Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"Organic" drugs

Feel better about your bad habit.
  [vote for,

Extend the "Organic" faming labelling scheme to cover drugs of abuse, such as heroin, cannabis and cocaine, which are derived from plants. Magic mushrooms could be labelled as well.

Feel better about frying your neurons, safe in the knowledge that the origin of the poorly-refined and contaminated pharmaceuticals you are consuming have been grown without the use of chemical pesticides in an ecologically friendly and renewable way.

8th of 7, May 17 2011


       For drugs, FairTrade status would probably be more important than being organic.
hippo, May 17 2011

       Peyote, Jimson Weed, Datura, Belladonna, Saffron, certain Arctic lichens... most of these are grown without chemical adulteration and are all hallucinogenic.
infidel, May 17 2011

       First, legalize all drugs and bring them under public supervision. Second ...   

       [+] for the concept of Fair Trade Bolivian nose candy
BunsenHoneydew, May 17 2011

       I can picture the Starbucks lines now.
normzone, May 17 2011

       "I wanna new drug". I think Huey Lewis beat cha to it, but only in an indirect sort of way.
blissmiss, May 17 2011

       This is probably already available for cannabis, given the drug's popularity with the organic-foods types of people. That's assuming you know your supplier and grower. Cannabis is usually minimally processed, and can be grown (illegally) in the USA.   

       Heroin and cocaine may well be grown organically already, simply because their third-world growers have no access to pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers (the case for many organic fruits imported to the USA).   

       Heroin and cocaine are subjected to fierce chemical processing that would make a sad mockery of organic growth or any claim of product tracking. As is covered in the second paragraph of the idea. I just wanted to break cannabis out of there.   

       // certain Arctic lichens //   

       That's the first I've heard of that.
baconbrain, May 17 2011

       Reindeer eat the lichens. Then the local folk collect the reindeer urine and drink it, to get shitfaced... err, pissed.
infidel, May 17 2011

       I wonder if it's possible to produce cocaine in a way that would qualify for this idea.
tatterdemalion, May 17 2011

       If you take away the petroleum and the acid from the process then it's probably not cocaine any longer.
infidel, May 17 2011

       Coca tea, certainly. But as [bb] points out, the extraction process to produce the pure alkaloid can hardly be rated as 'green'.
8th of 7, May 17 2011

       On the subject of organic, could someone explain the "Organic Maple Syrup" for sale at a higher price? How is ordinary maple syrup not organic?
mitxela, May 17 2011

       Maybe they sometimes spray stuff on the trees to get rid of red ants. Red ants in your maple syrup could be bad.
blissmiss, May 17 2011

       //Coca tea// or indeed, coca cola.
pocmloc, May 17 2011

       Oftentimes it's made of corn syrup.
RayfordSteele, May 17 2011

       //if you take away the petroleum// Hang on a second. What could be more organic than petroleum??
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011

       Incidentally, the UK was recently named as the "legal high capital of the world", thanks to the endeavours of our top-notch English boffins and botanists.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 17 2011

       [Bun], have an 8th... [zzzzz]
Grogster, May 18 2011

       Ive been musing on the idea of how one can procure "conflict free" marijuana. As the biggest problem i find with marijuana is not that it is an illegal, but that it helps fund organized crime, which is a huge problem in my area. Obviously one cant go up to a drug dealer and ask them outright..
bob, May 18 2011

       // Peyote, Jimson Weed, Datura, Belladonna, Saffron, certain Arctic lichens... most of these are grown without chemical adulteration and are all hallucinogenic. //   

       Peyote yes. Jimson weed is Datura, which has similar alkaloids to Atropa belladonna. Those two are only hallucinogenic in overdose and i've never given that big a dose. Schedule IIIs, those two. Not sure which lichens you have in mind. However, Datura is one of my favourite herbs for asthma and i've never had anyone hallucinate on it.   

       I wouldn't see heroin as a phytochemical as it has an acetyl group added to it.   

       The herbs which are hallucinogenic in overdose, which simply means that they're poisonous and shouldn't be taken in that high a dose, are available farmed conventionally, organically and biodynamically. Cannabis and tobacco are often organically grown.   

       I think you may be thinking of Amanita muscaria, which would indeed usually be organic in the Arctic.
nineteenthly, May 18 2011

       // heroin as a phytochemical //   

       Fair enough. What about morphine, then ? Or unrefined opium paste ?
8th of 7, May 18 2011

       Yes, those are, but there are safer options than that. Plenty of different biological opiates and opioids, often effective for pain relief and the like, but why go further unless you're interested in painless euthanasia?   

       Another comment on the reindeer thing. They eat a lichen referred to as Cetraria islandica, which is largely a source of polysaccharides and is not hallucinogenic at all. It's sort of like a land seaweed in terms of nutrition, though without so much mineral content.
nineteenthly, May 18 2011

       //i find with marijuana is not that it is an illegal, but that it helps fund organized crime//   

       It's not marijuana that funds criminals. It's the laws against it (and other drugs) that send forty billion a year their way.
ldischler, May 18 2011

       The only way to be sure that it's organic is not to buy stuff (possibly poisoned by the US government) on the street, but to grow it yourself. Of course, home-grown is illegal, as the SC decided in 2005 that growing it yourself cuts into the market for pot, and therefore gives the feds the power to regulate it by way of the interstate commerce clause. (A ruling that, incidentally, gives the feds the power to regulate anything you do in your home.)
ldischler, May 18 2011

       I would see Cannabis taken at a dose where it's likely to alter consciousness appreciably to an observer or subjectively in a blind test to be an overdose. I also think it happens (not a conspiracy) to serve certain political factions very well that other political factions demotivate themselves and become psychotic in the sense of having poor memory and cognitive skills so that they can't organise themselves effectively, and doubly so because its use can be use to convict people of crimes at the convenience of the authorities. Recreational Cannabis use is the opposite of activism.
nineteenthly, May 18 2011

       //given the drug's popularity with the organic-foods types of people//

What evidence do you base that, rather sweeping, generalisation on, baconbrain?
DrBob, May 18 2011

       As an organic foods-type person myself, i find myself in agreement with [baconbrain]'s assumption.
nineteenthly, May 18 2011

       I'm not sure many people are going to be tripping on saffron, given that it's roughly the same price as gold at the moment.   

       I think the lichen may be related to Parmotrema menyamyaense (Rock Bloom), 19th]. Not sure.
infidel, May 18 2011

       // //given the drug's popularity with the organic-foods types of people//   

       What evidence do you base that, rather sweeping, generalisation on, baconbrain? //   

       The aging hippies that I spend a weekend in the woods with every year.   

       But, yes, too generalized nowadays. The average Whole Foods customer probably doesn't stop the SUV on the way home for a big bag of illegal herb. When the organic foods movement started out, though, it was pretty strongly correlated...at least where I was then.   

       "Organic marijuana" gets 5.5 million Google hits, "Organic cannabis" gets 3.3 million. ("Hits". Hee, hee, hee.) One: "California's Mendocino County petitioned the state to allow regulation and certification of organic marijuana farms. County officials cited the requests of medical marijuana users who fear the effects of pesticides on their already compromised immune systems. "
baconbrain, May 18 2011

       Ah yes, the SUV. Describes a number of people i know to a T as it happens.
nineteenthly, May 18 2011

       [19thly], I don't mean to be a jerk about it, but it is literally impossible to overdose on cannabis. The handful of psychoactive compounds collectively known as cannabinoids are partial-agonists; they only partially block the CB and GABA receptors of the nervous system, meaning some synapse activity can still take place. Once there are no more receptors to be filled, the compounds' effect simply hits a plateau.   

       But even if you can't OD on pot, you can DEFINITELY smoke too much, which I think is the point you were trying to make.
Alterother, May 19 2011

       In sufficiently high concentration, those compounds may have biological activity other than the ones you mention -- in general, ligands lose some of their receptor specificity at high enough concentrations. At even higher concentrations, they may have entirely unrelated actions: for example, acetaminophen produces analgesia through its actions on neurotransmitters in the nervous system (so it it is believed), but overdose causes death through toxicity in the liver.   

       So, forgive the pedantry, but probably best to substitute "in practice" for "literally." (A cursory Medline search supports your assertion: death from overdose is described as "exceptionally rare," and most fatalities are related to motor vehicle or airplane accidents.)
mouseposture, May 20 2011

       I'm willing to bet that a kilogram of refined THC will result in a catastrophic outcome for anyone who ingests it.
infidel, May 20 2011

       "Organic" implies a lack of use of synthetic compounds during the growth of the organism. Notably, organic beef that is still alive is quite difficult to eat, as it has a tendency to jump off the barbeque and run away. So, yes.
8th of 7, May 20 2011

       The chronic use of Cannabis results in behaviour and cognition which is maladaptive for the user. That's what i would call an overdose. Incidentally, it needn't be delivered by smoking and it's better not to. Smoking it at all is a fairly bad idea compared to tobacco in the same quantities.
nineteenthly, May 20 2011

       "Brain-B-Gone" ?
8th of 7, May 20 2011

       [mouse]: I agree, 'in practice' would be a better term.   

       [infidel]: by 'refined THC,' I can only assume you mean hash, but ingesting a kilo of just about anything except air via inhalation will have adverse effects, namely, death.   

       [19th] I assumed we were talking about one-time consumption. Chronic usage, i.e. regular consumption over a long period of time, may or may not cause serious problems. Again, see my postulation concerning 'just about anything' in paragraph above.   

       The real problem with qualifying any statement regarding the short- or long-term effects of cannabis usage is that there are a lot of people out there waving figures around and *all* of them have an agenda. I have yet to see any conclusive body of work on the subject that was made with a completely objective approach (and for reasons unspecified, this is something I've studied extensively). Even Wikipedia is subtly biased (against), probably for legal reasons.   

       For those inclined to do so (for any reason), the safest way to ingest cannabis as an inhalant is with a vaporizer.
Alterother, May 20 2011

       Also, [19th], I would argue TO THE DEATH your assertion that smoking cannabis is more detrimental to health than smoking equivalent quantities of tobacco, but I won't do it here, because it would be a serious waste of our and everybody else's time.   

       Smoking anything is bad for your health. I'll leave it at that.
Alterother, May 20 2011

       The issue of Cannabis is generally quite polarised. It has an aura to it because of its illegality which distorts opinion around it. It's a herb like other herbs, with individual actions and health risks. So are tobacco and coltsfoot.   

       It makes little sense to smoke it rather than ingest it in other ways. If you want it to act on or be absorbed via your lungs it could be nebulised. If you want it to have a different "curve", you can take it per os. However, it's only special in the sense that every herb is special. It's not magic, any more than Aloe vera or Eleutherococcus senticosus is. A lot of completely unsung herbs are excellent but lack glamour, for instance Viburnum opulus is marvellous stuff for many reasons, but mention it to a non-herbalist and they're either likely to think of it as an ornamental tree or not to have heard of it.
nineteenthly, May 20 2011

       Nebulizer (more or less) = Vaporizer. Agreed, eating it in your brownies is much easier on the body, but produces less predictable results and negates some of the synergystic effects of the herb; the process of cooking cannabis butter or cannabis oil, for instance, denatures and destroys terpenoids. (Using "Green Butter" is the only way to make effective brownies. People who say you can just grind up some bud and toss it in the batter are full of shit; all you get are ineffective brownies that taste vaguely like artichokes.) Unfortunately, this limits the medicinal applications to the treatment of only a handful of conditions, far fewer than can be treated* through inhalation.   

       *okay, for all the doubters, I'll say 'theoretically treated.'
Alterother, May 20 2011

       Fair enough, but why bother when there are thousands of other species out there which can address the issues and are completely legal or at worst Schedule IIIs?
nineteenthly, May 20 2011

       Ah, now we've cut to crux of the matter, and this time, my nineteenth friend, I join you on the same side of the line. I foresee only two problems: A) our collaborative discussion could last until doomsday, and at some point I would have to stop to take my medicine, and B) who would fund us?
Alterother, May 20 2011

       PS: my wife would hug you for your comment about 'unsung herbs.' And take my word for it, you would enjoy said hug, regardless of your gender/orientation.
Alterother, May 20 2011

       Thanks. Trust me, i'm a herbalist.
nineteenthly, May 20 2011

       I kinda figured. Good on yer!
Alterother, May 20 2011

       // Trust me, i'm a herbalist.// skipped grammar for botany did we ?
FlyingToaster, May 20 2011

       Hey, I don't make the rules.
FlyingToaster, May 20 2011

       We pronounce the "h" here. There is an "an" rule which pedants occasionally follow before "h", but it's old-fashioned. However, being a fully paid-up pedant, i stand corrected.
nineteenthly, May 20 2011

       I sense a tangent coming up...   

       >takes two quick steps to the left<
Alterother, May 20 2011

       Well spotted.   

       The correct written form is" an herbalist", but may be pronounced as 'an erbalist' or 'a herbalist', both of which are correct.   

       NB The English do this sort of thing purely to have fun with foreigners.
8th of 7, May 20 2011

       Over time, it might become "a nerbalist"
MaxwellBuchanan, May 20 2011

       That happens. 'Nuncle', from 'an uncle' or 'mine uncle', is found in Shakespeare, and 'a nadre' became 'an adder' (the opposite direction).
spidermother, May 21 2011

       Yes: orange, apron, adder. However, it seems to have stopped happening recently. "Orange" changed before English borrowed it, so it's a Romance indefinite article which took the N. "Apron" is oddly unconnected to the "nape of the neck" and i expect it was stolen by the Freemasons as part of their plan to corner the global market in nasal consonants. "Adder" is late mediaeval.   

       // Over time, it might become "a nerbalist" //   

       And that time is now! I hereby declare myself a nerbalist. All that EU stuff is irrelevant to me because i prescribe and dispense nerbs, which are oddly similar to herbs but differ in that they are not covered by the EU Directive or the NIMH, EHTPA and so on.
nineteenthly, May 21 2011

       Sell nerbal teas, nerbal remedies, nerbaceous borders, nerbaria... anything you can hame.
infidel, May 21 2011

       I'm right on it, [infidel].   

       Also wondering about nurbalism. I know NURBS are something to do with computer graphics but i'm not sure what.
nineteenthly, May 21 2011

       Sounds like quite a plausible mechanism of linguistic evolution. Probably even has a name. "Back- formation" maybe.
mouseposture, May 21 2011

       Verily. And i say eke unto you, that medical nurbalism the imitation of the human form with the trams of thought mote be. For that there is something of the unwieldy pertaining unto the reckoning of our innards, is there not? We are no Platonic solids. Peraventure cou'd there be a tapestry thrown o'er the members like unto a net of tilesome lozenges? Or might i be bedizened or beset with an heap of roundels knit together with rods of adamant? What a piece of work were a man, that we might know his geometrical essence thereby?
nineteenthly, May 21 2011

       Meanwhile, out here in the 'burbs.
infidel, May 21 2011

       Our guess is either Ergot or Magic Mushrooms, but most likely [19thly] is channeling Stephen Fry.
8th of 7, May 21 2011

       Sorry, i got a bit carried away. I didn't want to write "indeed" yet again, so i wrote "verily" and just lost control.   

       What i mean is, medical nurbalism might be the discipline which describes the anatomy of the human body using B-splines.
nineteenthly, May 22 2011

       *whew,* glad I sidestepped that one...
Alterother, May 22 2011

       It does seem, though, that medical nurbalism might have a function other than having a silly name.
nineteenthly, May 22 2011

       That sounds quite plausible, if, instead of the whole human body, NURBs are applied to particular parts. For example, creating a mathematical description of the shape of a brain, and its many oddly shaped parts, all fitting together properly, is a requirement for assembling large databases, from multiple individuals -- which is quite a big deal in neuroscience research these days. Or in orthopedics, for the design of prosthetic implants. Computer-graphic volume- modeling techniques are also used, these days, to custom- design reconstructive surgery procedures for trauma victims.   

       Pretty soon, something better than NURBs would come along, but the people who did that work would still be called NURBalists, to the delight of logophiles, and the bafflement (or indifference) of everybody else.
mouseposture, May 22 2011

       Therefore it should be made to happen. The word "quiz" was allegedly introduced to the language by two people and a graffiti campaign, so i've heard. Something similar should be done herewith.   

       In fact, if i can make it coherent enough beyond simple word coinage, i may even post it as an idea.
nineteenthly, May 22 2011

       // if i can make it coherent enough //   

       There's a first time for everything.
8th of 7, May 22 2011


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