This Week in Psychoactives - 7.12.19

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CANNABIS

  • Hawaii has decriminalized marijuana (Vox)

  • Congressional Committee Discusses How to Legalize Cannabis (Leafly)

  • Youth Cannabis Use Drops 8% in Legal States, Study Finds (Leafly)

  • In states where marijuana is legal, licensed dispensaries are pushing out drug dealers (MarketWatch)

  • New research indicates that cannabinoids could be efficacious pain management options (PsyPost)

  • Marijuana Gives Men And Women More Sexual Desire And Better Orgasms, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • Congress Votes To Allow Home Loans For Veterans Working In Marijuana Industry (Forbes)

  • Israeli college to offer degree specializing in medical cannabis (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Cannabis cake gift eaten by unwitting Warrington nurse (BBC)

  • Over Half of CBD Products Sold in UK Are Inaccurately Labeled, New Study Finds (MERRY JANE)

  • New Evidence on Pot During Pregnancy (The Atlantic)

  • Too high? ‘Parachute’ down with a new pill created by Michigan scientist (mlive.com)

  • Illegal cannabis seeds may be used to make legal medicinal cannabis products (New Zealand Herald)

  • Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp’s Uses For Just About Everything (Marijuana Moment)

  • FDA Issues CBD Warnings, But No New Regulations – Yet (MERRY JANE)

  • Can cannabis treat anxiety? It's complicated (The Guardian)

  • Most Addiction Specialists Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • West Virginia Is Years Away From Medical Cannabis, Officials Say (Leafly)

  • Colorado grows annual cannabis sales to $1 billion as other states struggle (CNBC)

  • Pete Buttigieg’s Racial Justice Plan Would Legalize Marijuana And Decriminalize Drug Possession (Marijuana Moment)

  • A beloved cafeteria worker nicked his finger on a knife – and got fired for using marijuana at home (The Boston Globe)

  • Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says (CBC)

  • AOC And Kamala Harris File Bill Protecting Drug Offenders From Losing Public Housing (Marijuana Moment)

  • Cannabis: Misinformation about CBD can be life-threatening (The Conversation)

  • You Can Legally Smoke Weed Naked on the Patio of a Southeast Portland Sex Club (Willamette Week)

  • People in states where marijuana is legal are eating more salty snacks and ice cream (MarketWatch)

  • Jay-Z joins cannabis company Caliva as chief brand strategist (CNN)

  • How Psychedelic Surf Smugglers Invented Dabs (With Help From the CIA?) (Leafly)

LSD

  • A Guy Allegedly Took LSD, Stabbed People With A Pencil And Lawn Light, And Hit Two Women With A Truck (BuzzFeed News)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

MDMA

  • STUDY: Use of MDMA & Similar Drugs May Increase Risk of Valvular Heart Disease (YourEDM)

  • Sydney teen swallowed MDMA pills 'to avoid detection' at a music festival (news.com.au)

  • 'The drug of the moment': five per cent of year 10 students have tried ecstasy (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Music festival MDMA overdose patient waited an hour for an ambulance (7NEWS.com.au)

  • Haunting texts reveal how young woman was scared to take MDMA which killed her at a Sydney music festival (New Zealand Herald)

  • Family devastated after schoolgirl, 16, dies after ‘taking ecstasy’ at party (Metro)

  • MDMA can make 'mild mannered people' aggressive, inquest hears (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Teen took up to nine MDMA capsules before dying at festival, inquest hears (ABC News)

AYAHUASCA

IBOGA

  • Opinion: Miami University must reverse unjust decision to terminate professors (Cincinnati.com)

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • Study: Seizures, coma more common with synthetic cannabinoids than cannabis (AAP News)

KETAMINE

  • How the approval of esketamine has helped shift the perception of ketamine and other psychedelics (Tahoe Daily Tribune)

  • The Woodlands gets first ketamine infusion center to treat depression (Chron)

OPIOIDS

  • Teens abusing painkillers are more likely to later use heroin (Medical Xpress)

  • Generic Naloxone Approved for Opioid Overdose (Physician's Weekly)

  • Naloxone Dispensing Found Higher at Facilities with Opioid Workflow (Pharmacy Times)

  • The Global Opioid Supply Chain Begins in Tasmania (Pacific Standard)

  • With opium prices down, Mexican poppy planters are packing their bags (The Hustle)

  • Minnesota’s largest naloxone distributor won’t get grant funds (INFORUM)

  • If Cops Don't Die From Incidental Fentanyl Exposure, a Drug Treatment Specialist Warns, They 'Could Become Addicted to It Instantly' (Reason)

  • Portsmouth doctor reprimanded for treatment of chronic pain patient (New Hampshire Union Leader)

  • To fight opioid epidemic, treat drug use with compassion, not judgment (USA Today)

COCAINE

  • People are giving their greyhounds cocaine to make them run faster (GQ)

  • Teen violin prodigy dies of apparent drug overdose in London mansion (New York Post)

CAFFEINE

  • Scientists create ‘molecular coffee' that doesn't require beans (Fox 35 Orlando)

  • Caffeine powder in protein shake led to man's death, family says (Fox News)

  • Research shows that drinking Matcha tea can reduce anxiety (Medical Xpress)

  • World’s Coffee Growers Seek to Set Minimum Price to Help Poor Farmers (The Wall Street Journal)

  • One teaspoon of legal, popular but deadly caffeine powder is like drinking 60 cans of Red Bull (news.com.au)

TOBACCO

  • Netflix Promises to Reduce Depictions of Tobacco in Future Projects (Teen Vogue)

  • Children from deprived areas exposed to six times more tobacco retailing (Medical Xpress)

  • Will e-cigarettes usher in a new tobacco epidemic? Some researchers say yes. (Houston Chronicle)

  • Hennepin County Votes To Raise Tobacco Age To 21 In More Communities (WCCO)

  • Livermore votes to ban the sale of flavored tobacco, e-cigarettes (KGO)

  • Big tobacco shifting to smokeless as smoking becomes ‘less and less’ popular (Fox Business)

  • Maine Law To Prevent Tobacco Use, Streamline Tobacco Taxes (Maine Public)

BENZODIAZEPINES

  • B.C. harm-reduction sites, doctors struggling with new type of overdose (Vancouver Sun)

  • Psychedelic Healing & Benzodiazepines: Are Chill Pills Cool to Combine? (Spirit Pharmacist)

ALCOHOL

NOOTROPICS

  • These Clinically-Proven Nootropics Are Specially Formulated to Improve Cognition and Focus (Futurism)

  • Nootropics is the Fyre Festival of the Supplement Industry (Equities)

  • What’s Phenibut and When Should You Consider Using It? (Prague Post)

KRATOM

  • Kratom Linked to Serious Side Effects and Deaths in New Study (Gizmodo)

  • As some states ban kratom, Michigan considers regulating it (Detroit Metro Times)

  • Local doctor, CDC warn of potential dangers of kratom (WAVY.com)

  • Kratom supporters respond to recent FDA warning (WMBF)

KAVA

  • Kava for Anxiety- Separating Fact from Fiction (MedShadow)

KHAT

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Psychedelics Take the TED Talk Stage for the First Time (Filter)

  • Amnesty International Is Calling for a U.N. Probe Into the Philippine Drug War (TIME)

  • Why Malaysia’s New Proposal Could Change Southeast Asia’s Drugs Debate (The Diplomat)

  • New law allows NC drug dealers to be charged with murder (WTVD)

  • Psychedelic mental health treatment expected to be approved in Australia within five years (The Guardian)

  • Philadelphia supervised injection site plan gets backing from attorneys general in 7 states (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • U.S. Prosecutors Say Drug Lord El Chapo Should Get Life in Prison (TIME)

  • Testing festival goers’ pills isn’t the only way to reduce overdoses. Here’s what else works (The Conversation)

  • Social Factors Are an Essential—And Changeable—Element of Addiction (Filter)

  • I hate drugs, but teenagers are dying while we maintain a supposed moral veneer (The Guardian)

  • Florida Sheriff Deputy Arrested After Planting Drugs on Innocent People (Reason)

  • A man I found guilty of dealing drugs died in prison. I wish I could take that verdict back. (The Washington Post)

  • How Can Harm Reduction Do Better for Transgender People? (Filter)

  • Minister hopes drug deaths record will be 'wake-up call' (BBC)

  • How Psychiatry and Hallucinogenic Drugs Meet in Painting (Hyperallergic)

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Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychoactives" does not censor or analyze the news links presented here. The purpose of this column is solely to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.


On the Monday following each edition of “This Week in Psychoactives,” I post a “Last Week in Psychoactives” video recap to my YouTube channel. After that is done, I retroactively add the video to the corresponding blog post. Here is this week’s video recap:


YouTube Software Engineer Arrested After an LSD Rampage

David Mack, writing for BuzzFeed News:

It began with a group of friends renting a seaside home in California for the Independence Day holiday weekend.

It ended with one of the men arrested and in a hospital, fighting for his life, after he was shot by sheriff's deputies following what authorities say was an LSD-fueled rampage that left eight people injured.

Betai Koffi, a 32-year-old San Francisco software engineer at YouTube, was arrested Thursday by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies after he allegedly punched, choked, and stabbed friends, strangers, and authorities, and rammed them with a vehicle, during his bad trip.

What a horrific tale. I feel terrible for everyone involved, and it’s scenarios like this one that highlight why accurate drug education and psychedelic harm reduction are of utmost importance as drug use continues to become less taboo and more people start experimenting with powerful psychoactive substances like LSD.


Sydney Teen Swallowed MDMA Pills ‘To Avoid Detection’ at a Music Festival

Sarah McPhee, writing for 7NEWS.com.au:

A 19-year-girl who died after an MDMA overdose took up to three pills in close proximity to avoid detection by police, a Sydney inquest has heard. Alexandra Ross-King's death is one of six at NSW music festivals between December 2017 and January 2019 being examined at an inquest before Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame. […]

She said Ms Ross-King consumed two half-pills on her journey from the Central Coast in a minibus to Parramatta Park earlier this year and two more pills upon her arrival."The January FOMO festival involved an unusual pattern of consumption for her," Dr Dwyer said at the NSW Coroners Court in Lidcombe on Monday. "She told her friends that because she was nervous about being caught by the police, she took the drugs at once like that."

This unfortunate death could have been completely avoided if police weren’t trying to bust drug users. How many more people have to die unnecessarily before we finally get some sane drug laws on the books?


What’s the Most Eco-Friendly Way to Dispose of a Body?

Ammar Kalia, writing for The Guardian:

In the middle of a cavernous factory floor in Pudsey, Leeds, sits a gleaming steel cylinder. One day, its maker believes, most of us will end up in something similar.

The machine is a Resomator – a pressurised canister in which corpses are submerged in a mixture of 150C water and potassium hydroxide solution for three to four hours until the flesh is dissolved, leaving behind only soft, greyish bones. After drying in an adjacent oven, these are ground down into paper-white powder, while the fluid is sent to a water treatment plant for disposal. The entire process is operated by a touchscreen and a single “start” button, away from the view of mourners. Ashes to ashes no more.

This was the first time I’ve heard of alkaline hydrolysis (also known as “resomation”) before. After reading this absolutely fascinating piece, I started thinking about what I want my survivors do with my corpse after I die. Going into the Resomator seems like such a great option, especially for the environment. If you’ve considered cremation or burial before, give this article a thorough read—you might just change your mind afterward.


New Law Allows NC Drug Dealers to Be Charged With Murder

Steve Daniels, writing for WTVD:

Prosecutors have a new tool to help reduce the number of people dying in North Carolina from opioid overdoses.

On Monday, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the "death by distribution" act.

It allows prosecutors to charge drug dealers with second-degree murder.

Fuck this spin. “New tool” my ass. This is a horribly misguided and frustratingly ignorant legislation that will cause more harms than the drugs do themselves, the type of thing that frankly makes me straight-up ashamed to hail from the Tar Heel State. Allow me to briefly explain why:

  1. Many “drug dealers” are actually just drug users that are selling small amounts of drugs to support their own habit. These people need help to address real problems like addiction and other mental health issues and do not deserve to be criminalized.

  2. This will undoubtedly cause preventable deaths by discouraging 911 calls. Why would a drug user (or provider) call for emergency assistance when they might run the risk of being charged with murder for trying to help their friend stay alive?

  3. People who are trying to be charitable by gifting drugs to their friends, or acquiring drugs for a group who would otherwise not have access to them, are often charged under this type of law. They too should not be charged with murder for trying to help people they know access the drugs that they want (or need, in the case of true dependence).

And when it comes to coverage like this, I have to say that I’m not at all surprised that a local news outlet in the South isn’t educated about drugs, but I am disappointed.