Just Say Know Has Moved! (Read On for Details)

Hey friends!  You may have noticed a lack of activity on my blog since the beginning of 2011.  These have been a busy couple of months as I looked for ways to turn my passion for harm reduction into a paying online gig while writing a book and working on other projects (stay tuned!).

Anyhoo, my blog can now be found at the following address:

http://marymicrogram.blogspot.com/

I’ll be answering all your drug-related questions plus hooking you up with the latest drug news, events and info…just at a new address.

To pick up where we left off, follow me over to my new home at Blogger.com!

Peace, Love and Common Sense,

Mary Microgram

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Flashback: Poppers = AIDS…Sort Of

"Poppers Equals AIDS" by Ken O'Brien

Here’s an often forgotten page in the book of drug history.  It involves the use of amyl nitrite (“poppers”) by gay men in the 1970s and ’80s and the subsequent fallout when the drug was temporarily linked to the AIDS epidemic.

Amyl nitrite was a prescription vasodilator used to treat angina (chest pain) in people with heart problems.  When inhaled, it produces a “rush” that some people find pleasurable.  What appealed most to frequent users was amyl’s relaxing effect on the anal sphincter, which made anal sex more pleasurable for men who engaged in the practice (though they were not the only group to abuse the drug…or to enjoy anal sex).

The 1970s were a period of sexual freedom in America, particularly among homosexual men.  Promiscuity was a way of life for many men, who openly sucked and fucked in bathhouses, sex clubs, abandoned alleys and other public places as a political and personal act of freedom.  Poppers were fuel for sexual liaisons that often involved multiple partners and dangerous acts like anal fisting, rimming, scat, BDSM and more.

Poppers were something of a health threat in themselves, causing side effects like carbon monoxide poisoning, cardiac depression, severe facial dermatitis and heart arrhythmias to name a few.  They were openly marketed to gay men in magazines and other mediums with no interference from the federal government, who also looked the other way when gay men started dying of AIDS shortly thereafter.

Here are some of the ads from the late ’70s and early ’80s.  Who do you think they were targeting?

When AIDS hit the scene in 1981, popper abuse was one factor examined by researchers as a possible cause of the disease.  The theory was that amyl nitrite and other drugs suppressed the immune system, allowing opportunistic infections to take hold.  While this theory was ultimately poo-poo’d, the role of popper use in the unsafe sexual practices of gay men at the time cannot be overlooked, nor can the government’s complacency in the spread of drugs and disease in the gay community.

Mary Microgram

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Mindless Drug Tunes: Buddah Lovaz

“Buddah Lovaz” by Bone thugs-n-harmony.  From their 1995 album, E. 1999 Eternal.

(Gotta click the link to watch.  Sony bastards).

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Q&A: What Are the Risks of Poppy Tea?

Question:

I’ve been drinking the lowest dose of Poppy pods, 1 teaspoon per day now for 5 days.  Ive found it a great antidepressant for me, like no other!  MAOIs, SSRIs none of them.

My question now is, is this very low dose daily dangerous for me? is it addictive? will I go through hard withdrawals with long term use?

Please note that I would never increase this dose, I don’t wanna get high, don’t want euphoria, just this very low dose that makes me feeling really normal, Ive had no background of opium use before this.  I’m a 23 year old male.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Thank you Lady!

—Anonymous

Answer

Boy, Anonymous, can Mary ever relate to this.  Mary knows firsthand about treatment-resistant depression/anxiety and the benefits of poppies, though she would never recommend them to anyone due to their illegal and potentially addictive nature.

To address your question, let me break down the basics for you.  These are the most important points you should know about poppies:

*Poppy pods (Papaver somniferum) contain opium, a psychoactive substance made up of morphine and codeine.  Other less-active alkaloids found in poppies include papaverine, thebaine and oripavine.

*Poppy pods are a long-acting opiate, producing effects that can last up to 14 hours.  In addicted persons, longer-acting opiates require less frequent dosing and are sometimes used to taper down from more powerful drugs like heroin or fentanyl.

*Regular use of poppies can lead to physical dependence.  You know you’re dependent when you experience withdrawals upon discontinuing a drug.  Physical withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, flu-like aches and insomnia.  Psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, restlessness and mood swings are also common and can be dangerous in those with pre-existing mental conditions.  Dosage, frequency of use and other factors influence the severity and length of withdrawals.

*Poppy pods can cause psychological addiction, though this is more common in people who use high doses frequently for the purpose of “getting high”.  Symptoms of psychological addiction include strong cravings/preoccupation with a drug and an inability to stop despite negative consequences.

*Opiates were once prescribed as antidepressants for their ability to ease anxiety and depression.  This practice was largely discontinued after less addictive drugs were invented in the 1950s, though they are occasionally prescribed for this purpose today for severe treatment-resistant cases.

*Unlike alcohol and tobacco, opiates do not cause chronic organ damage with long-term use.  The most common side effects include constipation, erectile dysfunction and physical dependence.

*It is possible to overdose on poppy pods.  Mixing pods with other depressants like Xanax or alcohol greatly increases the risk of dying from respiratory depression and cardiac arrest.  The alkaloid content can vary greatly between batches or even among pods from the same batch.  Grinding up an entire batch of pods at once, mixing the powder evenly and measuring it carefully is the safest way to dose.

*Frequent use of poppies can lead to tolerance, or a need for higher doses to achieve desired effects.  Taking periodic breaks and keeping the dose low can help counter this effect.

*While poppy pods are widely available, they are technically illegal in the U.S. and many other countries (only the seeds are legal to sell or possess).  Even though the likelihood of being busted for using poppy pods is low, it’s always a possibility.  Poppy alkaloids can be detected by drug screening tests as well.  Be discreet.

To summarize, your use of low-dose poppies to control depression is unlikely to cause serious health problems unless you increase the dose or frequency of use.  You may experience withdrawals if you attempt to quit, but they’re unlikely to be too severe at such low doses.  Despite their natural origins, poppies are no less dangerous than other opiates.  The risks of overdose and addiction are the same.  Compared with other popular drugs like alcohol and tobacco, however, opium is less likely to cause chronic health problems when used responsibly.

Respect the pod and it will remain a helpful ally; abuse it and it will become a destructive force that magnifies your emotional problems a hundredfold.  Treat it as you would any antidepressant–as a controlled-dose, once-daily medication–and you should be fine.

Your Populist Poppy Podhead Priestess,

Mary Microgram

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DEA Bans Synthetic Marijuana Products

Spice, a popular brand of synthetic marijuana

Spice, K2, Blaze.  Most people have never heard of these products let alone been injured by them, yet the DEA has decided to place them in emergency scheduling for a year until more is known about their health risks.

Previously legal in the U.S, synthetic marijuana products contain obscure chemicals like JWH-018 and HU-210 that mimic the effects of THC without showing up on drug tests.  While a few sporadic cases of serious side effects (read: deaths) have occurred in users, it is not known what role, if any, synthetic marijuana products played in these cases.

Here’s the original story:

“The United States Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday that they will use their emergency powers to ban “fake pot” products known more commonly as “K2” or “Spice.” This action makes it illegal to possess or sell the five chemicals used to make these products for at least a year. The ban won’t technically take effect for 30 days. It will be temporary for the next year while the DEA determines whether the chemicals should be permanently added to the federal list of controlled substances.

Right now these synthetic pot products can easily be found online and on store shelves. It’s sold in different forms and with different names, “Spice,”K2,” Blaze” and “Red X Dawn.” It’s an herbal incense that when smoked gives you a high similar to marijuana.

“It’s a drug like marijuana, but a little more powerful. It makes you do crazy things that you wouldn’t normally do,” said one Colorado Springs resident.

Over the past year the synthetic marijuana products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens.

“A lot of young students are obtaining these synthetic forms of marijuana products from older students, they are giving it to younger students,” said Greg Sinn with D-60 school district in Pueblo.

According to the DEA these plant materials have been coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana and as clearly marked on the packaging they are not intended for human consumption.

“Its not a good idea. Its not something tested in humans and there could be consequences,” said Shireen Banerji with the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. She calls this an emerging public health problem.

Medical professionals at the poison center have taken nearly 100 calls this year from five states, calls from young people with bad reactions after smoking spice. About two dozen of the frantic calls came from Colorado.

The chemicals in these products have not been approved by the FDA. The DEA hopes their action to control it will take away the incentive to try it.

These products are also not easy to detect. It doesn’t show up in drug tests, making it more popular in the military and with parolees.

Fifteen states have already banned one or more of the five chemicals used to make this synthetic product. This summer, Missouri banned Spice. Kansas outlawed it in March along with Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.”

Source:

KKTV Southern Colorado:  http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/DEA_Bans_Synthetic_Marijuana_Products_110491274.html

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Q&A: Can I Prevent Nausea While Rolling?

QUESTION:

Every time I take E I feel really sick and usually end up puking on the come up.  Whats weird is that none of my mates have this problem.  What causes this?  Is there anything I can do to stop it or is something just wrong with my body? Spending hours in the men’s room toilet pretty much ruins the magic every time.

—RollinUK

ANSWER:

Hey, Rollin’. It seems nausea is a problem for a lot of MDMA users I’ve talked to, so you’re not alone.  The exact cause isn’t known, but is likely due to the stimulation of serotonin, 95% of which is concentrated in  the nerves of the small intestine.

As for what you can do about it, the answer is “a lot”.  None of it is guaranteed to work, but might be useful in at least reducing nausea.  Here’s what I recommend:

*Take 1 or 2 Imodiums with your dose. Imodium (loperamide) slows intestinal contractions, preventing diarrhea, cramping and other GI symptoms associated with an overexcited tummy.  Taking it at the same time as your MDMA gives it ample time to kick in, so time your dosing accordingly.

*Make use of nature’s bounty.  Herbs like ginger, peppermint and lemon balm are all effective against nausea, especially when used for a couple days before the anticipated sickness.  According to the National Institutes of Health, ginger is as effective as Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) for treating some types of nausea.  It has even proven useful in chemotherapy patients and others with severe nausea, so don’t underestimate its healing powers.  Try packing ginger powder into capsules or make a tasty tea from all three herbs an hour before dosing.  Some people find that a small amount of marijuana is helpful, though too much can interfere with the MDMA experience.

*Don’t take ecstasy on a full stomach.  Eating a big, greasy meal before rolling is a good way to ensure a nasty barf fest.  Instead, eat a handful of crackers or another bland food before dosing.

*Start with a half-dose.  Breaking your pills in half or separating the powder into two doses eases the comeup and allows you to test the pill’s effects.  Wait about 45 minutes between doses, and wash each down with a healthy gulp of water.  As an added bonus, many users find that half-dosing extends the pleasant feelings without diminishing the overall experience.

*Chill out on the comeup.  Lying or sitting still helps reduce external stimulation that can aggravate nausea, so avoid excessive movement and noise until the comeup has passed.  Try closing your eyes and sitting in silence, massaging your hands and feet or meditating to get into that mellow headspace.

If you still find yourself in agony after trying these tips, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship with MDMA.  Some people can’t tolerate the drug and find that the positive effects just aren’t worth it.  Responsible drug use is all about weighing the benefits and risks, which is something each person must do for themselves.

(Another possibility to consider is that your “E” contains ingredients other than MDMA.  Common adulterants like caffeine and piperazines can also cause nausea in some people.  The only way to be sure is to use a test kit, which can be purchased here.)

Your Tummy Tempest-Taming Tutor,

Mary Microgram

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Why NorCal is Stoked that Pot’s Still Illegal

California: What happened?

In the aftermath of the Prop 19 failure, many are wondering why the decision to regulate and control (read: legalize) pot in the state of California was voted down.  Isn’t California one of the most progressive, sensible states in the union?  If legalization doesn’t pass here, what does that mean for the other 49 states?

This article, taken from Mother Jones magazine, discusses a lesser known factor in the Prop 19 debacle:  the opposition of legalization by growers and dealers in the Emerald Triangle–an area in Northern California comprised of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties that depends on marijuana for the bulk of its economic sustenance.

“Northern California’s Humboldt County has long been considered the Napa Valley of marijuana. Stoners around the country speak admiringly of “Humboldt dank,” Cypress Hill name-drops “Humble pound weed,” and local grocery stores stock massive displays of odor-sealing “turkey bags” far beyond Thanksgiving. Populated by hippies who fled San Francisco a generation ago to get back to the land,  Humboldt and adjoining Mendocino and Trinity Counties are known as the “Emerald Triangle” for the permissiveness of their pot laws and abundance of their “indo.” So it might come as a surprise that all three counties on Tuesday rejected Proposition 19, a ballot measure that would have legalized marijuana statewide.

“There’s a large movement up here of people who realize that their self interest lies in keeping marijuana illegal,” says Hank Sims, the editor of the North Coast Journal, based in the Humboldt town of Eureka. Growers in the Emerald Triangle’s rugged hills and foggy redwood groves are shielded from the snooping eyes of the DEA, but that advantage would become a handicap if pot could be openly cultivated in California’s warm, flat, agribusiness-dominated Central Valley. North Coast ganja growers “have got government-sponsored price control in the form of busts,” Sims explains. “So I think a lot of people kind of cynically voted their pocketbook and voted to keep it illegal.”

The real surprise is that cannabis cultivators convinced a majority of voters in the three counties (two of which strongly lean to the left) to side with them. “Our export product is weed, by and large,” Sims notes. And in an isolated corner of the state where the timber and salmon fishing industries that once paid the bills long ago collapsed, people who aren’t weed growers are mostly earning their keep by selling things like food, fertilizer and firearms to them. Sims explains: “This is the cornerstone of our economy.”

Of course, the defeat of Prop 19 probably isn’t enough to keep the Emerald Triangle forever awash in green. Cannabis aficionados already bypass the North Coast’s outdoor weed in favor of designer strains with unique flavors and psychoactive effects that are most easily achieved indoors beneath expensive grow lamps. And while hydroponic pot now sells for about 50 percent more than the free-range variety, the price spread is dropping as indoor growers move out of closets and garages and into partnerships with major cities. This year, Oakland plans to authorize four industrial scale pot cultivation warehouses that may corner the market on low-cost, high-quality sensimilla.

Sims believes that the Emerald Triangle could still flourish in the weed world by becoming a destination for marijuana tourism—a place to take in a scenic pot farm and then relax with a joint at a pot-friendly spa. “But for that to happen,” he says, the old growers “have to get out and hustle.” That means “they have to actually be in the system, where the whole appeal in the past was being out of the system. They have to suit up and go around with a sample case from club to club. And that’s going to be hard for people to put their head around.”

While far from the only force at work, the growers’ decision to oppose Prop 19 definitely played a role in the law’s defeat.

This is an important and timely issue, and I’d love to hear your opinions.  Do you think marijuana should be taxed and controlled by state governments?  Do you agree with NorCal’s position on legalization?  What other factors do you believe caused Prop 19 to go down in flames?

Hit me with your opinions and let’s get the discourse started.

Mary Microgram

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