More like David "NUT", am I right?
October 29, 2009 11:08 AM   Subscribe

"Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, attacked the decision to make cannabis a class B drug, claiming ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol.

Nutt believes all drugs should be ranked by a "harm index" (requires login).
posted by Taft (84 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Unfortunate name for this champion of freedom.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:13 AM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


"risks of taking ecstasy no worse than riding a horse"
It's hard enough getting into a club wearing trainers, not sure this alternative will work...
posted by Abiezer at 11:14 AM on October 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Unfortunate name for this champion of freedom."

Though not as unfortunate as the Oxfordian named J. Thomas Looney.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:15 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty interesting. His opinion really seems to be the hrm index way and yet at the same time the Home Office is distancing itself from him saying "Prof Nutt's views are his own and do not reflect the views of Government. The Government is clear - we are determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimise their harm to health and society as a whole." which sounds an awful lot like saying "it's bad because it's illegal and illegal because it's bad."

Here's Nutt's article about estimating harms. While it does mean he makes statements like "taking ecstacy is as risky as riding a horse" it seems like it's useful to know what the correlation/causation data is when you're listening to yet another naysayer tell you that pot smoking causes schizophrenia [something Nutt specifically addresses]. Interesting stuff, thanks Taft.
posted by jessamyn at 11:16 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cannabis less dangerous than tobacco and alcohol? Of course. LSD? Perhaps for occasional use, but certainly not if used habitually. Ecstasy? Fuck no. It's a methamphetamine, for crap's sake.
posted by ixohoxi at 11:18 AM on October 29, 2009


I can understand dangers being attached to ecstasy, as it is VERY hard on the body, can really ruin temperature regulation, and seems to encourage those on it to neglect exactly the behaviors which are necessary to overcome its own negative effects. (That said... it sure is fun!)

LSD has dangers associated with it, too... although they're not as immediate as the temperature regulation or dehydration issues with E. It can fuck up a weak ego pretty thoroughly. (Yet, it's also a lot of fun.)

But cannabis? Pot? Dangerous? We don't even have an LD-50 for it yet.

Ridiculous to lump all those into the same category. We have determined the levels at which nicotine and alcohol will kill. We don't have that for THC at all. Someone's legislating from their gut and not from the facts.
posted by hippybear at 11:22 AM on October 29, 2009


But cannabis? Pot? Dangerous? We don't even have an LD-50 for it yet

I think it's a given that you Love Doritos at pretty much any dosage.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:24 AM on October 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


Complete agreement that pot, x, and LSD should not be grouped together. X can fuck you up, not to mention that a shit load of ecstasy on the market is made in some dude's basement and laced with all sorts of crap that can give you overnight parkinson's of worse.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:27 AM on October 29, 2009


Also when you take ecstasy you run the risk of wearing gigantic pants and day-glo plastic jewelry.
posted by The Straightener at 11:27 AM on October 29, 2009 [17 favorites]


Ecstasy? Fuck no. It's a methamphetamine, for crap's sake.

And murderball is murder!!!! Ban it!!!!

The effects of ecstasy and the effects of methamphetamine are very different. The fact that they share a structural similarity (reflected in the name) is irrelevant.

The relevant question is whether a law against a particular activity causes more or less harm than the activity itself.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:29 AM on October 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Silliness aside, I'm still surprised that the UK can't get better drugs legislation enacted; I would have thought we were far closer to a consensus on the pointless of a 'war on drugs' approach than the US (former top cops and all); where's the sticking point?
posted by Abiezer at 11:30 AM on October 29, 2009


Assuming one smokes less cannabis than tobacco, it seems reasonable to estimate it as being less harmful. Still, on a smoke per smoke basis, it isn't like pot comes with filter-tips (unless people are doing that now, I wouldn't know, not a drug of choice for me).

I laugh to see benzodiazepenes conventionally scheduled as being so harmless. I'm told it's easier to get off of heroin. Nutt's nine parameters of harm are freakin' fantastic, aside from number eight, which will eventually morph into a catch-all "think of the children" category.

It would be interesting to contemplate a world where you could buy, say, MDMA at a liquor store and know the precise, regulated dose in each amount. Or getting LSD that wasn't cut with strychnine. I had a friend who was allergic to strychnine, so he always had to struggle to find good acid that wasn't cut with it.

Oooh, you know how cartons of smokes used to have some kind of tax stamp? We could make the tax stamp for LSD the paper itself. Just put this tax stamp under your tongue ...
posted by adipocere at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I decided that I should stop taking Ecstasy when I went to urinate and then stopped in the middle after two minutes because I was getting bored.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:32 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


not to mention that a shit load of ecstasy on the market is made in some dude's basement and laced with all sorts of crap that can give you overnight parkinson's of worse.

In other words, the harm caused by the law is significant.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:33 AM on October 29, 2009 [28 favorites]


Oooh, you know how cartons of smokes used to have some kind of tax stamp?

Um... every pack of cigarettes has a tax stamp on it. This has not changed. In fact, the reason why marijuana cannot be legally sold in the US is because it falls under the US Tax Stamp act, and the government refuses to issue the required tax stamps for it.
posted by hippybear at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2009


LSD has dangers associated with it, too

Really, what dangers are medically associated with LSD? There are tons of poorly documented studies out there that "claim" LSD triggers schizophrenia and flashbacks yet there has never been any real scientific data to confirm this. It's like the myth that LSD stays in your spinal fluid forever and can be discovered through a spinal tap. In fact the LSD compound disappears from your body mere hours after you ingest it, usually before the psychotropic effects have worn off.

I really meant to post a long comment in the thread where the parents were treating their autistic child with marijuana. Some studies showed massive benefit to autistic children who underwent LSD therapy. I don't have the numbers off hand, but the positive effects were outrageously high. It's too bad our culture has associated LSD with so many fictional dangers that you can't even perform human studies with it. (Although the first major human-LSD study since the ban in the 70's started last year examining the effects on patients with cluster headaches)
posted by cyphill at 11:52 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really, what dangers are medically associated with LSD?

Medically? I am unsure there are any. Psychologically? Well, I've had my share of negative ego spiral trips, and can say personally that they suck horribly and take a long time to get over, even though I'm not an experienced psychonaut and understand what can and should be done to overcome them, both during and afterwards.

A similar situation in an inexperienced or fragile mind can have lengthy effects which are very negative. Not talking about schizophrenia. Not talking about flashbacks. Talking about the mild reprogramming which happens during an acid experience which may leave the individual with a more negative worldview than a positive one. As I said in my statement, the dangers of LSD are not as immediate as dehydration or overheating, which ARE medical dangers associated with E.
posted by hippybear at 11:57 AM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


grrr. That should be "even though I'm an experienced psychonaut"... not NOT experienced.
posted by hippybear at 11:58 AM on October 29, 2009


Yeah, not a smoker. Although my earliest memories include playing with my parents' red rubber rollers and wondering what Zig-Zag Paper was for, I somehow never picked up on smoking things. I had no idea the stamps were on the packs, as well.

Now I'm wondering about whether or not we'd have to have filters on joints.
posted by adipocere at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2009


Cannabis less dangerous than tobacco and alcohol? Of course. LSD? Perhaps for occasional use, but certainly not if used habitually. Ecstasy? Fuck no. It's a methamphetamine, for crap's sake.

As Jimmy Havok pointed out, ecstasy is not 'a methamphetamine'. It is a member of the amphetamine class, as are many other drugs. The fact that it has the word 'methamphetamine' in its name doesn't make it similar to meth.

More importantly: the death rate from alcohol is higher than for MDMA. Even among young people (for people aged 19-34 in the UK, it's 2.6 per 100,000 per year). Of course, the rate is much higher for older people, as years of abuse take their toll. For ecstasy? It's a lot harder to judge, because it's harder to tell (a) how many people use ecstasy; (b) whether they actually take MDMA, or some other drug sold as ecstasy, and (c) whether they died from ecstasy itself, or from some other drug that they took at the same time*. But this very recent UK article [big PDF] quotes estimates ranging from 2 to 53 per 100,000 users**, and of less than 1 per million in population terms. And this suggests that the rate of death for amphetamines (not just MDMA) is around 5 per million.

*I've seen the same death blamed on different drugs, depending on how the person reporting it wanted to spin the news.
** reported as 0.2 per 10,000, I changed to make it easier to compare with the alcohol figure).
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:19 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


LSD that wasn't cut with strychnine

This is a myth
This is intuitively backed up by the fact that a 5mm x 5mm "standard" square of blotter LSD only weighs about 2mg and if the paper itself was made completely out of pure strychnine it is still on the very low end of Strychnine's threshold of activity
posted by Sparx at 12:26 PM on October 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think it's awesome that such a relatively moderate, liberal guy can be on the country's "Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs." Imagine if like US NIDA included a couple people so open-minded.
posted by grobstein at 12:27 PM on October 29, 2009


adipocere: "Assuming one smokes less cannabis than tobacco, it seems reasonable to estimate it as being less harmful. Still, on a smoke per smoke basis, it isn't like pot comes with filter-tips (unless people are doing that now, I wouldn't know, not a drug of choice for me).

Actually, I think most studies say that the filter doesn't really do anything to prevent cancer. The benefits of having a slightly filtered smoke are neatly canceled out by the fact that people draw the smoke deeper into their lungs.
posted by jefeweiss at 12:27 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


LSD? Perhaps for occasional use, but certainly not if used habitually.

Cite, please. Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:35 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, filter tip is to cancer as diet soda is to weight loss, in that the lack of some critical sensation causes a compensatory increase in indulgence? How ... weird. How carcinogenic is pot, anyway?

I don't know what they cut LSD with, but you could watch the hives march across Ken's skin if he took the wrong stuff. (Ken did a lot of acid. A lot.) He was allergic to damn near everything, hence the epi-pen. I'd call him up and ask him, but he's dead.
posted by adipocere at 12:45 PM on October 29, 2009


Incidentally, that second link in the OP is kinda weird, because Nutt has made these claims before, see here for example, or here (from early 2007!). So it's hardly a new, shocking claim: he has been stating the truth as he sees it, from his research, for a long time now (and been ignored by the government for just as long). Still, just for trying, the guy is one of my heroes.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:46 PM on October 29, 2009


"not to mention that a shit load of ecstasy on the market is made in some dude's basement and laced with all sorts of crap"

Unfortunately the same thing can be said for a lot of pot. Basement grow operations aren't necessarily the cleanest things around either. :-)
posted by drstein at 1:05 PM on October 29, 2009


The effects of ecstasy and the effects of methamphetamine are very different. The fact that they share a structural similarity (reflected in the name) is irrelevant.

This isn't really true. It would be more correct to say that the effects of MDMA are a superset of those you get with other amphetamines. Like them it has noradrenergic and dopaminergic effects, but it ALSO acts to block serotonin uptake (and actively dumps serotonin into the synapse as well by reversing the usual action of the serotonin transporter).
posted by killdevil at 1:06 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Complete agreement that pot, x, and LSD should not be grouped together.

This is true not only for MDMA, but for all values of x.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:07 PM on October 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


@ : I don't know what they cut LSD with, but you could watch the hives march across Ken's skin if he took the wrong stuff.

Most LSD isn't cut with anything. In fact most of what you can buy on the street isn't even LSD. There is a whole spectrum of Lysergic Acids that have psychoactive properties. LSD-25 requires a very specific extraction and synthesis from a precursor. It's easy for an unskilled chemist to get lysergic acids out of a plant that contains them (morning glory, Hawaiian rosewood, etc), but not so easy to go from there to an LS-Diethylamine. Generally once the street pharmacist gets his Lysergics out he just impregnantes his blotter papers with that and sells it off. It's good enough as far as anyone who didn't live through the sixties in San Fransisco is concerned. Because of the wide spectrum of lysergics, there are widely varying effects.

To sum up, there is practically no drug you can "cut" LSD with that matches the weight and the price. If you have a piece of blotter paper the cheapest psychoactive you can put on it is just plain old Lysergic soup.

Another thing to note is that Lysergic acids are active at doses orders of magnitudes lower than other drugs. They themselves aren't the psychoactive component: they merely trigger a chemical cascade in the human brain to release a number of tryptamines and other stored chemicals. This is why the effective dose rises exponentially during short term use.

Also, does no one know what Erowid is for anymore?

Sorry about your friend.
posted by clarknova at 1:07 PM on October 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


Unfortunately the same thing can be said for a lot of pot. Basement grow operations aren't necessarily the cleanest things around either. :-)

Uhh, yeah, that's true. I'm sure there are a lot of grow ops that aren't sterile, but I've heard of a crop that was compromised with a harmful bacterial/fungal infection. That's not to say that it's impossible, but it seems pretty unlikely.

Poorly synthesized pot isn't really an issue, since you don't synthesize it, but poorly synthesized MDMA can be even more neurotoxic than the pure version.

I'm not suggesting that MDMA is unhealthy at reasonable doses, administered infrequently, but it is classified as a neurotoxin by a number of (potentially misinformed, but still credible) neuropsychopharmacologists.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:11 PM on October 29, 2009


“taking ecstacy is as risky as riding a horse”
Just ask Christopher Reeve.

The illegality of a given drug is debatable. While I don’t do anything harder than quercetin (I like them apples) I’m pretty open to legalization of a variety of things that seem pretty harmless (marijuana f’rinstnce).
What’s odd is that we don’t have rational policy based on scientific study. I don’t see how there can be any debate on that at all. The information is absolutely necessary, and yet, studies on substances like LSD, or the industrial uses of marijuana (hemp is outstanding rope) etc. are completely suppressed.
Just about anything can be dangerous. Ecstasy, booze, etc. Buddy of mine used to drive around and smoke dope – worse IMHO than being on a cell phone. But ignorance is more dangerous by far.
Whether his particular system is great or screwy, he’s absolutely right that it’s too politicized for a public health issue.

It’s not like people are going to stop smoking marijuana. It’s there. F’ing test it and give us a valid scientific analysis.

On the other hand they have a hard time with specifically known substances that people actually need. I took some supplements the other day, reading the warning from the FDA that says they can’t confirm the product actually does anything or is worthwhile in anyway or won’t make your head asplode and blah blah blah, and I can only think “well what the hell good are you then?” 'Hey, we know your body needs ‘x’ amount of vitamin E, but we can’t assure you that a big bottle labeled “Vitamin E” will actually deliver vitamin E to your system….but uh, marijuana will make you kill your children.'
posted by Smedleyman at 1:22 PM on October 29, 2009


It's all in the dosage, people!

The most dangerous plant in the world isn't pot, it's the water lily.

Just sit underneath it for five minutes, and the dosage of di-hydrogen monoxide you get will kill you!
posted by DreamerFi at 1:27 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


and the dosage of di-hydrogen monoxide you get will kill you!

We have to stop this chemical menace!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 PM on October 29, 2009


What’s odd is that we don’t have rational policy based on scientific study.

This is not "odd" in the least when you realize that the point of US drug policy is and always has been to Fight Drugs, not to protect people or improve public health. The very foundation of the modern Drug War rests on ignoring the results of a study Nixon commissioned himself, after all.

We don't have a rational policy based on scientific study because that would mean legalizing or decriminalizing most, if not all, illegal drugs -- it's that simple. Hell, we take a knee-jerk line against adopting a rational policy based on common goddamn sense, much less science.
posted by vorfeed at 1:35 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


We have to stop this chemical menace!

And thus the Drug War was born - thank you for making my point :-)

posted by DreamerFi at 1:38 PM on October 29, 2009


How carcinogenic is pot, anyway?

Negatively, if recent news stories are to be believed.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 1:40 PM on October 29, 2009


you could watch the hives march across Ken's skin if he took the wrong stuff.

It's not surprising that psychosomatic effects would be enhanced on LSD.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:43 PM on October 29, 2009


Ecstasy? Fuck no. It's a methamphetamine, for crap's sake.

Jesus. Ok, it's an amphetamine, true. Now: How many people currently reading this thread do you think take amphetamines on a daily basis?

I suspect that number is significant. I also know that the odds of those people dying from their amphetamines is significantly less than the odds of smokers reading this thread dying from smoking.

It's nice to see that Reefer Madness is alive and well, though.
posted by Justinian at 1:48 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


How carcinogenic is pot, anyway?

Depends on if you're using an icewater bong or rolling up doobies, of course.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:50 PM on October 29, 2009


The flaw in the argument is the false premise that the true motive behind the drug laws is to safeguard the user.
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:04 PM on October 29, 2009


Nah, Ken was a fairly sickly dude, hence his early death. His allergies were numerous and legendary. I was never sure if his strategy of using pot (inhaled through a bong) to relax his lungs hastened or delayed his death from asthma. He swore by it, though, and was ticked that he had to become a drug dealer to obtain and finance what he considered to be requisite medication. In any case, doesn't LSD take about ninety minutes to kick in? His hives would arrive far, far before that.

I guess what I'm getting at is that, with the current legal status, you have no idea what you're getting. For all I know, we received things which were not LSD. Or something was left over in the manufacturing process. Or someone had a dirty piece of glassware in there, somewhere. Or someone carried it in his armpit. It could be absolutely anything you're getting in that paper, and it doesn't have to be cheapness so much as carelessness that does it.

My first trip was on something which was supposedly psilocybin, extracted onto paper, which is rather rare, but whose effects never matched any of my subsequent trips when I got ahold of what I was told was the same stuff. Nor did the shrooms I've had match up to it, in any fashion, even acknowledging that it's rather difficult to be objective about such things.

It's a shame, because whatever that stuff was, I would not mind doing that about once a year or so. And I would cheerfully pay taxes on it! And I wouldn't drive anywhere, honest.
posted by adipocere at 2:21 PM on October 29, 2009


the government refuses to issue the required tax stamps for it.

Maybe the Feds won't, but Alabama does.

Buddy of mine used to drive around and smoke dope – worse IMHO than being on a cell phone.

Admittedly, not the best idea in the world, but marijuana impairs driving ability less than alcohol and "THC's effects on road-tracking after doses up to 300 g/kg never exceeded alcohol's at BACs of 0.08%; and, were in no way unusual compared to many medicinal drugs'."

Motorists talking on the phone, however, "are as likely to cause an accident as someone with a .08 blood alcohol content."
posted by fogovonslack at 2:37 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It’s there. F’ing test it and give us a valid scientific analysis.

I would be willing to bet that there are any number of tests and studies that have probably already been done, repeatedly. My guess is that they keep coming back to the same point that there isn't any valid evidence that it's harmful in any quantifiable way, and they don't want to release this information because it would completely undercut efforts to maintain it's illegality.

Just saying this makes me feel like I should be signing up for a tin-foil hat, but I can't imagine that the government wouldn't have done everything possible to prove that it's illegality should have been maintained for the past 70 or so years.
posted by quin at 2:40 PM on October 29, 2009


Joe Beese: "I decided that I should stop taking Ecstasy when I went to urinate and then stopped in the middle after two minutes because I was getting bored."

Dude. You're on ecstasy. How the hell can that be boring? EVERYTHING is better with E. I hope you don't mean that you were still pissing, but just zipped up your pants cuz it was boring, while urinating inside yourself.
posted by symbioid at 2:43 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


A fine example of anti-drug research:
...for five minutes, the monkeys were only permitted to breathe in the cannabis smoke equivalent to that given off by sixty three joints! Under such conditions, the animals had infact died from asphyxiation. Smoke from burning wood would have caused the same brain damage.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:53 PM on October 29, 2009


"I decided that I should stop taking Ecstasy when I went to urinate and then stopped in the middle after two minutes because I was getting bored."

I think the real question is "who pees for 2 full minutes?"
posted by explosion at 3:18 PM on October 29, 2009


Austin Powers?
posted by kirkaracha at 4:14 PM on October 29, 2009


Ecstasy? Fuck no. It's a methamphetamine, for crap's sake.

You're wrong, it's not. It is a type of amphetamine, but it hasn't been shown to be that harmful. here's the wikipedia article on the effects It's hypothesized that there could be some long term effects on serotonin, and also hypothosized that the effect would only be temporary. Levels but nothing particularly conclusive. Also people over heat or over hydrate. But there isn't anything like the negative of methamphetamine.

The full name of the drug is 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine. There is only one "kind" of methamphetamine.
posted by delmoi at 5:20 PM on October 29, 2009


The problem with pot isn't that it's unhealthy, but that it is anti-prosperity, and achievement. It makes people lazy, it makes people sleep in and miss appointments.

The safety of it isn't important - after all, we're all adults. The only safety concern is between using it and not using it, and not favourably comparing it to cigarettes so 14 year olds think it is OK.
posted by niccolo at 5:34 PM on October 29, 2009


The problem with pot isn't that it's unhealthy, but that it is anti-prosperity, and achievement. It makes people lazy, it makes people sleep in and miss appointments.

Overindulgence can cause those things, but obviously alcohol does the same, and on a much larger scale probably. But, you'll probably see a chorus of refutations of that weak assessment. It's illegal because it's big business to keep it illegal. It was originally made illegal because of racism and fear of certain immigrants who used it. Some also posit that drugs like pot and LSD are kept illegal because they cause people to question notions of authority and the state.

But, just saying it makes people lazy is itself a lazy argument. There are lazy stoners, but I've met plenty of occasional to regular tokers who were highly motivated and successful.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:57 PM on October 29, 2009


This whole thing is so tiresome. Notions of harm minimisation, science and reasoned debate are pretty much irrelevant, and have been for a very long time. What matters is fashion amongst voters; enough voters believe Drugs Are Bad that any politician who tries to change anything is vilified.

The situation will only change when the fashion changes and/or the older votes in thrall to the prejudice die out. If the fashion does change, it will be because it is recognized that money spent on prohibition could be put to better use (i.e. preventing serious crimes), that illegal drugs have medicinal value (cannabis for all sorts, MDMA/LSD for PTSD and similar, etc.), and finally the eventual the realization that these drugs just aren't that darn harmful.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:47 PM on October 29, 2009


Ecstasy and LSD both have significant clinical applications which would undoubtedly outweigh their (almost nonexistent) potential risks as legal prescriptions. Ecstasy has shown exceptional promise in treating various emotional and psychological disorders when used in combination with psychotherapy, most notably PTSD. LSD is well-established as a migraine treatment and could have all sorts of other applications - the research simply hasn't been done.

I think it's remarkable that we are happy to put dozens - nay, hundreds - of psychoactive chemicals in our bodies simply because Big Pharma wants us to, but pot, MDMA, LSD, psylocybin mushrooms, various cacti, etc... that shit will kill you, man!
posted by mek at 6:49 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


The guardian article niccolo linked to is a good example of the media's role in the perpetuation of the Drugs Are Bad fashion - devoid of any real reasoning or thought, it simply strings together a bunch of scary statements in a faux-scientific manner, neatly constructed to confirm the prevailing fashion against the currently popular counter-arguements.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:55 PM on October 29, 2009


It's weird how people are all worked up about LSD again. I know people a dropped acid with twenty years ago who talk about it now like those squares in 1973 safety films. Becuase now they have kids.

Well I'm here to tell you kids that acid when done in moderation and in the safe confines of purple buffalo gas masks has a freak spider zoom sound over and can be a constructive yepnode diagram of internal heretical caw caw caw.

Anyway. I smell yellow? Can anybody else smell yellow?
posted by tkchrist at 7:03 PM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, now that we've read what Dr. Nutt has to say, I would like to hear from Councilman Les Winan.
posted by ignignokt at 9:24 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess what I'm getting at is that, with the current legal status, you have no idea what you're getting. For all I know, we received things which were not LSD. Or something was left over in the manufacturing process. Or someone had a dirty piece of glassware in there, somewhere. Or someone carried it in his armpit. It could be absolutely anything you're getting in that paper, and it doesn't have to be cheapness so much as carelessness that does it.

I think this was a part of clarknova's point. The LD-50 of almost anything you could lace or contaminate LSD with is too high, LSD doses are too small to be laced or contaminated with an adequate amount of anything to be harmful to humans.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:32 PM on October 29, 2009


"I smell yellow? Can anybody else smell yellow?"

Sounds like a rare form of synesthesia. You might want to get that checked out. It might be a tumor.
posted by Mitheral at 11:53 PM on October 29, 2009


This isn't really true. It would be more correct to say that the effects of MDMA are a superset of those you get with other amphetamines. Like them it has noradrenergic and dopaminergic effects, but it ALSO acts to block serotonin uptake (and actively dumps serotonin into the synapse as well by reversing the usual action of the serotonin transporter).


Good comment; my original post was poorly worded (due to trying to eat dinner and find cites for the mortality rates at the same time). Still, there are many amphetamines that are much closer to MDMA in their effects than meth is (methylone or 4-FA spring to mind, or the other MDxx drugs), and there's no such class as 'methamphetamines', which were the points I was trying to get to.
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:37 AM on October 30, 2009


I heard one politician give a good line on this: “The Government should either listen to its experts or save money by appointing a committee of tabloid newspaper editors instead.”
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 3:12 AM on October 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


adipocere: "Assuming one smokes less cannabis than tobacco, it seems reasonable to estimate it as being less harmful. Still, on a smoke per smoke basis, it isn't like pot comes with filter-tips (unless people are doing that now, I wouldn't know, not a drug of choice for me).

That's still not an argument for tobacco or against cannabis, but an argument for way that tobacco has been industrialized and manufactured under consent of the nation, while cannabis remains a "loose leaf" product.

jefeweiss: Actually, I think most studies say that the filter doesn't really do anything to prevent cancer. The benefits of having a slightly filtered smoke are neatly canceled out by the fact that people draw the smoke deeper into their lungs.

Isn't the idea of a filter just to stop large particles from entering your lungs anyway?
posted by tybeet at 6:43 AM on October 30, 2009


Well, now that we've read what Dr. Nutt has to say, I would like to hear from Councilman Les Winan.

I think he should do more thinkin'.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:04 AM on October 30, 2009


The argument to keep LSD illegal in the uk due to psychological risks that come from a bad trip are pretty suspect, considering substances like Fly Argaric and Salvia Divinatorum are still legal. I'm not hugely experienced in these areas, but I did raw mushrooms when they were legal, and I did Salvia once mushrooms were illegal. The Salvia gave me maybe twenty minutes of the worst trip I've ever had, and sent me home whimpering like a little girl.

I remember later asking my dad why Salvia was legal while Mushrooms and LSD weren't, and he explained to me that in short? It was because no one wanted to do the shit that was still allowed.
posted by emperor.seamus at 7:40 AM on October 30, 2009


I am actually bothered with the idea of LSD being freely available for cheap, with no legal risks. I fear that, without any controls at all, it would become too much a party drug, at least for awhile. Folks would be getting off, for sure, but partying like that doesn't tend to bring anyone any real benefit beyond that of enjoying a period of time. Seems like of wasteful.

Then you'd get those folks who would be all about doing it again, right now. Why come down, when staying up is so easy, right? I don't know, beyond anecdote, what would happen to people doing that. The one person who described doing this made it clear it wasn't an especially good thing. I could easily imagine that some folks would get rather scrambled, and might get themselves into the state called "no turn unstoned".
posted by Goofyy at 10:19 AM on October 30, 2009


From the BBC: Drugs adviser sacked for comments.
posted by immlass at 10:35 AM on October 30, 2009


Then you'd get those folks who would be all about doing it again, right now. Why come down, when staying up is so easy, right? I don't know, beyond anecdote, what would happen to people doing that. The one person who described doing this made it clear it wasn't an especially good thing. I could easily imagine that some folks would get rather scrambled, and might get themselves into the state called "no turn unstoned".

That's all pretty just made up right there. LSD usage tends to drop off pretty quickly among the party set when E is far more conducive to generating the desired effect. As for "no turn unstoned"....that sounds a lot like that "legally insane after X acid trips" crap. There have and will be so-called acid casualties, but who is to say those people wouldn't have found some other drug or habit to make them unfit for day to day life?

I'm not a fan of unhinged LSD use, but I don't think we necessarily need priests doctors controlling access. Just decriminalize it.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 AM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am actually bothered with the idea of LSD being freely available for cheap

And what happens now is? OK there's legal risks, but when prohibition fails to reduce supply you have widely available, completely uncontrolled market: the worst of all worlds - except perhaps its even worse when prohibition does reduce supply but not demand, stimulating poor quality substitutes and adulteration (more often seen at the cocaine/heroin end of things): the worst of all worst of all worlds perhaps.

I'm not a fan of unhinged LSD use

I thought that was the point... but basically I agree, LSD users have had to work it out for themselves for the last 40 years, I dont see what the government can bring to the table except a hands off approach
posted by criticalbill at 11:47 AM on October 30, 2009


Then you'd get those folks who would be all about doing it again, right now. Why come down, when staying up is so easy, right? I don't know, beyond anecdote, what would happen to people doing that.

Well I'll tell you right now. If you take LSD for more than a few days continuously, it stops working. Tolerance grows very rapidly with psychedelics. However people do suffer mental disturbance after taking psychedelic drugs, especially in bad environments or without proper education, things that are made more likely by prohibition.

Yes people can take too much, like they can take too much of anything. And they can harm themselves. But still for theloveofgod how much longer do we have to have this argument: it is still worse to have the drug market in the hands of criminals than in the hands of the state.
posted by criticalbill at 11:57 AM on October 30, 2009


The Salvia gave me maybe twenty minutes of the worst trip I've ever had, and sent me home whimpering like a little girl.

Yeah, when I smoked "enough" Salvia, it pretty much knocked me on my ass. I haven't really had any "bad trips" (definitely had some bad "parts" of trips) but it was close.

I was in the dark, watching sports highlights with a friend, when the sportscaster became "muppetized" and that muppetization slowly spread outward in waves from the TV to the room, slowly but surely engulfing me in its fuzzy, puppet darkness. I found myself unable to move or even close my mouth. I was pretty sure I was going to die.

My friend and I (who both smoke more than our fair share of weed) looked at each other after and said "can you believe this shit is legal?" I gotta assume that one day it will be criminalized.

If you take LSD for more than a few days continuously, it stops working.

I don't know about you, but if I take LSD or ecstacy, it doesn't really work again for another 3-4 days. Trust me, I've tried. I've hippie-flipped (def. #2) and candy-flipped, and tried something the day after with nearly zero effect.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:25 PM on October 30, 2009


I am actually bothered with the idea of LSD being freely available for cheap, with no legal risks. I fear that, without any controls at all, it would become too much a party drug, at least for awhile. Folks would be getting off, for sure, but partying like that doesn't tend to bring anyone any real benefit beyond that of enjoying a period of time. Seems like of wasteful.

I used to take trips every major solar holiday (4x a year) to perform sort of a ctrl-alt-del reboot for myself. I would nearly always trip during the day, would arrange art supplies and music and films and such ahead of time, would usually do it with a small circle of friends, and nearly always achieved some kind of personal insight which was a bonus to my daily life as I live it.

In a therapeutic setting such as that, I would be happy to have it available again for quarterly use. It really helped me keep my hippie soul on track, and I miss it.
posted by hippybear at 12:50 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was in the dark, watching sports highlights with a friend, when the sportscaster became "muppetized" and that muppetization slowly spread outward in waves from the TV to the room, slowly but surely engulfing me in its fuzzy, puppet darkness. I found myself unable to move or even close my mouth. I was pretty sure I was going to die.

I actually had a very similar experience to this! Not the muppet bit, but In terms of mood! I was in my friends room listening to music, and I watched the walls close in around me. When I looked at my friend It looked to me like he was someone wearing a hard plastic mask of his face, and I got this intense fear that I'd been trapped in a fake life, and that I would be trapped there forever.

It's the one trip of my life that I've had to be talked down from, as I ended up aiming a mighty, slow motion punch at my friend in an attempt to escape from the scary world, and instead he just held my hand and told me that it was okay, and it wasn't real and I spent the next ten minutes curled up on the bed being reassured, until the pink finally went away.
posted by emperor.seamus at 3:11 PM on October 30, 2009


Or it really could be that this life you think you live is really fake and the drug opened you up to a taste of a more unfiltered reality and your mind just didn't know what to do with it. We live in a memory of a memory, usually, and rarely go outside.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on October 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


OT on synesthesia: a friend of mine was hit by a car and lost her sense of smell and taste. Very bad, she got food poisoning on a couple of occasions because of it. After about two years, she started to get sensations from tastes again...except they were musical. She said chocolate seemed like a blues chord. Eventually she got taste and smell back, normally enough that she wasn't handicapped any more.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:29 PM on October 30, 2009


any real benefit beyond that of enjoying a period of time. Seems like of wasteful.

Oh, horrors!

As far as no turn unstoned, when I was in high school, I had a source of LSD that ran to about $0.75/hit. Sold most of it for $2, ate and shared a lot. At first, I got so I had to take a hit just to be normal, and more and more to get high. Then I figured it didn't make any sense to do it more than once a week...then once a month...then twice a year. Now I can't get it, so I do it about once a decade. I had good trips and bad trips, but never one that I didn't feel was educational in the end. I learned a lot along the way about maintaining easy control over my own state of mind, something I'd always had a hard time with when I was younger.

I certainly didn't perfect my mind or overcome teenage angst, but with the perspective of many years behind me, I think I improved my relationship with reality.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:45 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only safety concern is between using it and not using it, and not favourably comparing it to cigarettes so 14 year olds think it is OK.

14 year olds are better off smoking weed then nicotine.
posted by delmoi at 11:28 PM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, filter tip is to cancer as diet soda is to weight loss, in that the lack of some critical sensation causes a compensatory increase in indulgence?

Except that, no matter how much diet soda you drink, you are never consuming corn syrup. You may be killing yourself with nutrasweet or aspartame, but it's still diet soda.
posted by bingo at 3:25 PM on October 31, 2009


Oh snap, now it's about corn syrup.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:41 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Two more stories about the fallout from Nutt's firing: Drugs adviser was wrong - Johnson (Johnson is the Home Secretary) and Government drugs adviser resigns about another scientist on the same advisory board quitting in protest of the firing.
posted by immlass at 6:31 AM on November 1, 2009




"The government is free to take our advice and reject it if they wish but it does raise the question of what is the purpose of the advisory council which we serve on in our own time, if our advice is consistently ignored," he said.

The purpose of such an advisory board, it would seem, is to give an illusion of legitimacy to what is in fact populist legislation passed solely to win conservative votes.

Good on Nutt et al.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:02 PM on November 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is it late enough in the thread to joke about Mr. Nutt getting sacked? No? Sorry.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 PM on November 1, 2009


The Daily Mail goes all Onion-y on us.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:50 AM on November 3, 2009 [2 favorites]




Evan Harris MP takes some issue with Alan Johnson's version of events.

You will see from the litany of errors in your remarks that it is now essential that you return to the chamber to correct them. I look forward to your response.

posted by Jakey at 4:51 AM on November 10, 2009


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