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From: jolivet@ccvax.ucd.ie
Newsgroups: alt.psychoactives
Subject: Will Of Nature #2
Message-ID: <1993Sep24.010518.52193@ccvax.ucd.ie>
Date: 24 Sep 93 01:05:18 WET

                        WILL OF NATURE ISSUE 2

EDITORIAL

Welcome to the second issue of WON, with as subject:
Virtual Reality & Drugs. I would like to emphasize
the word "Drugs" in a meaning of Mind Expanding
(a la Nootropics or Psychotropics) NOT in the 
Narcotics way (a la opium poppy derivatives).
It's interesting to note that the use of Narcotics
as "Recreational Drugs" are a relatively recent
phenomena, a tool of destruction for unstable people
in a unstable society. Now, it's time for a Real Revival
of the Body/Mind as a True Chemical Plant/Biocomputer
to re-reach the bond with Nature.   

Pierre Jolivet
jolivet@irlearn.ucd.ie

ABSTRACT 1

Nootropics from the Greek word meaning "acting on the mind":

(*@/// Phenylalanine *)
(*@/// L-phenylalanine *)
L-phenylalanine
        - converted into tyrosine which is
          precursor to noradrenaline (NE) and dopamine
        - like all amino acids best taken on empty stomach since it competes
          with proteins to cross the blood brain barrier.
        - requires vitamins C and B-6 for the conversion to NE.
        - Dosage: 500 - 1000 mg along with 1g C, 30-50 mg B-6
        - phenylalanine also stimulates the release of
          cholecystokinin, which is the body's own appetite-suppressant,
        - can increase sexual interest
        - improves memory and mental alertness
        - antidepressant
        - do not use L-phenylalanine or L-tyrosine if you are
          using MAO inhibitors for depression (it can cause a
          major elevation in blood pressure).
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// DL-phenylalanine *)
DL-phenylalanine
        - combination of synthetic (D) and natural (L) phenylalanine
        - produces endorphins and stimulates their use
        - thus, effective painkiller, often better than the
          opiate derivatives such as morphine.
        - nonaddictive, nontoxic
        - reverse-tolerance effect (pain relief gets better)
        - strong anti-depressant effect
        - can be combined with other pain-killers
          with few bad interactions
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Tyrosine *)
L-tyrosine
        - precursor to norepinephrine and dopamine
        - non-essential amino acid (since PA is converted into it first)
        - has been studied as an effective aid to cocaine withdrawal
        - (see L-phenylalanine)
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Tryptophan *)
L-tryptophan
        - precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin along with
          B6, niacin, and magnesium.
        - (actually immediate precursor to 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)
          which is the precursor to serotonin (5HT))
        - prolongs slow-wave sleep
        - reduces pain sensitivity
        - no effect or increases REMS
        - has some hypnotic effects
        - useful for some types of endogenous depression
          (has been found as useful as imipramine and amitriptyline)
        - aids in reducing anxiety and tension
        - an appetite supressant
        - dosages have been studied up to 15g
        - Major Food Sources:
          Cottage cheese, milk, meat, fish, turkey, bananas,
          dried dates, peanuts, all protein-rich foods.
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Lysine *)
L-lysine
        - needed for growth and enzyme, hormone, antibody production
        - aids concentration
        - treatment for some sterility problems
        - treatment and prevention for herpes infections
        - aids fatty acid -> energy conversion
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Arginine *)
L-arginine
        - used to increase sperm counts
          (semen contains up to 80% of arginine)
        - aids immune response and healing of wounds
        - helps stored fat metabolism
        - helps to tone muscle tissue
        - used for weight-loss in combination with L-ornithine
        - one amino acid required for production of growth hormone
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Ornithine *)
L-ornithine
        - similar to arginine
        - growth hormone (which acts as a fat metabolizer) is
          stimulated to be released by ornithine and arginine.
        - can be used as a slimming technique (while you sleep -
          GH is released by the pituitary gland then)
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Glutamine *)
L-glutamine
        - converted to glutamic acid, the brain's emergency source of
          energy when glucose is in short supply.
        - precursor to the neurotransmitter GABA
        - neutralizes excess ammonia (which can inhibit proper
          brain function)
        - improves intelligence
        - helps to control alcoholism
        - helps to speed ulcer healing
        - alleviates fatigue, depression, impotence,
          schizophrenia, senility
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Aspartic Acid *)
L-aspartic acid
        - ammonia neutralizer
        - a study showed improved stamina and endurance in athletes
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Cysteine *)
L-cysteine
        - cystine is its stable form
        - antioxidant
        - contains sulfur
        - protects cellular membranes from "free radical damage"
        - prevents alcohol and cigarette smoke damage to the brain
        - stimulant to immune system
        - believed to be good for antiaging
        - effective against copper toxicity (eg. Wilson's disease)
        - protects against X-ray and nuclear radiation
        - warning: may affect insulin effectiveness
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Methionine *)
L-methionine
        - antioxidant
        - contains sulfur
        - prevents damage of brain cells from toxic heavy metals
        - important in producing neurotransmitters and energy
        - lowers blood level of histamine
          (this may help some types of schizophrenia)
        - combined with choline and folic acid, can prevent some
          types of tumors
        - deficiencies: hair loss, atherosclerosis, cholestorol deposits,
          edema, poor urine processing
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Glycine *)
L-glycine
        - treatment for poor pituitary functioning
        - supplies creatine which is essential for muscle function
          (effective against muscular dystrophy)
        - treatment for hypoglycemia
        - stimulates glucagon which metabolizes glycogen into glucose
        - antacid
        - treatment for low blood pH
        - treatment for leucine imbalance-causing body odor and halitosis
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Leucine *)
L-taurine
        - nonessential amino acid
        - aids efficient conduction of electrical impulses
          along nerve pathways
        - anticonvulsant (esp in combo with glutamic, aspartic acids)
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Glutathione *)
L-Glutathione
        - tripeptide amino acid made of cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine
        - "triple threat" antiaging
        - antioxidant
        - anti-tumor agent
        - respiratory accelerator in the brain
        - used in the treatment of: allergies, cataracts, diabetes,
          hypoglycemia, arthritis
        - prevents some side effects of chemotherapy and X-ray radiation
        - protects against some harmful side-effects of cigarette smoke
          and alcohol
(*@\\\*)
(*@/// Carnatine *)
L-carnatine
      - newly discovered amino acid
      - aids stored fat -> energy conversion
      - helps: hypoglycemia, reduces angina attacks, diabetes,
        liver disease, kidney disease
      - deficiency causes heart tissue damage

krawchuk@cpsc.ucalgary.ca

ABSTRACT 2

Psychedelics from the Greek word meaning "mind manifesting":

o PSILOCYBIN

For thousands of years before Europeans set foot in the New World the
sacred mushroom was in use in native rituals. In the 1950s R. Gordon
Wasson, a Wall Street banker, participated in a Mexico mushroom
ceremony and eloquently described the 'Divine Inebriant' in a piece of
writing which could go some way to explaining the fascination with
which many people regard psychedelic drugs. These words, of course,
could really equally apply to any of these substances:

'There are no apt words ... to characterize your state when you are,
shall we say, 'bemushroomed.' ... How do you tell a man born blind
what seeing is like? In the present case, this is especially true
because superficially the bemushroomed man shows few of the objective
symptoms of one intoxicated, drunk ... [the mushroom] permits you to
see, more clearly than our pershing mortal eye can see, vistas beyond
the horizons of this life, to travel backwards and forwards in time,
even (as the Indians say) to know God. It is hardly surprising that
your emotions are profoundly affected, and you feel that an
indissoluble bond unites you with the others who have shared with you
in the sacred agape ... All that you see during this night has a
pristine quality: the landscape, the edifices, the carvings, the
animals - they look as though they had come straight from the Maker's
workshop. This newness of everything - it is as though the world had
just dawned - overwhelms you and melts you with its beauty. Not
unnaturally, what is happening to you seems to you freighted with
significance, beside which the humdrum events of everyday are trivial
... What you are seeing and what you are hearing appear as one: the
music assumes harmonious shape, giving visual form to its harmonies,
and what you are seeing takes on the modalities of music - the music
of the spheres ... All your senses are similarly affected: the
cigarette with which you occasionally break the tension of the night
smells as no cigarette before had ever smelled ; the glass of simple
water is infinitely better than champagne.'

From 'The Hallucinogenic Fungi of Mexico',
     R. Gordon Wasson in The Psychedelic Reader,
     Ed. Gunther M.  Weil et al, Citadel Press Inc., 1973.

Fortunately one does not have to visit Mexico to experience the
mushrooms, probably the most effective and safest of natural
psychedelics. Psilocybian mushrooms should not be confused with the
Fly Agaric (amanita muscaria) a toxic deliriant. The most common
species of 'Magic Mushroom' found wild in the UK is the increasingly
popular 'Liberty Cap' (psilocybe senilanceata). Indeed this
particular species, despite its relative weakness, is prized by the
South American Indians as one of the best. The Liberty Cap contains
psilocybin, which is converted to psilocin in the body. Psilocin is a
close chemical relative of LSD.  However, the effects, according to
many users, are milder, more pleasant and there is said to be less
risk of bad trips. The greatest danger comes from eating other
mushrooms -- different poisonous mushrooms picked by mistake.
Therefore any potential mushroom picker should be quite sure they know
what to look for (many reference books about mushrooms describe the
Liberty Cap). The season for the mushroom is between September and
December. During this time many people, not known for a previous
interest in fungi, can be seen scanning the grass in fields with bent
heads. The mushrooms are usually found after heavy rain and a long
search. After picking they are dried on paper. Although the dried
mushrooms are less potent than the fresh, if not dried the mushrooms
might contain flies harmful to the liver.

Some people say mushrooms make them sick, but then I have never had
any toxic effects from the mushrooms. A test for
psilocybin-containing mushrooms is to look for a blue colour at the
end of the stem after they have been picked. Those who want to make
quite sure can buy a chemical called methaminophenol sulphate from
photographic positive identification. Add it to twenty times its
volume in distiled water. Apply to stem of mushroom and wait half an
hour for a deep purple colour.

The American mushrooms include Psilocybe cubensis and caerulescens and
are far more potent on a weight basis than the English ones. Whereas
typical doses of the Liberty Cap are 25-50 dried little mushrooms,
only a few grams of the American mushrooms ('shrooms) are needed. The
effects, as with any drug, depend on the individual's body weight as
well as the size and strength of the mushrooms. The mushrooms have a
greater effect if a soup is made from them and also if taken on an
empty stomach. To prepare a soup it is necessary to boil up the
'shrooms for ten minutes, add packet soup powder or instant coffee to
hid the (disgusting) taste then drink the soup and repeat the process
using the same mushrooms.

The effects start after about twenty minutes for soup and forty-five
minutes when eaten. At low doses effects last about four hours and at
higher doses up to six hours. Once the effects start to end they do
so rapidly, unlike acid which seems to linger on a bit.

Possession of fresh mushrooms, in the UK is not illegal at the
present. This may well change in the future. Even now possession of
a preparation or product of the mushrooms is an offence. This
includes drying mushrooms to a powder, crushing or boiling them.
Mushrooms which are dried but are still intact are legal (excuse: 'I
picked them like that, Officer. The sun must have dried them out,
honest guv'.').

Kits to grow the mushrooms at home in jam jars are available from the
USA by mail order. 'FS' has a 'Resource Guide' containing information
about 43 companies selling every thing from mushroom videos to edible
cultures and spore prints (more than 50!). The address is given in
the bibliography. Judge Clive Callman ruled in 1983 test case that
the cultivation of 'magic mushrooms' is legal in the UK, unfortunately
it's also quite difficult. A friend once tried it and failed due to
lack of sterile conditions.

o FLY AGARIC

The Fly Agaric ('amanita muscaria') is the well-known red toadstool
with white spots which appears in illustrations in fairy tales. It is
not a true psychedelic drug and at best has unpleasant side effects.
At worst it could kill you.

Effects are said to be dizziness, muscle twitching and possible
vomiting after a half hour. This is followed by a drunken feeling and
perhaps a light sleep lasting about two hours. Numbness may be
present in the extremities. On waking feelings of great strength and
hallucinations (especially of size) lasting about six hours have been
reported. Overdoses can lead to convulsions, derangement, coma and
amnesia. There are reports that this drug can cause ergotism,
constriction of blood in the extremities of the bodies (e.g. nose,
fingers etc) leading to gangrene. Death or permanent brain damage is
possible from overdose (caused by respiratory paralysis). Kidney
damage is also possible.

Neither the toadstool nor any preparation of it are controlled
substances. They are not likely to be ever classified as such, since
hopefully few will be foolish enough to try it.

o MORNING GLORY SEEDS

Ipomoea violacea seeds can be bought in high street shops. Most of
the British seed packets (e.g. Suttons) say 'Ipomoea' on them and are
not coated with chemicals. The various strains have evocative names
such as Heavenly Blue, Pearly gates and Flying Saucers.

Other rather more exotic and potent seeds (Hawaiian Wood Rose and
turbina/rivea corymbosa) can be purchased by mail order from seed merchants.
All contain Lysergic Acid derivatives. Although these are very close
relations of LSD their psychoactive effects include a narcotic element
rather than the euphoric effects typical of other psychedelics. The
seeds also contain other ergot derivatives which if consumed in
quantity might theoretically cause ergotism. However there are no
reports of this happening.

I once consumed a foul tasting infusion of about 300 ground Ipomoea
seeds. There were no effects for the first five hours, except a
strange physical feeling of tension in the body, which led the author
to draw the mistaken conclusion that the seeds had little effect.
Others have reported vomiting at this point. However, after this time
LSD-type effects became apparent. My friends have reported positive
results from it, but I still believe this drug is unreliable in its
effects and I would recommend acid or mushrooms as being preferable.

o CACTI

The possession of the Peyote cactus (lophophora williamsii) is legal
in the UK, but not in the USA (unless you are a member of the Native
North American Church). Peyote and several other cacti, such as San
Pedro (trichocereus pachanoi), contain mescaline which has very
similar, if not identical, effects to LSD. Both cacti should both be
available from Cacti dealers. Someone I knew once ate 5' of San Pedro
bought in the UK, both the cactus skin and the disgusting pulp found
inside, to experience very mild effects. The mescaline may well make
one sick.

o KETAMINE ('Vitamin K', 'Special K')

Ketamine is chemically related to PCP ('Angel Dust'). PCP, a
dangerous American street drug rather than a psychedelic, is
characterized by resulting in frequent bad trips, psychotic reactions
and extreme violence in its users.

But Ketamine appears to be much safer than PCP. It is still used in
human medicine unlike PCP. Currently Ketamine ('Ketalar') is a
prescription only medicine rather than a controlled drug in Britain.
It is a powerful drug used as a general anaesthetic, which  has some
strange psychedelic effects when used at low doses (25-100 mg). The
usual medical form is a liquid when it is injected intramuscularly.
American street users heat the liquid to obtain a white powder which
is smoked or snorted.  Ketamine may be ineffective when taken by mouth
- although one report from Denmark claims it to be orally active at
the 200 mg level with the effects becoming apparent slowly.

The effects are stronger and  more profound than acid but last only an
hour or so. The subject should remain still. Experiences of the mind
leaving the body and floating in space, or even death are common. Bad
trips are supposed to be absent but there are serious dangers
following heavy use. Dr John Lilly and his fellow researchers have
used the drug continuously for weeks. Several believe themselves to
have contacted alien intelligences and two committed suicide.
Although non-toxic (unlike PCP) it appears to have potential for
psychological dependency. K has been used in experimental
psychotherapy.

In 1991 reports have emerged of K usage by the nightclubbing
fraternity in New York. This practice has now spread to London where
K is available for about 100 pounds per gram. I am rather surprised
by this since clubbers tend to go for stimulating drugs rather than
those sedative in nature.

o LAUGHING GAS (Nitrous Oxide N O)
			       2

This is also a medical anaesthetic with some psychedelic effects.
This is most easily found in small green pressurized gas chargers used
to whip cream and available in many large stores. They fit in soda
syphons in exactly the same way as the usual CO2 chargers they
resemble. This should never be breathed directly (it could freeze the
lungs) but always from a balloon and also diluted with air. There is
a warning on the box -- 'Do not inhale. Misuse can be dangerous to
your health'. In fact it seem to be fairly safe. Classic effects of
N20 are a very short (a few minutes) and intense trip. I found it
pleasant enough but still a little disappointing - no more than a
tingling body high.

o CANNABIS

Cannabis is the most common and safest of all 'street drugs'. The
vast majority of drug offences in most countries are simply the
possession of small quantities of cannabis. But, as even the police
admit, the vast majority of cannabis users are never caught. A simple
solution to 95% of the 'drug problem' in Europe and America would be
to decriminalise cannabis.

An advantage of cannabis is that it can be readily recognized as
genuine by its physical appearance. As far as other drugs are
concerned it must be remembered that any pills or tablets bought on
the black market may either contain no drug at all or a substitute
drug.  An additional danger is that illegally manufactured drugs may
contain dangerous impurities. This is less true of which LSD is a
reasonably good bet. Your tab is most likely to be dosed with acid or
nothing. A marginal possibility, also, would be the presence of DOB
in blotter. Ecstasy could have anything in it.

The effects of dope are due to a mixture of many psychoactive
chemicals. Different sorts of dope contain different quantities of
these and so have slightly different effects. Studies at St Louis
Medical School in 1988 have identified the THC receptor, which is
mainly in the front brain, and discovered that THC caused no damage to
brain cells. There is some really strong (and therefore dear) weed
around now, e.g. Thai weed and Semsemilla (seedless). These have
very high concentrations of THC and can cause strange visual effects
-- almost like LSD -- if quite a bit is consumed. As a rough rule of
thumb the more tacky, sticky, darker, wet with resin the cannabis
material the stronger it is. The negative effects of cannabis
(confusion, unease, slight paranoia, anxiety and a feeling that you
are unable of performing the simplest tasks) are very mild usually
pass quickly and can be overcome by power of will. The only report of
a death directly attributable to cannabis is of several tons falling
on one unfortunate man.

Smoking when drunk is a bad idea unless you really want to get smashed
out of your mind, because you end up being both very drunk and very
stoned at the same time and liable to pass out. Yeah I have been
there.

Hash oil can be easily made from hash. Pour an inch of petrol lighter
fuel into a small test-tube (from any chemist). Add enough hash for a
spliff. Gently heat with lighter. It's OK to hold since it boils
quickly, dissolving the chemicals you want and leaving a residue.
Soak cigarette in fuel and leave five minutes to dry, then smoke
(without tell tale smell).

An alternative to smoking is to eat dope, which has a different effect
and lasts longer. It is less economical than smoking. I am told that
a sixteenth will get eight people buzzed or four heavily stoned. For
the latter try dissolving about half a gram in enough butter or
margarine and adding to coffee or the traditional instant chocolate
brownie mix, since THC is soluble in fat but not water.

o LSD ( 'Acid' )

D-Lysergic acid diethylamide

'I see the true importance of LSD in the possibility of providing
material aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a
deeper, comprehensive reality. Such a use accords entirely with the
essence and working character of LSD as a sacred drug.' Dr Albert
Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD.

'... LSD is best understood as a powerful unspecific amplifier, or
catalyst, of mental processes, which facilitates the emergence of
unconscious material from different levels of the human psyche. ' Dr
Stan Grof, Esalen Institute.

LSD is believed to be illegally manufactured in Northern Californian
and, perhaps also, Holland. An underground lab was also busted in
England in early 1991. LSD is cheap and widely available. The
currently hip English name for acid is 'A'. There are many dosage
forms available: pieces of paper or cardboard ('tabs' -- often with
colour pictures printed on them), very small pills ('microdots') and
transparent gelatin sheets ('windowpane'). The doses present in each
unit are on average 75-125 micrograms (mcg) of very pure LSD.  This is
a quite a strong dose but about half the strength of the 1960s dose.
This, and the greater public knowledge of the drug, is probably why
bad trips are less common now than in the past.

The lowest psychedelic dose is 50 mcg -- recommended for beginners.
Doses below this level have a similar effect to cannabis or MDMA. The
effects increase with dosage until about 400-500 mcgs where any more
has no more effect. LSD cannot cause toxic poisoning but in this
dosage range bad trips are practically certain. The effects last up
to eight or twelve hours. LSD must be treated with respect. It can
be a completely overwhelming experience. Nevertheless, contrary to
popular belief acid will not turn normal people permanently insane.

Since acid came back into fashion the media treatment of the subject
has been appallingly inaccurate. In September 1989 a English football
fan fell overboard a ferry to Sweden and was presumably drowned. It
was reported that this had resulted from LSD use. He had died fifteen
minutes after taking a tab. However, LSD takes about half an hour to
an hour to have any effect and, therefore, is unlikely to have
contributed to his death. What the media had paid less attention to
was been drinking very heavily. 'Drunk drowns' is obviously an
inferior headline to 'Trip To Hell'.

o ECSTASY AND OTHER 'DESIGNER DRUGS'

DOM DOB DOI MDA MDMA MMDA DMMDA MDE 2CB 2CE DOET DOPR 2CT2 p-DOT MBDB MMA 
LE-25 etc.

'At first you can't really say what's happening after you ingest these
substances. Then suddenly everything is a little brighter,
conversation is a bit more relaxed, the music is just right and you
slowly begin fitting into the new environment. It's a fabulous
feeling.' Dr Alexander T Shulgin, Californian Chemist.

All these new drugs are psychedelics which have been synthesized by
researchers. They should not be confused, as the press does in its
ignorance, with other 'designer drugs' which are dangerous narcotics,
eg.  MMMP ('synthetic Heroin') which was produced with an impurity
(MTMP) that caused Parkinson's disease. The new psychedelics are
mainly manufactured from crossing a mescaline-type structure with
amphetamine ('speed'). There are hundreds of these chemicals many of
which seem to be safe psychedelics when correctly used. There are
other new psychedelics related to tryptamine and also a more potent
analogue of LSD. This has not be tested in humans to the best of my
knowledge.

Some have been manufactured for the black market in North America,
particularly in Canada. They are very rare and but they are all
likely to become more popular, as they represent an advance on LSD.
The drugs seem to have similar effects, which are highly dosage
dependent and they are best used in low doses where many have been
described as empathogens -- non-hallucinogenic psychedelics, which
promote empathy between people and remove fear in the same context.
Some say there are subtle differences in effects between these drugs,
however there is little reliable information at the present time.
Despite the potential usefulness of these drugs they were listed in
the UK in 1977 as class A and banned in the USA in 1988 under sweeping
rules.

o MDMA ('Ecstasy')

The N-methyl analogue of MDA

'It can be compared in its effects to marijuana, to psilocybin devoid
of the hallucinatory component, or to low doses of MDA.' A T Shulgin.

'I found it entirely pleasurable and very enlightening. It's a
diffused sensuality.  Everybody became very open about their
feelings.' American User.

' ... Grinspoon, who has tried the drug himself, said recently that it
may prove to be 'the first pharmacologic agent that actually gives a
patient the capacity for insight. It enhances positive feelings of
love and trust and seems to facilitate the retrieval of early
memories.'' David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 December 1987

'Ecstasy, also called MDMA, is methylenedioxymethylamphetamine
(whew!), a drug synthesized in 1914 as an appetite depressant ... It
is a short-acting psychedelic that doesn't give bad trips or
flashbacks, and does reduce anxiety. BUT, although it may not be as
lethal as crack, like any drug it is intense and dangerous if used in
a risky way, such as snorting it or injecting it intravenously.' Beth
Winship, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 June 1988

'A psychedelic drug nicknamed Ecstasy, invented in laboratories in the
1970s and outlawed in 1985, is enjoying a vogue in nightclubs in
downtown Manhattan, where it is attracting a young and arty following
and even sparking a wave of Ecstasy theme parties, T-shirts and music
... In Ecstasy, a combination of a synthetic mescaline and an
amphetamine, users believe they have found a mildly hallucinogenic
stimulant that amounts to the perfect drug ... It is difficult to
determine how many people are now experimenting with Ecstasy across
the country. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration says most of
the drug is made in clandestine laboratories in Texas and California
... Ecstasy, a bitter white powder also called MDMA, short for
3,4-methylenedioxy methamphetamine, is a chemical variation of
mescaline, a hallucinogenic drug obtained from the mescal plant, and
amphetamine, or speed, a drug that stimulates the central nervous
system.' Lisa W. Foderare, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 December 1988

'Ecstasy, for example, which is known chemically as MDMA, has been
ruled by the federal Food and Drug Administration to be useless
medically and dangerous, although it has been used for many years by a
few psychiatrists to help their patients talk more freely ... And it
can in fact lead researchers to important insights into the way the
mind operates, according to Dr. Reese T. Jones, a psychiatrist at the
University of California in San Francisco who has conducted
government- sponsored studies of psychedelic drugs including
marijuana, LSD, mescaline and cocaine ... Although human studies with
MDMA are banned, Jones  and Dr.  Stephen J. Peroutka, a Stanford
neurologist, noted that some psychiatrists have confirmed its value in
inducing a sense of serenity in mental patients, an increased sense of
self-esteem, and a closer, more confident alliance with their
therapists ... No one knows just how MDMA works. But Jones insisted
the drug has shown no long-term adverse effects when it is used
moderately. ... As for using Ecstasy to study how the mind operates
under the stimulus of profound human emotions, Jones commented:
'There's just no way I can study love and lust in a rat, and I'd like
to study how MDMA works in humans, but it's just not worth the hassle
with the FDA.' David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 January 1989

MDMA is a weaker and less toxic version of a very similar drug MDA
which is taken in similar doses. It is available in a number of
forms, usually caps, tablets or a white powder. It has been made in
the UK but is more commonly manufactured in Holland or America. It
was first produced for the black-market in America in the early 1970s
as a then legal substitute for MDA. In 1985 it started to attract
media attention. It was declared illegal in the USA in the same year.
Californian psychotherapists, typically of Jungian persuasion, had
been using MDMA or 'Adam' as they called it together with 2CB and
Ketamine. Adamson (1985) contains much information on therapeutic
use.

When used in normal doses of about 100 mg it has very mild effects like
a combination of very low doses of LSD and speed, but with no
hallucinations or chance of a bad trip. It causes enhancement of the
senses uses all psychedelics, a loss of inhibitions, emicsy and
openness between people and lasts about four hours. Despite its mild
effect it can leave the user with a slight but persistent hangover for
the following two days! And it is somewhat toxic, unlike cannabis or
LSD, and can cause sickness and, like speed, a feeling of tension in
the jaw and grinding of teeth. High doses (200 mg+) seem to result in
LSD-type effects. Doses of 500 mg+ of MDA can be fatal. MDA has be
eclipsed in publicity by MDMA, which is ironic since much MDMA may
actually be MDA. MDMA is thought to be less toxic than MDA. MDA is
slightly stronger and lasts longer than MDMA. There are an estimated
half million users in the UK.

'E' has become a popular accompaniment to dance music despite its cost
of around twenty pounds for a dose of about 100 mg and despite (or
perhaps because of) much adverse and inaccurate publicity,
particularly in the down-market papers. Quarter tabs of acid are also
used as a far cheaper, but poorer and less reliable substitute. The
police made 90 seizures of E in 1988 and 570 in 1989. There was one
bust of 900,000 tabs in Amsterdam during the summer of 1989. In 1990
5,500 tablets were seized in London. In 1991 this number had
increased to 66,200. This suggests European supplies to be
increasing. Certainly E is cheaper now than when it first reached the
UK in the early 1980s and demand is very much higher. Black market
MDMA might actually be MDA or a mixture of the two as they appear in
the same forms. Also, MDMA has been mixed with speed. And beware,
very cheap E is more likely to be a cocktail of other drugs, probably
including speed, than the genuine article.

Experiments in rats show MDA and MDMA lower levels of the
neurotransmitter serotonin. Even although the rats recover and there
is no evidence that low serotonin levels are dangerous in humans this
had led many journalists to spread the 'Ecstasy causes brain damage
myth'.

Of course you can get screwed up (severe anxiety, depression and
paranoia) on even a relatively safe drug like Ecstasy if you try
really hard (10-15 doses per day like some idiots in San Francisco
did) and taking it as often as three times a week is probably abusing
it. A very small number of people have died in a heat-stroke reaction
after taking MDMA, because they were allergic to it. Although,
allergic responses can be a problem with common medicinal drugs, e.g.
aspirin or even peanuts, this will no doubt be used as propaganda
against E. Another media favourite is to describe MDMA as a sex drug,
in fact a side effect of the drug is to make ejaculation difficult.
In Adamson users describe it as a 'love drug' which can make
intercourse unnecessary. Perhaps it is the ideal drug for the
post-AIDS generation.

Many people seem to use MDMA together with LSD. In general, mixing
drugs is a bad idea since many have a synergistic effect on each other
(2+2=5) but this is said to be a good combination. I would expect
very strong trips to be the result.

MDE ('Eve') is the N-ethyl analogue of MDA and has been available in
the USA. It is even shorter in action than MDMA and is believed to
have sedative rather than stimulant effects.

o 2CB

This is the phenylethylamine analog of DOB but it is safer, only
lasting about 8 hours. It is very similar to MDMA, but it is stronger
with mild visual effects more common and probably fewer of the
amphetamine-type side effects. It is supposed to enhance all the
senses. By 1987 it was available in the USA as 'bromo-mescaline'(sic)
or 'Venus'. According to The Face magazine it has been found in
London. It has been described as an 'aphrodisiac' (well it would be,
wouldn't it?). A dose is about 10-20 mg.

o DOB ('Bromo-STP')

4-Bromo, 2,5-Dimethoxyphenylisopropylamine

This drug first appeared in the UK in the summer of 1973. It is a
stronger version of the famous 1960s drug DOM (or 'STP'). The drug
was being sold then as an LSD substitute. DOB commonly appears as
drops on blotting paper, just as LSD does, since it is so potent.
Like DOM some producers have been producing dosage units containing
massive overdoses of the drug, which can last between 24 and 36 hours.
There have been reports from the USA of really huge overdoses (e.g.
75 mg) causing ergotism (see Fly Agaric section). However, DOB is
active at less than 1 mg and is, therefore, not toxic and likely to be
safe at the correct dosage level.

???? 

Other drugs on sale on the rave scene are 'Fantasy', 'Fantasia',
'M25'. I don't know what these contain. An educated guess would be
that they were ring-substituted phenylethylamines like the drugs
previously discussed, related to amphetamine or aspirins.

o E4Euh (Intellex)

This recent addition to the psychedelic underground is a long lasting
(~14 hours) amphetamine derivative, orally active at about 10-20 mg of
the free base. Claimed to boost intelligence and encourage verbosity
with some MDMA-like effects. Mixes badly with LSD (unlike MDMA).

o DMT DET DPT DIPT

These are substituted tryptamines which are related to psilocin. The
first three are not orally active and must be smoked (but not with
tobacco). They have short lasting intense LSD-type effects. DIPT is
orally active and is so specific in its action that it only alters
the perception of music.

Although these are the easiest of the psychedelics to manufacture at
home the procedure is still difficult with difficult to obtain and
dangerous chemicals needed. Sometimes available on the American black
market but rare.

Anonymous from Psychedelics Drugs 1.1 (1992)

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December 21st 1993
Virtual Reality & BodyArt
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