Marijuana comes from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. This plant contains hundreds of chemicals, including more than 60 cannabinoids. The mist potent of the cannabinoids is Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinal, or THC.
Except for the cannabinoids, marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke are remarkably similar. Both contain the toxic compounds tar, carbon monoxide and cyanide in comparable levels. Both also contain benzopyrine, a known cancer-causing chemical. This chemical appears in greater concentrations in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke, although marijuana smoke contains none of the nitrosamines found in tobacco.
Marijuana: This product is made of the dried clippings from the hemp plant that may include and combination of leaves, stems, seeds and buds. It can vary greatly in potency, depending on the type of plant, the climate in which it was grown, and the specific max of clippings in a given batch.
It is also known as (AKA): Cannabis, Pot, Ggrass, Reefer, Ace, Sinse, Ganja, Weed, Bhang, M.J, Mary Jane, Purple Maze, Acapulco Gold etc.
Hashish: People make hashish by separating the resin of a cannabis plant from the plant material. It is also known as (AKA) Hash, Tar, Joint, Black, Charas.
Combinations: Some users will smoke marijuana in combination with other drugs to bring more effect. Other drugs (with street names for the combination): Phencyclidine (Angel dust, Angel poke, Supergrass, Killer Wed), Opium (O.J), herion (Atom Bomb, A-Bomb), and Cocaine or crack (Juice Joint, Lace, Fry Daddy, Cocoa Puff).
How it's used
Most people get their THC buzz by smokinhg that is, by setting flame to their marijuana, hash, or hash oil and inhaling. However, some people will take time to cook one of these three substances into brownies, cakes, or pudding and then eat the results. The user who smokes will experience a high within two to 10 minutes, while the high from eating may take as long as 90 minutes. Synthetic THC (dronabinol) comes in tablets.
The joy of it
There are probably as many different experiences on pot as there are people who have used it, but the high has two distinguishing features: intellectual and emotional. Most people experience one or the other type of high, and some people experience a little of both. The intellectual type of hig can be described as a heightening of awareness, The perceptions from all five senses become more vivid. Everything we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch takes on a greater intensity or somehow seems more meaningful. We become certain that our thoughts are more profound. Our mind appears to make more connections than usual, some of which seem downright funny. We often feel as though we’re gaining a greater insight into reality.
The emotional high affects our feelings. Everything we feel becomes exaggerated or all-encompassing. The world becomes a ball of fluff. Pleasures becomes ecstasies, joys become wonders, smile become laughs. We like being in the company of others. Talking with others becomes interesting, even mesmerizing. Our moods deserve exploring. People who experience the emotional high enjoy doing things, much more so than those who experience the intellectual high. Perhaps that’s because physical activity generates more emotion,
However, the more potent the weed, the more likely that the user will experience some mind-warping effects, such as delusions, hallucinations, or cartoon-like visions. The imaginary sequences come more easily with the eyes closed but, at higher concentrations of THC, can occur with the eyes open. Sometimes, when the images soar, the body feels as if it weighs a ton. At these times, the body can demonstrate a perfect reluctance to make any movement whatsoever, perhaps this is the original meaning of the term “stoned”.
The problem it causes
Panic. Many users experience panic attacks. These usually occur in public places where we can be seen by others. Often the panic has a hint of paranoia. For example, users might fear that other people are out to get them, that somehow their behavior will betray to others that they’re high, or that the police are coming to bust them for possession. After a moderate period of heavy use (about a year or so) or a longer period of moderate use, the panic response can generalize. In other works, it begins to happen even when the user is not high, and this can continue for years after the user has gotten completely straight.
Anxiety.Many users also experience anxiety. This is similar to the panic attacks, except that it has no object. We can feel jittery, nervous, and tense, and we’re not sure why. It appears as a gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach or a shaky uncertainty within the brain. This anxiety generalizes as well and can continue for years after a user gets straight. Interestingly, people who get the intellectual kick usually feel more anxious when they use, whereas those who experience the emotional high usually feel less anxious when using.
Learning and memory impairment. Animal studies show the THC causes significant deficits in the brain’s ability to store new memories so that learning becomes impaired. This probably happens in humans as well, especially heavy users. Because you wouldn’t be able to remember details very well, trying to study while high on pot wouldn’t be recommended.
Disruption of logical thought.Trying to do math while high on pot also wouldn’t b recommended. Many studies show that pot disrupts our ability to think logically, in other words, to perceive what follows what in sequential events or number patterns. Events run together, and causes and effects become blurred. This problem also generalizes. In the long term, moderate to heavy users lose some of their capability for logic, even when not toking up. Thios problem can last for years after getting straight, although it typically shows considerable improvement after the first few months.
Psychosis. A small but significant percentage of chronic heavy users will become psychotic. For them, logical thought almost completely disappears. Delusions and hallucinations replace reality, The most typical psychosis for this group is paranoid schizophrenia. In other words, they have persistent notions that people are out to do them some kind of harm but they commonly get all mixed up as to who exactly is out to get them, for what reason, and what it is these people will do.
Reduced motivation. Some studies link pot smoking to reduced motivation, or amotivational syndrome. Users experiencing amotivation will procrastinate, forget, or simply choose not to do certain things. They begin to shirk some of life’s key responsibilities. They might do poorly in school or find it difficult to hold a job.
Lung problems. Pot smoking definitely damages the lungs. The lungs of long-term heavy users show decreased airflow compared to the lungs of nonusers. In addition, long-term heavy pot smoking leads to chronic bronchitis and most likely causes lung cancer.
Harm from accidents. Marijuana impairs the user’s driving ability and affects actual performance behind the wheel. Each year, thousands of accidents are reported in which the driver at fault was high on marijuana. In some of these accidents, people were killed.
When coming off pot, you can expect to become irritable, restless, or tense, and when feeling this way you’ll crave marijuana. This anxiety response will be mild, moderate, or heavy, depending on whether your habit was mild, moderate, or heavy. It will continue at least for weeks, usually for a few months, or perhaps even longer than a year. As part of the anxiety response, you might also experience insomnia, vivid dreams, or both.
In early recovery, you might experience sweating, mild nausea, or lack of appetite, This can last a few days or as long as a week.
THC remains in the fatty deposits in the body. Because of this, THC and its metabolites can be detected in the body as long as 3 weeks after smoking just one joint and can remain in the body for months after a period of heavy use,
Cocaine comes from the coca plant, Erythroxylon coca. Its green leaves contain the nutrients thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamin C and the psychoactive alkaloid cocaine.
For centuries, the indigenous people of the Andes Mountains have eaten coca leaves. They mix the leaves with an alkali (lime) that helps release the cocaine from the roughage. About 90% of the Indians indulge-some of them all day long-but the total amount of stimulant they ingest compares to the amount of stimulant Americans get from drinking coffee. The Indian who chews two ounces of leaves get about 0.7 grains of cocaine per day. A typical cocaine abuser might take six to eight grains per day, or about 10 times what the Indian ingests.
Cocaine. People make cocaine (known technically as cocaine hydrochloride) through a lengthy process using various chemicals and solvents. Starting with coca leaves and sulfuric acid, producers draw off the liquid and then add more acid, along with lime, water, gasoline, potassium permanganate, and ammonia. This creates a paste that is further refines by using kerosene, methyl alcohol, and more sulfuric acid, The result is the white crystalline powder that has a bitter, numbing effect when tasted. AKA: Coke, Snow, Snow White, Charlie, Toot, Nose Candy, C, C-Dust, Girl, Lady, Lady-Caine.
Crack. Crack is a form of “freebase” but is safer to produce than the original freebase, which required the chemical ether. Crack is made by boiling powdered cocaine with sodium bicarbonate. This “frees” the cocaine “base” from the cocaine hydrochloride. The base separates from solution as chunks of crack. AKA: Rock, Hard Rock, Pebbles, Stones, Gravel, Baby T, Cookies, Fries, White Ghost, Sleet.
Combinations. Some users will inject a combination of cocaine and heroin (AKA: Speedball, Dynamite, Murder One, Whizz-Bang). Some users will smoke crack with other smokable substances, such as tobacco (AKA: Coolie), marijuana or hashish, opium or amphetamines.
How it's used
Most people go for the coke high by snorting, that is, by inhaling cocaine hydrochloride into the nose. Some users dissolve this substance in water and inject it. Others smoke crack. The high from snorting begins within three to five minutes, peaks at 20 to 30 minutes, and lasts 40 to 50 minutes overall. For those who shoot, the “rush” hits within a few seconds and peaks within two to three minutes. Smoking delivers great quantities of cocaine-from lungs to blood to brain-within seconds, providing a rush that is similar to shooting up. Those with a needle habit might shoot up every 10 to 20 minutes for hours on end, and dedicated “crack stars” might toke up every five to 10 minutes for hours. Users refer to their continued, repetitive use over long periods of time as “missions” or “runs”
The joy of it
Cocaine acts as a stimulant. It exhilarates. It brings on feelings of intense pleasure and euphoria. It wakes us up.
When high, we feel full of energy and confidence, often we become more talkative, more physically active, or both. Cocaine depresses our appetite while heightening our sense of potency. We might feel more potent sexually, physically, or mentally.
When injecting cocaine, different people get different effects. Some might feel nauseous or experience upset stomach. Others might experience physical or even mental distress. Yet, almost universally, any unpleasant side effects will give way to an overpowering high or “rush.” Users variously describe this rush as “sheer pleasure,” “a total body orgasm,” or “body electrification.” Crack smokers report the same kind of riveting sensations from the rush. However, on a single run each successive shot or toke becomes less electrifying. Nevertheless, the user remembers that initial blast and keeps trying to replicate it. This is called “chasing the high.”
THe problems it causes
Heart problems. Cocaine increases the blood pressure and heart rate in every user. In many users, it causes irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
Lung problems. Cocaine dilates the bronchioles (the breathing tubes in the lungs). In fact, this action can offer temporary relief of asthma symptoms. However, symptoms of asthma increase when coming off cocaine, even among people who don’t have asthma. In other workds, the bronchioles become more restricted than usual, and breathing becomes strained.
if you smoke crack, your lungs take an extra hard hit because of the direct effects of the smoke. Some symptoms include constant hacking cough, bronchitis, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), and excessive fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Also, recent studies have linked crack smoking with lung cancer.
Nose and throat problems. If you snort coke, your chances of getting nose and throat problems increase significantly. Symptoms include inflammation of the lining of the nose (rhinitis), nasal bleeding, thinning of the lining of the nasal passages (nasal mucosa atrophy), inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis), hoarseness, and difficulty swallowing.
Danger of infection. If you shoot up coke, you run the risk of various infections. These include infections on the skin (abscesses) or infections under the skin (cellulitis) at injection sites, infection of the liver (hepatitis B), infection of the heart valves (bacterial endocarditis), AIDS, and the spread of infection throughout the body (sepsis).
Gastrointestinal problems. Cocaine raises the blood sugar by causing the liver to convert glycogen into glucose. Over a long period of time, this can lead to malfunction of the liver or pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin to regulate blood sugar. In every user, cocaine depresses the appetite, which over time can lead to weight loss. Coke also depletes the body’s store of vitamins, causing various vitamin deficiencies. On using, it often causes dry mouth and in some users causes vomiting or diarrhea.
Sexual dysfunction. When injected or smoked, cocaine can produce a spontaneous ejaculation. However, having sex while high is generally more difficult. Mend find it hard to maintain an erection. Women typically cannot reach orgasm.
Anxiety. Prolonged use of coke can lead to anxiety. Those who are affected become nervous, fidgety, and tense. Also this can generalize. We can experience the symptoms of anxiety long after we stop using.
Depression. Every time we come off cocaine, we get depressed. The longer the run and the more we used on the run, the deeper our depression becomes. It also generalizes. We can experience depression for months, even years, after breaking a long-term cocaine addiction, As part of our depression, we often find that nothing feels pleasurable anymore. That’s why, during a bout of depression, our coke cravings are highest. We can remember how much pleasure we felt when using. But in recovery, we gradually experience greater and greater pleasure in our lives as our brain chemistry slowly returns to normal.
Mental Illness. Cocaine can precipitate a mental illness or can cause us to appear mentally ill for a period of time. Coke commonly fills us with paranoia. We might begin thinking that someone’s at the door or at the window. We think we hear them. We might start looking out the curtains every few seconds. Some of us experience paranoid fears after just two hits of crack or two shots of coke. But the longer the run, the more likely we are to get paranoid fears, and the worse the fears become. They usually go away within a few days after we stop using, however, a small percentage of long term heavy users fall into a paranoid psychosis that remains for life, aside from delusions (such as the idea that “people are out to get me”), users can also hallucinate. These can be visual (seeing things that aren’t there), auditory (hearing things), or tactile (feeling things). One type of tactile hallucinations induced by cocaine is sometimes called “coke bugs,” the feeling that bugs are crawling on your skin.
Seizure and stroke. Research proves that cocaine use causes seizures in some people and strokes in others. Although grievous, these side effects are rare, occurring in a small percentage of people.
Danger of overdose. In significantly high doses, cocaine can kill in one of two ways: by causing heart attack or by causing respiratory failure, What’s a significantly high dose? Some experts figure the fatal dose of cocaine to be about one gram. This might be enough to take the life of a newcomer, but there are reports of heavy users having survived more than 20 grams.
When coming off coke, you can expect to be tired, depressed, and hungry. You might also have little patience, become easily irritated, or have a negative outlook on life.
You’ll almost certainly feel intense cravings for more substance, the longer and heavier your use, the longer it’ll take these cravings to go away. In recovery, cravings can remain intense for months, Gradually, the intensity and frequency of cravings decrease, but even years later a craving might occasionally pop up.
HEROIN, OPIATES, AND THE ANALGESICS
Heroin and the opiates derive from the poppy plant, paver somniferum, which displays a beautiful flower when in full bloom. Opium is the sticky, tarry substance produced within this plant’s seed pod.
For the past 6,000 years, the opium poppy has been cultivated for use in various medicinal preparations. Some of the earliest medicinal from this plant were probablu in the form of teas. We have evidence that people began smoking opium about 3,000 years ago in areas of Asia, Egypt, and Europe. In the Middle Ages, a preparation of opium called laudanum gained popularity in Europe. In 1803 the psychoactive substance morphine was isolated from an opium base, and in 1898 the semisynthetic heroin was refined from morphine.
The opiates have many medical uses, and many have been used for years as painkillers (analgesics). Also, because they cause respiratory depression and constipation, various preparations have been used as cough suppressants or antidiarrheals.
Today there are dozens of opiates. Some, such as heroin, are produced and sold illegally; others are produced legally but find their way into illegal markets on the streets. The opiates fall into three general categories: naturally occurring (opium, morphine, codeine, and thebaine), semisynthetic (heroin, hydromorphone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and buprenorphine), and synthetic (meperidine, methadone, LAAM, dextropropoxyphene, fentanyl, and pentazxocine).
Opium. This product is made from the thick, glue-like liquid that oozes from the plant’s seed pod. Producers dry it into a ball (gum opium) or pound it into a powder (opium powder). Opium is the active ingredient in various medicines used for the treatment of diarrhea (trade names: Paregoric, Parepectolin, Donnagel-PG). It’s also available in a couple of pain remedies (trade names: Pantopon, B&O Supprettes). AKA: O, Big O, Zero, Dreams, Gem, Hop, Tar, Skee, Toys, Chinese Molasses, Gong, Black Stuff, Black Pills. AKA for paregoric: Blue Velvet.
Morphine. This substance was named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams who was often depicted with a handful of opium poppies. Morphine is the principal psychoactive chemical in opum, ranging in concentrations from 4% to 21%. It is probably the most effective painkiller (analgesic) known to humans. In fact, it provides a standard against which new analgesics are measured. Morphine is prescribed mainly for the treatment of pain and sometimes as an adjunct to anesthesia. Trade names: Morphine Sulphate, Morphine Sulphate Injection, MS Contin, Oramorph SR, Duramorph, Roxanol. AKA: M, Morph, M.S., Dreamer, Miss Emma.
Codeine. This psychoactive alkaloid occurs in opium in concentrations ranging from 0.7% to 2.5%. Compared to morphine, it produces less sedation and respiratory depression and less analgesia. It is prescribed for relief of moderate pain or as an effective cough suppressant. Codeine has become the most widely used naturally occurring opiate in medical treatment in the world. Trade names: Codeine Phosphate Injection, Acetaminophen with Codeine, Aspirin with Codeine. AKA: Schoolboys, Pops.
Heroin. This drug was first synthesized from morphine in 1898 by the Bayer Company in Germany. It got its namefrom the German heroisch, which means “powerful”. This semisynthetic enters the brain more quickly than morphine because chemically it’s more soluble in fat. Once in the brain, it turns back into morphine. Heroin is most commonly available in powder form. Its color varies from pure whilte to dark brown. Sellers package it by the “bag”, each of which contains one dose equal to about 100 milligrams. This product hails from Mexico, where crude processing methods prevail, thus the dark color. Its purity ranges from 20% to 80%. AKA: H, Big H, Horse, Smack, White Lady, White Stuff, Junk, Dope, Mojo, Brown, Mud.
Methadone and related synthetics. Methadone acts like heroin and morphine but doesn’t resemble the opiates in chemical form. Medically, it’s used in heroin detoxification and maintenance programs. Methadone’s effects last longer than heroin’s-up to 24 hours-so it’s ideal for once-a-day maintenance doses (AKA: Dollies, Dolls, Wafers). A chemical cousin to methadone, levo-alphacetylmethadol (LAAM) produces similar effects to methadone but lasts even longer. In 1994 this drug was approved as an alternative treatment for narcotics addiction (trade name: ORLAAM). Currently, researchers are testing yet another drug, the semisynthetic opiate buprenorphine, for use in treatment of narcotics addiction (trade name: Buprenex). Another relative of methadone, propoxyphene, acts as a weak analgesic and is not much stronger than aspirin (trade names: Darvon-N, Darvon Compound-65, Wygesic). AKA: Pinks-and-Greys.
Other synthetics. This group includes alphaprodine (trade name: Nisentil), which is prescribed for pain; diphenoxylate (lomotil) for diarrhea; levorphanol (Levo-Dromoran) for pain; loperamide (Immodium) for diarrhea; buteorphanol (Stadol) for pain; and nalbuphine (Nubain) for pain.
Combinations. Users have combined this group of drugs with many other substances. Some of the more popular combinations (along with the street names for each) include heroin and cocaine (Speedball, Whizz Bang, Dynamite, Murder One), Heroin and tobacco (Duster), heroin and marijuana (Atom Bomb, A-Bomb), heroin or other opiate with amphetamines, opium with marijuana (O.J.), Talwain with the antihistamine pyribenzamine (T’s and Blues).
How They're Used
A large percentage of heroin users fo for the high by injection, either intravenously (“mainlining”), subcutaneously (“skin popping”), or intramuscularly. As the purity of heroin has increased, however, more occasional users, called “chippers,” have entered dreamland by snorthing or smoking the powder. Opium users almost always smoke the substance.
Hardcore heroin addicts will seek most any analgesic when the smack supply runs short. A favorite is Dilaudid. If the substance comes in tablet form, as Dilaudid does, users will often grind it into powder, dissolve it in water, and shoot it. Otherwise, both chippers and hardcore addicts will take analgesics the way they were intended, that is, orally in tablets, capsules, or liquid preparations.
The high from most of the opiates lasts from two to six hours. However, at one extreme fentanyl lasts only an hour or so, and at the other LAAM lasts a couple of days. The high from fentanyl injection is the quickest of all the analgesics to reach peak levels in the brain (two to four seconds). Heroin is slower, taking a couple of minutes, and morphine takes about five minutes. The high from snorting heroin takes even longer to reach peak levels, and anyone who takes analgesics orally must wait the longest for the high to hit, about a half hour or so.
Researchers find two patterns of abuse. In one pattern, users start on the streets with illicit opiates. These users start as chippers. Some of whom graduate to freater and greater use and some of whom don’t. Typically, they begin by snorting, smoking, pill popping, or drinking liquid preparations such as cough syrups or Paragoric. Those who graduate go to skin popping or mainlining. In the other pattern, users get started on analgesics in a meducal setting and, over a period of time, develop “a habit”. They become addicted to their prescribed medication. Typically, these users begin “doctor dhopping.” They bounce from doctor to doctor seeking scripts for painkillers, often faking symptoms with the premeditated poise of great actors and actresses. Many who follow this pattern of addiction will, at some point, begin seeking illicit opiates on the street.
The joy of it
When we take opiates, it’s as if Morpheus enters our very being. Everything becomes dream-like. Our cares and troubles float away. Our eyelids, like those of meditating Buddha, rest serenely in a half-closed position. We feel comfortable, we become drowsy and sleepy, and sometimes we nod off into our very own slumberland. We feel as if we’ve entered a warm, safe place-a place where we’re protected, cared for, and tenderly held-a place very much like the womb.
Mainliners get a rush, a climatic sensation that some compare to orgasm. Although this rush resembles the jolt from cocaine or methamphetamine, it’s not as powerfully orgasmic. Mainliners also typically experience a period of nausea along with, or just after, the rush. This discomfort is sometimes resolved by dedicating a few minutes to the act of vomiting. The opiates were originally called “narcotics,” a word derived from the Greek narkotikos, meaning “benumbing” or “causing sleep.” These numbing sensations, the absence of pain and the warm, dreamy feelings create a powerful attraction for the recreational use of these drugs.
The problems it causes
Lung problems. The opiates cause a decrease in breathing rate and depth. In fact, breathing becomes dangerously impaired at higher doses. In addition, of you smoke opiates, you increase your chances of smoke-related lung problems. You might experience hacking cough, bronchitis, and other difficulties.
Gastrointestinal problems. The opiates cause constipation. Many heavy users can’t move their bowels for days and sometimes go for even a week or more without any bowel movements. This problem resolves with abstinence.
Sexual dysfunction. Users experience a decreased sexual desire and a decreased ability to perform sexually. Males often can’t get erection (impotence). This problem usually resolves when opiates are discontinued. However, a small percentage who used opiates addictively, and in combination with other substances, report that their impotence continued long after they had quit all the drugs. Female addicts can experience lack of menstrual period (amenorrhea), which resolves when opiates are discontinued.
Malnutrition. Heavy users tend to be malnourished or undernourished. The reason is uncertain. It may happen because heavy users don’t attend to the body’s need for food or because they spend too much time and energy acquiring more of the drug.
Danger of infection. If you shoot heroin or other opiates, you run the risk of various infections. These include infections on the skin (abscesses) or under the skin (cellulitis) at injection sites, infection of the veins (thrombophlebitis), inflammation of the veins (often caused by injecting particles that were not ground fine enough to completely dissolve), infection of the liver (hepatitis B), infection of the heart valves (endocarditis), AIDS, and brain and lung abscesses.
Danger of overdose. With opiates, the danger of overdose looms large. The problem arises mainly because these drugs depress the respiration. Death from depressed respiration usually occurs within minutes after an injection. The user falls into a coma and never revives.
Usually, overdose occurs after a single injection. It happens because the dose from that injection is higher than the user could tolerate. With street heroin varying in purity from 10% to 80%, this becomes a real problem. Also with fentanyl and its analogs the danger is even greater because of the greater because of the greater potency of these synthetics. Since fentanyl came on the scene, it has caused many deaths from overdose. Methadone, too, has led to many overdose deaths due to use in non-medical settings. A note on Darvon: It has numerous toxic side effects and, as reported by medical examiners in the United States, is one of the top 10 drugs in causing drug abuse deaths.
Withdrawal begins with a runny nose, watery eyes, yawning, and sweating. Then you experience chills and goose bumps (where the term “cold turkey” came from), along with flu-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. You also get muscle aches and spasms and the typical leg-kicking response due to leg spasms (which gave rise to the phrase “kicking the habit”). You also feel pains in the muscles and bones. You’re unable to sleep. You might feel anxiety, tension, anger, or hostility. Finally, you feel like nothing is enjoyable in life, and you crave opiates.
The physical symptoms peak at two to four days and disappear within seven to 10 days. The mental symptoms-feeling like nothing’s enjoyable and the craving of opiates- will continue. In fact, these two symptoms are connected. You know that opiates will take away any bad feelings and make life enjoyable again. You know this at a gun level. This happens in your mind, but it feels as if your whole body craves. These mental symptoms will last a few months at least, maybe even a year or more. However, they continue to diminish in frequency and intensity as long as you remain in recovery.