Archive for ‘Drugs’

March 9, 2016

Pregaming

beer pong formations

Pregaming (called prefunking in Europe and preloading or prinking in the UK), is the process of getting drunk prior to going out socializing in a manner as cost-efficient as possible. Although typically done before a night out, pregaming can also precede other activities, like attending a college football game, large party, social function, or another activity where possession of alcohol may be limited or prohibited. The name ‘pregaming’ spread from the drinking that took place during tailgate parties before football games to encompass similar drinking periods.

Pregaming first became popular in the US in the 1990s, becoming a common practice after MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) pressured the federal government to coerce states into increasing the legal drinking age to 21 nationwide. It is also an unintended consequence of alcohol laws that prohibit happy hours and other discounts on alcohol, as well as rising tuition and other costs for students. Pregaming minimizes the cost of purchasing alcohol at local bars and clubs and can reduce the problems associated with obtaining and using fake identification listing an age permitting legal consumption of alcohol.

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February 24, 2016

Microdosing

microdose

Microdosing is a technique for studying the behavior of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low (‘sub-therapeutic’) they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied. This allows the observation of a drug’s pharmacokinetics with a low risk of side effects. This is called a ‘Phase 0 study’ and is usually conducted before clinical Phase I to predict whether a drug is viable for the next phase of testing. Human microdosing aims to reduce the resources spent on non-viable drugs and the amount of testing done on animals.

Psychedelic drugs are also sometimes used at sub-therapeutic doses for non-hallucinogenic effects. For example, LSD at one tenth the normal dose has been reported to have antidepressant properties and is said to aid in problem solving.

 

July 29, 2015

Enabling

People Pleaser

Codependent No More

Enabling is a term with a double meaning in psychotherapy and mental health. As a positive term, it is similar to empowerment, and describes patterns of interaction which allow individuals or groups to develop and grow. In a negative sense, it can describe dysfunctional behavior approaches that are intended to help resolve a specific problem but in fact may perpetuate or exacerbate the problem.

A common theme of enabling in this latter sense is that third parties take responsibility or blame, or make accommodations for a person’s harmful conduct (often with the best of intentions, or from fear or insecurity which inhibits action). The practical effect is that the person himself or herself does not have to do so, and is shielded from awareness of the harm it may do, and the need or pressure to change. Enabling in this sense is a major environmental cause of addiction.

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June 18, 2015

Synthol

synthol

Some bodybuilders, particularly at professional level, inject substances such as ‘site enhancement oil,’ commonly known as synthol [sin-thawl], to mimic the appearance of developed muscle where it may otherwise be disproportionate or lagging. This is practice is referred to as ‘fluffing.’ (Synthol is also the name of an all natural mouthwash available in France since 1920 that is also packaged as a gel and spray for the treatment of muscular pain.)

Site enhancement oil is 85% oil, 7.5% lidocaine (a local anesthetic), and 7.5% alcohol. It is not restricted, as it is ostensibly sold for topical use only, and many brands are available on the internet. The use of injected oil to enhance muscle appearance was abandoned in the late 20th century as it can cause pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs), nerve damage, infections, skin lesions, stroke, and the formation of oil-filled cysts in the muscle. Sesame oil is often used, which can cause allergic reactions such as vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels). An aesthetic issue is drooping of muscle under gravity.

May 13, 2015

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve

pappy

Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve is the flagship brand of bourbon whiskey owned by the ‘Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery’ company (which does not actually own or operate a distillery, but rather has it produced under a contract with another company). It is distilled and bottled by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is often regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world, and is rare to find on the market due to its very low production and high demand. The product has a cult-like following. Famous chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and David Chang have favored the product.

‘Food Republic’ reported that Chef John Currence said: ‘There’s Pappy Van Winkle, then there’s everything else.’ Bourbon aficionados have shown up in droves to get a small chance in a lottery to purchase some. It has been called ‘the bourbon everyone wants but no one can get.’ A writer for ‘The Wall Street Journal’ said ‘You could call it bourbon, or you could call it a $5,000 bottle of liquified, barrel-aged unobtanium.’ Jen Doll wrote in ‘The Wire,’ ‘It’s an age-old dilemma (supply and demand) leading to an age-old marketing dream (a product that can’t be kept on the shelves … money in the pockets … bourbon in the bourbon snifters).’

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April 7, 2015

Alcohol Powder

Palcohol

Alcohol powder is molecularly encapsulated ethanol. The powder produces an alcoholic beverage when mixed with water. According to food chemist Udo Pollmer of the European Institute of Food and Nutrition Sciences in Munich, alcohol can be absorbed in cyclodextrins, a synthetic carbohydrate derivative. The cyclodextrins can absorb an estimated 60 percent of their own weight in alcohol while remaining dry to the touch. A US patent was registered for the process as early as 1974.

Alcohol powder can be used to reconstitute alcoholic beverages or inhaled through a nebulizer (mister). In Germany a product called Subyou reportedly was distributed on the Internet. The product was available in four flavors and packed in 65 – 100 gram sachets. When mixed with 0.25 liters of water it gives a drink with 4.8% alcohol. It was assumed a German producer manufactured the product from imported raw alcohol powder from the US.

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March 2, 2015

Brotherhood of Eternal Love

orange sunshine

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was an organization of drug users and distributors that operated from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s in Orange County, California; they were dubbed the ‘Hippie Mafia.’ They produced and distributed drugs in hopes of starting a ‘psychedelic revolution’ in the US. The organization was started by spiritual guru John Griggs as a commune but by 1969 had turned to the manufacture of LSD and the importing of hashish. The group was known for it’s particular brand of highly potent acid dubbed ‘Orange Sunshine.’

In 1970, the Brotherhood hired the radical left organization the Weather Underground for a fee of $25,000 to help Harvard psychologist and LSD evangelist Timothy Leary make his way to Algeria after he escaped from prison, while serving a 5-year sentence for possession of marijuana. Their activities came to an end on August 5, 1972 in a drug raid where dozens of group members in California, Oregon, and Hawaii were arrested, though all of them were released within months; some who had escaped the raid continued underground or fled abroad. More members were arrested in 1994 and 1996, and the last of them in 2009.

December 9, 2014

Gypsy Brewery

Mikkeller

evil twin

A gypsy brewery is a beer company that does not have its own equipment or premises; it operates on a temporary or itinerant basis out of the facilities of another brewery, generally making ‘one-off’ special occasion beers. The term may refer to the brewmaster, or to the brand of beer. The trend of gypsy brewing spread early in Scandinavia. Their beers, and collaborations later spread to America and Australia.

Gypsy brewers typically use facilities of larger makers with excess capacity. Often, their beers are made with herbs, spices, and fruits, use experimental styles, are high in alcohol, or are aged in old wine or liquor barrels. Prominent examples include Pretty Things, Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Mikkeller and Evil Twin.

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December 2, 2014

Drunken Monkey Hypothesis

Drunken Monkey by Anna-Lina Balke

The drunken monkey hypothesis proposes that human attraction to ethanol may have a genetic basis due to the high dependence of the primate ancestor of Homo sapiens on fruit as a food source. Ethanol naturally occurs in ripe and overripe fruit and consequently early primates developed a genetically based attraction to the substance. This hypothesis was originally proposed by Dr. Robert Dudley of UC, Berkeley and was the subject of a symposium for the ‘Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.’

Dudley believes that while most addictive substances are relatively new to humans, ethanol attraction may have a long evolutionarily based history. He believes that fruit ethanol may have been a significant source of energy and that the smell of the ripening fruit would help primates locate it. Ethanol is a light molecule and diffuses rapidly in a natural environment. Primates are known to have a higher olfactory sensitivity to alcohol than other mammals. The once-beneficial attraction to ethanol may underlie human tendencies for alcohol use and alcohol abuse.

November 30, 2014

Caffeine

Lu Yu

Caffeinated drink

Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical found in various seeds, leaves, nuts, and berries. It serves a dual function in plants: as a toxin against unwanted pests, and as an enticement to pollinators, who are stimulated by it. Common sources of caffeine include coffee seeds (beans), tea leaves, kola nuts, yerba mate leaves, and guarana berries. It is extracted from the plant by steeping in water, a process called infusion. Chemically caffeine is an alkaloid, a non-acidic, nitrogen containing compound. A number of alkaloids are produced by flowering plants (e.g. cocaine from coca, nicotine from tobacco, morphine from poppies) to reduce or avoid being eaten by herbivores.

Specifically, caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid, an organic (carbon-based) compound from which many stimulants are derived. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. Part of the reason caffeine is classified by the FDA as ‘generally recognized as safe’ is that toxic doses, over 10 grams per day for an adult, are much higher than the typically used doses of under 500 milligrams.

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October 29, 2014

Nitrogen Narcosis

narcosis

Nitrogen narcosis [nahr-koh-sis] (also known as ‘raptures of the deep’ and the ‘Martini effect’) is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while diving at depth. It is caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure. The Greek word ‘narcosis’ is derived from ‘narke,’ ‘temporary decline or loss of senses and movement, numbness,’ a term used by Homer and Hippocrates. Narcosis produces a state similar to intoxication caused by drinking alcohol or inhaling nitrous oxide. It can occur during shallow dives, but usually becomes noticeable at depths greater than 30 meters (100 ft).

Except for helium and probably neon, all gases that can be breathed have a narcotic effect, although widely varying in degree. The effect is consistently greater for gases with a higher lipid solubility (the ability to diffuse directly through the fatty part of a cell membrane), and there is good evidence that the two properties are mechanistically related. As depth increases, the mental impairment may become hazardous. Divers can learn to cope with some of the effects of narcosis, but it is impossible to develop a tolerance. Narcosis affects all divers, although susceptibility varies widely from dive to dive, and between individuals.

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May 29, 2014

Beer Mile

beer mile by John Markell

A Beer mile is a drinking race combining running and speed drinking. Typically, the event takes place on a standard 400 meter or 1/4 mile running track. Each lap must be preceded by the drinking of a standard amount of beer, typically a 12-ounce can. Rules vary by region. One custom requires runners to prove they have finished their beer by inverting it over their heads before commencing a lap.

The standard rules published by BeerMile.com are based on the most common rules used in North America. They specify that any competitor who vomits prior to finishing the race must complete a penalty lap immediately following the fourth lap. The penalty lap does not require the drinking of an additional beer. The standard rules also dictate that the beer be consumed directly from the pour of the can (i.e. tampering with the cans, such as ‘shotgunning,’ is not allowed). The beer used for the competition must also be full-strength, or at least 5.0% ABV. Hard ciders and other alcoholic beverages are generally not allowed.

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