Introduction

Dedicated to all who fly blind due to lack of knowledge.

In an effort to address what we are all thinking when it comes to health and well-being, we decided to write this book.  Intoxication is an animal presence in us that makes up what Ronald K. Siegel would call the “fourth drive” of human nature (the others are of course ‘food/water, shelter and reproduction’)1.  While addiction to substances occurs, it doesn’t need to be a forgone conclusion to their use. Let’s face it, deep down, we all have a healthy appetite for destruction that truly needs sating.  It is in our very human nature to abuse ourselves or as Andrew Weil would say “to experience altered states of consciousness”.  However, there is an intelligent way to do things, and then there is the stupid way.  Our way isn’t the only highway, it is just the one that, up until now, few people have truly codified.  As Billy Joel once said so astutely: “I’d rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun.”  Although in his next verse he goes on to say that “only the good die young”, we would modify that slightly to: “only the dumb die young”.  That is what this book is all about.  How can you live a healthy life while getting your quota for self-abuse fulfilled?  In a way, all of this information has perhaps been put out there in bits and pieces; only, gathering those pieces together is a colossal task.   Fear not young/old Jedi, we have laid out all of the Jedi mind tricks concisely and intelligently in this manual for your perusal.  Everything: from diet to sex, drugs and rock’n roll.

Another reason for this manual stems from our thoughts as clinicians.  Just as Dr. Oz wrote “You the Owners Manual” as an attempt to create his global empire (sorry was that the outside voice?), and empower patients to become savvy towards their own health, so too shall we (yes, world domination is on the agenda).  Many patients feel daunted on what questions to ask their doctor during their short visit.  In an effort not to seem unlearned, they may also neglect to ask many simple, but important questions.  My personal favorite question I get to hear on a daily basis is “Why?”.  Although I’m sometimes tempted to respond, “there’s an App for that” (which, believe it or not, there is!); it is much better to empower patients with an explanation.

A small portion (pardon the pun) of this book is nutrition from a slightly unorthodox point of view.  Hippocrates (the father of medicine) once said “Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine, and Thy Medicine Thy Food”, whereas Voltaire said “All medicine consists of keeping the patient entertained until the body heals itself”.  The first statement we heartily agree with, and the second somewhat.  The only thing we as health practitioners are really here for is to tell you where to look, to provide encouragement when you need it, to nudge you in the right direction and to manage emergencies where required.  The rest is truly up to you.

Be Well.

Ken Zenmen R.Ac., TCMP

Dr. Cico MD

 

Disclaimer 1

Everything in this book is not a substitute for medical attention from qualified and trained personnel who are dedicated to not telling you any of this.  So…”when in doubt, don’t pout, get it checked out”.  Ask their opinions about this subject matter too.  We have tried to be as thorough as possible in compiling this roadmap through the minefield of abuse that’s out there.  Although there are probably lots of ways to abuse yourself that we haven’t thought of, these are the most common ones.  Perhaps subsequent editions will cover those.  Be Safe, Be Well, Live Long and Prosper.  Kirk out.

Disclaimer 2

Although our names are fictional, our qualifications are not.  We have merely adopted pseudonyms to avoid the nuclear fallout that we would experience as professionals if we were to use our real names.  We also neither condemn, nor condone the activities we describe in this book.  This book is aimed at harm reduction, not complete eradication, as that is impossible.  This manual is not designed to encourage you to try any substance mentioned, but is designed to be a cautionary tale.

Disclaimer 3 (Sigh!)

The opinions and materials presented in this book are purely our professional opinions and do not reflect in any way, shape or form, the opinions or likenesses of any other people mentioned in this book, be they real or fictional blah blah blah blah….ad nauseum.

Disclaimer 4 (I know, FUBAR!)

Should you choose to use any information in this book, you do so at your own risk.  Therefore, use this book under medical supervision, with a lawyer present, after having your member of congress autograph it under police supervision.  Then, and only then, will it be deemed legitimate by all powers that be.

Disclaimer 5 (OFFS!)

We have no affiliation, nor profitable motive linked to any of the suggestions in this book.  Use the interventions with the knowledge that no one is paying us to recommend them.

WARNING: This book contains explicit material such as harsh language, sexual content, dangerous activities and loads of irreverence.  If you have tender sensibilities, are under 18, or are easily offended, seek life and entertainment from a more innocuous source.  If not, keep calm, and carry on.

 

The Romans drunk their wine

in search of a state so sublime.

We all know how that story ends.

 

And through the ages, witches brew

devils weed and death vine too

drunk to try to slip on through

to God knows where, (for who?).

 

Pills we pop, dope we smoke,

powdered snot and all that rot

and the creed that power advocated

‘just say no’

is superseded many fold by

‘I wonder why, I wonder high’.

 

So wander hale and wander whole

to all those poets’, Other Shore.

 

                                                                                                Dr. Cico MD

“cuz its not about the music, it’s about the abuse!” 

Run With The Kittens (an Awesome Toronto Band)

Before we talk about the abuse, it would be useful to give you a definition of what addiction entails.  You don’t want to become addicted to anything in this book, as it would spoil your long-term fun.  Thus far, the most clear and useful definition of addiction that we have seen comes from Dr. Gabor Mate (a physician who treats hard-core addicts in the East Hastings area of Vancouver) and is as follows:

Addiction:  Any repeated behavior, substance-related or not, in which a person feels compelled to persist, regardless of its negative impact on their life and the lives of others2.

Another useful opinion on this comes from an Emeritus Professor named Bruce Alexander from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.  According to him, addiction’s underlying cause is due to a lack of psycho-social integration of the individual in society.  He calls this “dislocation”, and explains it in his long-ass book in 10-point fucking type entitled The Globalization of Addiction, a study in poverty of the spirit.

A Word About Addictive Behaviors

When the use of anything becomes dysfunctional, it travels in a downward spiraling path towards addiction.  Whether it is a substance or an activity, its brain chemistry and pathology aren’t so different.  One of the cognitive keys to stopping this comes from the UCLA 4-Step Method, created by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz and found in his book Brain Lock, and elaborated upon by Dr. Gabor Mate in his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.  It is a series of 5 steps, which are as follows:3

  1. Re-label: being consciously aware that “the hit of _____ that I gotta have now!” may feel like a need, but actually isn’t. It is an urge that you label as such.
  2. Re-attribute: realize that this urge signal comes from your brain chemistry imbalance. It’s not a moral failure on your part.
  3. Re-focus: find an activity to divert or distract you temporarily (buy some time). In that time the urge will have a chance to fade.
  4. Re-value: examine what that urge is really worth to you compared to something that really matters.
  5. Re-create (from Gabor Mate): Do something creative to fill the perceived void that the lack of the substance/activity has created.

Wagons, are meant to be ridden, but we occasionally fall off.  Be aware that the above method is only one tool in the toolbox that we will try to give you in this book to get back on.  There are a bunch of others so read on young Padawan!

The Abuse Rules

There are several things you need to know about successful, sustainable substance use.  They are:

  1. Control your environment– if you’re gonna use something, make sure that you are in a comfortable and familiar environment. That way, if things go to pot (pardon the pun) you will be safe and around people who could potentially save your ass.  You’ll also likely avoid a custodial sentence with Bubba/ Babbette (the roommates extraordinaire).
  2. Know what you have– it doesn’t matter if it is booze or heroin. Where did it come from, and what is its purity.  If you don’t know this, you could wake up dead, FUBAR, or missing a kidney.  When in doubt, just opt out for something that you do know.
  3. Starting dose– start low, then work your way up. More isn’t necessarily better.  This one of the few times that size matters!
  4. Obey age restrictions on substances. If you are under 18, your brain is still developing, sport.  While developing it is easier for your brain to wire itself in favor of dependence to many of these substances (making it easier to become addicted- physically or psychologically).  This will make your long term mental health rather fucked.  Wait until your brain is more developed before you decide to start killing off brain cells.
  5. Know why you are using it.  Recreation, great.  Self-medication, seek help.  Those who self medicate tend to seek oblivion from whatever trauma that haunts them (ie: PTSD, abuse, dislocation, etc.), which leads to overdose or habituation.
  6. Become a Connoisseur Ever heard of an alcoholic that became one by exclusively drinking Dom Perignon Champagne? Unless they were Uber-wealthy, the chances that they would have the funds to do so would be slim. The more you spend on the quality of the substance you choose, the better the chances that you won’t be able to afford to buy a ton of it, which means you will inadvertently regulate your usage (#4).  This method of regulation also assures that you will know what you have (#2) as you have researched where the best stuff comes from.
  7. Ritualize your usage– Establish some rules around when you use the substance. For example, only with friends or only after 5pm or only on weekends.  This will give you some boundaries to obey.  There is a reason why indigenous tribes-people who have mind-altering substances as a part of their culture are not addicted to the substances they use.  An example would be the Waika Indians of Brazil and their Epena Snuff (a DMT-containing mixture derived from a tree in the Nutmeg family)4.  Their use, like other Amazonian tribes, is ritualistic, and not an anti-authority  Their use is sustainable and ritualized, not dysfunctional.
  8. Use substances in their natural stateCocaine, Mescaline and Vodka are all purified versions of Coca, Peyote and Beer/ Wine. This makes them far more habituating and addictive than their unadulterated parent substances.
  9. Mitigate your mayhem- no matter what substance it is that you choose, every one will induce chemical changes in your body. When you take the car out for a drive, not only do your gas levels go down, but also oil, washer fluid, brake fluid etc. and will need to be topped up. You are no different so fill’er back up with the appropriate nutrients (listed in each section) if you want to keep driving.  This is how you will keep your health.
  10. Don’t mix your poisons- If you are gonna use something, follow the K.I.S.S. rule (Keep it simple & stylish). This makes it easier for us practitioners to detoxify you and helps to prevent worse damage.  Therefore, Skywalker, use only 1 thing at a time.
  11. If you’re pregnant, or think you could be, do your potential kid a favor and don’t use anything. Question: What’s worse than your kid dying during pregnancy? Answer: Surviving with severe handicaps for life as a result of your usage.

 

References:

1 Ronald K Siegel., (1989)., Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise., Dutton, New York. ISBN: 0-671-69192-9.

2 Gabor Mate., (2008)., In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts- Close Encounters With Addiction. p. 214., Vintage Canada, a division of Random House Canada LTD., ISBN 978-0-676-97741-7.

3 Ibid., Mate p. 353-362.

4 Andrew Weil., (1972)., The Natural Mind- A New Way of Looking  at Drugs and the Higher Consciousness, p. 113., Houghton Mifflin Company Boston., ISBN 0-395-16612-8.

Advertisements

The Art of Alcohol Use

Before we start, here are the rules and disclaimers.

One of the best-known substances, that has been with us since the beginning of civilization at around 8000 BC, is alcohol.  It’s earliest incarnation was as mead, the drink of Norse Gods and men, which was made from fermented honey and fueled the Vikings on their boisterous murderous voyages everywhere.

Enough history? Ok, I get it. You want to be able to imbibe semi-guiltless and with a sense of less foreboding.  I also get that you have been told that it ain’t cool to do so, will harm your health, loved ones and all the rest.  So how can you ensure that your life long love affair with booze does the least amount of damage?  Well let’s see how that could be accomplished.  Firstly, the higher the volume, the longer it lasts.  Hence, nursing a beer is far better than nursing a whisky since it will last longer.  We metabolize (break down) alcohol slower if we’ve had something to eat versus consuming it on an empty stomach.  Regardless of how you feel about gender equality, it seems that Mother Nature gave women the short end of the stick as far as ability to break down alcohol goes.  Women’s levels of the enzyme alcohol-dehydrogenase (which is part of the process of metabolism) are lower than men’s, and women have a lower fluid volume for alcohol to dissolve in their bodies than men.  This means that women can generally tolerate about 60% less alcohol than men.  However ladies, take comfort in the fact that Mother Nature also graced us guys with an insatiable need to compete with one another, which means that we are twice as likely to become paralytic fuckwits for your amusement.

Rates of metabolism also vary between people, but the average is about 1 to 1.5 oz of 40% alcohol per hour.  Basically, most people will be able to drink 1 drink per hour and not be intoxicated[i].

As far as alcohol type goes, you always know where you stand with beer.  Due to the higher volume, it is far more difficult to poison yourself and end up in the ER than if you were to be, say, pounding shots.  Although, it is possible to theoretically poison yourself with beer, it is statistically less likely.  You are more likely to blow chunks (barf) on someone, then want to end the night, than continue drinking.  Another virtue of barley soda (aka beer), is that it is hopped.  Hops, in addition to being bitter, is also a mild sedative.  This means you will consume, become sleepy and wish to stop drinking in order to sleep.  This is not a bad thing, it is an auto-regulatory thing (ie: less consumption).  What is less advantageous is a very sweet alcoholic beverage like rum & coke.  Why you ask? Well…in addition to the buzz you get from the alcohol and the decrease of inhibitions, you also get hyper from the sugar, which will keep you awake, disable your satiety signal from your brain (which means you will drink more), and you will be more likely to lose teeth from your face hitting that bouncer’s fist due to the disagreement you will have regarding when the night should end.

Also, nutritionally speaking, craft beer and red wine are better than the “Big Brand” lagers (aka pig swill) and hard stuff.  But hey, I’m a beer polygamist/ wine snob, so whatever floats your boat.  Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to enjoy said bevies, don’t just opt for the cheap “get as much in ya” shit as you can, spend money on good booze.  The reason is that the brewers/ distillers will make it with more tender loving care, using better ingredients, and less crap.  This will most likely mean there are fewer sulfites and other additives, which will be more beneficial for your health in the long run.  Finally, since you are spending more on less, you will probably consume less, as one’s resources are finite (unless your last name is Rockefeller, in which case ignore the last sentence).

Don’t you just love the “If I were President” rant?  Here’s one of mine:

“If I were the Commander in Chief, I’d make alcohol usage a license-able activity, by which, people, when they turned drinking age, had to take a course (or read this book), then take a test and pass, in order to get a license to buy booze.  If they abuse their booze privileges, the license is suspended (just like your driver’s license).”  This way we’d have enlightened alcohol consumers who knew the substance and how to use it. “I’d also stick a pub on the corner of every neighborhood, and make it a law that people had to go out between the hours of 7-9pm, have a pint, and socialize with their neighbor in a TV and dumb-phone free zone, and make every bouncer a social worker.”  That way we’d get to know our neighbor, talk about how much the President is fucking up the country and avoid mind numbing, spirit crushing commercials (aka lies) on the idiot box, reduce our stress levels, and have the help readily at hand should we abuse it too diligently (but I digress).

The Dose Makes the Poison

In moderate amounts (i.e. 1-3 drinks per day), alcohol causes vasodilation (increased arterial diameter) in the brain, which can help to prevent dementia in those over the age of 55 as well as heart disease.  It also decreases the incidence of blood clots, which lead to strokes[ii].

However, if you decide to over imbibe, there are a whole host of side effects beyond the hangover that you also get to experience free of charge.  In addition to brain shrinkage, you get to enjoy impotence, testicular, prostate and seminal vesicle shrinkage and lowered fertility if you are a lad.  If you are a lass, you get many menstrual disorders (i.e. PMS, menstrual pain, etc.) and lowered fertility.  Both guys and dolls will enjoy gastritis (stomach inflammation), GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), heartburn, diarrhea, IBS (irritable bowel disease), worsening coordination, tremors, reduced IQ and fatty liver which then can progress to alcoholic hepatitis then cirrhosis.

If you drink during pregnancy, the fetus will be unfortunate enough to be born with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and will experience mental retardation, developmental delays, low birth weight, neurological problems, head and face malformations (cleft palate, wide set eyes, low set ears etc.) and other physical abnormalities (heart malformations, poor kidney development, finger and toe malformations).

So…the first thing that you need to know is that alcohol will deplete certain nutrient pools in your body, and so keeping those topped up will be the first step in having alcohol “love you long time GI”.  Alcohol’s primary target organs for destructive mayhem are the liver and the brain.  The key nutrients to think about are as follows:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine or Benfotiamine- the active form):

Protects your heart from cardiomyopathy (called Beri-Beri in days of yore) associated with alcohol over-consumption.  Also decreases alcohol desire (which means that you won’t actually feel like having more).  Typical dosage: 50-100mg/day (for all us alcohol underachievers), 100-200mg/day[iii] (for the over-the-top social types). Benfotiamine Dosage: 100mg/day (underachievers), 300mg/day (overachievers)

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):

Since acetaldehyde (explained below) speeds up the breakdown of B6, it stands to reason that you might want to take some.  The metabolically active form is best (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) and 25mg/day will keep the hangover mostly away.[iv]

Pantethine:

The proverbial “get out of jail free card”. Taking between 600-900mg[v] towards the end of a drinking bout will convince the acetaldehyde jury to come to the verdict of “not guilty”. However, for those unlucky individuals who flush after having just a little alcohol (ie: very low acetaldehyde dehydrogenase – AcDH, which is explained below) it won’t spring you from the clink too well.

l-Glutamine:

Good for a whole host of things from increasing muscle mass in athletes, to sealing up the gut wall in leaky-gut syndrome, stopping sugar cravings and finally killing off your desire to truly embrace fuck-wit-hood. Typical dosage: 12g/day[vi] on an empty stomach.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin or IHN- Inositol Hexanicotinate):

Has a sedating effect that helps with alcohol withdrawal (after deciding that you’ve met or exceeded your lifetime abuse quota) and makes your cholesterol profiles normalize (HDL up, LDL down, VLDL down) which will fool your GP into thinking that you are really a saint.   Typical dosage:

Niacin (B3, non-time released)- start at 100mg[vii] after each meal then work your way up gradually to 1000mg after each meal (do it all in one shot, sport, and you’ll get the flush which is somewhat unpleasant, but not harmful and lasts for about 20 min-1hr).

IHN– 100-500mg/day (for the lightweight abusers) and 800-2000mg/day[viii] (for the over-achievers)

Magnesium:

You tend to lose Magnesium when you drink alcohol so you gotta replenish it.  In fact most of us are quite deficient in this mineral anyway, so if you start out that way, booze only makes it worse. Magnesium relaxes muscles, and helps prevent headaches so I’m sure you see why it’s in here.  In the form of Magnesium Citrate/ Malate/ Bis-Glycinate/ (they are all good).  500mg before bed and 500mg in the morning is usually sufficient.

Milkthistle:

To regenerate the livers of degenerates, big and small.

Typical dosage: 150-300mg/day to make the liver make more glutathione (a master antioxidant) in the small degenerates, and 400-800mg/day[ix] in the big degenerates (who have liver cirrhosis).

Zinc:

Here is how alcohol gets metabolized in you:

Alcohol  →  ADH (alcohol-dehydrogenase)  → Acetaldehyde (toxic-er)   →  AcDH (acetaldehyde-dehydrogenase)  →   Acetic Acid (vinegar, hence you were pickled)

Acetaldehyde is what gives you the hangover when it builds up.  However, that is not all that acetaldehyde does.  It also collects in the brain and combines with other brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which then form opiate-like substances called THIQs (Tetra-hydro-iso-quinolines).  These THIQs make alcohol as addictive as morphine!  The following chart illustrates this[x]:

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 9.19.10 AM

ADH and AcDH are enzymes that break down the booze.  These enzymes however are Zinc dependent and guess what alcohol depletes…..(drum roll please)….you guessed it, zinc.

Typical dose: 15-25mg/day (in a combined supplement with copper in a 10-1 ratio in favor of Zinc).[xi]

NAC:

N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC helps detoxify (the alcohol pollution), vasodilate (to prevent hypertention), is mucolytic (thins mucus) and helps the liver to regenerate and produce glutathione (a master antioxidant).

Typical dose: 900-3000mg/day[xii] (depending on how much fun you have).

Taurine: This amino acid is a great little potassium/ magnesium conserving diuretic that is kind to the kidneys and stabilizes the heart rhythms and blood sugar, while preventing seizures, and aiding in digestion by assisting with bile secretion.  (Pat yourself on the back for taking this one!)

Typical dose: 1000-3000mg/day (It also aids in alcohol withdrawal in case shit gets out of control) 3000mg/day (in divided doses for alcohol withdrawal).

Vitamin C:

Linus Pauling was right.  Vitamin C helps with detox and a bunch of other things we’ll talk about later.  For this application 3g/day (1g with each meal) lessens the acetaldehyde toxicity (the 1st step of alcohol metabolism). This lessens hangovers.

Lithium:

Lithium is a widely misunderstood mineral.  Most people don’t know that lithium is required for normal human functioning.  It is involved in stabilization of nerve cell membrane conduction, stimulates nerve cell regeneration and may protect brain cells from toxic effects of alcohol and drugs.  Most people know lithium as the drug used to control “manic-depressive disorders”, which it does as the lithium carbonate salt given in extremely high doses and which consequently produces side effects.  Lithium Orotate 20mg is used in nutritional medicine as a supplement for nervous system stabilization.   Lithium is usually found in soil and water in varying amounts.  In these areas, there are fewer suicides, homicides and violent crimes.  Lithium Orotate (20mg elemental lithium) would be helpful in controlling mood (“anger-management”) and reduces alcohol cravings.

 

And now a word from the Chinese Medicine Cabinet:

Ge Hua (aka Kudsu Flower):

Ge Hua is typically used to prevent hangovers if you remember to take it before you go to bed (in fucked up state).  1 tsp of powdered extract[xiii] will do the trick.

Oolong Tea:

My father in law taught me his method on how to drink smartly.  It is as follows:

  1. Drink beverage of choice.
  2. Drink small cup of oolong tea
  3. Repeat ad nauseum (or until you’ve had enough)

This method works quite well as the oolong tea helps break down the acetaldehyde, and the volume of fluids keeps you from getting too dehydrated; both of which cause the hangover.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to do all of these.  It’s just that being a saint is easier with a plethora of options at your disposal.

Now we get to limits.  The problem with limits, is that they will be different for everyone due to body chemistry, genetics, percent body fat, amount regularly consumed and body weight.  For example, a 160lb, 25 year old, 12% body fat, Caucasian man of North American descent, who regularly drinks at an average of 2 drinks/day, will have less ADH (alcohol dehydrogenase) in their blood to metabolize ingested alcohol, than say, that same man, if he was of Eastern European Caucasian descent.  Why, you ask?  Well…ever tried drinking with a Russian compared to say, a dude from the mid-west?  Suffice it to say that you never want to drink with a Russian.

 

Blood Alcohol Level Chart: Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)[1]

BAC (% by vol.) Behavior Impairment
0.010-0.029 (Good lad/lass) Average individual appears normal Subtle effects can be detected with special tests
0.030-0.059 (Interesting lad/lass) Mild euphoria, joyousness, relaxation, talkativeness, decreased inhibition Concentration
0.060-0.090 (Asshole in training) Blunted feelings, dis-inhibition, extroversion Reasoning, depth perception, peripheral vision, glare recovery
0.10-0.19 (Asshole) Over expression, emotional swings, anger/ sadness, boisterousness, decreased libido Reflexes, reaction time, gross motor control, staggering, slurred speech, temporary erectile dysfunction, possibility of temporary alcohol poisoning
0.20-0.29 (WTF happened!) Stupor, loss of understanding, impaired sensations, possibility of falling unconscious Severe motor impairment, loss of consciousness, memory blackout
0.30-0.39 (Serious Numb Nuts) Severe nervous system depression, unconsciousness, possibility of death Bladder function, breathing, disequilibrium, heart rate
0.40-0.50 (Dead Duck) General lack of behavior, unconsciousness, possibility of death Breathing, heart rate, positional alcohol nystagmus
>0.50 (Six feet under) High risk of poisoning, possibility of death

The above, modified chart from the federal aviation regulation spells out what happens to you when you party at different levels.  Suffice it to say that 1 to 2 drinks will get you to 0.03% on the average, which puts you in the “Interesting” category at the party.  Beyond that however, it’s all downhill.  Also, these categories vary due to previously mentioned factors (ie: don’t drink with Russians!).

Routes of Administration

Oral

Ok, so we all know that it is best to imbibe via the mouth as, in addition to inebriation, we also get to enjoy the taste (and there are some tasty beverages out there for sure).  So orally this is rather self-explanatory.  “What about powdered alcohol or Palcohol?”, you ask.  Well, I gotta say that if you are the Han Solo type, and smuggling booze into sporting events appeals to you, then sure, its an option.  Taste-wise it ain’t fabulous.  All you do is mix it with your favorite liquid and “presto” a bevie is there!  Just remember to look at the percentage so that you know how much you are drinking.  Just do yourself a favor and don’t sniff the damn stuff!  Not only will it damage your mucus membranes (more of that in the cocaine section), but according to its inventor Mark Phillips, you would be in a world of pain.  It burns!  It ain’t worth it, unless of course you are Steve-O from the Jackass movies and didn’t think that snorting Wasabi was painful enough (see Jackass: The Movie).

Rectal

I can’t believe anyone would do this to a good beer/ spirit! Or even a bad one for that matter.  However, there are those to whom the Urban Dictionary refers as “Butt Chuggers”, that seem to think that it’s a good idea to administer an alcohol colonic in order to get wasted.

Firstly, I can’t imagine how the social dynamics of an activity like drinking would change.  I mean think of it!  Your out on a date with this smoking hottie (of any gender just to be egalitarian), you whip out this funnel with a hose, whip down your pants, shove it where the sun don’t shine, then pour a silver bullet (as that is the only undrinkable beer in my opinion) in you.  Talk about a date killer!

More importantly, this method of imbibing is dangerous as there is fast uptake and a real danger of alcohol poisoning and death.  With this method, vomiting won’t rid you of the toxin as it goes directly into the bloodstream.  Although it eventually makes its way to the liver for processing, there is no ADH in the lower GI tract, so it will hit the liver like a ton of bricks (and possibly damage it).

Does My Ass Look Fat in This?

Firstly, whether you be man or woman, “Don’t answer that question!”.  Right, we’ve answered the biochemistry of alcohol mitigation question somewhat.  But, what about your weight?  Will the booze make you into a Freddie Mercury eulogy?  Unfortunately, the answer is yes.  Alcohol is essentially pure carb, which goes either to the gut, ass, tits or all three.  The other thing is that you don’t want to drink your carbs as there is no fiber in booze to slow them down.  This means that they hit your blood stream like glucose would (i.e. like a freight train).  Due to this, it will short-circuit your brain’s leptin pathway (more on this in the food section), and turn your liver into foie gras. So…if you are gonna suck back the carbs, decrease the amount of total carbs the day you decide to imbibe.  That way it will mitigate what goes in you and you will remain buffer longer, and thus less gravitationally challenged (in politically-correct speak).

Abuse Quota Out of Control

Aah, it’s all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out right?  So you’re having fun, but then realize that it is the kind of fun that starts controlling you.  Then you find that the “FUN” is actually an acronym for “Fucked Up Nincompoop”, and is synonymous with that controlling figure known as “The Man” (aka the authorities).  How do you stop having so much fun?  Well, believe it or not, you are already doing a part of it by addressing the brain chemistry that constitutes addiction.  There are just a few more things that need to get done as far as supplements go, and that brings us to an App (link found below). The fellows who created this app knew what they were doing.  This App (called the OrthoHOD) basically helps you to determine what areas of your brain chemistry are depleted, and whether or not you should be using substances, period. It is available for both android and iPhones (just click on one of the links below).

Icon-1024         https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/orthohod/id1299562495?mt=8

badge_new-google  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.orthohod.basic&hl=en

As you can see (from the App), you are probably taking a couple of these nutrients already, we are just making sure that you have the right ones based on biochemical individuality (remember the lyric “I gotta be free, I just gotta be me”?).  Well, you already are.  In addition, you gotta do the talk thing to process why this shit is running your life, hence, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous).  Although their 12-step program doesn’t cover the biochemical stuff, external support from other like-minded fun loving folks also helps.

One issue that many folks have with the 12 steps is that it seems too religious.  If that is the case, don’t separate the divinity from yourself and call it a higher power, just simply realize that it is a part of your own power, end of story.

One issue I have with AA has to do with the snacks that they serve at meetings.  You’re probably thinking “who gives a shit about that?” right?  Here is the problem. They serve coffee and donuts.  Caffeine and sugar both act as stimulants and are addictive substances themselves.  Just like near the turn of the 19th century, when Bayer (that aspirin pharmaceutical company) created a new “wonder-drug” that they dubbed “heroin”, to treat “morphine and opium” addiction (inadvertently of course), the same thing is happening at AA.  Changing one addiction into 2 other ones (also inadvertently) ain’t cool.  So, when you go to a meeting, bring your own healthy snacks (celery and cheese) and drink water, or sparkling water.

Caffeine and Cigarettes

These have got to go too.  Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that sucker-punch your adrenals into releasing adrenalin.  Adrenalin then kicks the liver into releasing glycogen into the blood (sugar), which gives you a boost.  Then, the pancreas decides to put the kibosh on that by releasing insulin (which takes the sugar away), causing a blood sugar crash and makes craving for alcohol worse due to the underlying hypoglycemia that an alcoholic has.  Read on to understand why.

Diet is key as far as recovery from alcohol abuse is concerned.  Generally speaking, it is better to have a nutritious diet that is low on the processed foods, and has a low glycemic load (low sugar) than the “Hungryman TV Dinner” thing.  This is due to alcohol having a high glycemic load (it’s like sugar on steroids).  Consequences of this high sugar load (in addition to the liver and brain fuck-age) include systemic candida (yeast) infection, which will essentially turn your body into a brewery and keep you messed up. To test for systemic candida, there is another app out there called BACtrack (link below).

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 10.18.01 AM        https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/bactrack/id553347498?mt=8

The other thing to remember is that most alcoholics also suffer from hypoglycemia (erratic blood sugar swings)[xiv].  When people are hypoglycemic, they tend to experience the following symptoms:

Hypoglycemia- Nervousness, irritability, exhaustion, faintness, cold sweats, depression, drowsiness, insomnia, worrying, mental confusion, rapid heart rate, tremors, poor memory, headaches, anxiety, poor digestion.

Hypoglycemia is not only under-diagnosed in medicine, but is also responsible for why many alcoholics relapse and start drinking again.  It is also the reason why (up until recently) that alcoholism has been classified as a mental disease (which it is not).  Just for shits and giggles, lets compare the symptom profile of hypoglycemia to that of depression.

Depression– Nervousness, irritability, exhaustion, drowsiness, insomnia, worrying, mental confusion, rapid heart rate, tremors, poor memory, headaches, anxiety.

Notice how, apart from faintness, cold sweats and poor digestion, they are virtually the same? When hypoglycemia is fixed, relapse to the bottle is far less likely as you won’t feel as depressed.  In the section on diet, we’ll go over what you need to do to address this.

 

Alcoholic Bio-types

According to Drs. Joan Mathews Larsen and Keith W. Sehnert in their book Alcoholism – The Biochemical Connection, there are 4 different body chemistry alcoholic bio-types.  They are:

  1. ADH-THIQ type

This type of alcoholic genetically has high amounts of ADH (Alcohol Dehydrogenase: the enzyme that turns alcohol into acetaldehyde) (Think Russians!).  These individuals can initially drink large amounts of alcohol, which then gets turned into acetaldehyde (via ADH), and then combines with brain neurotransmitters to form the morphine-like THIQs (Tetra-Hydro-Iso-Quinolines), which is why alcohol is so addictive to this sub-type of people.

  1. Allergic/Addicted type

This type of alcoholic has less ADH genetically, but their high comes from the sugars in alcohol more than the THIQs.  The first time this individual tries alcohol, they generally are intolerant and become sick, but with persistence, build up tolerance to it.

  1. EFA Deficient type

This type of alcoholic has a deficiency of Omega 6 essential fatty acids EFA in their brains, which can cause depression.  Alcohol gives an emotional lift to these people.  When they stop drinking, depression returns, hence the propensity to relapse.

  1. Hypoglycemic Type

This type of alcohol consumer is the easiest to treat since if you alter the diet to address hypoglycemia, the desire for fast glucose uptake by your brain subsides (along with the desire to drink).

Now that you know your alcohol bio-type, you should also know that when you decide to quit, there will be a period of withdrawal that you will go through that can last from 3 days up to a couple of weeks.  Before embarking on this detox, you need to know whether or not you will be able to do so without medical aid.  Thanks to the research from Drs. Larson and Sehnert (previously mentioned), we know there to be 4 categories of detox that people fall into. They are:

Category 1 (Bummer)

Those individuals that can function in society without alcohol, can abstain from alcohol for periods of time and not experience convulsions and only have mild withdrawal symptoms such as slight insomnia, night sweats, unsteadiness and heart palpitations.

Category 2 (Bad)

Those whom can either cut back or skip an occasional day without drinking and suffer no side effects, but experience the above withdrawal symptoms severe enough that they take time off from work or can’t function if unemployed.  They have also never had a history of convulsions following alcohol cessation.

Category 3 (Badass)

These individuals have suffered convulsions during previous attempts at quitting alcohol and generally drink about 12 beers or about 1 liter of hard liquor per day.  They also experience high blood pressure (greater than 160/100) and delirium in addition to symptoms listed above, but with more severity.  Due to these symptoms, they are unable to leave their beds.

Category 4 (Superbad- not the movie)

These people get grand-mal seizures, hallucinations and serious heart problems when withdrawing from alcohol.

If you fall into the Bummer or Bad categories, you can generally detox at home with friends or family helping you out.  However, if you are of the Badass or Superbad variety, you need a doctor to help you (in a hospital setting if Superbad).

Drs. Larsen and Sehnert also put together a detox formula of nutrients that will repair your brain and body (some of which we have mentioned before).  This nutrient regime will have to be taken for several years order to prevent you from relapsing and to keep you healthy and repair the damage alcohol has done.  Also keep in mind that in order to normalize your sleep schedule (that is probably messed up), use the time routine below.  This is the list:

Half an hour before breakfast:

l-Glutamine 1000mg

Free form Amino Acid Mix 2200mg

DL-Phenylalanine 500mg

Vitamin C 1000mg

After breakfast:

Magnesium 450mg

Evening Primrose Oil 500mg

Multivitamin (3 capsules) each containing per capsule:

Vitamin A (palmitate) 4000IU

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 20mg

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 10mg

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) 30mg

Vitamin B5 (Pantethine) 100mg

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 30mg

Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate 1mg

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine) 80mcg

Folic Acid 60mcg

Biotin 80mcg

PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid) 40mg

Vitamin E (DL-alpha-tocopherol acetate) 80IU

Calcium (Dicalcium Phosphate) 50mg

Magnesium (Magnesium oxide) 50mg

Potassium (Potassium Chloride)

Manganese (Manganese Sulphate) 3mg

Zinc (Zinc Sulphate) 5.7mg

Copper (Copper Sulphate) 300mcg

Selenium (Sodium Selenite) 40mcg

Vanadium (Vanadium Pentoxide) 40mcg

Molybdenum (Sodium Molybdate) 40mcg

Glutamic Acid 40mg

Chromium 80mcg

Iron (Ammonium Ferric Citrate) 3.6mg

Pancreatic Enzymes 850mg

At 10am:

Vitamin C 1000mg

At 12pm:

L-Glutamine 1000mg

Free Form Amino Acids 2200mg

DL-Phenylalanine 500mg

After Lunch (1pm):

Vitamin C 1000mg

Magnesium 450mg

Evening Primrose Oil 1500mg

Multivitamin 2 capsules

Pancreatic Enzymes 850mg

At 4pm:

L-Glutamine 1000mg

Free Form Amino Acids 2200mg

DL-Phenylalanine 500mg

Vitamin C 1000mg

After dinner (6pm):

Evening Primrose Oil 1500mg

Multivitamin 2 capsules

Pancreatic Enzymes 850mg

At 7pm:

Vitamin C 1000mg

At 10pm (before bed):

5-Hydroxy Tryptophan (5-HT) 2-300mg

Vitamin C 1000mg

Magnesium 450mg

You are probably looking at this list and having a WTF moment now right?  Here’s the thing, alcohol did a shitload of damage to your system.  The above regimen is hard work, but it is truly one of the only ways to un-fuck you up and bring you back to a state of health.

And…on the off chance that you don’t think that the above is enough work, there is also another little dietary intervention that can help you to stop alcohol and its called Coprinopsis atramentaria[xv] (aka inky cap mushrooms pictured below):

Coprinopsis_atramentaria_3_-_Lindsey

This little bad boy of a mushroom if eaten too closely to alcohol consumption will give you the symptoms of facial reddening, nausea, vomiting, malaise, agitation, palpitations and tingling of the limbs[xvi] within 5 minutes of consumption, and if the amount of alcohol consumed is high, could result in a heart attack.  The symptoms can occur if even a small amount of alcohol is consumed and can last for up to three days.  Now I’m not saying that you should eat these mushrooms after alcohol consumption, but if you were to make them a part of your diet without alcohol, then fell off the wagon and decided to have a drink, things would become very unpleasant, very quickly, which would make you want to abstain even more.

Now we get to the small section where I shamelessly promote my own skills as far as managing alcohol withdrawal goes.  First off, let me just say that as an acupuncturist, I’m most likely the nicest “prick” you will ever meet (yeah, that joke pretty much never gets old).  Seriously though, acupuncture is a very effective tool to manage withdrawal from just about everything (be it booze, drugs, or food).  In addition to balancing out the endocrine system and reducing inflammation, there is a protocol that we “pricks” use known as the NADA (North-American Acupuncture Detox Association) protocol.  These are a series of 5 ear points which can be modified to whatever condition presents itself, and feels like having a valium (without actually having one).  When I was interning in acupuncture school, and had some free time in the clinic (when there weren’t patients to see), I would get another intern to pop these points in me and sink into lala-land for 15 minutes or so (a great way to travel without taking a trip- if you will again pardon the pun).

And now a word from Dr. Cico:

Alcoholic beverages embody a microcosm of the human condition; within that glass of wine, beer or other fermented brew can be contained light frivolity and companionship or the hellish experience of released demons.  In thirty years of medical practice I have witnessed the wrecking of lives caused by the abuse of alcohol that far overshadows the wreckage from any other drug.  It is a tragedy made more so by the fact of its prevent-ability.  The symptoms to the disease of alcoholism can be seen early in a person’s life; the denial of this is part and parcel of the disease. The treatment usually includes some type of group support of which AA is the prototype.  The symptoms of ‘not being able to hold one’s liquor’ are well known to anyone paying attention to cultural messages via movies, books and autobiographical sketches of artists lives.  The important take away message here is that by looking after one’s unique biochemical makeup, taking the time to optimize those supplements needed to break down alcohol, protect the liver from alcohol’s effects and most importantly control cravings and mood one can tame the demon that alcohol can (has?) become. The power of will to undertake this is within each of us; some heed the message, some do not.  The choice is always our own to make.

References:

[1] Federal Aviation Regulation (CFR) 91.17: Alcohol and Flying (hosted on FlightPhysical.com)

[i] Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, (2013), Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior, 2nd Ed., p. 268., Sinauer Associates, Inc., ISBN: 978-0-87893-510-9.

[ii] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p.278.

[iii] Robert C. Atkins, Dr. Atkins Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature’s Answer to Drugs, 1998; pgs. 54-56, Simon & Schuster, New York.

[iv] Alan R. Gaby, Nutritional Medicine. 2011; pgs. 989-998.; Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH.

[v] Ibid., Gaby.

[vi] Ibid., Atkins p. 169-70.

[vii] Ibid., Atkins p. 62.

[viii] Ibid., Atkins p. 62.

[ix] Ibid., Atkins p. 303.

[x] Joan Mathews Larsen, PhD., Alcoholism – The Biochemical Connection: A Breakthrough Seven-Week Self Treatment Program., pg. 31., 1992., Fawcett Columbine Books, New York., ISBN 0-449-90896-8.

[xi] Ibid., Atkins p. 133-36.

[xii] Ibid., Atkins p. 181-84.

[xiii] Dan Bensky, Andrew Gamble., Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica., 1993., pg 48., Eastland Press Inc., Seattle, WA.

[xiv] Joan Mathews Larsen, PhD., Alcoholism – The Biochemical Connection: A Breakthrough Seven-Week Self Treatment Program., pg. 220., 1992., Fawcett Columbine Books, New York., ISBN 0-449-90896-8.

[xv] Coprinopsis Atramentaria Photo by James Lindsey at Ecology of Commandster, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence 2003.

[xvi] Benjamin, Denis R., 1995., Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas- A handbook for Naturalists, Mycologists and Physicians., New York: WH Freeman and Company., ISBN 0-7167-2600-9

 

Caffeine Anyone?

Before we start, here are the rules and disclaimers.

Caffeine is that awesome little stimulant that pretty much most of the world uses daily in some degree.  It has stimulant and fatigue reducing properties (as most all-nighter pulling students will vouch for).  It is also used by athletes to improve their performance, and by the pharmaceutical industry to enhance the absorption of certain drugs (like aspirin, acetaminophen) as well as in the neonate units of hospitals to treat sleep apnea in newborns[i] [ii](I shit you not).

Well the good news here is that compared to alcohol, there is relatively little you will lose other than sleep with this substance.  Its half-life (the time it takes your body to get rid of 50% of what you consume) is about 4 hours.  Needless to say, if you’ve already got sleep problems, stick to the 9am – 12pm window for consumption of your cup ‘o joe(s).  The lethal dose level for caffeine is about 150-200mg/kg or about 80-100 cups of coffee (which you’ll never consume)[iii].  However, it could be conceivable to overdose with caffeine pills (especially if you have a cirrhosed liver due to previous alcohol abuse).[iv]   Thus, the only caution I could give you is that you probably don’t wanna have too many of the caffeine pills unless you like the idea of:

Restlessness, fidgeting, anxiety, insomnia, flushed face, frequent urination, digestive upset, rapid thought and speech, irritability, tremors, palpitations and irregular heartbeat.

It would be a good idea to moderate your consumption if you are experiencing above said symptoms, unless of course you are normally like this, in which case, seek help (I hear acupuncturists are good at treating this).

Should you decide to give up coffee altogether, you should probably be aware that there is some mild withdrawal symptoms that you’ll probably experience such as:

Headaches, irritability, poor concentration, drowsiness, insomnia, stomachache, joint and muscle pain.

These peak at about 48 hours after discontinuing caffeine and can last for up to 9 days.[v]  Fear not young/ old Jedi, none of these symptoms’ll kill ya, and once the withdrawal is over, you are pretty much done as long as you control your environment (Abuse rule #1).

The following chart is a list of some of our favorite caffeinated things and their content:

Beverage or food Caffeine content in mg/serving
Instant coffee 12-169mg/8 oz. cup
Brewed coffee 40-110mg/8 oz. cup
Espresso 25-214mg/standard tiny cup
Starbucks breakfast blend 300-564mg/venti size
Iced coffee (commercial brands) 30-200mg/16 oz. bottle
Tea (black) 9-51mg/8 oz. cup
Iced tea (commercial brands) 20-40mg/20 oz. bottle
Hot chocolate 5-10mg’8 oz. cup
Coca-cola 49mg/12 oz. can
Dark chocolate 10-15mg/60g serving
Sports gels and bars
PowerBar caffeinated sports gel 25mg/40g sachet
Carboshotz caffeinated sports gel 80mg/50g sachet
PowerBar Acticaf Performance bar 50mg/65g bar
Drugs
No-Doz caffeine pills 200mg/tablet
Extra Strength Excedrin 65mg/tablet
Source: Psychopharmacology 2nd Ed., JS Meyer, LF Quenzer (2013).

Routes of Administration

Oral

What is your caffeinated drink of choice? Need I say more?

Rectal

You are probably looking at this part and having an NFW (No Fucking Way!) moment right?  Believe it or not, you can use coffee as an enema to detoxify.  No cream or sugar, not instant and obviously not hot (unless your IQ score is in the “special” class).  Just take some good coffee, percolate, then let cool and go get one of those enema kits from the local pharmacy and replace the glycerin with the brewed, room temperature coffee while following the instructions on the kit.  This little therapy is actually part of the “Gerson Cancer therapy” protocol.  The theobromine and theophylline in the coffee get absorbed through the colon wall and cause the liver to do a big bile dump, which detoxifies you quite well (it reputedly increases liver detox efficiency by up to 700%).  Hell, it might be one of the best things to combat a hangover! Starbutts anyone? (pardon the pun)

 

What say you Doc Cico?

Starbutts should become as popular as the other Buck.  We’d probably be better off as a society!

 

References:

[i] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p.397.

[ii] Sale SM, (2010), Neonatal apnoea., Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol, Sep:24(3):323-36.

[iii]Peters JM (1967). “Factors Affecting Caffeine Toxicity: A Review of the Literature”., The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal of New Drugs 7 (7): 131-141. Doi:10.1002/j. 1552-4604.1967.tb00034.x.

[iv] Holmgren P., Norden-Pettersson L, Ahlner J (2004)., “Caffeine fatalities – four case reports”., Forensic Science International 139 (1): 71-3., doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2003.09.019., PMID 14687776.

[v] Juliano LM, Griffiths RR (2004). “A critical review of caffeine withdrawal: empirical validation of symptoms and signs, incidence, severity and associated features”., Psychopharmachology (Berl.) 176 (1). Doi:10.1007/s00213-004-2000-x., PMID 15448977

Up in Smoke – The Art of Nicotine Use

Once again, before we start, here are the rules and disclaimers.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to the “high” part later, but for now Death Sticks (aka Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes, Hookahs, etc.).

Peace-pipe time!  Yes, that lovely drug that masqueraded as glamour in Hollywood in the old Humphrey Bogart movies…tobacco.  The psychoactive ingredient in tobacco is nicotine, which was first domesticated by the South American natives more than 5000 years ago, then brought to Europe by Rodrigo de Xerez (one of Christopher Columbus’ entourage) in 1492, and made popular by that stylish French ambassador to Portugal Jean Nicot de Villemain[i].  We’re not going to bore you with all the old bullshit about how bad it is for you, since you already know.

What you should know is that there are many, many, many, chemical byproducts to tobacco smoke that tend to build up in your system over time, in addition to the addictive nature of nicotine.  So…the best focus is to emphasize detox during your fun, and mitigate/ manage the adverse effects of nicotine.  Also, nicotine and some of the other chemicals present in tobacco seem to act like MAOI (Mono Amine Oxidase Inhibitor) drugs.  These drugs are a type of anti-depressant that essentially prevent serotonin (neurotransmitter that makes you happy) from being degraded and recycled.  This would most likely account for why quitting smoking is so difficult.[ii]

To mitigate our tobacco mayhem, the following nutrients are a good idea:

Vitamin C:

Smokers tend to have double the need for Vitamin C compared to non-indulgers.  This is because the smoke simply increases oxidative stress (hence antioxidant #1).  This oxidation of your tissues means that your body will repair them with connective tissue synthesis.  However, that process is dependent on how much Vitamin C is present. So load up! Typical dose: 1000mg after each meal or each ciggie.

Raw Veggies:

Due to the fibre content, raw veggies help your guts to process toxins and increase elimination of them (that way you’ll give a shit- pardon the pun).  They also have trace minerals (which ain’t bad either).

Exercise:

Seriously?! Here’s the thing… if you do it, you will speed up the metabolism of said toxins, which leads to their excretion (and you’ll give a shit).  Remember the phrase “a rolling stone gathers no moss”?  (Keith Richards, although missing his calling as a chemical waste disposal facility, has probably survived this long due to the fact that he actually eats reasonably well, and all that rambunctious energy that he tosses around onstage probably acts as a substitute for exercise). That moss buildup is actually a lot of those toxins, that build up in your tissues.  See the exercise section.

Routes of Administration

It really is the nicotine we are talking about here.  As you already probably know, nicotine is a very versatile drug as far as absorption goes.  The conventional smoke is one method of administration, which contains between 6-11mg of nicotine[iii], but will give you a dose of about 2mg of nicotine[iv].  One reason why ciggies are so habit forming is due to the speed of uptake to the brain (7 seconds) when the cigarette is puffed as opposed to double that time when introduced via IV.  This is due to the surface area available for absorption in the lungs which is typically about the area of a tennis court[v].

However, I’ll just say that if you OD on nicotine, it is very, very unpleasant.  The lethal dose of nicotine is estimated to be about 500-1000mg[vi].  The good news is that it is almost impossible to get there by smoking cigarettes.

However, if you accidentally spilled enough of that nicotine liquid that goes in e-cigs on your skin, you might be in for a very nasty death complete with initial symptoms of:

nausea, vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, pallor, sweating, hypertension, tachycardia (palpitations), ataxia (loss of muscle control), tremors, headache, dizziness, muscle contractions and seizures.[vii]

And if these symptoms seem fun, the following will continue that fun:

hypotension, bradycardia, CNS depression, coma, muscle weakness/paralysis, difficulty breathing and death.  Not a great time.

Oral/ Inhaled

You probably already figured this one out right? Cigs/ cigars, chewing tobacco, gum.  All of which aren’t gonna do too much damage in the short term.  Long term though is a different story as you will see below.

Dermal

Yup, that means patches.

Habituation (aka Addiction):

When the effects of Nicotine wear off, there are a bunch of symptoms you tend to experience.  They are:

tension, restlessness, irritability, increased hunger, lack of concentration, light-headedness, insomnia.

Sounds like the nic-fit right?  As you probably already know, the antidote to above said symptoms is more nicotine.  Then, a recycling between the effects of nicotine and its withdrawal is…drum-roll please…Addiction. This is one reason why habitual smokers tend to want a cigarette when they wake up in the morning (to stop withdrawal symptoms), and why they say that the first one of the day is the best one.

Sustainable Use Strategy

Here’s the thing…We all hear about the failures of use in the media (aka addiction).  But what about the successes?  What about those people who only have 1 or 2 cigs per day for years on end.  Now ask yourself how that could be?  The answer…Ritualized Use (Abuse Rule #7).  For example, only after dinner, only socially, etc.  This way your consumption does not become dysfunctional.

Abuse Quota Fulfilled:

Yeah, you let peer pressure and mounting health costs influence you to quit, and that new guy or girl that you met is one of those health freaks, and you won’t get laid as things stand now, right?  Ok.  So now you either want to continue the joys of nicotine addiction, or outright quit?  So…What to do regarding the nicotine?… Believe it or not, I’m not going to recommend those e-cigs aka vaping (you know, the kind where you fill up those electronic devices with nicotine liquid and suck away).  The reason is that there are too many unknowns with the dose.  Then there are also the problems associated with the actual device.  Due to everything being Made in China these days (and this device is no exception), there is a problem with the styrene (a polymer plastic), that these things are made of.  Inside the device, there are electric coils that vaporize the nicotine-glycerin solution.  While inhaling loads of vaporized glycerin hasn’t been studied all that well, the real concern is the vaporizing of the styrene housing from the coils.  You know how many firemen seem to suffer from lung cancer when they retire?  It ain’t because they smoke cigarettes (although some do).  It is due to all of those plastics in those houses that are on fire that get vaporized and inadvertently inhaled by our heroes rescuing us.  There is a hell of a lot of styrene in most houses (appliances, countertops, flooring etc.)  Why would you want to join their ranks by sucking back on these devices?  I’d stick to nicotine gum (bite, bite, kill someone, stop), or the patch.  These at least will give you a fairly measured dose, your significant other won’t complain of cigarette smell and no-one will be the wiser.  If you are opting for quitting, then here are some additional supplements to use:

Supplements:

L-Tryptophan or 5HT:

Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin (which keeps you happy).  For L-Tryptophan, 2-4g/day on an empty stomach, or before bed will do fine.  If you would rather have the more potent form 5HT, then it is 100mg before breakfast, dinner and bed. (1hr before food). (L-Tryptophan requires a prescription in Canada and because Big Pharma is involved, is quite expensive.  5HT is utilized by the brain better, is available at health food shops, and is very economical.)

Phosphatidyl Choline:

A precursor to acetylcholine (the neurotransmitter that takes a pounding when nicotine replaces it). Typical dose: 1000mg 1hr before each meal.  Note: if you have Parkinson’s disease, consult your doctor before taking this one.

L-Tyrosine:

This amino acid not only makes up thyroid hormone, but also helps with adrenalin/nor-adrenalin and dopamine production. Basically it will help to motivate you and give you some “go” power.  Typical dose: 1000mg 1hr before each meal.  Note: if you are taking anti-depressants, consult your doctor before this one too.

L-Glutamine:

Glutamine does some cool stuff as mentioned earlier in the alcohol section, and is a precursor to GABA (a neurotransmitter with a long-ass name). Typical dose: 1000mg 1hr before each meal.

B-Complex:

All of the B complex vitamins work as a team and function as co-factors in the production of neurotransmitters, which means that nicotine will get the boot as their levels increase.  Typical dose: 1-2 capsules/day

Multi-Vitamin:

The Swiss army knife of nutrition, that will help to round out any of the other deficiencies. Typical Dose: 1-3 capsules/day.

Now your probably looking at this list and saying “damn (or some other expletive- deletive) this is expensive”, right?  Just remember that when it comes to doing something like quitting smoking, you are actually going to be switching what you spend on cigs to what you spend on supplements, which makes it a zero sum game.  Actually, you will end up financially ahead as the long-term health consequences of maintaining a true and sincere love affair with tobacco are expensive.

And again, the shameless self-promotion.  Acupuncture NADA protocol works too, so come around and see your friendly neighborhood prick (read acupuncturist) for a few sessions.

Doc Cico?

As a strategy towards cutting down/quitting, changing brand of cigarette often helps.  Ever wonder why?  It’s because cigarettes are not just tobacco, each brand has additives for flavor and added nicotine.  Big Tobacco has figured out how much nicotine is required per inhalation in order for an average person to become addicted.  This is above and beyond what is found in natural tobacco, which likely explains why the Native American Peace Pipe remained just that and did not morph into a cancer stick in their culture.  It is much easier to cut down tobacco consumption by switching to a natural brand that does not have additives and does not contain increased nicotine content.

I know people who keep their cigarette consumption to less than 4 or 5 daily thus lessening adverse health consequences; of course, the best situation is not to indulge in this dangerously seductive habit.

 

References:

[i] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p. 374.

[ii] van Amsterdam J, Talhout R, Vleeming W, Opperhuizen A., (2006), Contribution of monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibition to tobacco and alcohol addiction., Life Science 19;79(21): 1969-73., PMID 16884739.

[iii] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p. 375.

[iv] Mayer B (2013)., “How much nicotine kills a human? Tracing back the generally accepted lethal dose to dubious self experiments in the 19th century”. Arch. Toxicol. 88 (1): 5-7. PMID 24091634.

[v] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p. 375.

[vi] Ibid., Mayer B. PMID 24091634.

[vii] Schep LJ, Slaughter RJ, Beasley DM (September-October 2009). “Nicotinic plant poisoning”. Clinical Toxicology 47 (8): 771-81. PMID 19778187.

“Yo Ahab, what about my doobich?” Cannabis Safe Usage

like a mantra, before we start, here are the rules and disclaimers.

I love Cheech and Chong.  They seem to me to be the most clueless yet lovable “ne’er do-gooders” that have ever blessed anti-heros in pop culture.  The more recent equivalents would be Harold and Kumar.  Watching the exploits of both of these duos, one can’t help but cheer them on as they evade “The Man” so easily.   What’s more, the enforcement side of pot has never worked anyway (except on your tax dollar wallet).  Up until recently in the Great White North, BC bud was considered to be some of the world’s finest weed.  However, due to state legalization in Colorado, designer weed is everywhere now.  Decriminalization in Canada will be a reality on July 1st due to the current PM (who did inhale), but full legalization stateside will take some time due to the UN charter on cannabis, and the puritanical elements of society dedicated to stoicism.  And nobody (except Putin and perhaps Trump) wants to “offend” the UN.

Here is another if I were President rant: “If I were the Commander in Thief, I’d legalize pot, tax the hell out of it, take the money to fund Medicare, infrastructure, and all other sorts of shit, and create a licensing framework similar to the one I’d create around booze to educate people how to use it properly”.  Who says enlightened government isn’t possible.

The good things about Cannabis are that when used correctly, it is a very effective pain killer that is, for the most part, not highly physically addictive. It also helps to stimulate the munchies, calms nausea for people undergoing chemotherapy, lowers intraocular pressure (inner eye pressure) which helps to manage glaucoma (about as effectively as medications that do so), and provides some relief from the symptoms of MS (multiple sclerosis).  It is also more of a sedative than alcohol, which is why you don’t see indulgers picking fights (they might accidentally break their beautiful custom made bong-ware that Tommy Chong sold them through mail order!).  All in all a pretty good weed!   One thing though, there are some important points that should be made about enjoying responsibly.

There is a certain sub-set of people still in both developmental years, as well as adulthood, who should lay off the mary-jane.  Young people who have diagnosed personality disorders (or un-diagnosed for that matter) such as schizophrenia, bi-polar and autistic spectrum disorders should lay off.  Those who are past puberty that also have these disorders may also want to think twice about the ganja as it can induce psychotic episodes[i].  Other groups who should “just say no” also include those who are on antidepressant and tranquilizing drugs, those who are pregnant and/or breast-feeding and anyone related to Nancy Reagan (don’t want the old girl to turn over in her grave).  If you want to puff a spliff, but are unsure if you should, there is an App for that! It is the OrthoHOD test App and can be found here:

For all the rest, there are a couple of other guidelines that will ensure maximum enjoyment. They are:

  1. Don’t mix your poisons (Abuse rule #10).
  2. Enjoy the poison at hand. Become a connoisseur! (Abuse rule #6).
  3. Obey age restrictions (Abuse rule #4). Your brain is still developing, let it do so.
  4. Be mindful that if you have a job interview coming up where they are gonna taste your piss, you’ll want to know that there is a minimum washout time period (the time it takes for the substance not to show up in your pee) of about 3 weeks[ii]. To be 95% safe, wait 5 weeks.  The test that you will take is called the “MP RAPID TEST” by MP Biomedicals, LLC.  They are a company out of California. (Just Google it dude/ dude-ette!)  Also, it can be detected in hair samples for up to 90 days (head and body. Brazilian wax treatment anyone?)
  5. Find a good grower. Organic if possible. Let’s face it, if you are going to tug on the bong, it’s better to know that there are no pesticide/ herbicide residues on your weed.
  6. The form of weed you choose to enjoy is also important. Some strains are super potent, which means that the THC (Δ9-Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinolin case you were curious) content is higher.  Generally speaking, the flower buds contain the most THC.  The leaves contain less.  The forms it comes in are also important.  Dried plant is less concentrated than Hashish. Hash oil is the most concentrated form (hence, a little dab’ll dube ya…shit I sound like a Brylcreem ad).
  7. How you partake is also important. Inhaling the vapor via smoking, bong or vaporizer is the quickest way to feel the effects, but they also wear off quicker (usually in a couple of hours). The high is much more mild and there is less chance that you will have hallucinations.  If you eat it, BEWARE! There is a longer onset time (from 20min to 1hour depending on how full your stomach is).  As the onset is gradual, don’t make the stupid mistake of eating more, thinking that you haven’t had enough.  Fear not young Skywalker, you will experience true Sith Lordship, complete with full body stone and most likely hallucinations.  As Yoda once said, “Your weapons…You will not need them.  You will find only what you take with you.”
  8. As a result of point 5, make sure that you are in a nice relaxed environment that you are comfortable in. If you are with people that you don’t know or aren’t too sure of, its better not to partake if you haven’t had it before.  First experiences can be fucked up if they are not done right (Hence, don’t go to a party right out of the start gate).
  9. Starting dose is also important. Start low and work up.  How low you ask? For a dube, use no more than ¼ of a gram (same in a bong).  That will give you a feel for the strain of weed.  Same goes if you eat it.  Hash is more concentrated.  If you  are gonna try hash, try a piece about the size of a small booger (I didn’t know how else to describe the size in this case).  This can be either eaten, or smoked (just put on the end of a cigarette, or in a pipe with tobacco, or hot-knives).  FYI hot knives are essentially heated cutlery knife tips that you place the hash-booger between, which vaporizes it (just google it dude/ dude-ette!).  Also, if you are gonna hot-knife it, go buy some cutlery at the dollar store that you don’t give a shit about, so that you don’t ruin your nice cutlery.
  10. Finally, don’t smoke and drive. People die that way.

The Effects

The most recent psychopharmacology text[iii] describes the effects of weed as the following progression:

The buzz: light-headed, dizziness, tingling in the hands & feet and other areas.

The high: euphoria and exhilaration, reduction in inhibitions, laughter and the giggles.

The stone: feelings of calm, relaxation, dreamy states, floating sensations, increased visual and auditory sensations, a sensation of slowing of the passage of time, desire to either be alone or with other people.

The comedown: a gradual lessening of all the above effects until normal.

The length and intensity of each of these stages is dependent on the dose and strain of weed you take.  The other physical effects that are possible include warmth and flushing of the skin, a feeling of the heart pounding, the munchies, and some of the less desirable sensations such as the psychotic effects like depersonalization (feeling separate from oneself), de-realization (feeling that the world around you is unreal), paranoia and panic.  These undesirable sensations are more likely during the first time of use or at elevated doses, hence, follow the above rules.

A word about the strains:

There are about as many designer strains of weed as there are types of craft-beer.  All of them are a little different. The 2 main kinds are Sativa (popular strains- Charlotte’s Web, Haze, Jack Herer, Malawi Gold) and Indica (popular strains- Purple Kush, Afghan Skunk).  Some have high THC (which is the hallucinogen as well as analgesic, anti-emetic, appetite stimulant), while others have differing levels of CBD (Cannabidiol- antimicrobial, anti-tremor, anti-psychotic), CBN (Cannabinol- immunosuppressant), CBC (Cannabichromene- analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral), and a whole host of others[iv].  A medical strain developed in Palestine (Avidekel), has high CBD and low THC content[v].

Routes of Administration

Oral

There are two ways here folks.  “Smokin the dube”, and eating.  Since we have already mostly covered the smoking part, let’s concentrate on the cuisine.  Cannabis cuisine actually has a long and interesting history in the Middle East (which I won’t go into here), but a couple of recipes are in order. Just remember that oral onset is slow so eat one of what ever you’ve made then wait (20 min-1 hour). Don’t eat more for at least 2-3 hours!

Another thing to do if you are on a tight budget would be to use a vaporizer for your first use of bud, then take those spent buds (there is still THC and other cannabinoids in there) and cook them into canna-butter.  That way you will extract most of the THC and other cannabinoids from the plant (better value for money).

If you are using Cannabis for pain relief from a chronic condition, vaporize it for fast relief of pain, then use the canna-butter for slow sustained release.  Start the dosage low, then work up to the level required to either combat pain or see Snuffleupagus (you know…Sesame Street!).

Timing is also key here.  Let’s say that you are using the skunk for pain relief but want to remain functional enough to actually get some productive work done.  In this case, you really want to start at a low dose so that you aren’t completely FUBAR for the day.   For those with a recreational mindset, ignore above advice.

Canna-Butter: Used in all baking recipes or as is, un-baked (pun intended).

Ingredients:

1/8 oz Ground cannabis shake (stems, leaves & fallen bud)

1/8 oz Ground post-vaporized bud (the good stuff after you have used it in the vaporizer)

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter (ghee is better)

Directions:

Melt the butter in a small double boiler on low heat.  Slowly add in the ground up buds while stirring.  Simmer for up to 3 hours on low heat while constantly stirring.  Pour mixture through a strainer into a container, then press the remaining ground buds to release the maximum amount of residual butter.  For medical applications, double the amount of Cannabis.  Store in fridge or freezer.

Dosage: ½ tsp for beginners (who wish to use it for pain control while remaining cognitively functional), stoners and thrill seekers disregard.

Majoon (Cannabis Jam): Majoon was first brought to everyone’s attention in the 1840s by a Dr. William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, who was stationed in Bengal, India, while working for the East India Company.  O’Shaughnessy was also the inventor of Intravenous Electrolyte Therapy (ironic isn’t it).[vi]

Ingredients:

¼ oz. Cannabis buds

½ cup raisins

½ cup walnuts

1tsp ground nutmeg (also a hallucinogen- see hallucinogens section)

1tsp ground anise

1tsp ground ginger (fresh)

½ cup honey

½ cup water

2 tbsp butter (melted)

Directions:

Grind up the buds. In a dry frying pan, toast the ground bud on very low heat until fragrant.  Mix with raisins, walnuts, nutmeg, anise, ginger, honey and water. Add water if mix is too dry.  Simmer until the mix is to desired thickness, then blend with a hand blender until it is a paste, stir in melted butter. Put in a mason jar or shape it into a log.

It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.[vii]

Hash-Brownies: A tried and true favorite.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

3 tbsp canna-butter

5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp honey

1 cup brown sugar

1tbsp apple sauce

3 egg whites

2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, then set aside.

Melt canna-butter and chocolate chips in a double boiler (glass jar in a pot of boiling water) stirring constantly.

Then remove from heat and stir in honey, brown sugar and apple sauce.

Stir in vanilla extract and egg whites.

Beat mixture until smooth.

Stir in flour mix until consistency is smooth.

Grease a baking pan (9inx13in) and pour in batter.

Bake for 20 min.

Brownies are ready when center of brownies is almost firm to touch.

Let cool on a rack. Then….Woohoo!

Inhalation

AKA smoking.  Look above.

Transdermal

As of yet I don’t know of any.

Abuse Quota Fulfilled:

Well, the good news here is that pot is not as physically addictive as some of the other substances in this manual, although cannabinoids do tend to replace the neurotransmitter anandamide[viii], which causes it and its receptors (CB1 & CB2) to be down-regulated (meaning you will have to correct this once you stop).  Reports about psychological addiction abound (which means that apart from some counseling, it is easier to stop using it).  Another little inconvenient truth is that according to some of the epidemiological studies out there, about 10% of those who use cannabis will eventually become dependent (aka addicted) if it is used frequently enough, with 50% of those who use daily being addicted[ix].  So…that said, don’t use it more than once every 2 weeks.

You could say that it is perhaps the most guilt free substance of the lot.  Just keep in mind that if you are under age, (below 18, no smokey! Abuse rule #4). Also, if you have a diagnosed mental disorder as stated above, NO SMOKEY!  If you are unsure, use the app below:

 

 

Some of the side effects associated with Cannabis are decreased muscle strength and lassitude (why it’s too much trouble to pick fights), short term memory impairment (what?), increased appetite (munchies!), weight gain (from the munchies), gynecomastia in men (biatch-tit formation) and dry mouth (in addition to the hallucinations- what you signed up for in the first place).

“Why Does it Work, Oh Great Pumpkin?”

The cannabinoids (THC, CBD etc.) are actually also produced by our bodies as the neurotransmitters anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arichidonoyl Glycerol (2-AG)[x] as part of the endocannabinoid system (just like the endorphins and enkephalins).  The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate the release of other neurotransmitters (like glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin).  This helps to control things like appetite, pain, sleep, pleasure, and digestion.  One example would be the munchies you get after a few tugs on the bong.  Too much THC or CBD (which mimic AEA and 2-AG) suppresses leptin (the “I’m full” hormone) and also lowers your metabolism (so you burn off calories slower).[xi] This means you will become gravitationally challenged rather quickly (both via ass-mass and man-boobs).

When you decide to end your love affair with Tommy Chong’s beautiful glassware, your body will go through withdrawal and you may experience some of the following symptoms:

irritability, anxiety, muscle pain, chills, nightmares, insomnia, headache, decreased appetite[xii].

These symptoms generally begin 1-2 days after stopping use, and last from between 2-6 days.  Yet fear not Obiwan, they aren’t gonna kill you, just make you temporarily uncomfortable.

As with cigarettes, there are some supplements that will help you to feel better about not having spliffs any more:

Choline (from egg yolks and lecithin granules): Formation of AEA and 2-AG are dependent on the presence of the right ingredients nutritionally.  The choline from eggs and lecithin granules is used by your body to produce acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) that also combines with other fatty acids to make AEA and 2-AG[xiii].  When you use cannabis too regularly, production of these molecules is less (because you are supplying them externally).  Choline helps your body to ramp up production back to normal.

Essential Fatty Acids: Available in most vitamin stores, these lower inflammation and feed your brain and gut (which you will need to detoxify).  Your brain is essentially a big mass of neurons, which are made up of fats.  Thus, “fathead” is actually an anatomically correct term, and a compliment.

Borage Oil (Omega 6-GLA), Salmon Oil (Omega 3-EPA/DHA), Flaxseed Oil (Omega 3-EPA/DHA/ALA) dosage: 400mg of each per day. These also help Anandamide (the Cannabinoid neurotransmitter) levels to recover.

Natural COX-2 Inhibitors (Turmeric, Green Tea Extract, Frankincense, Resveratrol, Cats Claw, Capsaicin): These natural substances are COX-2 (inflammation generating molecule) inhibitors that help to stop the memory impairment that THC will cause.  Just pick one to take before and after you indulge and you’ll be less stupefied after your use[xiv]. If you were already stupid to begin with, we can’t help you.

Vitamin C: This vitamin is essential for detox, connective tissue formation (aka: staying young), and just generally erasing evil. dosage: 1000mg after each meal.

L-Tryptophan or 5HT: You like sleep? Like weed, you’ll get your z’s and stay mellow. Dosage for L-Tryptophan and 5HT: same as for quitting ciggies. ).  For L-tryptophan, 2-4g/day on an empty stomach, or before bed will do fine.  For 5HT, 100mg before breakfast, dinner and bed. (1hr before food).

L-Tyrosine: so now you wanna get motivated to do stuff? This one is the go power.  Dosage:  as with cigs (typical Dose: 1000mg 1hr before each meal).  Note: if you are on Anti-Depressants, you shouldn’t be smoking dubes.

Magnesium Taurate: helps replenish your muscles from magnesium deficiency due to all the carbs you’ve been sucking back when you got the munchies from the pot.  The Taurine component helps your lungs, immune system, and heart to recover.  Dosage: 1000mg 1x/day on an empty stomach.

Exercise: You wanna get rid of those man-boobs and excess lady-hips and become sexy again right?  Start increasing your muscle mass at the weights.  Exercise will also help the CB1 & CB2 (cannabinoid receptor sites) to up-regulate again. More on exercise regimes in the exercise section.

Multi-vitamin and B-Complex: same as in the smoking section.  Typical dose: 1-2 capsules/day.

 

Doc Cico’s Orders:

Coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s, weed was a defining part of the scene; it was also illegal and as such created an underclass of individuals who did nothing wrong: weed became an excuse to imprison many individuals of the ‘underclass’.

Now we have the beneficial effects of medical cannabis widely known and the growing awareness that marijuana legalization is the only sane direction to go in. I would consider this an issue on which a political candidate’s integrity as a rational human being can be judged.  Get out and vote for those candidates that have the courage and integrity to legalize marijuana…those are the ones less likely to bomb the people, rape the earth and pillage for self gain (and some of them likely did inhale).  Again, get out and vote.

 

References:

[i] Korver N, Nieman DH, Becker HE, Van de Fliert JR, Dingemans PH, de Haan L, Spiering M, Schmitz N, Linsen DH., (2010) Symptomatology and neuropsychological functioning in cannabis using subjects at ultra-high risk for developing psychosis and healthy controls., Aust N Z J Psychiatry. Mar;44(3):230-6. Doi: 10.3109/00048670903487118.

[ii] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p. 420.

[iii] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p. 413.

[iv] Hillig, Karl W. and Paul G. Mahlberg. 2004, A chemotaxonimic analysis of cannabinoid variation in Cannabis. American Journal of Botany 91(6): pgs. 966-975

[v] Halverson, Nic (July 6, 2012). Marijuana That Doesn’t Get You Stoned.  Discovery Channel, Discovery Communications, LLC.

[vi] Martin Booth 2003., Cannabis, A History. ps.109-113., Picador, New York., ISBN 0-312-42494-9.

[vii] Adam Gottlieb 1973., The Art & Science of Cooking with Cannabis., Ronin Publishing, Berkeley, CA, ISBN 0-914171-55-0.

[viii] Charles Grant, MD, PhD, Greg Lewis PhD., End Your Addiction Now: The Proven Nutritional Suppliment Program That Can Set You Free., pg. 226, 2002., Warner Books Inc., New York., ISBN 0-446-52723-8

[ix] Copeland, J, Swift, W, (2009), Cannabis use disorder: Epidemiology and management., Int. Rev. Psychiatry, 21, 104-112.

[x] Parker, L.A., (2017)., Cannabinoids and the Brain., Ch.2, p.24-25., MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts., ISBN: 978-0-262-03579-8.

[xi] themedicalbiochemistrypage.org., Micheal W. King PhD., 1996-2014.

[xii] Ibid Parker, L.A., p.81.

[xiii] Ibid Parker, L.A., p.25.

[xiv] Ibid Parker, L.A., p.76.

“She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie, Cocaine”

Before we start, really, really read the rules and disclaimers.

Cocaine is an alkaloid that comes from the Erythoxylon coca shrub that grows at higher mountain altitudes in the Andes mountains.  It has been cultivated for its stimulating properties for about the last 5000 years or so by the Incas, and was used extensively in their empire.  When those twisted fun-loving asshole Spanish Conquistadores enslaved them, they used coca leaf to entice the Incas to work themselves to death in the gold mines, and the complicit Catholic church took their cut.  Gotta love un-sanitized history.

Eric Clapton was right.  There are no lies with cocaine, save the ones you tell to yourself.

Hell, Sigmund Freud did a mountain of the stuff.  It seems that Cocaine in the US is the second most used recreational drug after Marijuana.  However, it is also the most costly.  Binges can end up costing from $20,000 to $50,000, and unless you’ve got that kind of coin to “blow” (again my apologies for the pun), Mary-Jane is by far the better value for money.

I’m very conflicted as far as giving you the road map to successful abuse.  This little “White Lady” is truly the wicked bitch of the south.  Highly addictive, of unknown purity (in most cases as you won’t know what it’s “cut” or diluted with) and even a small amount found on you will most likely earn you a custodial sentence with some monster of a man/woman named Cherry (sorry to all legit Cherrys out there).  So…my first piece of advice would be to try chewing either Coca leaf or making Coca leaf tea.  That’s how nature intended it to be, and we’ve seen what happens to us when we entertain an Oedipal relationship with Mother Nature.

The second best option would be (if the above doesn’t scare you) to acquire Pharmaceutical Grade Cocaine Hydrochloride.  This is free of adulteration junk, and while still expensive and dangerously addictive, you will at least know what you have (Abuse rule #2).

Another thing to consider is the synergistic effect that alcohol has when combined with cocaine which occurs when they are used together.  This effect produces a compound in your body called cocaethylene, which is longer acting than either cocaine or alcohol[i].  This means that the toxic effects on your organs will be more serious, hence, follow abuse rule #10 (Don’t mix your poisons).

Now I’m just gonna scare you a little to see how truly committed to abuse you actually are.  Firstly, what does coke do?  Medically it does several things.  It is a stimulant (whoohoo!), an appetite suppressant (screw weight-watchers, I wanna pay MORE), and a Triple Reuptake Inhibitor (TRI) of Serotonin-Norepinephrine-Dopamine (happy-wired-rapture).

Its side effects are:

addiction, blood-brain-barrier disintegration, anxiety, paranoia, restlessness, sudden cardiac death, impotence, itching, palpitations, hallucinations, rebound hunger (like wolf hungry), aches, sleep problems, lethargy, persistent runny nose, depression with suicidal ideation, dehydration and dry mouth.[ii]

But whoa, it doesn’t stop there…Assuming that you get the pure form mentioned above, after you sniff (or insufflate in medical-ese), although the drug portion will be absorbed, the hydrochloride portion is left on your nasal mucosa, which will eat away and corrode your nasal septum (you know, that thing that separates your nostrils).  That will leave you with a uni-nostril (like Cyclops of the nose) which ain’t too attractive.  Then assuming that you have any money left, a nice expensive nose-job awaits you.

If you’re thinking that smoking it might be better, the following chart illustrates the smoking side effects quite well:[iii]

Another thing to consider is the down regulation that occurs with dopamine (the chocolate neurotransmitter: ie: happy!) in your brain when you use cocaine.  In animal captivity experiments, when supplied with an unending quantity of cocaine, they will take hits of it until they starve to death.  That’s right.  They won’t eat, sleep (except passing out from exhaustion), fuck, play or groom themselves.  They will only hit the coke![iv]  However, animals tend to shun coke when they are in their natural environment as they are content enough without it.  This is because animals are well integrated into their natural environment and do not need to self medicate.  We as a species, fucked our environment in the ass long ago, and as a result are often maladjusted and dislocated, which makes us more in need of self-medication (well done Prof. Bruce Alexander). When we hit it, our dopamine gets down regulated so that we get a crash after the high.  This also tends to make us depressed, and this lower level of dopamine can stay low for up to 3 months.  Talk about a bummer!

Routes of Administration

What I got, you gotta get it, put it in you, reelin with the feelin, don’t stop, continue”.

Although Anthony Keidis of the band The Red Hot Chilli Peppers was probably talking about something else, that little phrase is rather aptly put.  There are several ways to get it in you, so I’ll start with the least harmful and progress to the insanity.

Oral

There are a couple of forms this can take.  First lets go “au naturelle” with coca leaf.

Coca leaf can be put in your mouth like a chewing tobacco quid and sucked on and swallowed (instead of spitting).  But in order to get the maximum absorption from this method, you have to have something alkaline like baking soda (just a tiny pinch) with it so that the active ingredient (benzoyl-methyl-ecgonine in case you were curious) can be released.  It takes about 60 minutes to feel the maximal physical and mental buzz (read physiological and psychotropic effects) via this method.  Also the percentage that gets absorbed via this method is between 30 and 60%.[v]  You may be thinking that “blows” (pun apologies), but actually, both insufflation (snorting) and ingestion have comparable absorption percentages, only the rate of the drug hitting your system is slower.  Historically, coca leaf tea was brewed to help combat fatigue while travelling at high altitudes in the Andes, but you won’t typically get much of a buzz (which ain’t necessarily a bad thing).

Another oral way to get “blown away” (pardon me), is to rub the coke either on your gums (for a numbie!), place some under your tongue (for a dumbie! Speech becomes difficult with a numb tongue), or put some in a rolling paper and swallow it (aka: snow-bomb).  The numbie and dumbie methods being quicker to achieve an effect than the snow-bomb (digestion is always the slowest route).  Also, keep in mind that cocaine is a potent vasoconstrictor (causing the arteries to narrow and blood supply lessen).  This means that if you do too many snow-bombs, you will cause your intestines to become hypoxic (low tissue oxygen from lack of blood supply), and then the tissue will die.  If this happens, a surgeon has to cut you open, cut out that dead section of intestine, then sew together the healthy bits, so that you will have the pleasure of shitting again.

Intra-nasal or Insufflation

This is probably the most common way that cocaine is used.  This method allows for a faster uptake of the drug into your system, which means a quicker high.  The coke is absorbed via the nasal mucosa (a very capillary-rich area).  As with the baking soda quid method above, 30-60% absorption is common.  The difference lies with the rate, with the high being felt at an average of 15min after your toot-sweet.[vi]  A line of coke also has two doses.  A “bump” (thin line of approximately 35mg), and a “rail” (fat line of approximately 100mg).

One big potential drawback with this method is that cocaine is a potent vasoconstrictor (causes the diameter of the blood vessels to shrink), which means that oxygen and nutrients don’t get to your nasal tissue.  This will cause it to die (hence the Cyclops nostril you eventually develop).  Another drawback is the crap that coke gets cut with (to increase its volume and make you think that you are getting more).  Common cutting agents are baking soda, sugars (lactose, dextrose, inositol, mannitol) and other anesthetic agents (lidocaine, benzocaine).  The anesthetic agents can make it seem like the cocaine is more potent than it actually is.  Then there are other drugs like methamphetamine that can be used to cut it (as well as mess you up more).  Unless you happen to have Keith Richards’ connections to pharmaceutical grade cocaine hydrochloride, it’ll be a game of Russian roulette when it comes to what other shit is in your coke.

So what are you gonna use to sniff it with?  Typical “tooters” would be rolled up money or paper bills, cut straws, long fingernails (ew!), tiny spoons, hollowed out pens and hell, even clean tampon applicators (vampires would probably use the less clean option).  The key thing here is not to share your “tooter” with anyone, unless you would also like the possibility of enjoying a Hepatitis C infection (trust me, you don’t).

Now after all that snorting, you are gonna need to get rid of the hydrochloride residues in your nose that will corrode the nasal septum and give you Cyclops-shnoz.  Believe it or not, there is an old school solution for just this sort of problem, and it is called a Neti-pot.  Hell, even Oprah and Dr. Oz have given it their stamps of approval! Here is how it’s done:

  1. take Neti pot (usual volume is 250ml and they can be bought at almost any vitamin/ health food store or pharmacy)
  2. add either 1/4tsp of coarse pickling salt, or buffered salt (I like Neilmed© brand) to some distilled or reverse osmosis water (not tap water)
  3. heat it in microwave for 20seconds (just enough to make the mix lukewarm)
  4. put in Neti pot.
  5. Watch the following video.

 

This is essentially how you douche your nose out.  If you add 1tsp of Pharmaceutical grade glycerine (at any pharmacy), and 1000mg of MSM (Methyl-Sulphonyl-Methane: an anti-inflammatory powder) into the mix, it will be even better.  In the above video, the clown also adds ½ a drop of Lugol’s Iodine solution (1 drop in a small volume of water, then use half that water).  Lugol’s Iodine is antiparasitic, antifungal, antibacterial and sterilizes stuff.

Injection

**WARNING**: Don’t Fucking Do It This Way! You will make it statistically HIGHLY likely that you will overdose and die!

Not the nicest prick you’ll ever meet (unlike me).  Injection is the fastest route into the body with effects peaking at around the 3-minute mark.  It is also the most dangerous as overdose is very easy to do (see the Opiates section for the full run-down).  A ringing in the ears moments after injection is a feature of this method (with a dose in the range of 120mg) and according to the Urban Dictionary is called a “Bell-Ringer” (I can’t think why that would be…).  In addition to getting the dose right (better to under-dose in the beginning), there are other risks you have to be aware of.  First off, use only Cocaine Hydrochloride pure, as there is a risk of circulatory emboli (blood clots) forming from any insoluble (non-dissolving) cutting agent used on the coke.  In addition, it should be dissolved in sterile water or physiologic saline before injection as these will do the least damage to your veins and are available in most pharmacies. Physiologic saline can also be made with distilled water and salt (course pickling or buffered).  The proportion used is 9g salt/liter of distilled water.  After you have mixed the solution with the cocaine, wait…  You want to make sure that there is no crystallization in the solution (as that can cause a blood clot).  DO NOT use tap water to dissolve the cocaine!  There is too much shit in tap water these days and it is a hypotonic solution (which means it will cause red blood cells to burst and increase your chances of a blood clot and stroke and myocardiac infarction aka Heart Attack).  Once again I reiterate: “DANGER, Don’t fucking do it this way!”

Suppository **Also Dangerous**

Cocaine is also sometimes dissolved (hopefully in physiologic saline mentioned above) and administered via syringe either anally or vaginally.  It ain’t a great idea here either as it causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels).  With this method, there is a real likelihood of overdose as the surface area for absorption is larger than your nasal cavity (meaning that more will be absorbed sooner)[vii].  The other thing to consider is that most of the time you don’t know what the purity of your coke is.  If it is higher than what you are used to and you add that to increased absorption, you see where this goes right?   Finally, be you of any sexual orientation, rethink this one as cocaine is also a surface analgesic (numbing agent).  That means it will decrease pleasure associated with intercourse (and that would really blow!—again pun mea culpa).

Crack Smoking  *Bad Idea*

Crack is the form of Cocaine that is reacted with baking soda to release the ‘base’ form that can be smoked.  Regular cocaine is not possible to smoke as it is in a form that won’t vaporize with any appreciable effect.  Although it is about as fast as the injection method, and perhaps less dangerous, its side effects are also FUBAR.  They are[viii]:

with these additional things:

craving, restlessness, depression, irritability, paranoia, psychosis, delusional parasitosis (aka: ‘coke bugs’ where you think that you have bugs crawling around inside you aka “formication” in medical-ese), cracked and blistered lips (aka ‘crack-lip’ from burning your lips on the crack pipe) and significant lung damage (aka ‘crack-lung’ where you get cough, phlegm and wheezing).

 

 

The reasons why this method is so bad is that, in addition to the contaminants in the crack-cocaine (its difficult to get pure stuff), due to it’s speed of onset, a BIG dump of dopamine occurs in the brain (why it feels so good).  Dopamine levels are then depleted and will take a while to come back to normal.  Due to it “feeling so good”, people tend to want that same feeling as the first time, and end up binging in ever greater amounts to try to repeat that experience (which as I mentioned before, is impossible).

However, if yer gonna do it this way, limit yourself to once a week or less and use the OrthoHOD App to mitigate the mayhem in your brain chemistry and prevent possible addiction.  Also, some detoxing using the following won’t be amiss regardless of your method of drug administration:

Probiotic: with Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria 5-10 billion organisms per dose, on an empty stomach in the morning (this will get the guts working to detoxify you).

Lipospheric Vitamin C: 1000mg 2 times per day. This supplement kills two birds with one stone.  Vitamin C detoxifies, and the phospholipid helps your liver to repair as well.

MSM (Methyl-sulphonyl-methane): 2000mg 2 times per day.  We can all use a little anti-inflammatory that is a good source of sulfur, which helps with amino acid formation and detox.

Glycine: 1500mg 2x per day. Helps your liver to detox.

Taurine: Another awesome thing that this amino acid does (in addition to what was mentioned in the alcohol section), is to help reduce the addictive potential of cocaine.  Now before you take this as an invitation to party, just remember, I said reduce, not eliminate. Dosage: 1-3000mg/day in divided doses.[ix]

Detection

Now, a word about detection.  Cocaine metabolites are easy to detect in urine, blood and hair samples.  Although zinc supplements have been shown to mask cocaine metabolites in urine samples,[x] it’ll still show up in hair and blood (bye-bye security clearance, probation, job offer, etc.).  In non-habituated users (ie: one-offs), it takes up to 10 days for cocaine to clear your system (urine and blood), but can still be detected in your hair for up to 90 days since you last used.  Thus wait about three months, don’t use and shave your head, and all body hair (what a pain eh?), then you should be safe from detection and you’ll have a cool Kojak costume for Halloween (if anyone still remembers Telly Savalas).

Mischief Managed?

So now you want to get off this stuff and stay off it right?  In addition to the OrthoHOD App, to determine the area of brain chemistry that needs addressing, you will most likely have issues with Dopamine and Norepinephrine levels being too low.

Supplements:

L-Tyrosine: Large doses of tyrosine can effectively reverse the above.  L-Tyrosine is a Dopamine precursor (the neurotransmitter molecule that gets dumped by your brain and makes you feel GOOD!).  When coming off cocaine, switching to a more gentle substance and gradually tapering it down is useful.  This way, your brain will recover gradually from all that out of control fun.

Dosage: typically 2000mg before each meal (3x/day).[xi]

NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine):  NAC is the precursor to Glutathione (a master anti-oxidant), which detoxifies (used in acute liver failure resulting from acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning, reduces hypertension by relaxing blood vessels and preserves heart tissue during heart attacks).[xii] It is also a mucolytic (mucus thinner-outer) and helps to reduce cravings for cocaine.

Dosage: 900mg before breakfast and dinner on an empty stomach.

Magnesium Citrate: magnesium helps to stabilize heart rhythms, lowers blood pressure, eases asthma, reduces incidence of migraines, helps increase bone mass, eases restless leg syndrome and relaxes tight muscles (the “coke-bugs” under your skin most likely get worse with low magnesium).  Seeing as how cocaine depletes us of this mineral, it is a good idea to take it.

Dosage: 500mg after breakfast and before bed.

Lithium: A little bit of this mineral (20mg Lithium Orotate ) wouldn’t go amiss in modulating your irritability while recovering.  Your significant other will thank you.

The counseling component is always useful too, as you need to know that you are not alone in dealing with this relentless wicked bitch from the south.  When others share your pain, it becomes more manageable and you will eventually come to the realization that life is just as livable without it.

Here also I’ll shamelessly mention that acupuncture NADA protocol is useful for both the detox and anxiety that goes along with withdrawal.

Conventional Pharmaco-therapy

Conventionally, detox entails the use of anti-psychotics, methylphenidate (aka Ritalin), and anti-depressants with rather mixed results.  Although, there seems to be renewed interest in disulfiram (aka Antabuse) as it seems to curb cocaine and alcohol consumption well.  The downside to it is that cocaine users like taking these drugs about as much as alcoholics (which is “not at all”).

Doc Cico:

Just to reiterate the above warning.  You do not want to blow a hole in your nasal septum.  It is usually not fixable and leaves you with a perpetually runny nose, which is a turn off in any social situation.  Use the Neti Pot if you indulge and use it even if you don’t indulge.  It’s a great addition to your self-care routine.

 

References:

[i] Ibid Meyer, J S, Quenzer, L F, Psychopharmacology, p. 343.

[ii] Schwartz, B.G., Rezkalla, S., Kloner, R.A., (2010)., Cardiovascular Effects of Cocaine., Circulation. 2010;122:2558-2569.

[iii] Mikael Haggstrom 2009., Side Effects of Chronic Use of Cocaine., Wikipedia Creative Commons

[iv] Ronald K. Seigel., 1989., Intoxication: The Universal Drive for Mind-Altering Substances., Park Street Press., Vermont., ISBN 1-59477-069-7

[v] Barnett, G; Hawks, R; Resnick, R.,(1981). Cocaine Pharmacokinetics in Humans. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 3 (2-3): 353-66.

[vi] Nora D. Volkow et al. (2000). “effects of route of administration on cocaine induced dopamine transporter blockade in the human brain”. Life Sciences 67 (12); 1507-1515. PMID 10983846

[vii] Dominic Streatfeild, (2001). Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography., Picador, New York., ISBN 0-312-28624-4., p.

[viii] Mikael Haggstrom 2009., Main Physiological effects of  Crack Cocaine., Wikipedia Creative Commons.

[ix] Ross, C., (Feb/Mar 2016). Updates on the Treatment of Drug Addiction., Townsend Letter, the examiner of Alternative Medicine., p. 52-56.

[x] Venkatratnam, Abhishek, Nathan H. Lents (July 2011). “Zinc Reduces the Detection of Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and THC by ELISA Urine Testing”. Journal of Analytical Toxicology 35 (6): 333-340.  PMID 21740689.

[xi] Ibid., Gaby. p. 995-996

[xii] Chirkov, Y. Y et al., (1996)., Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, 28., 375-80.

Milk of the Poppy

“We do need some stinkin’ rules”, read the rules and disclaimers.

“Morpheus is considered by many to be the most dangerous man alive.”

                                                                 Agent Smith from The Matrix

 

Why are the opiates some of the most highly addictive substances out there?  The answer is that your brain and body make these compounds in the form of endorphins and enkephalins.  The opiates are chemicals from the opium poppy (papaver somniferum – the poppy that causes sleep), or lab synthesized ones that are structurally similar to them[i].  Their functions are to help kill pain, make us feel good and relaxed, regulate body temperature, water regulation, feeding and stress[ii].  Once you start taking them from an external source, it is very hard to stop using them.  Ironically, many of those addicted to opiates become so through legitimate medicine prescriptions for chronic and acute pain.  Drugs such as Oxycontin, Oxycodon, Demerol, Codeine, Morphine and Heroin are all opiates and are extensively used in Medicine (with the exception of Heroin).

The opiates also carry the real risk of overdose and death.  This happens when people miscalculate the dose due to either an unknown concentration, a relapse at the same dose after a period of abstinence (kicking, then going back at the same level) or chasing the high (that first time is the best one, and many people try more to get to the same feeling- which is impossible by the way).  Another way overdose occurs is due to environmental cues.  For example, if you always use an opiate in the comfort of your home, at the same dose, then go and use that same dose in an unfamiliar environment, OD may happen[iii].  This probably happens because the anticipation of the drug changes, which increases your endorphins.  Add that to the dose of opiate and you might leave this planet (sans body).

Overdose also occurs when you mix your drugs because you weren’t following Abuse rule #10: Don’t mix poisons! (ie: the speedball- cocaine mixed with heroin….FYI…Don’t do this! Remember John Belushi and Philip Seymour Hoffman? That’s what they did and the world was a better place when they were in it making us laugh.  It is also a better place with you in it).

So…if dying is something you’d rather not do, this is one plane ride to miss.  However, if you’re still reading, let’s mitigate the mayhem.

Naloxone Injection Kit

Naloxone is the injection that will save your life if you overdose (OD).  However, in order to get this shot given to you (cuz you will be way too out of it to do it yourself if you OD), there needs to be someone else with you.  Which means….drumroll…Don’t use opiates if you are by yourself!  You can get Naloxone injection kits from many clean injection sites, from your doctor or public health nurse, and even some outreach programs that dispense them.  They are also free, so there is no excuse why you shouldn’t have one.  They are also called Narcan kits (US trade name).  To use one:

  1. Draw up 1cc (1ml) of Naloxone in the Intramuscular syringe
  2. Roll person whom has overdosed on their side
  3. Inject them either in their thigh, outer ass cheek, or shoulder muscle
  4. Move out of the way as they will be like a zombie that rapidly wakes up.
  5. Wait for 10-15 min then hit them with another 1cc (1ml) shot.

Since you will be all panic-y when doing this for the first (and hopefully only) time, don’t worry about swabbing the injection site.  Just go through the person’s clothing.  The kits generally contain several shots.  Make sure that after you have given the shot, you stay with the person and call the ambulance!  When the shot wears off, there may be some opiates left in the person’s system, and if it is too much, they will go right back to OD-ing, which means that you’ll have to hit ‘em again with another shot.  How do you recognize someone is OD-ing?

  1. Their lips are blue
  2. They don’t appear to be breathing
  3. They are unresponsive and don’t feel pain (try flicking the tip of their nose hard)
  4. If you peel back their eyelids, they will have pin-point pupils (even in a dark room)

Now for starters, if you are going to use opiates in whatever form, your frequency of use will dictate how fast you become tolerant, then dependent and addictedYou do not want this to happen!  If it does, then you will have to eventually go through withdrawal, which SUCKS!  In order to prevent this, use opiates (if you’re gonna) no more than 2 times per month.  At that frequency, you stand a much better chance of:

  1. Not getting addicted
  2. Not fucking up your life
  3. Not going through withdrawal, which SUCKS!
  4. Not getting so FUBAR that you are difficult to help by us practitioners
  5. Not going broke
  6. Not going to prison
  7. Not becoming someone’s ‘Prison Bitch’ if you do get sent to the “Big House”

This is what you might feel if you go through withdrawal conventionally:

1st 24 hours:

muscle aches, restlessness, anxiety, eye discharge (excessive tearing),runny nose, excessive sweating, insomnia, excessive yawning

then the real fun begins after 24 hours:

diarrhea, abdominal cramping, goosebumps (cold turkey), nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils and blurred vision, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure.[iv]

The reason why the withdrawal syndrome happens is because all opioids suppress neurotransmission (i.e. they sedate the fuck out of you).  This has the effect of causing the body to respond by desensitizing nerves to the drugs.  When you stop, the body bounces back and re-sensitizes the nerves (usually a little too quickly), then voila, the above shit[v].  These symptoms usually begin to improve within 72 hours with feeling normal beginning after about 1 week.  If above symptoms sounds like a barrel of monkeys, then you must be Bill Murray’s character in the movie Little Shop of Horrors.

One thing that Heroin, Morphine and Codeine all have in common is that they all come from opium, which comes from a poppy (papaver somniferum- aka “the poppy that causes sleep”).  So…lets start at the flower and work our way up.

Opium

Having been used and cultivated since about 3400 BC by the Sumerians for medical and recreational purposes, opium has been around for a long long time.  It has been used as a pain-killer in medicine right from the beginning and is also addictive.  The chief alkaloids in opium are morphine, codeine, thebaine (parent compound of Oxycodone and Naltrexone), papaverine (anti-spasmodic, erectile dysfunction treatment) and noscapine (anti-tussive or cough suppressant which also causes nausea).

The British empire in all its glory was built on the Opium trade.  Opium is still one of the biggest (and most lucrative) cash crops in the history of civilization.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is known as the herb Ying Su Ke, and belongs to a class of herbs that function as “stabilizers and binders” (Binds up the intestines and stops diarrhea, as well as consolidating Lung Qi or stopping cough).  Needless to say, us Chinese Medicine practitioners don’t have prescriptive rights for this bad boy, as I’m sure you’ll understand why.

Routes of Administration

Oral

Traditionally, opium was either smoked, or eaten as it still is today.  However, you are highly unlikely to come across opium on the street today (unless of course you are in East Asia- excluding Japan and China).  The only way you would find it here is if you grew your own poppies, and, as this is not a manual on how to make your own, tough luck.

Opium Tea

The chance that you will screw this one up and overdose are high as you will never be sure of the strength (and size) of plant that you are steeping.  Therefore, verdict: FUBAR, then ER and possibly a slab in the morgue unless your partners in crime have Naloxone kits.

On the chance you didn’t read the verdict:

  1. start with 1tsp of crushed poppy straw (dried husks and stems without seeds)
  2. put in stove top espresso maker
  3. heat on stove until all water is used

This method will give a small amount of tea that is very bitter and may be very strong (so sweeten it with honey). You may also experience nausea and vomiting on your first try.  As you won’t know just how potent the tea is, take only 1/3 of an espresso cup, then wait 25-30min.  If you start feeling effects you will have an idea of the dosage. If you feel nothing, increase your dosage by half ad nauseum (pun intended) until you do.

Opium Smoking

Opium was traditionally smoked via the special pipes pictured below:[vi]

The opium pipe was designed with that special lamp you see (in the center of the picture on the left) that gently heated the opium so that the opiates were vaporized and then inhaled through the pipe.  However, chances of you getting a nice pipe, like the ones pictured above, are slim to none unless you have a ton of cash to drop.  Using a hash pipe will allow you to get a moderate dose, but that won’t compare to the traditional pipe as the temperature is too high.  The closest approximation to the pipe would be to use hot knives (just as if you were smoking hash).  As for the dosage, start with a booger sized opium piece.  As smoking is the fastest way into the body, you won’t need that many booger sized pieces until you feel it (almost immediately).  Stop once you do and wait until the high is gone before having more.

Opium Tincture

Traditionally known as Laudanum (meaning “something to be praised”) and invented by the English physician Thomas Sydenham, it initially contained: 2oz of strained opium, 1oz of saffron (also a narcotic) and 1/8 fluid oz of both cinnamon and cloves that had been dissolved in a fortified wine known as Canary wine[viii].

Opium tincture is still available today (without the above extra ingredients) and is used in modern medicine to treat explosive diarrhea that doesn’t respond to things like imodium.  You have to be reeeal careful should you get your hands on this one though as OD is highly likely if you mess up.  Here is how it works:

there are 50drops per ml of standardized tincture.

start dose is 1.5ml (75 drops) better to use a 3ml syringe to measure it.[ix]

If you have never tried it, stick with that dose amigo!  It is very bitter, so add it to a cup of whatever you like that is sweet.  OD-ing dose is at around 100-150ml for beginners who weigh about 70kg (154lb), although overdoses have been known to occur with half that amount (remember, body weight factors into this, so a small light person will need less to OD).  Compared to the insanity of what follows, this is reasonably safe.

Morphine/ Codeine/ Heroin & Methadone etc.

Morphine

Named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams (not The Matrix dude), Morphine is one of the constituents of Opium.  It is used extensively in medicine for pain control and finds its way to the street for consumption as well.  Standard warnings apply here: (ie: Danger).  Some of it’s other street names are: M, Sister Morphine, Vitamin M and Morpho.

Morphine (like Heroin-diacetyl morphine), is very versatile in how it is used.  It can be taken orally, sublingually (under the tongue), subcutaneously (aka skin popping), IM (intramuscularly injected- the Keith Richards method), IV (intravenously injected- shooting up), rectally (enema- ew!), intra-nasally (sniffed or sprayed) and dermally (the patch).  Anyone can be a saint in the absence of options, which is why you ain’t gonna be one here as there are just too many!

Starting dose: Since most morphine abuse is due to people selling their legitimate prescriptions, there is perhaps less of a likelihood of it being cut with stuff that shouldn’t be there.  Also keep in mind that these doses are strictly for non-medical use.  Your physician may prescribe different amounts depending on the medical indications they are treating.  We are merely trying to prevent you from killing yourself accidentally.

Morphine:

Oral start dose: 10-30mg (immediate release preparations)

Rectal start dose:10-20mg

 

Injection Routes:

With these next two methods, you have to do it right otherwise you might be poppy fertilizer.  Firstly, DO NOT SHARE NEEDLES! If you do this, you run the risk of getting viruses like Hepatitis and AIDS among others.  Use a prepackaged sterile syringe and needle (every time!).  Mix the morphine with either distilled water, or physiologic saline (9g salt/liter distilled water) and dilute to 1-2mg/ml of saline solution. Increased concentrations could be painful and cause tissue irritation, and infection.

 

Intramuscular (I.M.) or Sub-cutaneous start dose: (aka: skin popping) 5-20mg

Site Prep:

  1. Wash hands (see hand washing video)

 

 

 

  1. Swab area with 70% isopropyl alcohol swab (available at any pharmacy).
  1. Let air dry

 

            Intra-Muscular (I.M.) Injection Video:

  1. Angle needle perpendicularly to skin and puncture.
  2. Draw back slightly to make sure no blood comes into the syringe (if it does, you are in a vein)
  1. Slowly depress plunger (should take about 30s-3min for entire shot depending on volume)
  1. For best results use upper outer quadrant of butt cheek (that way you will avoid the sciatic nerve getting injured). Up to 5cc(5ml) per side.

 

            Skin Popping Video:

  1. Angle needle at about 25 degrees to skin and puncture. (Needle shouldn’t go in more than ½ inch)
  1. Draw back on needle slightly to make sure no blood comes into the syringe (meaning you are in a vein)
  1. Slowly depress plunger (should take about 30s-1min for entire shot volume).
  1. For best results, use upper outer quadrant of butt cheek fat with no more than 1cc(1ml) per site (although can be done anywhere that there is fat tissue)

I.V. (Intravenous) Route:

Just so that you know, this way is the most dangerous method, with venous sclerosis, necrotizing fasciitis, interstitial infiltration (aka. blown veins), thrombosis, collapsed veins, viral infections and abscesses (bacterial infections) as part of the prizes you’ll find behind door number three.  Let’s scare you a little more by describing these before getting into the how-to.

Venous Sclerosis- This is where, due to overuse as a result of not rotating injection sites, the veins become hard and difficult to puncture.  This can also lead to painful bending of the elbow.  Solution: rotate your injection sites.

Necrotizing Fasciitis- Kinda like a flesh eating disease (Staphylococcus Aureas and Streptococcus Pyogenes are the bacterial critters most likely to make a meal out of you).   Necrotizing Fasciitis (NF) is where improper hygiene techniques before and during injection procedures were not followed.  Basically, you either shared a needle, reused one that wasn’t clean, didn’t prep the skin by swabbing with alcohol, didn’t have gear that was clean or what you injected was contaminated with above mentioned critters.  Then…bacterial critters got in there, and then into you, and an infection began.  Best-case scenario is that it gets diagnosed quickly and antibiotics are administered and it clears up.  However, more often than not, it won’t be and you will end up loosing a limb or a serious amount of tissue cuz the surgeon has to cut it away to stop the spread of infection.  FUBAR eh?  Solution: watch the safety feature videos that won’t win an Oscar, and use safety procedures.

Gone Interstitial (or blown vein)- This is where you skewer the vein all the way through, or the needle slips out of the vein, or the vein rips and then you yell “FUCK” if the hemorrhaged blood or infusing fluid is too close to a nerve and causes it to be painful.  Believe it or not, this is a fairly common mistake that even health professionals make from time to time (as you’ll see in the video).  It can leave a nasty-ass bruise and you should withdraw the needle, then apply pressure immediately to the site to minimize this.  The size of the needle is also a factor (small gauge is less severe than large gauge- a 30 gauge, ½ inch needle was used in the video). The tourniquet increases the local blood pressure, which can make that bruise so bad.  This actually isn’t such a bad complication compared to the other ones and you won’t be able to use the same site for at least 20min.  Solution: Be careful, methodical, and mindful and follow the video below (minus the fuck-up at the end).  Prayer also helps I hear.

Vein Thrombosis (VT)– basically, it’s a blood clot.  A thrombus can occur if there are un-dissolved solids in the solution that you are going to inject.  If the clot is big enough, it can travel towards the heart (causing an infarction or heart attack) or the brain (causing a stroke).  These thrombi (plural) can also travel around until they get stuck somewhere else and cause a blockage.  When this happens it can be very painful (worse than a root canal without anesthesia).   Solution: To avoid this, boil a coffee filter in distilled water for 20min (to sterilize it), then take a small piece of boiled filter and draw up your cooked up shot through it.  The pores of the filter are not small enough to stop bacteria, but if you sterilize the filter by boiling in distilled water, they won’t be able to cause infection.  FYI, if the solution you are going to administer looks really cloudy, that means it has a lot of particulates that haven’t dissolved due to whatever shit they used to cut the drug (therefore, just say no to that shot and find some better smack).

Collapsed Vein– Yup, just what it sounds like.  The walls of the vein become irritated and inflamed from too much use, then stick together which blocks off the circulation.  This happens if you are using the same vein all the time and re-using needles that are blunt or damaged.  This can also happen if you draw back too hard on the plunger to check that you are in the vein.  If it does happen:

  1. withdraw from vein
  2. apply pressure briefly
  3. don’t use vein again for a while (1 month)

Generally speaking, the circulation will restore itself.  If it doesn’t, the vein resorbs and usually regrows (which takes time).  Solution: rotate your injection sites Obi-Wan.

Viral Infections- Yes the ultimate proof that size does not matter!  Viruses are tiny things you will never see with the naked eye (hell, bacteria are hard enough to see with a microscope!).  So what prized viruses can you expect to win behind this door?  How do AIDS, Hepatitis A,B,C and D sound?  Solution: NEVER SHARE GEAR! And ALWAYS use new gear with each shot! (THAT INCLUDES THE SPOONS!)

Either boil them (spoons) for 20min then soak in 3% hydrogen peroxide, or Lugol’s Iodine solution (5 drops in ½ cup of sterile or distilled water) and soak the boiled spoon for minimum 10 min! Alternatively, wash the spoon well in soapy water, then put it in a toaster oven for 6 min at 375°F (190°C), then let it cool.

Abscesses (infection)- The ugliest of the ugly.  Abscesses are where the injection site gets contaminated with bacteria because you didn’t use the safety precautions outlined above.  As a consequence, you get a big swollen, hot, painful, goose-egg-like sore (that kind of looks like a big zit) and is quite noticeable within 24 hours of the injection.  Don’t think that it’ll just heal up on its own young Skywalker.  This one needs medical attention ASAFP (As Soon As Fucking Possible-in case you were wondering). This is also a big reason why people loose limbs or the infection goes systemic and they die.  When you go to Emerg, pray that you get a nice, well-rested doctor on duty.  He/ She’ll probably try to numb it before cutting it open and squeezing the zit until the blood no longer has a putrid smell and color.  However, it is sometimes tricky to numb these suckers, which means, you will utter lots of high-volume foul language as a means of pain control (assuming that you don’t faint).  Then, it will usually be followed up with oral antibiotics (which you must take as directed) to prevent any further infection.

Intravenous (I.V.) 2.5-10mg inject very slowly (up to 1min/cc)

 

Codeine

From the Greek word Kodeia or  “Poppy Head”, codeine is a weaker opiate alkaloid found in opium gum and the poppy straw of the plant.  It makes up about 4-23% of the opioids found in the poppy head.  Although it has some analgesic (pain killing) aspects, it is used more for its antitussive (cough stopping) properties, which I’ll wager are not what you are thinking about.

Oral start dose: 15-60mg (of immediate release pills): 50mg (of extended release tablets)

*Note* Don’t crush these or crunch them up as overdose could occur!

Effects start at ½-1hour after taking them and the peak effects occur between 1-1½ hrs.

As there isn’t any other way to take these lets move on shall we.

Heroin…Not the Xena Warrior Princess type

AKA smack, black, tar and horse.  Believe it or not, “Heroin” was the marketing trade-name that Bayer (yup, those aspirin pushers) came up with to sell their new ‘non-addictive’ cough suppressant product instead of Morphine back in 1898.[x]  I kid you not! (I can’t make this shit up!).  Essentially, they just took morphine and reacted it with acetic anhydride, to produce Diacetyl-morphine.  Presto! The problem was, it was just as addictive, even faster acting and 1½ – 2 times as strong as morphine.

Because it is stronger, you’re gonna use less unless (in the immortal words of Shakespeare) you wish it to “make worms meat of you” (ie: kill you via OD).  Also remember that street heroin is of unknown purity.  The concentration can be anywhere from 30-60% pure.  Therefore you won’t know what you’ve got until its in you and too late, so… start with the lower end doses to begin with. “Better a small high than die”.

Oral

Although this is a relatively uncommon method of use, its best to use half the start dose compared to morphine.  Start dose: 5-15mg (for beginners), then wait 25-30min for the effects.

Rectal

Same applies here. Half the dosage, then wait for the effect.  There is a higher absorption with rectal administration as you bypass the digestive system. Start dose: 5-10mg

Intramuscular (I.M.) and Subcutaneous (Skin Popping)

Half here too.  Follow the same safety procedures as above. Start Dose: 2.5-8mg

Intravenous (I.V.)

Half the morphine amount, cowboy/girl. Start Dose: 1-5mg

Smoking (Chasing the Dragon) aka: Cheeb

This method is safer than the injection route, but there will be the complications associated with smoking and cutting agents (whatever they might be), namely, lung irritation and pathologies (chronic cough and bronchitis, respiratory infections, and smoking induced asthma).  Although the typical method is to take a small chunk (about 0.25g) of black tar heroin and put on a small square of aluminum foil, heat the foil with a lighter and inhale the vaporizing fumes as the heroin boils, there is a better way Obi-Wan.  Simply do the Hot –Knife thing that was explained earlier in the opium section.  Start Dose: As with Opium, roll a few pieces (the size of small boogers- I know, I’m still struggling with finding a better description) and vaporize them between the hot knives then stop when you feel the effects and don’t have more until a separate occasion. [xi]

Methadone

According to the CDC (Center for Drug Control- “the Man”), there are about 5000 deaths due to accidents using this little puppy per year.  Methadone is most often used as a way to wean people addicted to the above stuff in drug rehab programs.  In Russia though, they take the tough love approach and make you do cold turkey without this and simply give you sedatives and NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen to take the edge off.  That said, methadone ain’t really a drug of abuse per se.  Both oral and IV routes have similar absorption characteristics and shooting provides no rush so why bother.  Another thing about methadone is that it is long acting and if you are on a reduction/ maintenance program and you decide to go and do some smack, you will most likely OD and be pushing up poppies in the cemetery from 6 feet under.  Verdict: lame, seek life elsewhere.  Should you get crazy with the above stuff, methadone substitution is what you will go through to get off them.  If you choose to forgo methadone and just get the withdrawal over and done with, a special vitamin cocktail called a Meyers cocktail will minimize the discomfort, which we’ll talk about below.

Fentanyl

Speaking of lethal, this little piece of a patch has that in spades.  Fentanyl patches are prescribed for intolerable chronic pain (usually associated with cancer).  These patches are about 80-100 times more potent than morphine, and 40-50 times more potent than 100% pure heroin (aka “pharmaceutical grade”).  When people get their hands on these patches (even when they are used or discarded by folks with prescriptions) they tend to, either eat them (gross!), or scrape then smoke them.  There is an epidemic of fatalities due to overdoses as a result.  There is also an epidemic of illegal Fentanyl making its way onto the streets in both powdered form, as well as in pills (both of these can be mixed with heroin). THERE IS NO SAFE DOSE.  Abuse Rules 2 & 3 apply here (2. Know what you have, 3. Know your starting dose).  Since you won’t know either of these, DON’T use Fentanyl.  If you feel the need to disregard the above advice, make sure you have a buddy with the Naloxone injection kit, who knows how to use it handy, as you will most likely OD.  Field trips to the morgue ain’t cool.

Detection:

You obviously want to keep your job right? So how do you make sure that you won’t get caught? Well, the first thing to remember is that most urine tests won’t be able to get any detected opiates or metabolites after about 4 days.  But that is just piss!  There are also the hair tests.  These can detect up to 90 days!  The only way around detection here is…after the 5 day safety period for urine, shave off all your hair (body as well as head- yes that means a Brazilian as well), then tell the person who would have taken that hair that you lost it all in a bet or due to vitiligo (a disease where one of the symptoms is complete hair loss that is either temporary or permanent).  These tests generally come from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). There is a threshold cutoff that is generally observed with these tests.  Anything that tests out at 300 ng (nanograms)/ml is considered false positive due to something known as “The Poppy Seed Defense” (ie: someone who likes poppy seed buns a lot could test that high).[xii]  The usage cutoff level is 2000ng/ml.  At or beyond this level and you are hooped as far as testing goes (you won’t be able to use the “foodie defense”).

There are also a few false positive possibilities that you should be aware of:

Quinolone antibiotics such as: Levofloxacin, Ofloxacin, Perfloxacin and Enoxacin (as well as a few others) can cause false positives.[xiii]

Cough medicines with Dextromethorphan (DXM) or codeine, prescription narcotic painkillers can cause false positives.

If you have diabetes, kidney or liver disease you can have a false positive.

Mischief Managed?

Wow! There was a lot to that section right?  That’s due to how dangerous this class of substances is.  So now let’s go to the cleaners.  Firstly, if you use any of the substances at a frequency of twice per month, you’re unlikely to become habituated (remember Abuse Rule #7: Ritualize your consumption).  However, if you strayed to the dark side, lets get you back in the sun.

Withdrawal

This truly sucks and is best attempted with supervision by a knowledgeable medical professional.  If you have gone to a detox and rehab facility, they will help you through withdrawal.  If you choose to do it outside this facility, I would still recommend you to get your family physician on board as they are an essential part of recovery in the long term.  Should you not have one, and are “going it alone”, there are some things that you will need to know.  Firstly, although opiate withdrawal is very unpleasant, it is seldom fatal (it just SUCKS!).

Why does the withdrawal syndrome work the way it does? Well young paduwan, have you ever heard the expression “What the Sith-lord giveth, he also taketh away”? Same goes here.  Opiates cause things to happen, so, their absence causes the reverse to happen.  The following chart illustrates this best[xiv]:

 

Opiate Action Withdrawal Sign
Analgesia (pain relief)       good

Respiratory depression     not good

Euphoria       oh yeah!

Relaxation & Sleep    good

Tranquilizing     good

Decreased blood pressure     good & bad

Constipation    bad

Pinpoint pupils   so-so

Hypothermia     chilly

Drying of mucus membranes    bad

Reduced sex drive       very bad

Flushed & warm skin   good?

Pain & irritability           FUBAR!

Panting & yawning           Hmmm

Dysphoria & depression     FUBAR!

Restlessness & insomnia     FUBAR!

Fearfulness & hostility       FUBAR!

Increased blood pressure         bad

Diarrhea                 Major FUBAR!

Pupil dilation                         so-so

Hyperthermia      not-smokin-hotness

Tearing & runny nose    like a fountain

Spontaneous ejaculation   could be good

Chills & goosebumps   a la cold turkey

As you can see, not the biggest barrel of monkeys.  However, if you want to minimize the withdrawal symptoms there are a few things that you can do to achieve this via vitamin cocktails.

Myer’s Cocktail:

Invented by the late physician John Myers, the “cocktail” is essentially an I.V. infusion given over several minutes that contains the following:

Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate 20% (magnesium)   2-5ml

Calcium Gluconate 10% (calcium)                                 1-3ml

Hydroxocobalamin  1000 μg/ml (vitamin B12)                 1ml

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride  100mg/ml (vitamin B6)          1ml

Dexpanthenol 250mg/ml (vitamin B5- Pantothenic Acid) 1ml

B Complex 100  (B complex vitamins)                              1ml

Contains:         Vitamin(B1)   Thiamine         100mg

Vitamin(B3)    Niacinamide    100mg

Vitamin(B2)    Riboflavin       2mg

Vitamin(B5)    Dexpanthenol  2mg

Vitamin(B6)    Pyridoxine       2mg

Vitamin C  222mg/ml                                                    4-20ml

Sterile Water                                                                  8-30ml

The solution is drawn up in one big syringe, then mixed by turning the syringe a few times.  It is then administered using a butterfly needle (25 gauge) over the course of 5-15min slowly.  The above doses are adult doses and the amounts in the dose vary according to the individual (those who are weak or frail will get less).[xv]  The sterile water addition helps to make the hypertonicity of the solution less (which means you won’t feel a burning as it is infused).  For even better results, if the physician adds enough sterile water to bring the solution up to 60ml, it is generally well tolerated by everyone.  Don’t DIY it here! You can only get these ingredients for injection at a compounding pharmacist.

If you want to get this done, there is a list of physicians in the appendix that are familiar with these.  If you don’t have access to one of these people, any physician can make this up and administer it (you just have to ask-nicely if possible).

Typically, you’ll need about 3 of these spaced 1-day apart for the first 3 days during withdrawal and that will allow for minimal discomfort.  You may need more though.  The cost of the Myers Cocktail varies between $50-$100/ treatment.

Let’s say that you don’t have any access to a Doc.  If that happens and you want to quit, start taking the vitamins orally as follows for 1-2days before the start of withdrawal through to the end of it:

Vitamin C 1000mg (6x per day of Lipospheric form) or (1000mg/ hr of ascorbic acid powder) see appendix 2

B complex 3 capsules/day

Magnesium Citrate  (1000mg morning, 1000mg night)

Calcium Citrate (500mg morning, 500mg night)

Vitamin B12 (2000 μg/day)

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide form) (100-500mg/day)

Vitamin B5 (250mg/day)

And plenty of water, as well as Gatorade.

If that were all to it, life would be easy right?  Well, since it ain’t easy, neither is this.  Opiate addiction also usually causes an imbalance in brain neurotransmitters that will have to be addressed.  The endorphin/ enkephalin section in the OrthoHOD App is the most usual area that goes part and parcel with opiate use, and the amino acids in this section will help your brain to replenish it’s balance of neurotransmitters.  In addition, diet also matters.  Ya gotta eat!  What is best to eat will be covered in the diet section.  However, what is best not to eat would be fast food (of any variety), and junk food (of any variety).  Get a good cookbook (also listed in the food section), and cook your way through it.

Yer also gonna have to bite the bullet once withdrawal is over and get some counseling as there is always a reason why this shit got out of control and a good counselor will be able to help you process it.  Suffice it to say that social re-integration is what is key to staying clean.

Naltrexone Implant

Very recently, a physician in Perth, Australia by the name of O’Neil has been working to treat addictions by developing a small implant that releases Naltrexone continuously.  In high dose Naltrexone/Naloxone are drugs that are given to counter the effects of opiates when an overdose occurs.  The problem with high dose is that it immediately starts withdrawal (which SUCKS).  The implanted low sustained dose however is yet another ingenious tool, that if used in conjunction with the nutritional protocols mentioned above will not only help brain chemistry to normalize, but also remove the temptation to resume opiate use by blocking their effects.  At this time, the FDA has still not approved this device despite the positive results.[xvi]

 

Ibogaine

The ins and outs of Ibogaine are explained in the hallucinogens section (to follow).  Ibogaine is an alkaloid from a west African plant that helps people to withdraw from a variety of drugs, but especially opiates.

Kratom

Kratom leaf comes from a tree that is a member of the coffee family of plants, which comes from Southeast Asia and has been used as both a stimulant (at low to moderate dose) and sedative (at higher dose).  It shares a lot in common with opiates, as well as similar chemistry.  In Asia, it is used predominantly by farmers and day laborers to “take the edge off” the rigors of hard labor, and muscle pain[xvii].  However, it is less potent than the opiates.  As with all traditional herbs that have been beneficial over the centuries of our existence, we in the West decided to say “fuck all that” and find new and interesting ways to abuse it without context.  Many a punter have taken it into their heads that they can use this plant for opiate withdrawal as a mono-therapy.  The problem with this being that it is also abuse-able, and withdrawal entails similar symptoms that opiate withdrawal has[xviii].  Typical doses used on the low end for mild stimulant activity are between 1-5g of powdered dry plant, and 5-15g for sedative effects.  Although it is still legal in North America, that might soon change, based on the paranoia of right leaning governments.  If you are planning on using it for withdrawal, it would be better if you combined it with some of the other tools mentioned here instead of just by itself.  Should ye be seeking minor buzz, observe all abuse rules (1-11) and don’t use it more than one time per week.

Acupuncture

While we are at it, did I mention that acupuncture is also useful at easing the anxiety and promoting the wellness that you shelved when the shit got out of control?  It does this by up-regulating your endorphins and internal cannabinoid systems.

A Final Request

After now having provided you with the know-how on needle lore, we request ONE very important thing. PLEASE dispose of your needles in a proper sharps container (which can be obtained free at any pharmacy), then, when it gets full, drop it off at a pharmacy for safe disposalDon’t be lazy and chuck your used gear in the park, where some 10 year old kid and their dog, can accidentally skewer themselves and be the recipient of any infection that you may be carrying.  Also, don’t just chuck it in the garbage where a garbage collector can suffer the same fate.  Self-abuse shouldn’t harm others (so don’t be like those NRA twits who advocate for everyone to own firearms, including teachers in schools).

Doc Cico?

Okay people, opiates are great substances for relieving pain, and when used properly have been one of the greatest god-sends this world has seen.  What can be more wonderful than having a substance that gets rid of the scourge of physical suffering?  Well we humans have a way of taking something good and making it bad and the story of the opiates is a case in point.  At some point, pain must be overcome mentally as well as physically and here nothing of the physical realm helps. It is a change in the way we perceive the pain that changes our relationship to it.  And when pain is a symptom of an underlying hurt…well that’s where the road to addiction starts.  The mask wearer doesn’t see the mask and thus doesn’t want to remove it, and so, begins believing it’s the mask that needs attention.  Which is to say, if you’re using opiates to treat pain, find a compassionate physician to help you evaluate the pain.  If there are other methods, in the long run you will be better off; if nothing else but opiates work, someone knowledgeable helping you manage this rocky road is a salve beyond compare.

 

References:

[i] Ibid Meyer, J S et al. p.312.

[ii] Ibid Meyer, J S et al. p.315.

[iii] Ibid Meyer, J S et al. p.326.

[iv] Opiate withdrawal symptoms., www.healthline.com., retrieved July 9, 2014.

[v] Ibid Meyer, J S et al. p.330.

[vi] Steven Martin. (June, 2007),. Opium Layout photo., Wikimedia Commons.

[vii] Opium Pipe Photo by Steven Martin., Public Domain photograph retrieved from Wikipedia on July 15, 2014.

[viii] Ibid Meyer, J S et al. p.306.

[ix] Wilbur l. Scoville,, Justin L. Powers., (1937) The Art of Compounding., 6th Ed., p.18, Blakiston’s Son & Co. inc., Philadelphia.

[x] Richard Askwith., (1998). “How Aspirin turned Hero” Sunday Times., September 13, 1998.,  opioids.com

[xi] Robby. “Chasing the Dragon: An Experience with Heroin (Black Tar) (ID 61979)”. Erowid.org. Oct 27, 2007. Erowid.org/exp/61979

[xii] Claire Meadway, Steve George, Robin Braithwaite (1998)., “Opiate concentrations following the ingestion of poppy seed products – evidence for ‘the poppy seed defense’”., Forensic Science International 96 (1998) 29-38.

40  Baden LR, Horowitz G, Jacoby H, Eliopoulos GM (2001)., “Quinolones and false-positive urine screening for opiates by immunoassay technology”., JAMA; 286(24):3115-9.

[xiv] Ibid. Meyer, J S et al. p.326.

[xv] Ibid., Gaby. p. 1295, 1298.

[xvi] Hulse, Gary K., Morris, Noella, Arnold-Reed, Diane, Tait, Robert J. (Oct. 2009).  “Improving clinical outcomes in treating heroin dependence: randomized, controlled trial of oral or implant Naltrexone”.  Archives of General Psychiatry 66(10): 1108-1115.  Doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.130.  PMID 19805701.

[xvii] Cinosi E, Martinotti G, Simonato P, Singh D, Demetrovics Z, Roman-Urrestarazu A, Bersani F S, Vicknasingam B, Piazzon G, Li J, Yu W, Kapitány-Fövény M, Farkas J, Giannantonio M, and Corazza O, (2015), Following (the Roots) of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa):The Evolution of an Enhancer from a Traditional Use to Increase Work and Productivity in Southeast Asia to a Recreational Psychoactive Drug in Western Countries. Hindawi Publishing Corporation BioMed Research International Volume 2015, Article ID 968786, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/968786.

[xviii] Warner M L,Kaufman N C & Grundmann O., (2016), The pharmacology and toxicology of kratom: from traditional herb to drug of abuse., Int J Legal Med (2016) 130:127–138., DOI 10.1007/s00414-015-1279-y.

Kratom Photo by Uomo vitruviano – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12196426