Inner Space



Consumer guide to drugs

Because most psychedelic drugs are illegal, reliable consumer information about them is rare. For many years I have been looking for a comparative survey of available “head drugs” that would truthfully and simply provide basic info on each. What is it? What effects does it have when you take it? What’s a typical dose? What is the trip like? What are the dangers, risks and side effects? I looked everywhere for this kind of information, but with no success. Most people get their info from friends of friends, and it is usually unreliable. I finally found what I was looking for in a small book published by a non-profit drug treatment and advocacy center in the UK. The thin cartoonishly illustrated booklet is aimed at young people who use drugs and it is simply stating the facts: Here’s what the drug is, why people use it, and what the effects and downsides of using it are. In addition to the highs, the book realistically addresses the “costs” of use, overuse, and abuse. (Note: their discussion of the legal status is UK-based.)

This is the best consumer guide to mind-bending drugs I’ve seen. If you know of a better one, please comment. Don’t just say No. Say Know.

-- KK 06/2/13




"I've had 200 trips and every one's been a bummer but I ain't giving up yet"
Cartoon character 'Dopin Dan' by Ted Richards





Other common effects [of Ketamine] include out-of-the-body (astral projection), near-death (floating down a tunnel toward light, etc.), and time-travel experiences. Like DMT, ketamine can also produce total hallucinations - though unlike DMT, it may also cause true hallucinations. Some devotees believe ketamine puts them in touch with alternative 'meta-realities', cyberspace communication systems, and intelligent disembodied entities (e.g. the 'machine elves'). However, of three famous ketamine advocates, two died while on the drug, and one (to use a technical term) went a bit bonkers.


Nitrous Oxide

Main effects:
After inhaling one or two canisters, effects last a minute or two; though inhaling a nitrous/air mix through a mask produces constant effects until the supply is cut. Hallmark effects include a silly deep voice (the opposite of helium), hilarity (burst of laughter), the 'eureka experience' (the feeling that you are having a brilliant idea when you are not), and a pulsating, echoey state of mind. When used with other mind-benders, it briefly magnifies their effects.

Main risks:
If inhaled direct from the canister, it's so cold that it could seriously damage the throat and lungs (like butane). Death from asphyxiation will occur if the gas is inhaled continuously with no air breathed. A safe location is also needed on laughing gas (e.g. on sofa or floor) -- in case you pass out or fall over. If someone has had too much, in addition to appearing unconscious or unresponsive, their lips and maybe face will look blueish. Clearly, it's best not to smoke or hold drinks or anything sharp when inhaling laughing gas. Regular use can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.