Tuesday conversation: drugs.

I’m going to start a trend of having a dedicated conversation topic every Tuesday.

Today’s conversation is drugs.  Have you done them?  Which ones?  Which would you do again/not do again?

Should they be legal?  Which ones?


FAITH & GAY RIGHTS: Matt Barber: Gay marriage is rooted in fraud and child rape.
Quick thoughts on "the will to power."
FAITH: The most ironic pair of facebook posts I've ever seen.
PERSONAL: Taking off for the day.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • JG

    I’ve done weed, cocaine, lsd and mushrooms.

    I do weed every day,,, once in the morning… and then when i arrive home at night.
    In my country (argentina)theres currently a bill proyect regarding the legalization of weed for personal use, and of course its beign taken into account the right of possesing your own plants (there’s no medical contemplation of MJ use here)


    Kind Regards JT!

    JG from Argentina.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Want to describe what all of those feel like when used for anybody else who may be reading?

      • JG

        Sure JT,

        Weed: Euphoria at first, but then a peacefull senstation of tranquility and almost happyness. Its like that blissfull sensation when you take a hot baththub before going into recently made bed.

        Cocaine: It moves you all the way up, euphoria, you cannot stop talking, you jaw might get a lil’ stiff, you dont want to eat, and of course, you need to do several lines in order to keep the feeling all night long. In my particular case, it moved me to get shitfaced xD. I do coke once or twice a year.

        LSD: It hits you over time, but as we say with my friends, LSD requires ‘feeding’ in order to get fully blown, and by feeded i mean by alcohol or weed, they empower the effect.
        The effect may also change in relation with the enviroment you’re in when you do it, for example, in a party, on LSD, you dont wanna stop dancing.
        In my personal exp, its like the first euphoria of weed, but for like 6 to 8 hours straight.


      • http://pzer0.com Dan

        If you’re interested in first-hand accounts of drug use, check http://www.erowid.org/experiences/

        Also, reddit.com/r/drugs

  • Randomfactor

    Low-dose ethanol only. Come from a family of alcoholic smokers.

    Have absolutely no desire to use cannabis, but no problem with it being legal for adults. I could also accept a law which treated alcohol and cannabis equivalently.

  • John

    I have not done any illegal drugs. I have enough experience with the mind altering effects of alcohol and strong prescription painkillers (when I had my wisdom teeth out) to know that high levels of futzing with my brain chemicals scares me. I am aware that many illegal drugs can be quite mild – varieties of pot, for example. Yet the potential impact to my career due to the legality of these substances, and the resulting risky, unregulated market, keeps me from trying them.

    Should they be illegal? The current laws seem both hypocritical and ineffective. I think regulation would work better than bans.

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve done everything, every way. I’m clean now. I don’t drink, smoke or use drugs because it tends to get out of hand and I lose control of my life. I will forever have a chip on my shoulder due to 12 step communities rescuing and converting me in my desperation. I’m grateful I finally broke free but I’m pissed for the time I lost and sad for all those atheists that are converted in their weakest hour. All drugs should be legal and taxable. It’s an illusion of control to do otherwise and illegal drugs are sometimes easier to get than legal ones do its a waste of good money and resources

  • Scott

    I’ve tried quite a few in my younger years, but I prefer pot, honestly. I think the prohibition is silly and support both medical and recreational use.

    I’ve read a lot of AMAs and Ask/Tells on SA about harder drug use and as such will never try heroin or meth. I’m unsure how I feel about their legality, too.

  • Urban

    Seems to me that most of the adverse societal effects of drugs are *because* they are illegal. If they were legal they would be regulated and taxed. Toxic mixes and variants would be rare, strenth of the drugs would be predictable leading to less danger to the users.

  • Mark

    Weed, LSD, Mushrooms, MDMA, Cocaine.

    I’d do them all again. All drugs should be legal.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      For those who have never done them, can you describe what they felt like and why you’d do them again? :)

  • King Mab

    I’ll try just about anything except for meth. That just seems like a terrible idea. I used to smoke pot almost every day, I don’t anymore because I do medical studies and it stays in your body for too long. There is a special place in my heart for opiates, although I don’t go crazy with them. Once they stop being effective I lay off of them for a few months, but I get them so infrequently that that’s never a problem. I LOVE MDMA. I also really enjoy hallucinogens. But, now that I’m an adult, and now that I’m not in college anymore, I never get to do them. And just like alcohol, I really dread feeling like shit the day after.

    • Randomfactor

      MDMA is probably the only drug I’d be interested in trying, if the occasion arose.

  • http://pzer0.com Dan

    Yes, I’ve done them. In the words of Mitch Hedberg, “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.”

    I currently use the following drugs:
    - Marijuana (still partake, almost daily)
    - Psilocybin mushrooms (still partake very infrequently, maybe 2-3 times per year at the most)

    In the past, I’ve used:
    - LSD
    - MDMA (ecstasy)
    - Cocaine
    - Methamphetamine
    - Ketamine
    - Opium
    - I’ve also taken a few different prescription painkillers, although I’m not fond of them because of how easy they are to acquire vs the potential for addiction.

    Interestingly enough, I never really felt much of a desire to abuse any of the “harder” drugs I’ve done. Most of the drugs that seem to be the standard life-ruiners, like cocaine or meth, I’ve done just a handful of times, and always when the opportunity presented itself, rather than being something that I sought out. The one exception is ecstasy, which I have probably used at least 50 times, possibly more. The last time I used it was about a year and a half ago, after the unexpected and sudden death of my fiancee. I have read about MDMA being used to treat depression and PTSD, and I did find the experience to be very calming and possibly beneficial in the recovery process.

    I am convinced that the world would be a better place (and have less religion) if more people smoked weed, tripped on mushrooms, or took X. Weed makes you thoughtful, and I tend to spend a lot of time considering the viewpoints and perspectives of others when I’m high. Mushrooms and X provide feelings of euphoria and connectedness that are reminiscent of a religious experience. In fact, as a former believer that has been an atheist for over a decade, I was shocked at how similar a mushroom trip is to a deeply intense religious experience. I felt an overwhelming sense of togetherness, like the universe and I were in sync with one another for the briefest of moments. I think that if more people understood the effect that chemicals can have on our perception of self and the universe, and even provide similar feelings of elation that believers claim as the hand of god, that they would be more skeptical about such “proof” of god as statements like “I just *feel* him in my heart, I know it to be true.”

  • christinastephens

    SWIM* really likes LSD. SWIM was introduced to LSD by a really awesome friend, and counts it among SWIM’s most important and meaningful experiences.

    However, SWIM also is aware that since LSD reacts with the serotoninergic and dopaminergic systems in the brain, flooding your brain with the same chemicals your brain uses to tell you, “pay attention, this is important!” and so SWIM is bemused by an experience being important and significant in SWIM’s life when part of that experience involves ingesting a drug that makes one feel like whatever one is doing at the time is important and meaningful.

    *(Someone Who Isn’t Me)

  • http://peicurmudgeon.wordpress.com/ peicurmudgeon

    I have never found any real justification that I could agree with for not having nearly all drugs legalized and regulated. The goal for most anti-drug campaigners is to prevent any high. As soon as a new source of high comes on the scene, regulators cry to pass new legislation even before any studies are done on the relative harmfulness of the drug.

  • Nate Frein

    You would have thought we would have learned our lessons from Prohibition, but apparently not…

    I’ve tried ecstasy once, but I probably wouldn’t do it again. I personally find the smoke from marijuana to be heavy and sickeningly sweet. I care for it less than I do cigarette smoke (which gives me headaches).

    None of this means that I have any issue with people who do use the stuff. I really don’t care. I really don’t see a moral difference between someone who does a shitty job because they’re stoned or because they just don’t give a crap.

    I honestly think that legalizing, regulating, and taxing it is in our best interests. I don’t think it’s a panacea, and I know that there are bootleg tobacco and alcohol industries. But enforcement agencies don’t have to devote resources to tracking down every tobacco user and corner liquor store, which means resources can be better devoted at targeting the bootleg shit. The same applies to drugs. Provide legal channels for drugs in the states and the bulk of the stuff sold will be legal.

    I think punishing a person for being stoned and therefore *might* do something is ridiculous. People need to be punished for what they do, not what they have the potential to do.

  • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

    I smoke pot almost daily and drink alcohol almost daily too.

    I think all drugs should be legal and regulated (like alcohol), although I’m not interested in doing anything more than what I already do/drink.

  • M

    Other than ethanol and caffeine, nope. I tried cannabis once (in Jamaica, with my in-laws and a Rasta friend of theirs), and it wasn’t for me. I hate smoke of all kinds, first off, so I wasn’t a fan of the burning sensation in my throat and bronchial tubes. It made me feel very relaxed, but not drowsy. I didn’t experience any other effects, but it could be because I only took two puffs of it.

    While it’s not my cup of tea, I absolutely support it being legal for people who do enjoy it.

    I don’t support the legalization of any other recreational drugs, but my opinion may change if I see evidence that they can be produced in forms that are safe for consumption.

  • Taneth

    I have never used drugs myself, nor do I have any desire to for personal reasons. However, it does not make sense for them to be illegal when ciggies and booze are already legal. As others have said, I really have yet to hear a reason why the drugs should be illegal that couldn’t just as easily be applied to cigarettes and alcohol.

  • Baal

    I dislike the loss of physical control that comes from drinking and my lungs are hype-sensitive to pretty much anything. That said, I don’t see a role for the State beyond what we have for alcohol for pot, opioids, or hallucinogens (i’m a bit wafflely, decriminalization may be enough to fix the profit motive and major harms of having harsh punishment for ‘victim less’ crime). I’m not nearly so relaxed about meth (crocodile or related other stuff) – everyone who uses it for a while will have nasty ugly and unhealthy changes to their tissues. I’m really happy we don’t have betel nut users in the US – it’s fucking nasty when they spit their red saliva all over the place.

  • Electric Lamprey

    I’ve done pot, LSD, DMT, salvia, and raw opium. Also I drink.

    I’d recommend any of ‘em.

  • ibelieveindog

    From Taneth:

    “it does not make sense for them to be illegal when ciggies and booze are already legal. As others have said, I really have yet to hear a reason why the drugs should be illegal that couldn’t just as easily be applied to cigarettes and alcohol.”

    I agree with this, for the most part. I don’t know how I feel about the legalization of cocaine, crack, or heroin. I’ve never used them, so I can’t say.

    LSD is great fun. I never had a bad trip, nor do I know anyone who has. The altered sensory perception is wonderful. I haven’t done it in years. I wouldn’t know where to get it, and I no longer want to spend my time that way (it can be a long trip, 12-24 hours IME). Mushrooms were much the same for me.

    I infrequently smoke pot. It takes very little for me to get high; one hit from a pipe or bong does it, and smoking more than that doesn’t make me any higher, it just makes me cough. I like the relaxation, and the laughing and silliness. I don’t like to get high alone.

  • katie

    I’ve never been interested in taking illegal drugs. I do know a teenager who got some pretty serious brain damage after smoking weed that had been laced with rat poison, though, and seeing how that’s impacted his life has been one of the informing factors of my support for the regulation and legalization of most drugs.

    • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

      katie wrote: “I do know a teenager who got some pretty serious brain damage after smoking weed that had been laced with rat poison,”

      I’ve always been under the impression that rat-poison laced pot was a scare tactic used by the authorities to scare people away from trying it. I’ve never heard of an actual case when this has happened. Are you certain that this girl ~really~ smoked rat-poison laced pot? How/why would rat-poison get into the pot in the first place?

      • katie

        I hadn’t even heard of it previously and can’t personally verify past what the doctors said, but when we went to the hospital after the symptoms (periodic bouts of forgetting who he was and seeing people who weren’t there) got too bad to manage at home, we were informed that some kid had sold a large batch of pot that had been laced with rat poison in our school district and lots of kids had had some really horrific reactions. I definitely wouldn’t say it was common, but having grown up in that area, it isn’t surprising that a bored kid would do it.

        • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

          katie wrote: “it isn’t surprising that a bored kid would do it.”

          Isn’t it? Why would somebody who makes money selling pot jeopardize his living by selling tainted product? He certainly wouldn’t stay in business very long. It just doesn’t make sense.

          What ~does~ make sense is that a story like this would be fabricated by someone in an attempt to scare kids away from trying pot…

          • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

            Not that I mean to imply that you (katie) are lying… I think you might be mistaken though. ;)

          • katie

            In most situations, I think it would be really unusual for someone to do something like that, but I’m from a very affluent area where selling is mostly done to look cool and under-privileged, and we have a bit of a reputation for our irresponsibility with drugs and selling things that put people in hospitals.
            You’re right about rat poison specifically being used as a scare tactic, though, so now I’ll just have to wonder what it was laced with. The immediate symptoms were paralysis, terror, loss of identity, and time dilation.That was only for a couple hours, but they continued intermittently for about a week before settling into a routine of schizophrenic-type hallucinations and spurts of amnesia that’s been going on for about a year now.
            Even though it happened to him, he certainly wasn’t scared away. Still smokes pretty much daily :)

          • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

            katie wrote: “Even though it happened to him, he certainly wasn’t scared away. Still smokes pretty much daily”

            Well you did say he suffered brain damage! ;)
            I think an episode like that would scare me away forever!

          • katie

            Haha, me as well! I think he just understands how completely random it was and decided to buy from a different area.

  • http://peternothnagle.com Peter N

    I can’t believe we’ve gotten to this many comments and nobody has mentioned a rather obvious drawback to using drugs — it’s illegal! Whether or not you think it’s fair, a drug conviction can mess up your life, including opportunities for education and employment. It will also humiliate if not impoverish your family. If you think all this is out of proportion to the gravity of the “crime”, well, all the better reason not to do it!

    And another thing. I am a pen-pal to two guys doing lengthy prison terms — not for their drug use, which was prodigious, but for stuff they did under the influence of drugs. In both cases, these were sex crimes involving children — which they would not have done if they had been thinking clearly. The prisons are full of such cases.

    I’m no prude, but I try to be a realist! Some problems are difficult to avoid, but recreational drug use is not one of them. You may argue that some drugs are low risk, and they would be safer if they were legal and regulated, and that may be, but here and now, they can put you in a world of trouble.

    • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

      PeterN wrote: “these were sex crimes involving children — which they would not have done if they had been thinking clearly.”


    • John

      I was the sixth entry on the page, and I mentioned it.

  • invivoMark

    I’ve snorted ritalin and oxycodone (on separate occasions) – ritalin was my favorite, it’s a very mild high, lets you stay up all night, and led to some very interesting conversations with a friend. A couple of my best nights were possible with ritalin. Oxycodone made me euphoric as hell for about an hour, but I was also drinking, and by the end of the night, I was babbling incoherently and had a short term memory that was about 2 seconds long. Worst hangover of my life the next morning.

    That’s about it, though – they were fun, but not life-changing experiences.

    I drink, but in Wisconsin, alcohol isn’t a drug – it’s a culture.

  • Janee

    I’ve smoked weed, and if we’re counting them, alcohol and caffeine, but they’re legal so I doubt that’s what you meant.
    I’ve also taken lorazepam unprescribed for my anxiety.
    I think they should be legal, and instead of prisons, rehab centers should be federally funded. Take the money being wasted on racist, classist prison systems and have it go to rehabs for people who want help. I also think health centers should give free needles and other paraphernalia for safety reasons.
    Basically, drugs are a personal choice and the government should only interfere when it comes to matters of health and safety of others.
    Drugs aren’t morally right or wrong, but they do have health effects that I think should be more widely discussed.

  • PhysicsPhDstu

    Saturated fats is my poison, usually one hit a week via greasy pizza/chinese/thai joints. makes you feel bloated, heavy and content.

    Intelligent regulation is definitely the key. Atleast we should get rid of racism in the war on drugs.

  • Keeping_Anonymous

    As someone else said, most of this information (and more) is available on Erowid. I highly encourage visiting the site. As far as my experiences are concerned:

    “Legal” stuff:
    Tobacco/nicotine, alcohol, dextromethorphan, dimenhydranate (Dramamine), caffeine, bupropion/Welbutrin, methylphenidate/Ritalin, hydrocodone/Vicodin, oxycodone/Percocet, alprazolam/Xanax, clonazepam/Klonopin, Salvia divinorum

    Nicotine: pleasant first experience obtained by smoking a Cuban cigar; didn’t inhale. Had a body buzz and light-headedness. After that, I started experimenting with cigarettes and chewed tobacco. The chewed tobacco didn’t last long; it was kinda gross. The first cigarette I actually inhaled made me nauseated and lethargic, but I got used to it and ended up smoking cigs for about 6 years. Wish I hadn’t. A prescription of Welbutrin (aka Zyban when used specifically as a quit-smoking aid) killed the addiction.

    Started drinking alcohol while underage, like most who drink. It usually made me nauseated because there was usually binge-drinking involved. Learning to imbibe responsibly and safely as a teenager would have been helpful, but our culture discourages that and puts hard age limits in place where there should be none. I now drink a few drinks at a time in more controlled settings, like at home and friends’ places. Much more enjoyable than going to some gathering and drinking all the alcohol I can just because I’m not allowed to drink at other times or places. There’s plenty of information online about how it affects a person, so I won’t elaborate.

    Dextromethorphan aka DXM: an opiate available in several OTC forms, usually and unfortunately with other chemicals. Only worth using recreationally when it’s the only active ingredient in a preparation. Not addicting. Euphoria and mild numbness at low doses; at higher doses, control of body coordination becomes quite difficult, including talking; also acts as a dissociative, which I expect makes it similar in effect to ketamine, though I’ve never tried ketamine before. It also functions as a mild hallucinogen at higher doses, especially in dark conditions. Completely destroys libido, interestingly. Toxicity is reduced by alcohol consumption, IIRC from the Internet and a certain House episode. Lasts 6-8 hours; very lethargic hangover effect the next day.

    Dimenhydranate/Dramamine: very similar to DXM, but more visual disturbances and jaw-clenching. Achy lethargic hangover/comedown; not recommended.

    Caffeine: higher doses via tablet or lots of coffee cause intense abdominal cramping for me, as well as typical stimulant-induced jaw-clenching and mild euphoria. Also makes concentration more difficult at higher doses, ironically. One of the more dangerous chemicals to ingest; it’s actually possible to OD on caffeine.

    Methylphenidate aka Ritalin: I was diagnosed with adult ADHD (only because I was not diagnosed as a child) a few years ago, and I have a prescription. I concurrently had/have a prescription for Welbutrin, which functions using more or less the same biochemical/neurochemical mechanism(s). At first, and especially when combined with Welbutrin, the euphoria was overwhelming, and I had difficulty concentrating. Again, a bit ironic. My body adjusted. Also induced hypersexuality, which has leveled off but is still inducible if I take more than my normal dose. In another spot of irony, also causes me erectile problems due to vasoconstricting effects. I’ve never bothered to insufflate (snort) it, but I hear the high is more immediate and short-lived, as well as more intense. Causes me to be more acutely aware of the passage of time and the need to get things done. Mild analgesic and appetite suppressant effects. Very easy to crash when coming down from the effects if too much has been taken, not enough food has been eaten to maintain proper blood sugar levels, or both. Can cause either increased sociality and friendliness or increased irritability, depending on the circumstances. Also gives me skin tingling and a body buzz at higher doses, but not necessarily in a very good way. On the other hand, it can cause gentle touch to be more pleasurable.

    I don’t think I can say anything about hydrocodone or oxycodone that can’t be easily found online. I like the effect, but if I need to take it for pain, I cut back on it as soon as I notice an increase in tolerance. Very rarely taken recreationally, but does help with hangovers caused by alcohol consumption. Gives me mild euphoria and a degree of increased sociality.

    Alprazolam (Xanax)/clonazepam (Klonopin): there’s plenty of literature available about benzodiazepines online, but three things stand out for me: altered perception of time, lessened travel anxiety, and short-term memory loss. I took some alprazolam on a long road trip once by accident, and it seemed as if the trip took 1/4 the time. It has its place, but it must be used carefully. If possible, never combine it with alcohol. Asphyxiation on one’s vomit when under the influence of both alcohol and benzos is frighteningly common.

    Salvia: It was fortunate that the experience was so short-lived. The smoke was very harsh; for me, there was some body tingling, mild euphoria, and some visual disturbances, but nothing all that rewarding. I’m aware that a higher dose would have had more intense and longer-lasting effects, but after my experience with smaller amounts, I’m not all that interested, especially compared to cannabis.

    “Illegal” stuff:
    Cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, DMT, “Spice” (unknown synthetic cannabinoid), opium resin, cannabis.

    Cocaine: the first time I tried it, I felt like I wanted to either die or have some more when I was coming down. It might have been contaminated. (Probably was cut with *something*, anyway, even if it was just baking soda.) It’s fun for a few hours, but for the cost, effects, and contamination issues, it’s really not worth it. (Last time I did it, I actually dissolved and recrystallized it to increase its purity, and the experience was much improved.) I’ve also tried smoking it once in its freebase form, aka crack. I didn’t smoke much, and because it’s a lot harder to contaminate it in “rock” form, the high was much “cleaner” and more pleasant. I would do it again, but the same concerns about cost come into play, and the effects don’t last long enough to really be worth the money IMO.

    Methamphetamine: I’ve insufflated and smoked it. Smoking it was much better, if less convenient. Insufflation burns the sinuses quite a bit. Intense head and body high; slight analgesic effects; long periods of controllable concentration, energy, and sociality. Never stayed up more than one night with it, but did *not* enjoy the comedown, nor did I enjoy the difficulty I had getting to sleep the next evening. Lingering “achy” hangover effects; ameliorated somewhat by cannabis use. Didn’t like the kinds of people I had to be around to buy it, but the restaurant employees I partied and used it with were good company.

    MDMA: I’ve had pills that had no effect (and hence probably had no MDMA in them), pills that were clearly contaminated, and pills that were very clean and fun. I’ve never tried it in its “molly”, or pure powder, form. The bit of molly I had was stolen.* It’s a decent drug, but it’s very easy to drink too much alcohol or overdo it in other ways. Causes highly increased sociality, empathy, and sensitivity to/distortions of touch, light, and sound. Also causes erectile issues for some, but makes it easier for others. One of the times I did it, I also drank at least a pitcher of beer (among other drinks) by myself, bought drinks for some chick I didn’t even know or get a number from, ran up a $60 bar tab, and woke up the next day so brain damaged that I literally had trouble chewing. (Thankfully, I was with two friends, and we all took a cab to and from the bar.) It would be nice if dosages and purity were standardized. The last time I did it, it was a much more pleasant experience, except for the fact that I didn’t really know anyone at the party and so went home and chilled out to music by myself while talking to friends and surfing online.

    LSD: my favorite for occasional use; too long-lasting and potentially intense for frequent use. Very stimulating and yet calming; for me, it was really very similar to MDMA except that the euphoria was more controllable, sustained, and enjoyable. I truly don’t understand why it’s illegal. To be fair, I’ve never taken (or felt that I needed) anything more than small doses.

    Psilocybin/mushrooms: I’ve had ‘shrooms maybe 5 times. In my experience, it’s better when I’m alone than with another person about whose experience and feelings I have to be concerned. I’ve had only 2 good experiences with them. My favorite experience involved being alone and taking a very small dose. The effects were very similar to a low dose of MDMA, and it was very therapeutic – to the degree that I felt more upbeat about life for a month or so afterward. I can only recommended it in low doses. Higher doses caused uncontrollable emotional states and euphoria, “aching” skin, and difficulty relaxing or enjoying my surroundings. Plus, the effects last so long that it’s a bit maddening waiting them out if you’re not enjoying the experience.

    DMT: Maybe I didn’t take enough or maybe my friend botched the smoking method he insisted I use, but the effects were very short-lived and not really all that worthwhile. Fortunately, they were also gone quickly with no residual hangover-type effect. My vision got kinda fuzzy and I experienced mild euphoria and a dry mouth, like I had just slept.

    “Spice”: only smoked it after a night of drinking on Bourbon Street. Knocked me right out after giving me an intense body buzz/tingle and making my cognition cloudy. Very analogous to cannabis, but not as much of a stimulant effect. it would be nice if there were clinical studies of it so we could better know what effects it and other synthetic cannabinoids have on brain chemistry and functioning.

    Opium: very “cloudy”, dissociative effects; can be very relaxing; altered sense of hearing/processing of music, can cause sleep/dream disturbances and weirdness. Definite body numbness and analgesic effects and initial euphoria that lasts an hour or two in my experience, and lethargy after the euphoria. Difficult to use efficiently, though I hear one of the easiest and best ways to use it is to insert it rectally. Haven’t tried that method yet.

    Cannabis: my favorite “drug” (considering that it contains at least 60 cannabinoids) in any given situation. Effects depend somewhat on the strain, dose, growing conditions, and general horticultural/curing practices. They can include, in my experience: initial euphoria, body or head buzz or some variable combination thereof, dry mouth, nausea (higher doses) or anti-nausea, nervousness/anxiety (higher doses) or relaxation, sociality and energy, dissociative/”cloudiness” effects, dizziness, tunnel vision, lethargy, increased or decreased libido, analgesia, altered perception of touch, altered perception of time, et al. I find that cannabis can be helpful with ADHD, believe it or not. It seems to help slow me down mentally and relax enough to focus on a task. It also helps counteract the “racing” feeling I sometimes get from stimulants like methylphenidate. If I vaporize, smoke, or ingest too much, there are pronounced hangover effects that cause me to be more lethargic and to have a harder time waking up, but on the other hand, it also helps me sleep if I take a larger dose before bed. Helps curb road rage, anxiety, and frustration with general human stupidity.

    All this stuff needs to be legalized and regulated if it has not already been, IMO. Two words: harm reduction. And for pete’s sake, cannabis needs to be taken out of the same DEA drug category as heroin!!

    *Only users lose drugs. :-P

  • http://gravatar.com/improbablejoe Improbable Joe

    I’m doing drugs right now… alcohol, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems. I pretty much can’t stand anything else but alcohol and prescription painkillers, but I don’t seem capable of building up any sort of addiction to the painkillers no matter how hard I have tried. I suffer from sometimes pretty severe depression that expresses itself mostly by causing me anxiety and insomnia, so stimulants are mostly out. Benzos give me a crazy hangover, and I don’t like weed because it tends to hit me too hard and too fast and the high is almost painful in a “1000 pound blanket” sort of way.

    Couldn’t care less about legalization of the illegal stuff, either way. I just can’t work up any passion about it. The jail time and racism in the enforcement is a bigger issue, and I DO care about that.

  • Rory

    I’ve never done any illegal drugs, and I don’t drink at all, but I did take modafinil (Provigil) for about a year (with a prescription) and while I didn’t always get a good effect from it, sometimes when it worked it felt unbelievable. I remember being at work one day and having to solve a system of equations while on modafinil and it was such a rush–easily a enjoyable as driving a fast car on a wide-open highway, with the same feeling of power and control. It was the most fun I’ve ever had doing algebra.

    However, it can be habit forming, so when the condition which necessitated the prescription resolved, I stopped taking it. I thought about importing some ardafinil (a prodrug for modafinil which is not itself in a restricted drug schedule) from Canada, but I decided just the fact I was thinking about doing that was a bit too close to dependency for my comfort.

  • TGAP Dad

    Tried weed a few times (25 years).

    I’ve had prescription painkillers when prescribed, and they seem to do no more than plain acetaminophen, so I have trouble understanding why there’s a black market for them as well. (In case you were wondering, I have in fact figured out that my experiences are atypical, and that other people find hem irresistible.) I do enjoy the occasional (~1 per month) beer, but I tend to go for the hard-to-find high-end stuff when I drink it. I’ll have a glass of wine occasionally or champaign on New Years eve or a mixed drink at a special or social occasion. I don’t enjoy getting drunk any more (again, since college).

    I do have 2 college-age kids, though, who ARE into some of these. The older one loves the vodka, usually on the rocks, and drinks to excess frequently, at least once involving police and an ambulance ride. The other can’t get enough of the weed, gets high several times a day, and can’t see that it’s adversely affecting studies and motivation.

    As for public policy, I like the Portuguese model: decriminalize and treat. It seems to be a smashing success.

  • Ibis3

    alcohol: After more than 3 drinks or so, I get giggly and find things mostly funny. I also get very physically affectionate and libidinous. This feeling was perhaps slightly intensified when I had absinthe/wormwood the couple of times I tried it. Hangovers were never too bad for me because I always drank lots of water if I was drinking a lot. Never got sick or blacked out. I still drink, but I don’t get drunk (i.e. I’ll have a cooler or cider or beer or mixed drink every few weeks, wine for dinner on holidays or other special occasions).

    ‘shrooms: I loved the one experience I had and would do it again if I ever had the opportunity. It was euphoric and I felt connected to everyone and everything. I had the sense that time was happening all at once, and there was no such thing as past or future. I did this while camping, and looking up at the night sky in this state was ineffable.

    I’d probably have experimented with more drugs if I could have been sure of a pure supply and consistent dosage. I’d really like to try LSD for one. Ecstasy for another. Cannabis doesn’t really appeal insofar as smoking goes, but I think I’d go for a brownie if someone baked some.

    I think drugs should be completely legal and regulated just like alcohol. As other posters have said, resources ought to be put into dealing with mental illness (since a lot of the dependency issues that people struggle with seem to me to be as a result of self-medication for depression and other mental illnesses) and evidence-based addiction treatment (as opposed to AA and other 12 step cults). It’s ridiculous that tobacco is so ubiquitous and yet other drugs are verboten.

    • Ibis3

      Ha! That’s wine with dinner, not wine for dinner.

  • Loqi

    An interesting topic indeed.
    I’ve never done any of them, and have a visceral reaction to pretty much any substance that affects my brain. I’ve got a severe spinal injury that causes debilitating pain in spells that can last weeks, but I won’t take a painkiller, because the feeling is worse than the pain. I even refrain from caffeine, except in rare circumstances.
    Why? I’m not really sure. Part of it is that I don’t like feeling that something is messing with my brain. I can’t stand not being in control. Even a little. Part of it might be my upbringing. I had alcoholic parents who were … let’s just say “not very nice” when they were drunk. Mom eventually got sober (hasn’t had a drop in more than 10 years), but Dad got worse (harder drugs, more violent). Before you knew it, we were living in a meth house and had to move out and get away (more accurately “flee”) from him.
    So, from someone who hates drugs perhaps more than anyone you’ve ever met, yes, they should be legal.

  • MichaelD

    Never done any not really planning on doing any maybe alcohol at some distant date. That said we should probably consider legalising them as our current drug policies don’t seem to be decreasing their use or the prevalence. Not to mention the drug wars in mexico etc are getting out of hand. At the very least it deserves serious consideration as to what our goals are/should be and how best we can meet them.

  • JSC_ltd

    Alcohol: I get a feeling of well being and become more talkative. With increased dosage, I get a body rush and a tingly feeling in my brain; that’s when I notice my speech is slurred.
    Caffeine: I don’t really feel anything until I’ve had too much, and by then I have the shakes and hot flashes. Also, I need to pee every five minutes.
    Zyban and Zoloft: I was on these together, so I’m listing them together. I felt cheerful and it was so easy to focus on solutions to problems, rather than on the problems.
    Tobacco: I felt dizziness and release of stress, with a good amount of self-loathing for not being able to control my intake.
    Marijuana: Euphoria. Time dialation. Enhanced appreciation for art. Enhanced appreciation for everything. Body rushes. Permanent smile. Diminished attention span. Munchies. My favorite drug.
    Opium: Spinal rush. Lethargy. The feeling of simply melting into the furniture.
    Salvia: Intense, lucid hallucinations: I was transported from my living room to a cartoon world. I floated down a red river, then went over a waterfall. I fell into a green tree. In the tree was a giant yellow bird, who grabbed me with his hand (he had hands, not wings) and stuffed me into a brown paper bag. At this point, the hallucination began to dissolve. In the paper bag were my friends who were sitting on the couch across from me when I smoked the salvia. I said, “did the giant yellow bird get you, too?” They roared with laughter as the hallucination ended. I was extremely agitated after the hallucination passed.
    Mushrooms: Extreme euphoria. Every sound was music, every group of sounds a symphony (and the Dead were magnificent!). At one point, the sky cracked open and music came shooting out of it. That was the second time I had had mushrooms; the first and third times, nothing happened at all.

  • http://www.ziztur.com Flimsyman

    Out of several that I’ve tried, my favorite drug is still the cigarettes. I haven’t smoked since January 2011. So first off; I KNOW THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF SMOKING. Very intimately. I’ve listened very carefully and honestly to the multitudes of people who have wanted desperately to explain exactly how smoking was bad for me. That’s why I quit.

    Smoking a cigarette made me instantly happy, every time, almost totally regardless of the circumstances around me (note that ‘almost,’ there were times that I had done wrong to someone and having a smoke or two calmed me down and helped me think clearly to analyze my selfish justifications for whatever I had done – more than once I’d come back from a smoke apologizing sincerely for being a bonehead about something).

    It made me clear-headed. It made my frequent headaches feel small and far-away, or made them disappear altogether. It helped me breath easier. It helped my allergies. It made me crave intelligent conversation, instead of being my usual anti-social self. It made me love the outdoors (now, I can’t hardly stand to spend time outdoors; hiking, camping, grilling outside, going to the park, I almost always end up thinking about smoking, while trying to pretend that I’m having a good time for the sake of whoever I’m hanging out with). It even helped me stay trim and fit; I’ve gained a lot of fat in the last year and a half, and I can’t shed it.

    Smoking a cigarette right after a spicy meal was very nearly orgasmic.

  • smrnda

    How did I miss this post? Love to respond.

    On legal drugs, I’ve consumed alcohol. I tend to find that it doesn’t affect me very much – I really can’t figure out people whose personalities tend to change when they drink because all I’ve gotten is a loss of sensory acuity and a slight motor impairment.

    I have done dilaudid. I wanted to do something like that but I’m squeemish about putting something of dubious quality into my body so I did that over heroin. Just a very fuzzed out, numbed out calmed down sensation. I noted that in the cold it made me feel warm and fuzzy, didn’t impair functioning at all. Morphine was the same but didn’t last as long.

    Because drugs haven’t impaired my functioning much I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the ‘but I was drunk and lost control’ spiel I hear from people.

    On legality – all drugs should be legal and there should be some kind of quality control board, though making that mandatory after decades of the war on drugs would be nearly impossible. Trying to legalize and then regulate drugs is like trying to stop bootlegging of movies in China, but some kind of opt-in quality control deal should be available so sellers could guarantee the quality of their product. The criminalization of drugs is punishing people for no good reason and has ruined millions of lives. Plus, I think drugs can be used responsibly. Also, drug laws are frequently applied in a very arbitrary fashion – a college kid doing drugs will get out of trouble much more easily than some poor minority teenager, who is then not even going to be able to vote for the rest of his/her life.

  • Louise

    Katie, it sounds like your friend was suffering from cannabis psychosis. A small proportion of the population have a genetic predisposition to psychosis/schizophrenia, and THC can act as a trigger for this. The trigger is more potent if the person smoking is a teenager. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 18 smoking cannabis, as you never know if you have that gene marker until it’s triggered. It’s also incurable once it is triggered, but it can be managed. So, possibly the pot wasn’t contaminated at all.

  • Owen

    All meth stories aren’t bad. Years ago I fell off a cliff, cracked my skull, and shattered a hip. (I should just leave those first two sentences, for yuks..) Without a small amount of meth a day, my life is pain and lethargy. I do have to fight off the urge to do more, for my money and my health. I have tried everything else. Adderal lasts too long and there’s way too much jitters and palpitations and too little energy. Alcohol and pills work, sure, but in my line of work I can’t just struggle through the day- I have to be ON. Not many are aware of my habit. If some of them were, ohh the stigma and disdain… but aside from a healthy fear of the law, I see no shame in it. After my fall, every day is just a new bonus round, and they can’t last too much longer. Better 1 more year living than 40 more hurtin’. Kids, meth makes my life possible! :) And some good bud gives it the shine..