MXE, Maxine or Mexxy: Ketamine’s (Legal Not For Consumption) Younger Sister

8dJpCibMethoxetamine is a drug that started as a synthetic replacement for the popular recreational drug (Ketamine), but soon found a following all its own. When Ketamine became difficult to find, some peeps decided to buy still legal versions of it on the grey market. Lots of places online sell novel psychoactive substances, especially ones that haven’t been picked up or ingested by random users yet. In 2010 people started purchasing it as a cheaper alternative to the dodgy K that was going around at the time. It went from first described to formally identified by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs in 6 months. While it’s certainly not acid, the trips online of the intensity of the experience became legendary. People report intensely disassociative experiences, powerful psychedelic rides & huge problems moving and coordinating their limbs.  Continue reading

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Ayahuasca: Buckets, Diapers, Addiction & Trauma.

LfMvhgNThis Drug Fact Friday is one of the big champions of the jungle ones folks. This is a concoction of different chemicals that some of your more groovy/hippie friends may have mentioned at a party once or twice. Ayahuasca (sometimes called yagé) is a powerful psychedelic brew. The brew is created because the DMT containing plant needs a vine that has what’s known as an MAO inhibitor in it. If anyone ever tells you Ayahuasca is one thing, hit them. This concoction of a couple of plants allows the DMT to survive what’s known as first pass metabolism and reach your bloodstream. Traditionally, shamans may also add other plants to the mixture, but the DMT & the MAOI are the two primary ingredients. These brews are traditionally consumed during tribal music & shamanistic ritual. It’s not something that has a lot of festival/club use, as many people report severe nausea, vomiting & diarrhea while on it. If you thought you were going to puke when you took shrooms and went to see Ratatat that one time, this blows that out of the chunky water. Some of my friends in San Francisco & NYC have lovingly referred to it as a “bucket & diaper” drug, for this exact reason. And yes, the purging properties the drug has are referred to as “la purga” (guess what that translates to) in shamanic tradition, so get with it.10628587_10205166622379969_5351340714662551154_nNow that I’ve sufficiently grossed out all the kids, let’s talk about how & why people take this stuff. “Ayahuasca” is a non-indigenous spelling, as the natives of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru & Columbia may prefer ayawaska, and the cultural differences between taking it in the jungle & taking it in a loft in Brooklyn are as striking. Like all other psychedelic experiences, set, setting, goal, community & purpose can mean the difference between a transcendent journey or a nightmarish stumble. The ceremony associated with Ayahuasca helps align people to their goals and can have a tremendously therapeutic, possibly life-changing effect. The plants making the brew, importantly, are not illegal. The chemical, DMT, within the plant is illegal, but the plants from which the DMT is obtained are not scheduled. There are plenty of super positive experiences listed within the Erowid vaults but I’m not going to bore people with “I got so high I saw the galaxy” stories. It’s a much more sophisticated experience, as the research diagram below shows. Even the purging aspect of the drug has a purpose. It was administered traditionally at non-psychoactive doses to vacate parasites & worms from a digestive tract.AyahuascaThere’s been a continuing problem of recreational users doing powerful psychedelics in contexts that don’t require them, or in places where their use is very risky. Whether it’s taking the brew without knowing its potency, doing so because some cute girl is doing it, or even because you’re using it to escape from your life, there are plenty of risks involved with using Aya improperly. The most important is possibly an exacerbation of pre-existing heart conditions. With these hugely potent psychedelic experiences, significant increases in blood pressure & pulse rates have been reported. To stress, no one has died from Ayahuasca per se. The deaths associated with the brew may be due to complications because of medication regimens & the addition of problematic plants & other additives to it.  This VERY tongue in cheek video (oh my God, please don’t yell at me, plant teachers are important, I agree and there are a ton more serious videos on Aya here.) shows a lot of the dark sides of people calling themselves shamans & abusing powerful psychedelics without proper context or motivation. There have been reports of “shamans” exploiting drug tourists, there have been people who died because they didn’t disclose all of the prescriptions they’re taking during their consultations with the shaman.Burns TrippySo, I think it’s important to keep that in mind that what is known about the chemicals clinically is fundamentally different than what is experienced by the ingestion of the brew in a particular place & time. And it can help people in really tangible ways. Ayahuasca has been shown to fight addiction and has a growing following when it comes to its use in processing trauma.   A veteran by the name of Ryan LeCompte took a squad of veterans down to the jungle to have a real ceremony, with a real shaman, and work on some real problems. Not “my apartment doesn’t get enough southern light & my boyfriend can’t commit” level problems. Real veterans, who saw some shit, people who have dealt with things that would make the average basic cry. Lisa Ling from CNN went down to the jungle with them and saw what real healing, post-OIF/OEF looks like. There’s a lot of disputation about whether psychedelics can heal in the academic/ivory tower community. Among Ryan’s comrades in arms, I don’t think that’s an argument they’re having anymore. There is a real potential to help people using this brew, and there are wise people who will watch over you when you do it. If you can find them. This drug is hugely contentious for precisely this reason, so join ravelrie, NY DanceSafe Stay Safe Seattle & I at 4:30pm EST/1:30pm PST for #ayaFF on Twitter to learn more & join in the conversation about it. 

Gravel, Flakka, or Alpha-PVP. Designer Drugs in a Post-Bath Salts World.

tumblr_n4yoxn48IO1rtpfpio1_400alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone (Alpha-PVP for the rest of us) is a stimulant and also one of the first 2nd generation bath salts. Take a minute to understand what that signifies. We’re creating new psychedelic substances (NPS) so fast that we’re getting refinements on substances that haven’t been popular for 5 years. The original bath salt MDPV developed a reputation for turning people into those face-eating zombies from 28 Days Later, so people started looking for something that had all the energy, but a little less cannibalism. They found Alpha-PVP. Unfortunately for at least a couple of people so far, it killed them. If this drug sounds familiar at all, it’s because the kid who died at Ultra last year took it. The drug can be smoked, snorted, left under your tongue to absorb, vaporized, added to joints & injected. There are terrifying side-effects including seizures, paranoia, PCP-style hulk outs & death by heart attack. In animal tests, the drug created similar activity to straight amphetamines when it came to how stimulated the rats were. But the weird, messed up part is that, at high doses, the rats displayed erratic, hyperactive & bizarre behavior. Which lines up with the stories we’ve seen about violent behavior & crazy cardiovascular distress. Additionally, reports of Gravel, or Alpha-PVP+ stuff have come in. This is a serious escalation that we all need to be aware of. Sometimes Alpha-PVP is mixed with methamphetamines or Klonopin. The idea that you’d be taking a drug that produces, and I quote “impressive degrees of paranoia” mixed with meth? No wonder these people are going on rampages & breaking crap with drug strength. Because this entire spectrum of aPVP containing options exist as “not for human consumption” bath salts, you can get it anywhere in the USA, UK & Australia. Another example of the lengths people will go to get high/stay productive in an ever changing world. If you look at the trip reports on Erowid (linked above), you’ll see a consistent feature, common to most American stimulant usage. It’s done for the sake of productivity, not to get “fucked up.” People are working harder & longer, doing less fulfilling stuff, so they’re frequently turning to prescription or over the counter stims. If I can’t get adderall & I feel like I need something, and my friend tells me about this shit that works great and I can buy at a gas station? I’m in. And that’s how we got here. Not only is the drug war making more dangerous drugs propagate because people can’t buy the things they actually want, it’s creating these drugs faster than ever before. CaptureI need to stress one last point that was gotten to me by the NY DanceSafe chapter leader. Currently, we can’t test for this stuff. Even though the test kits that you can get from DanceSafe & other places do test for cathinones (the family/class of drugs “bath salts” is in), Alpha-PVP doesn’t react to the test. This is super important information to get out to your people, especially because of the wacky side-effects aPVP has. To learn more, join me, Ravelrie, NY DanceSafe & Stay Safe Seattle at 4:30 EST, 1:30 PST on Twitter using #alphapvp!