Monday, December 16, 2013


With the recent news that a variety of legal high products featuring 4-chloroamphetamine (pCA) as an active ingredient have appeared on the gray market I thought I'd post an excerpt from my Harper's article published earlier this year that describes the experimental use of pCA as an antidepressant:
One of the most frightening things about the human brain is how poorly it gauges its own functioning. Things quickly become complicated when you attempt to measure the performance of an instrument with the instrument performing the measurement. In 1969 a Dutch psychiatrist named Herman M. van Praag conducted a series of experiments on depressed patients with 4-chloroamphetamine, a new drug that possessed a significant therapeutic effect and was tolerated excellently; not a single patient complained of side effects. Though Praag discontinued his work in the mid- ’70s, 4-chloroamphetamine is still used widely today, not as an antidepressant but as a neurotoxin for selective depletion and destruction of serotonergic neurons in experimental animals. The point being that humans cannot necessarily feel neurological changes. Many disorders of the brain are accompanied by a commensurate inability to perceive the disorder. The later stages of Alzheimer’s, for example, are characterized by memory loss so severe that the deficits are forgotten.
A more intuitive example of this phenomenon is encountered in the peripheral nervous system where superficial first and second degree burns are extremely painful but deep third and forth degree burns can be relatively painless due to complete destruction of sensory receptors in the skin, just because there is no sensation doesn't mean there hasn't been damage done. I wanted to post all this in response to a number of claims that pCA's lack of acute adverse effects could be interpreted as an indicator that it lacks toxicity.

Chemically pCA is highly optimized for depleting serotonin stores and virtually all structural modifications such as N-methylation, N-hydroxylation, β-hydroxylation, ketoximidation*, or 3,4-dichlorination decrease its toxicity. It also possesses a much higher toxicity than pIA or pFA, with only pBA exhibiting comparable potency. The mechanism of pCA's toxicity is still unclear and after reviewing the literature the only thing that can be said with certainty is that it's SERT dependent and blocked by SERT inhibitors. 

I've been reading a lot of the discussion posted on Reddit, Bluelight, and other forums and it seems the harm reduction community succeeded in preventing the sale of pCA containing products as they have recently been removed from the vendor's website. If the tablets were actually pressed then I wouldn't rule out the possibility that the vendor simply responded to the outcry by removing the offending items and reintroducing them under a different name so I would treat any of their offerings with extreme caution. If anyone did purchase the pCA containing tablets please email me as I would very much like to confirm that this material was actually being sold.

*Presumably the nounal form of ketoxime 

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Despite having been in gray-market use for almost twenty years, MK-801 is arguably the least common RC dissociative. It is so rare that I am not entirely sure how many of the reports on its qualitative effects (which are less than ten in number) are from users ingesting material diverted from legitimate bioscience suppliers or laboratories (in which context it's common) relative to those acquiring the material from gray-market RC sources. Accounting for MK-801's extreme scarcity are a non-trivial four-step synthesis from an unusual precursor (5-dibenzosuberenone), its association with at least one fatal poisoning, its implication in the formation of Olney's lesions (which, I am aware, have never been observed in humans), and its general conception as a non-euphoric, Jacob's Ladder-ish amnesiogen. But recently Erowid published an extraordinarily detailed MK-801 experience report that presents what I feel is the most illuminating description of the drug's qualitative effects written thus far. The report (titled The Most Beautiful Lobotomy I Ever Had and written by a user named viscosity) incorporates some objective measurement of vital signs, multiple trials at escalating doses, and passing mention of use by the author's friends. Here is an excerpt:
I somehow am able to use the webcam on my computer and take many random video clips where I start recording only to forget what I wanted to say or why I even began recording in the first place. So I make some short 5 second comment about how I’m really far gone and just use undescriptive phrases like “What just happened?” “I’m not really sure” “I don’t know” and “Wow. Just Wow”. My ability to communicate verbally is pretty messed up as I’m stuttering, taking with a heavy speech impediment and keep loosing words in the middle of sentences. I can’t seem to convey in English what the drug feels like at all. It’s so intensely strange and surreal the words completely escape me....
In some videos I obviously have no clue what I’m doing or that I am even recording. I record myself eating something, then wander off camera only to come back at the computer to stare at it, trying to make sense of it, then wander off to mumble some incoherent gibberish off camera. At one point I cannot locate the trash can to throw a food container away for a good couple of minutes and am completely mystified as to where it had gone. It was actually only one and a half feet from its usual location but I could not remember that I had moved it there, and its new location was seemingly invisible to me despite it being directly in my field of vision. I’m not in a bad mood, but I am completely shot at this point and very confused. I even somehow manage to record a video of me watching a video of myself that I had just recorded of me watching myself on the video preview (that one was pretty funny to watch later. By the look on my face I seem to be kind of amused, yet absolutely bewildered and unable to process the sensory stimuli in front of me).
I'm posting this for two reasons: first it's simply an interesting report that counters the idea that euphoric effects of ketamine and other NMDA antagonists can only result from action at targets other than the NMDA receptor, and secondly because I am writing a review article about gray-market dissociative history and would very much like to collect reports from anyone who has self-experimented with MK-801 (also called dizocilpine) or who can provide me with historical information about RC vendors that have carried it in the past.

Monday, August 19, 2013


In 1999 ketamine was made a schedule III controlled substance in the United States. In the following years China, a major exporter of ketamine, also subjected the chemical to more stringent control and Sichuan began to formally regulate export of ketamine in 2004. If you look at posts on various drug forums during the period between 2002 and 2004 it is frequently stated that China prohibited non-medical export of the hydrochloride salt but not the freebase resulting in laboratories vending the freebase form exclusively:
[There was] a funny window where China had scheduled ketamine HCl but not the base, so that took up the slack.
- J, 2013
There is also alot of Ketamine freebase comming out of china these days, it is diff than the typical ketamine hcl (salt)
(this is because exporting ketamine hcl was outlawed so they just switched to the freebase)
- shroomy, 2002

For some reason people seem to be able to get lots of this ketamine freebase now-a-days. is there some sort of different legal status for this stuff then for the HCL form?
- pberezansky, 2003 
There used to be a big import market from China, but there was a clamp down and now China only exports Freebase Ketamine and not Hydrachroide. Freebase is much harder to use and has to be converted into the salt.
- budda, 2004
There are also an abundance of threads and teks from that period detailing the conversion of ketamine freebase to the hydrochloride salt aimed at scientifically untrained ketamine users in possession of the freebase. This is all to say I believe there is sufficient (indirect) evidence to support the idea that this practice was taking place in China in the early 2000s, my question is whether any of you (readers) can help me find direct evidence that China controlled the HCl salt of ketamine but not the drug itself––effectively prohibiting the chloride counterion––which is ridiculous. If anyone reading this speaks Chinese or could direct me to a lawyer familiar with Chinese drug law during that period, help would be greatly appreciated.

I want to substantiate the claim that ketamine hyrdrochloride, but not the freebase, was legally controlled in China during the early/mid 2000s. 

Friday, August 9, 2013


“You’re terrible,” he says.
“You’re terrible,” he repeats.
“You’re terrible,” he repeats with additional emphasis.
“What?” I reply.
“You’re terrible,” he says.
“He’s terrible,” he says to a man standing between us.
“What?” the man between us asks, directing the question at me.
“Is he joking or being genuinely hostile?” I ask, directing the question at the man between us. 
“Are you joking?” the man between us asks the man. 
“He’s terrible,” the man responds, “He has a show on Vice, it’s terrible, everyone agrees.”
“You have a show?” the man between us asks cheerfully.
“He has a show about drugs,” the man answers for me.
“Is it a video show?” the man between us asks with genuine interest.
“Yes,” I respond.
“I used to work for Vice with Timmy Barber eating cockroaches,” the man who thinks I'm terrible says, I believe.
“Your terrible,” he says.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


James Arthur (aka James Dugovic or James Dugovic Arthur) was an infamous lay ethnomycologist and author of Mushrooms and Mankind, a book I find interesting for reasons entirely separate from Arthur's original intention. Mushrooms and Mankind serves as a timeless testament to the power of pareidolia in the wishful male psychomycophile, there are few other published works that indulge such freewheeling speculation in an effort to prove the central role of mushrooms in human history. 

But even more interesting than Mushrooms and Mankind is the issue of James Arthur's pedophilia. I am a proficient Google searcher (an exceedingly rare skill) and so I've read discussions of the topic posted on the Shroomery and various other mushroom and psychedelic interest forums. I have also seen his mugshot and the formal listing of his crimes including: 

*Lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years
*Assault to commit mayhem, rape, etc.
*Continuous sexual abuse of a child
*Oral copulation with a person under 14 years
*Oral copulation with force

I am posting this because I am looking for detailed information on James Arthur's sex crimes, either in the form of a police incident report, an arrest affidavit, a case disposition report, or similar. There is a wealth of anecdotal and second-hand information but I am looking for verifiable first-hand reports and formal documentation.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Please enjoy a new article on marine psychedelics that I wrote with Jason Wallach. It details a synthetic route to 5-Br-DMT as well as TiHKAL-style analysis of the subjective effects of the compound in human experimenters.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Dear Massachusettsians, tomorrow I will be screening select episodes of Pharmacopeia (as well as some new unaired footage) at Brandeis University. The screening will be followed by a Q&A and is free of charge. I hope to see you there.