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Biotech Medicine

Cosmetic Neurology 369

Posted by kdawson
from the we-have-a-pill-for-that dept.
The New Yorker has a long piece examining the growing trend of healthy people, not diagnosed with any mental condition, taking drugs that enhance mental functioning, including Adderall and Provigil. The profiles include a Harvard student, a professional poker player, a number of brain researchers, and a self-described transhumanist. "Zack [Lynch]... has a book being published this summer, called 'The Neuro Revolution'... In coming years, he said, scientists will understand the brain better, and we'll have improved neuroenhancers that some people will use therapeutically, others because they are 'on the borderline of needing them therapeutically,' and others purely 'for competitive advantage.' ... Even if today's smart drugs aren't as powerful as such drugs may someday be, there are plenty of questions that need to be asked about them. How much do they actually help? Are they potentially harmful or addictive? Then, there's the question of what we mean by 'smarter.' Could enhancing one kind of thinking exact a toll on others? All these questions need proper scientific answers, but for now much of the discussion is taking place furtively, among the increasing number of Americans who are performing daily experiments on their own brains. ... [A cognitive researcher said,] 'Cognitive psychologists have found that there is a trade-off between attentional focus and creativity. And there is some evidence that suggests that individuals who are better able to focus on one thing and filter out distractions tend to be less creative. ... I'm a little concerned that we could be raising a generation of very focused accountants.'"
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Cosmetic Neurology

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  • Less Creative? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:20PM (#27723791)
    Bah, I say! I am no more or less creative when I take my prescribed adderall, only more able to apt to finish the task at hand before wondering off into a new creation or idea.
  • Used in college (Score:5, Interesting)

    by usul294 (1163169) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:26PM (#27723841)
    I just finished up undergraduate classes as an electrical engineer, and I would say the majority of people in my department used Adderall to help them study longer. Those people all ended up with better GPA's for it. It's almost the same question with sports and steroids, if I had used that kind of drug to increase my studying capacity, I probably could have gotten enough of an extra boost to enter "free Ph.D." territory.
  • Re:For years... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichardJenkins (1362463) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:27PM (#27723843)

    And alcohol, and caffeine, and all sorts of prescription drugs with adverse side effects.

    Society doesn't seem to think drugs need to be banned or even disapproved of just because they can have (extremely) undesirable side effects.

    If a nootropic came to exist that made you a whole bunch smarter, and a whole bunch less creative with no other obvious side effects - I think you can kiss creativity goodbye.

  • by Sybert42 (1309493) * on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:31PM (#27723867) Journal

    In the march to the Singularity, we don't need history majors writing papers or Baseball players hitting homeruns. We need science. A neuroscientist taking a cognitive-enhancing drug is a direct example of recursive, exponential growth to the Singularity. Keep it coming.

  • Focus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:36PM (#27723905) Journal

    >I'm a little concerned that we could be raising a generation of very focused accountants.

    Very focused accountants isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    I've taken some of these drugs myself - medical necessity. Couldn't focus on tasks worth a damn. Slept through high school, slept through college. I'd fall asleep at work, fall asleep while driving. Right now I've got a regimen that's working pretty good. If it were really good I would be doing something useful rather than goofing off on Slashdot, but the brain's working well enough that I tend to get my work done, just slower than I should be.

    I feel like I'm performing the best I ever have. More ambitious about taking on projects, doing new things. I don't think I'm less creative for it, unless by creative they mean the dream-like half-conscious state I was in for twenty years.

    But I've been doing all this by the book, under medical supervision. I don't think I'd be taking this stuff illegally for competitive reasons, like athletes do steroids - not sure if that makes me righteous or stupid.

    The general idea of amping up brains seems like a positive to me, but I wouldn't be the guinea pig if I didn't have medical need.

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@ g m a i l . com> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:40PM (#27723939) Homepage Journal

    What about those of us that are already "focused accountants" what do we get out of this "Neuro Revolution"?

    I'd recommend another relatively well known substance that never seems to get enough credit these days - LSD. It's great for creativity and getting yourself out of "single directional thinking". It definitely helped my programming anyway... gave me a chance to reconsider some ideas I'd held as being "true" and instead come up with new ways of doing things. Some worse, but some better. Discard the worse ones, keep the better ones and it's a plus in the end.

    Note: I wouldn't recommend it too regularly, but up to 12 times a year (once a month) is generally fine.

    Second note: if you consider yourself the kind of person who can't control his/her own thoughts very well, then start with VERY low doses until you're comfortable with it and then increase slowly - a bad trip can be managed if you're strong willed AND know what to expect/look for, but if not, it gets nasty.

  • Re:Used in college (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:59PM (#27724067)

    Why do you expect there to be any difference?

  • Re:Used in college (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2009 @05:59PM (#27724075)
    I know the feeling. I went to university with people who were on that same drug. I wasn't taking ANY drugs, but I knew I had some sort of studying-related problem. Now I find out I had undiagnosed OCD/ADHD (a common pairing, as I understand) the entire time. So I know why I got sucky grades compared to all the people I lived with, even though they all thought of me as "gifted."

    Looking back, on the one hand I want to go back to school and see how I would do on all my new wonder drugs; on the other hand, I am really grateful for that experience and the humility that it taught me. I was able to work around my condition even though I didn't know anything was "wrong," and I learned a lot from all the F's, D's, and C's I got, eventually raising my GPA to just under a 3.5.
  • by Twinbee (767046) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:04PM (#27724117) Homepage

    While I am not against the use of such drugs because of safety reasons per se, to me, it feels like we're cheating evolution. Perhaps evolution could come up with many of these modifications (intelligence/less drowsiness) naturally.

    Heck, it's only a theory, and would be impossible to enforce in reality, but if nobody say... showered, shaved or brushed their teeth, I bet evolution would eventually bias towards those who were naturally less smelly, or clean-shaven looking. Thus saving everyone half an hour per day or whatever in the future.

  • Re:Less Creative? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:08PM (#27724149)
    Not to be insulting, but these are not magic pills that make you do what you are supposed to. You still have to want to do what you have to do, even if you don't like it; there's a difference between lack of concentration and simple apathy. Both may lead you to distraction, but only one of them is really treated by the medication. You must overcome the apathy yourself.

    ...Oh OK, so there is something to be said of the side effects; some people do experience a sort of 'high' while on doses above what they realy need, which may pulverize any apathy and genuinely lead them to doing (even enjoying) tasks they would not normally. But this is really quite far off from my original assertion that the idea these drugs stunt creativity is untrue.
  • Re:Used in college (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inviolet (797804) <slashdot@ERDOSid ... g minus math_god> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:12PM (#27724171) Journal

    I just finished up undergraduate classes as an electrical engineer, and I would say the majority of people in my department used Adderall to help them study longer. Those people all ended up with better GPA's for it. It's almost the same question with sports and steroids, if I had used that kind of drug to increase my studying capacity, I probably could have gotten enough of an extra boost to enter "free Ph.D." territory.

    I prefer the term "brain management". It's asinine to assume (as John Q. Public does assume) that everyone's bran operates in the approved western modern 40-hour-work-week manner. Those whose brains do not -- be they ornery, overly type A, sociopathic, a bully, depressed, whatever -- can have a better life if they can make some adjustments. The only question is, what are the risk tradeoffs for the current crop of brain-adjustment drugs?

    There is going to be a lot of embarrassing public hue and cry about this, coming from those who luckily do not need any such adjustments.

    I once worked for a guy for three years and was always mystified by his occasional "asshole" days, in which he was an insufferable type-A jerk. Years later I bumped into him in another city, and he apologized, explaining that those bad days were the ones when he'd run out of grass. inviolet was enlightened.

  • by wjwlsn (94460) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:15PM (#27724193) Journal

    Many people are taking smart drugs now -- solely for advantage, without prescribed a medical need -- but in most fields, I don't think it's to the point that *not* taking them is a disadvantage, yet. I admit to a certain amount of interest in nootropic drugs, especially those that could help me hyperfocus. However, I've limited myself to vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, with a primary goal of maintaining long-term brain health.

    I've seen too many retirees and seniors slide away into fuzziness, dementia, or worse. On the other hand, I've seen a few that remained sharp as tacks into their 80s and 90s. There are some pretty clear differences between the lifestyles of these two groups. I've tried to learn something from those differences.

    I'm turning 40 this year, which is about when most people say they start to feel age-related decline. I want a healthy, well-functioning brain for now and the future. So, I pay a lot more attention to my nutrition than I used to, have started a regular exercise program, and engage in a few different "brain training" activities on a regular basis. I actually feel many benefits now -- I feel better, I'm happier, and my mind seems a little sharper.

    In addition to the above, I take a prepared "stack" that includes a variety of nutrients and compounds for both mild cognitive enhancement and neuroprotection. I did a lot of research before I picked AOR's Ortho-Mind, which seems pretty well-balanced and reasonably priced. I also take an Omega-3 supplement daily, along with a good multi-vitamin and a "green" drink with a lot of antioxidants and phytonutrients. My monthly investment, dollar-wise, is less than $100. I have friends that spend that amount each month on coffee.

    The big thing here is to be careful in what you choose to take. I chose to focus first on overall brain health, and I'm happy with results so far. Only then did I start adding some mild cognitive enhancers, but even then, I made sure my chosen stack included agents specifically chosen for their neuroprotective properties. If I ever become convinced that any of the various smart drugs make sense from that perspective, then maybe I'll change my strategy... but right now, I think a little conservatism is a good thing.

  • Re:Used in college (Score:3, Interesting)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:20PM (#27724235) Homepage
    I see what you're getting at; you don't want to admit that there is actually a lasting advantage to using a drug to help learn.

    No. As I explained to another poster, I wanted to know if the advantage were long-term or short. And, as I've been out of school for longer than the average slashdotter's been alive, it's only a case of satisfying my curiosity.

  • Re:Used in college (Score:2, Interesting)

    by madsci1016 (1111233) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:24PM (#27724273) Homepage

    I just finished up undergraduate classes as an electrical engineer, and I would say the majority of people in my department used Adderall to help them study longer. Those people all ended up with better GPA's for it.

    Any chance you go to a Florida school? Because as soon as i saw this article, i was going to post exactly what you said.

    I can count at least half of my BSEE graduating class that used Adderall for every test, and they always got better grades because of it.

    I'm not going to argue it won't hurt them down the road, but guess what, their drug inflated GPAs are getting them jobs now in this bad economy while the honest are struggling. How is this not a form of cheating?

  • Re:Used in college (Score:3, Interesting)

    by madsci1016 (1111233) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:30PM (#27724317) Homepage

    I wanted to know if the advantage were long-term or short. And, as I've been out of school for longer than the average slashdotter's been alive, it's only a case of satisfying my curiosity.

    I'm not sure about the long term, but i have witnessed first hand the same person studying with and without Adderall and the difference is scary. When on Adderall knowledge retention becomes increased ten fold and immunity to distractions becomes perfect. It reminds me of movies where you see super geniuses recite any line from a book read in the past.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:38PM (#27724407) Homepage
    That's an interesting point that tends to be glossed over ... Provigyl is Category III but the amphetamine derivatives are Category II. One doesn't prescribe these drugs like candy^HProzac. Who the hell is doing this?

    This is a separate argument from whether or not it's a good idea, but from the physician's point of view, it's pretty dangerous to routinely prescribe these for boderline to non existent conditions.
  • by billsf (34378) <> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:55PM (#27724539) Homepage Journal

    How can such a helpful class of drugs be so demonised? Pilots, mostly military -- presumably -- have often said it was what got them and their plane home alive. Clearly there is a downside,
    but 15mG of a racemic mix is a very small dose of amphetamine. Its a very common 'programing fluid' which can be borne out by studying some code. No names mentioned, but there are those that smoke pot, drink coffee/Jolt and those that do amphetamines and amphetamine-like drugs or even beer. :)

    If I was stoned, I might have to get stoned to understand what I did, same for 'drunk', wired or jacked up on caffein or any combination. MODERATION is key -- always. I never used stimulants,
    alcohol or pot in university. (college was the reward for not using)

    What's the big deal? I guess its 'still shocking' to the New Yorker types, but used properly, drugs get the job done. Personally I can't type stoned, but I can make written notes. LSD is
    certainly not very smart, but it can in rare moments provide access to 'hidden insights'. Only once did I get a good piece written while tripping that impressed many when published in the
    S.F. Chronicle.

    Finally drugs are best on the short term. Take speed (meth) to kick out those lines of code and meet a deadline. Maybe a week of use is about all its good for? As another reader said: "What's new" and I agree. Smoke a joint to relax when done. :) If you are leaving the wrong impression on
    others: Moderation! Be cool.


  • Re:Less Creative? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday April 26, 2009 @06:59PM (#27724571)

    Not to be insulting, but these are not magic pills that make you do what you are supposed to. You still have to want to do what you have to do, even if you don't like it; there's a difference between lack of concentration and simple apathy.

    In my experience, that's the case with amphetamines (Adderall/Vyvanse). Wellbutrin, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have any effect at all at the time, but later I can see retrospectively that I chose and completed the important tasks more efficiently when I was using it. In other words, amphetamines don't help with apathy, but Wellbutrin actually does (at least for me).

  • breakfast shake (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wheat (20250) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @07:59PM (#27724899) Homepage Journal

    From the article, "For breakfast every morning, he concocted a slurry of oatmeal, berries, soy milk, pomegranate juice, flaxseed, almond meal, raw eggs, and protein powder. The goal behind the recipe was efficiency: to rely on âoeone goop you could eat or drink that would have everything you need nutritionally for your brain and body.â He explained, âoeTaste was the last thing on my mind; I wanted to be able to keep it downâ"that was it.â"

    I started having a nutritionally complete shake for breakfast every morning - and it rocks! But I wouldn't describe it's taste as something that I have trouble keeping down - instead it's very yummy. The recipe I usually use was designed by nutritionist Sam Graci and is:

      * 1 cup of berries (blueberries, blackberries)

      * 2 scoops of high alpha whey protein

      * 1 tbsp high-quality fish oil

      * 1/2 tsp borage oil

      * 2 tbsps flax seeds and 2 tbsps sesame seeds, ground in a coffee grinder

      * 4-6 tbsps plain low-fat organic yogurt

      * 1 cup rice milk or soy milk

    That's the basic recipe, but there are lots of other ingredients you can use to mix it up: hemp protein powder, other fruits (banana, strawberry, kiwi), acai and goji juice, raw eggs.

    The basic idea of the breakfast shake is that your bodies metabolism has started to slow down since you haven't eaten since yesterday evening ... you want to have a nice balance of carbs, protein and fat to get your metabolism back in the game. Nutritionally you also want to have lots of omega 3 fatty acids (flax and fish oil) which promotes healthy brain cells and also foods with high anti-oxidant properties to promote healthy blood (berries). Finally the probiotics in the yogurt promote healthy digestion.

    Combine the breakfast shake with a daily green drink and a healthy diet of lots of veggies and fruits, and you will notice a marked improvement in overall energy and mental functioning -- I estimated that I could crank out 25% more lines of code after a couple months, and overall my code was of markedly better quality. Plus since your overall mood is better I was about 25% less acerbic in conversations with my co-workers :P

  • by Wheat (20250) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:16PM (#27725011) Homepage Journal

    The toothbrush has only been in widespread use for the last few hundered years, so evolution has already had it's chance to do what it could with humans who didn't brush.

    You can't "evolve" past the basic fact that your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, and that as that bacteria piles up and dies it's going to create unsightly, disgusting plaque. Well, maybe if humans grew stainless steel teeth -- but that'd be quite the stretch in evolution, since we'd need some kind of organ to act as a smelting and refining and we'd need to digest lots of raw ore ...

    Humans have done quite well without the toothbrush in terms of dentistry. Weston Price's work well documented that primitive people's had very low incidences of tooth decay and other dental problems when subsiting on a native diet, and how members of those same cultures who had transitioned to a western diet had much, much higher incidences of tooth decay.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2009 @08:56PM (#27725261)

    Please supply any reference to substantiate this claim.

    You've never been to a mental hospital, have you?

  • Re:Less Creative? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @09:05PM (#27725301)

    I took adderall for a while. It was a lifesafer (no, actually it helped me keep focus while I was working on some flight safety critical items).

    The point of it for me was that I would feel an incredible draw to do something else. I always had to switch to a new task, I'd do 10%, 10%, 10%, 10%, 10% of five different tasks. Always switching from one to another. For me, it was a partial combination of a very low dose of aderall, and some practice at organization. (I literally keep my desk empty of everything but keyboard, mouse and monitor) A very limited notebook (I restrict what I write in there to very specific things like Task, Deadline)

    I quite literally couldn't do my job, at least, not as well as I knew I could do my job. It helped me move from "basic employee" to getting 10% merit raises each year.

    It even helped me cut down on the time I actually spent at work, with the new organization and an ability to stick on a task, I worked fewer hours and got a lot more done.

    I've been off it for 6 months to see if it, or the organization was the result, and I do find myself task hopping too often again.

  • by melted (227442) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @09:35PM (#27725461) Homepage

    What I do need is better memory, because the way it is right now, it's pretty much bursting at the seams. I want it to be like it was when I was in my teens. I could read three pages of text once and then recite them pretty much word for word. I felt like I could keep information in my head indefinitely. Complex words (e.g. DNA, NADF, etc.), formulas, numbers, War & Peace - it was all effortless.

    A little less than two decades later, I don't remember what I ate in the morning. I would gladly pay 5-10% of my substantial income every year (I hope someone from Big Pharma is reading this) to get my memory back.

  • Mea Culpa (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 26, 2009 @09:51PM (#27725557)

    I'm a 48 year old tenured mathematician. I've been taking methylphenidate for about 10 years. In the late 90s my productivity slumped dramatically. I talked to one of my peers (a very very well known logician who is now in his 70s) and he suggested this course to me. My physician had no problem with it, I get an ECG and bloodwork done annually to make sure i'm not having any cardiovascular problems.

    After taking the medication, my work, energy, quality of sleep, quality of life really, improved dramatically. The reality is 1) it works 2) the benefits(for me at least) outway the costs. 3) Moderation and responsibility are the key. It is pharmaceutical speed and is habit forming. 4) The moral hazard debate is silly unless you like the idea of living in a nanny state. I'm extremely well informed and am making a decision that affects no one but myself.

  • by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe AT jwsmythe DOT com> on Sunday April 26, 2009 @11:07PM (#27725953) Homepage Journal

    > Acid is not a toy. As a "bathtub" drug there is no consistency of dosage or quality.

        You've just posted the most reasonable reason for legalizing recreational drugs that I've ever heard. No, you're not the first one to say it, but it's a very valid argument.

        Street drugs may be recreational, but you don't know the dosage that you're buying. If it were legalized, and sold in stores at reasonable prices, blackmarket vendors would be out of business. You'd know if you're taking 50ug (nominal recreational dose) or 400ug (high dosage). If you just purchased what you thought was a light dosage of say 25ug (will induce light hallucinations), but were looking for a "heavier" trip, you could take a dozen hits. I've never heard of anyone doing it intentionally, but you could. If they were actually 400ug, you're already 25% of the way to a lethal dose (12,000ug).

        And for the reference minded, look here [].

        I've read many studies on the long term effects. In the 60's, they believed the drug caused long term side effects, such as flashbacks. Now, the "flash backs" are more like a PTSD moment, where traumatic memories are recalled in a fully believable and current fashion.

        PTSD exists. I have flashbacks from a particularly traumatic event. I don't take LSD, so you can't blame that. :) I know people with severe PTSD, usually from military service.

        Voluntarily creating moments in your head that could be traumatic (i.e., bad acid trip) are a bad thing. Then again, drinking heavily and doing something bad could be just as traumatic. DUI involving fatality can be bad for your psyche. It could be just as traumatic for the non-DUI driver. At least alcohol has a measured and rated influence (alcohol proof). People don't necessarily follow guidelines, but then again, at least they have guidelines.

  • by wjwlsn (94460) on Sunday April 26, 2009 @11:26PM (#27726041) Journal

    I've limited myself to vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, with a primary goal of maintaining long-term brain health.

    Good to know you're restricting yourself to untested and largely un-quality controlled drugs.

    The pharmaceutical route has its own drawbacks, and some notable failures, despite testing and quality control. This page on Wikipedia lists a number of them:

    I do understand your point. However, note that I said I did research. I found many apparently well-designed, double-blind, and peer-reviewed studies on vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts. I just had to look for them. Then I went and looked for companies that appeared to have qualified medical and research staff preparing their formulations, and that had apparent quality control programs. Then I checked around for any "bad news" about the companies and their formulations.

    I am not one of those people that automatically equates "natural" to "good" and "man-made" to "bad". There is one thing to keep in mind, though: herbal products often have a much longer history of use than recently developed man-made drugs. There might not have been much hard science driving their use, but some of the herbal compounds have anecdotal evidence of safety and efficacy going back hundreds (or even thousands) of years. That can't be said for any of the pharmaceuticals. Many of the herbals have undergone significant scientific testing precisely because of their long histories (ginkgo comes to mind). Sometimes, the science shows an herbal remedy to be useless... but the converse also sometimes true. Some of the herbals even form the basis for the development of new pharmaceutical treatments.

    In the end, what I'm restricting myself from is very powerful compounds that haven't been around that long and don't have long histories of safe human use. I'm also avoiding herbal extracts that have either been shown to be worthless or to have significant adverse side-effects. The result is that I'm probably not using the most powerful agents available to meet my purpose... but I still get some benefits while avoiding potentially significant side effects.

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@ g m a i l . com> on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:57AM (#27726489) Homepage Journal

    Acid is not a toy.
    If any brand of crazy or a high degree of creativity runs in your family, you are well advised to avoid recreational usage of lysergic acid, mescaline, psylocybin, MDMA, and all other psychotropic/psychoactive substances.

    Absolutely correct, which is why I didn't recommend it as a "way to have some fun" - I recommended it as a way to cure being a "focused accountant" type.

    The music industry is littered with high-profile examples of people who ended up with permanently damaged psyches;

    Citation needed. While I won't deny that there are people that have taken LSD that have gone off the deep end, can you really say it was the LSD that caused it and not other factors in their lifestyles (including a combination of stress and not being entirely mentally stable to begin with)? You've listed 3 examples of such people, but it wouldn't be hard to come up with a much longer list of musicians that HAVE taken it a lot and were/are absolutely fine (the Beatles spring to mind, but there are many other examples also)

    Under the influence of repeated dosages, Kurt developed the idea that his mother was a robot and gutted her with a kitchen knife.

    I have a VERY hard time believing this was caused by LSD - only severe mental instability could lead someone to do something like that (quite possibly exacerbated by LSD, but not caused by it... as I already said in my original post, if you're not the kind of person who can control his/her thoughts so well, be damn careful). Under even very large dosages, I've always been able to say to myself - "hey wow, that's cool, but I know it isn't real". Also, "believing ones mother to be a robot" just doesn't sound like an LSD experience to me. The "weirdest" I've had was noticing that some houses looked rather like faces, assigning genders and emotional states to them based on characteristics of the houses, and then pretending to have a conversation with them. This was under a very large dose and at no time did I believe the houses actually were alive or capable of conversation. Note that this isn't just my own experience either, but also my experience with others - I often introduce people to the substance, and have taken it with a very large number of different people, none of whom have ever had the slightest problem from it beyond some (rare) scary bad trips.

    There are tens of thousands of people in mental hospitals because of the permanent psychological damage it can cause in certain individuals, most notably those who already walk the fine line between creative genius and insanity.

    While another replier already pointed out that a citation really is needed for this (as in, "I don't believe you either"), again you're missing that I was absolutely NOT targeting "those who already walk the fine line between creative genius and insanity" - my post was quite clearly targeted at those who lack creativity (the "focused accountant" types).

  • Re:For years... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Monday April 27, 2009 @01:12AM (#27726541)

    Except thats a myth: []

    Of course in reality all alcohol does is lower your inhibitions. The other person isn't more attractive, you it just lowers your standards.

  • Re:For years... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Monday April 27, 2009 @02:32AM (#27726895) Journal

    Society doesn't seem to think drugs need to be banned or even disapproved of just because they can have (extremely) undesirable side effects.

    Except that it bans fairly benign drugs while authorizing the dangerous alcohol and the uninteresting dependency-hazard that is nicotine. I'd like some coherence here. According to a Lancet study [], LSD, amphetamines, ecstasy or cannabis are all less dangerous than alcohol both in terms of dependence and side effects. Drugs is not just a think that is to be abused, they also have a lot of positive uses regarding creativity, sociability and conscious mood-alteration or introspection. I wish there was a permit to pass in order to take drugs (including the most dangerous ones like alcohol and tobacco) where I would get informed about risks, symptoms, what to do and not to do under some influences, bad mixes, etc... so that people could responsibly take drugs without being a danger to the society and without having to fund criminal organization for buying some.

  • Re:For years... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jonadab (583620) on Monday April 27, 2009 @12:03PM (#27731359) Homepage Journal
    > a still takes more room than a small cannabis plantation (It is an appartment plant in a pot!)

    A still takes a bit more room, yeah, but plain old fermentation takes very little room indeed.

    And if by a "small cannabis plantation" you mean enough marijuana for one person to have an occasional joint, then sure, you can grow that much in a closet (hence my caveat about imperfect enforcement). But if you want to produce enough for distribution on any significant scale (which is the real goal of the law), it takes a bit more space, and tobacco even moreso, partly because of the difference in concentration of the drug within the plant, but mostly because of the difference in addictiveness. People who smoke tobacco need a hit every couple of hours. People who smoke weed routinely go an entire *day* without a joint. A tobacco smoker would be crawling out of his skin and driving everyone around him right up a wall after that amount of time. You can't keep even *one* smoker supplied with nicotine out of a closet, let alone produce enough to distribute to any meaningful number of addicts.

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin