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Science

The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too 250

Posted by timothy
from the entire-mountain-covered-in-snow dept.
Phoghat writes "Research scientists have used many animal species in investigating mind-altering drugs, but it may come as a surprise to learn that animals in the wild — from starlings to reindeer — also make use of psychoactive substances of their own accord. It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness, and man may well have found his way to some of his favourite recreational drugs by observing the behaviour of animals."
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The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too

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  • Hypothetical Article (Score:2, Informative)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:15AM (#34668970)
    This article is Hypothetical and wouldnt be published in anything worth a damn because the scientific leg work has not been done.
    I also note the publisher of this non-assuming website "pjonline.com"...Pharmaceutical Press 2010.

    article is total crap and isnt worth being posted on slashdot.
  • by Announcer (816755) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:19AM (#34668980) Homepage

    In case the server gets Slashdotted, here's the Coral link:

    http://www.pjonline.com.nyud.net/christmas/pj2010_723 [nyud.net]

    Interesting article.

  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:25AM (#34668996) Homepage

    I quickly checked on that, in the legal section, it says:

    "PJ Publications is part of Pharmaceutical Press, the publishing division of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain."

    It seems credible. At first glance anyways... ;-)

  • by frank_carmody (1551463) <pedrogent.gmail@com> on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:32AM (#34669008)
    Have a listen to his 'Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge' (tape 4 from memory) for a very nice exposition of the Santa Claus/psychedelic reindeer juxtaposition (e.g. red & white Amanita mushrooms that live under Xmas trees, toy-making elves, Lappland, flying reindeer).
  • ... While the substances are an easy way to experience something a little different, it's also possible to achieve "altered states of consciousness" entirely without the chemicals.

    I don't have a copy of Stoned Free [google.com], but I like the premise:

    Now you can just say "No!" to drugs... and get high anyway! This book enumerates many drugless consciousness altering techniques, both timeless and recent in origin, that anyone can make use of. Meditation, breathing techniques, high-tech highs, sleep and dream manipulation, and numerous other methods are examined in detail. Avoid incarceration, save money, and skip the wear and tear on your body, while getting higher than a kite.

    I had to figure out how to relax my body (it was dysfunctional following a head injury), but even so I've had some neat experiences along the way: hypnagogic imagery, 360-degree vision, etc. If you've previously used substances (marijuana, LSD, etc) one can re-vivify those experiences with self-suggestion (self-hypnosis), or use descriptions of others to design your own trip.

    Tripping without substances generally begins with relaxing the physical body, relaxing the mind, then making suggestions to yourself.

    Binaural beats can help - Gnaural [sourceforge.net] is the open source tone generator. I had to do some other things to fully recover from said concussion, and I'm finally dreaming up a storm. :)

  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:52AM (#34669036)
    Many traditional stories about the discovery of coffee recount shepherds discovering its unusual properties after observing that their goats were unusually perky after munching a certain red berry, which turned out to contain coffee beans (which are technically seeds).

    I certainly think this and other stories of discovering analgesics, psychoactives, etc. by observing animals are quite plausible.
  • by tirefire (724526) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @04:18AM (#34669072)
    (emphasis mine)

    I can only imagine the teenager replying to the judge: "But your honor here a picture of a Reindeer seeking the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom".

    Funny you should choose the fly agaric mushroom for your example. Fly agaric is only a controlled substance (illegal to possess) in one U.S. state: Louisiana (source [erowid.org]). Elsewhere, you can munch on them as much as you want (note: most people find the effects very unpleasant).

    It is perhaps worth noting that although possessing/eating fly agarics is not illegal, it is a violation of FDA regulations to sell them for food or drug purposes.

  • Well derr! (Score:3, Informative)

    by damaged_sectors (1690438) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:50AM (#34669496)
    Drugs work because of, um, receptors. Given that most animals (not insects) have endocannabinoid receptors next we'll be surprised that animals like pot.

    Slow news week - and, where's the usual filler about how Santa visits all the chimneys?

  • by am 2k (217885) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @08:33AM (#34669616) Homepage

    Note that things can have different effects on animals. For example, try feeding heavily spiced meat to a dog (well, rather don't). Perfectly fine for a human, but something between a heavily messed up flat and death for the canine friend.

  • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @11:53AM (#34670238)

    You can't become addicted to most psychoactive drugs. If you take acid two days in a row, on the second day it will hardly affect you. You develop a short-term tolerance (that goes away in a couple of days). Not to mention it's not desirable to take it multiple days in a row. It's mentally stressful and the brain needs to recuperate.

    The only addictive psychoactive drug is PCP and no one does that anymore b/c no one becomes a steady user and lives long.

    What do you consider well-adjusted? Talking out your ass?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 26, 2010 @01:58PM (#34670746)

    It wasn't that somebody just decided "You know, we should just not have fun!", but there are reasons why these things are considered bad.

    Perhaps - but let's look at the reasons for some of them.

    Cocaine: "In 1914, Dr. Christopher Koch of Pennsylvania's State Pharmacy Board made the racial innuendo explicit, testifying that, “Most of the attacks upon the white women of the South are the direct result of a cocaine-crazed Negro brain." Mass media manufactured an epidemic of cocaine use among African Americans in the Southern United States to play upon racial prejudices of the era, though there is little evidence that such an epidemic actually took place."
    (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine#Prohibition)

    or in short, "OMG we need to stop the niggers!"

    Marijuana: A twofer on this one - both a way to criminalize a common recreational drug of the Mexican migrant population *and* a way to shut down a competitive process to William Randloph Hearst's pulp-paper business. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_history_of_cannabis_in_the_United_States)

    Opium: "There were no legal restrictions on the importation or use of opium in the United States until the San Francisco, California, Opium Den Ordinance, which banned dens for public smoking of opium in 1875, a measure fueled by anti-Chinese sentiment and the perception that whites were starting to frequent the dens. " (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium)

    In short: "OMG Chinese people are having fun, and might touch our white wimmins!"

    I don't think I even need to cite a source for the blatant hippie-punching involved in instantly transforming LSD from a psychological research chemical to a "dangerous drug" overnight (thanks Nixon).

    In short, essentially every modern "illegal drug" WAS LEGAL, until somebody (usually an uptight Christian, frequently with a double helping of racism) decided to make them illegal.

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