27 November 2007

Wont someone PLEASE think of the children?

Indiana's Legal High: Teens Turned On To Powerful Drug
Here it is again, the horrible, terror inducing, the thing that strikes fear into every parent; the legal high.

The plant provides a quick high that some have compared to LSD, and it's readily accessible to anyone.

This sentence is totally misleading. Firstly "high" is usually reserved for marijuana. Think of the "round the table" scenes in "That '70s Show." LSD is not generally described as a "high" but rather as a "trip" as are many other hallucinogens. This quibbling about words is not without a point. The media's portrayal of this powerful drug is barely more than a scare story. They don't bother to try to understand what this drug is doing or why people find it attractive. Instead they throw around loaded words that are bound to get a rise out of people.

Drug counselors said they are worried salvia is a gateway drug to other harmful substances.

Ah yes, the slippery slope argument. While its true that for many drugs, users can build up a tolerance that sends them looking for another high, the idea that one chemical leads to another is usually pretty silly. The gateway aspect comes from the social atmosphere; the illegality, the sneaking around, the discovery that this chemical they authorities don't want you to use is actually kind of fun.

"You do have to keep in it check. It's something that you do need to use responsibly," Sidler said.

There is any number of low activity psychoactive substances that he could be talking about. Hell, I'm pretty sure I've heard people saying that about alcohol, even late night caffeine use.

Considering the intensity of the short trip, and the fact that this society likes its acceptable psychoactive substances to be low concentration/high dilution, I think that there will be laws passed making this illegal. The active substance is Salvinorin A and its potency starts at 200 micrograms. It acts on an opioid receptor, unlike LSD and other hallucinogens which act on seritonin receptors. Marijuana acts on cannabinoid receptors. So this drug, while highly active, is not acting in the same manner as LSD or marijuana as many of the news stories claim.

So is this really a post about regional news? Not really, but the biochemistry part of me just takes over at some point and I can't resist.

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