“This Is God’s Plant”

Matt Melema finds that evangelicals are starting to come around on marijuana: No one has done a poll of where evangelicals in particular stand on pot, but talking to a dozen or so of them makes me think that the feelings of young evangelicals are shifting as fast as many others of their generation. Given the history of churches decrying marijuana as a … Continue reading “This Is God’s Plant”

Very Special K, Ctd

Jason Koebler points to a new study out of the UK that found ketamine to be an effective treatment for major depression: Like in recent American studies, ketamine proved useful for treating some patients whose previous depression treatments had failed. University of Oxford researchers report in the Journal of Psychopharmacology that the drug rapidly reversed depression, though most patients began feeling … Continue reading Very Special K, Ctd

Very Special K, Ctd

Neuroskeptic examines new research on the therapeutic benefits of ketamine: [Researcher Elias] Dakwar et al took 8 crack cocaine addicts who wanted to go clean. They gave them three injections (in a random order, within-subjects). These were ketamine 0.41 mg/kg, ketamine 0.71 mg/kg, and lorazepam [a benzodiazepine] 2 mg. The ketamine doses are, respectively, slightly … Continue reading Very Special K, Ctd

Keeping Your Drink Safe

Tara Culp-Ressler praises DrinkSavvy, a company developing cups and straws that change color in the presence of “date rape” drugs Rohypnol, ketamine, and GHB: [Company founder Mike] Abramson’s product is in contrast to some deeply-ingrained societal attitudes about sexual assault — most notably, the idea that it’s women’s responsibility to avoid “dangerous situations” like going … Continue reading Keeping Your Drink Safe

Britain’s War On Soft Drugs: A Turning Point?


The Brown government is in danger of losing all its scientific advisers in a fascinating moment in which truth meets political and social prejudice. David Nutt, one of the government's chief advisers, was fired, in part, for the graph above which tries to assess the relative dangers of various drugs. Nutt assessed them on three variables:

a) the physical harm to the individual user caused by the drug; b) the tendency of the drug to induce dependence; c) the effect of drug use on families, communities and society. Within each category there are three components, leading to a nine-category matrix of harm, with scores of zero to three for each category. This is the final list based on that classification. In brackets is the classification given under the Misuse of Drugs Act, with Class A attracting the most serious penalties.

The Brits classify drug penalties according to the tree types A, B, and C. It's hard to read, so here are the drugs in order of harm, according to scientific studies, revealing how some drugs are categorized according to social attitudes rather than reality:

1. Heroin (Class A)

2. Cocaine (Class A)

3. Barbiturates (Class B)

4. Street methadone (Class A)

5. Alcohol (Not controlled)

6. Ketamine (Class C)

7. Benzodiazepine (Class B)

8. Amphetamine (Class B)

9. Tobacco (No class)

10. Bupranorphine (Class C)

11. Cannabis (Class B)

Sensory Deprivation And Interrogation

Here’s a new study of the effects of as little as 15 minutes of sensory deprivation on the brain: After spending 15 minutes deprived of sight and sound, each person completed a test called the “Psychotomimetic States Inventory,” which measures psychosis-like experiences and was originally developed to study recreational drug users. Among the nine participants … Continue reading Sensory Deprivation And Interrogation

Very Special K, Ctd

A reader writes: Never mind depression; Ketamine has already found important clinical use in emergency departments. We use it all the time for “procedural sedation” – when we want to make patients comfortable before reducing a dislocated shoulder, fixing a broken bone, or maybe incising a draining a painful abscess. It starts working quickly after injection, … Continue reading Very Special K, Ctd

Very Special K

Another illegal club-drug turns out to have some genuine clinical use: Ketamine, which can also cause feelings of detachment, could pave the way for new treatments for people suffering from depression, the researchers added. Their study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found ketamine restores to normal the orbifrontal cortex, an area of the … Continue reading Very Special K