From: outlawpoet - (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 09:29:58 MDT
<in re to David Cake's post>
Being a nonproffessional in the area of neurochemistry, but an interested bystander, I am struck by the way that this thread has progressed with very little attention to the relative biological danger inherent in most of these drugs.
MDMA and it's parent MDA, which David Cake upholds as "quite reasonable for particular purposes" is a stimulant, and a relative of the extraordinarily negative Methamphetamine or "Crystal Meth". The relatively negative neurochemical effects of powerful stimulants are well known. This is entirely seperate from the research of Dr. George Ricaurte of John Hopkins, which suggests that significant 'structural' damage is incurred through MDMA use over time. Not to mention MDMA's role as a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, which is well documented.
LSD is often touted as a very safe drug. It is not openly neurotoxic, nor does it have very well understood side-effects.
In order to explain my objections to LSD use, I'm going to adopt a more narrative tone, uninterested readers may skip to the next paragraph for conclusions.
Having been involved with drugs in my youth, I can say with some certainty that there are few if any drugs I did not have the privilige to witness or experience the effects, culture, and side-effects of. This experience makes me doubt people who use arguments to the effect of "If you haven't tried drugs, you can't talk about them". People who are involved in drugs gain no special knowledge of their safety, or of their chemical afteraffects, or of their affect upon intelligence. These "observers" are collecting their special information with minds that they are simultaneously dosing with unknown levels of psychoactive drugs, many of which are psychologically and physically addictive. The mind is a delicate thing. Our primitive cerebrums only weakly support rationality under the best conditions, and screwing around with hormonal or chemical balances within that complex system has predictable results. Most drug users I have had the privilige to observe were under the impression!
that the insights they produced were very intensely moving and complex, and that as they 'came down' they lost the ability to appreciate or comprehend their previous insight. Some of their conclusions were, I admit, very wierd. Few however had any coherence or invention. Usually they were perversions of earlier insights the person had, or irrational concatenations.
The claim of LSD "opening up one's mind" or allowing "new insights" is a result I lay mostly upon the fact that it functions both as a seratonin analogue and increases dopamine production significantly. Both of these lead to premature or unwarrented instigation of mental closure, which leads the patient to assume that since mental closure is reached, a conclusion is forthcoming. Since memories are filed according to the observers interpretation of events, the patient remembers such moments as possessing great clarity and insight, when infact the patient's biological structures for detecting clarity of thought and mental completion were merely being triggered inappropriately.
The negative side affects of LSD (other than inspiring irrational behavior and beliefs, bad-trip nightmares, self-mutilation, and dangerous behavior) lie in the fact that it functions both as a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor like many drugs, and is psychologically addictive. (I consider most addictions to be bad news, as they introduce irrational behavior, and includes a new factor in thinking that doesn't have real basis, other than desire for more)
This above discussion ignores the fact that most psychoactive substances are illegal in many countries, and the available streetdrugs are of uncertain composition, and often arbitrary dosage. The wisdom of ingesting completely unknown substances advertised as psychoactive drugs obtained from people who smuggle, steal, murder, and write incoherent poetry occasionally is a decision entirely seperate from the inherent toxicity of the supposed makeup of said drugs.
(replies and criticisms welcome)
"When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
- Buckminster Fuller
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