyond marijuana use, many to most of which are probably considerably stronger in effect. As such extracting an effect from time-series data is difficult without a substantial amount of controlling, and even then it may be impossible if there's too much noise.

Should you smoke pot if you have a family history of schizophrenia? I certainly wouldn't recommend it and would recommend strongly advising against it. Is there anything else we can really say given the data? Nothing more than that excessive use of anything usually isn't healthy but if you have to use something excessively, marijuana and caffeine are your two safest choices.

Total agreement here.
posted by monocyte at 10:20 PM on July 21, 2009


If I were going to make a guess at a drug most likely to send you batshitinsane then speed would most definately be it.
posted by Artw at 10:48 PM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mek, apologies for misinterpreting you. I understand and agree completely.

Someone else mentioned BZP: piperazines used to be legal and readily available where I lived, and they aren't terrible, if you know what you're taking. I'd be incredibly annoyed if I thought I was getting MDMA, and coming down around 5am, rather than being awake till noon, though. (And BZP seems to have a very varied range of responses compared to say MDMA; some people love it, others hate it).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:29 AM on July 22, 2009


I know someone who worked in a drug rehabilitation project in Australia. She told me that, from what she has observed, the typical "Ecstasy" pill contains no actual MDMA, and the two most common ingredients are amphetamines and heroin. Mind you, that could be specific to Australia (which is far away from the MDMA factories of Europe and has a very strict customs regime).
posted by acb at 2:20 AM on July 22, 2009


acb: is she basing that on actual hard data, or what? Because it's contrary to the research and data I've seen - see for example ecstasydata.org, which, while US-based, has lab analysis of the contents of user-submitted pills. (You will find very very few if any with heroin in). I suspect if you spoke to anyone working in harm reduction/drug information in Australia, such as Enlighten, they would tell you the same thing. (Amphetamines, yes, they certainly appear as an adulterant in 'ecstasy' pills).

I also seem to recall an Australian study which said that most pills actually did contain MDMA, though plenty didn't. Can't remember when or where it was published though, and I'm at work at the moment.

[The 'there's heroin in E' myth is really long-standing, widespread, and has been demolished over and over again, but seems to keep coming back, unfortunately. cf Erowid.org or Bluelight.ru, or maybe ecstasy.org or pillreports.com for more info]
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:21 AM on July 22, 2009


A lot of the pills that don't contain any MDMA do contain MDA, it should be noted.
posted by Dysk at 7:04 AM on July 22, 2009


LSD was the driving force with rave culture. MDMA came a few years later and its usage fit in nicely with what had already been developed.

This is actually the exact opposite to what happened. Rave culture grew out of the whole Baleric Beat thing, which picked up precisely because of the existance of MDMA in Ibiza in the mid-80's and it's importation to clubs like Shoom in London, The State in Liverpool and the Hacienda in Manchester. The scene was different to what had gone before precisely because the pharmaceuticals were different.

Which isn't to say that there weren't people who were taking acid -- MDMA cost £20 a hit in those days, as opposed to just a pound or two for a hit of blotter -- but it was Ecstasy that was the driving force, not LSD.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:22 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Warning: If you really want to hold the position that pot causes schizophrenia, get a PMID# ready.
PMID 17662880
As this review points out, it conflicts with four other reviews previously published, so you've got that problem to solve.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:00 AM on July 22, 2009


it was Ecstasy that was the driving force, not LSD.

Depends where you were, really. It took a while for MDMA to be available everywhere, some places had thriving LSD/psychedelic subcultures that picked up the rave scene before MDMA was readily available. Goa in India being the prime example, but I think also California to some degree.
posted by empath at 10:37 AM on July 22, 2009


Though the musical innovation was definitely largely driven by MDMA.
posted by empath at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2009


I think the most extraordinary thing about marijuana is the degree to which users resist and dismiss any evidence it could be bad for them or anyone else; users trust marijuana and believe it could only be doing good things for them. I don't think it's too much to say they love it and think it loves them back. If you say bad things about marijuana, it's like you're attacking their mother.

This is so striking and consistent in my experience (including this thread) that I'm compelled to wonder whether there could be something in the neurochemistry of marijuana which could be generating such irrationally high levels of trust in the benevolence of such a very potent drug.

And I think there is an excellent candidate for such an effect.

Oxytocin has gotten a lot of attention lately as the "trust hormone", and it would tie up the package quite neatly, in my opinion, if it could be demonstrated that smoking marijuana provokes the secretion of oxytocin.

However, a Google search (oxytocin cannabinoids) turns up a great deal of confusing evidence, some of which directly contradicts such a notion. Here, for example, is a study showing that exogenous cannbinoids directly suppress the secretion of oxytocin from some neurons in the hypothalamus-pituitary axis (which would nicely explain the paranoia pot can induce) and here, on the other hand, is a study suggesting that pot withdrawal symptoms are caused in part by an oxytocin deficit, which would seem to imply that pot could be promoting the secretion of oxytocin, and that without pot, there is an oxytocin deficit.

Oxytocin and cannabinoids do seem to have directly opposed roles in many tissues. During birth, for instance, oxytocin causes uterine muscle to contract, and endocannabinoids cause the myometrium of the uterine wall to relax. I don't understand how these two opposing tendencies are choreographed during birth so that the baby can actually be born, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's a teeter-totter like affair where one is in the ascendant at given time followed by the other, allowing the baby to inch its way down the canal and out into the worold.

At a guess, I would say that in the pot dependent condition regular users fall into, the body has learned to cope with the imposition of exogenous cannabinoids that would interfere with its oxytocin economy by unleashing a pre-emptive flood of oxytocin, and that this oxytocin causes users to love and trust their drug and desire to share that love with anyone in the vicinity.
posted by jamjam at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2009


I'm sorry, but that sounds like a fairly ropey layman's theory...
posted by Dysk at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2009


That is a theory, yes. Quite a theory. But since I smoke the weed I guess you can discount the fact that I have yet to see a scientific study that shows that marijuana use - even long-term marijuana use - is anywhere near as destructive physically, mentally, or socially as, say, alcohol.

Lots of things can be bad for you. Marijuana can be. Also advil. Eating too much fat, sugar, salt. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day. Etc.

Maybe I'll go outside for a little while. I hear it's nice out there.
posted by rtha at 2:19 PM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm...MDMA and oxytocin, sure. I've seen enough people become omg soulmates for life after indulging, and then come down and realize the real danger of ecstasy as they try to get out of their unwanted and awkward romantic situation.

OTOH, cannabis? I lol'd. The very fact that paranoia is one of the side effects should tell you that it's not something that creates an excessive amount of trust in the user.
posted by mullingitover at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2009


Clearly I haven't smoked enough pot to trust you jamjam, cause that sounds like a pile of bullshit to me.
posted by mek at 3:29 PM on July 22, 2009


Today's kids aren't smoking much pot because pot is a "social" drug, shared among peers who gather in parking lots and other hangouts; teens have less unstructured time now and tend to socialize online. They still get high, only on prescription drugs pilfered from adults or ordered off the Internet. "There's no social ritual involved," he observes, "just a glass of water and a pill," which "fits well into a solitary afternoon."

Dammit! We need to get our kids out on street corners again!
posted by msergott at 4:06 PM on July 22, 2009


Dave's not here, man.

Wait, what?
posted by Eideteker at 6:26 PM on July 22, 2009


"I also think there is a very strong theoretical case to be made that pot would be expected to cause (in the sense of trigger) schizophrenia.

"Cause" and "trigger" are two different actions. The only people who have come to develop schizophrenia who have smoked marijuana are already predisposed. For such people, something will trigger the schizophrenia sooner or later. Marijuana is a catalyst, but it's not the only one, and it's pretty much inevitable that something will trigger it. Additionally, a lot of people with mental illness self-medicate.

"In the first place, we already know that pot intoxication can cause temporary effects that look a lot like schizophrenia, such as hallucination and paranoia-- perhaps even the munchies:"

People who are schizophrenic and untreated often die through starvation, because they become paranoid and believe everyone is trying to poison them. This is something Mark Vonnegut experienced which he detailed in The Eden Express.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:47 AM on July 24, 2009


A lot of the pills that don't contain any MDMA do contain MDA, it should be noted.

That's true of the last few years, but it wasn't true until pretty recently. At least you're getting what you pay for, sort of, although it's not quite the same.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:48 PM on July 24, 2009


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