Using a technique called x-ray crystallography, University of North Carolina School of Medicine scientists have for the first time captured images of LSD in action. In doing so, they have also learned the drug does not get removed from the brain of a user after just four hours as until just recently thought, but instead LSD gets “locked” inside the brain’s serotonin receptor cells until the body eventually identifies the receptor-LSD complexes as foreign, at which point it disassembles/degrades/recycles them. The discovery represents “a major clue for why the psychoactive effects of LSD last so long.” The LSD molecule gets locked into place because part of the receptor clamps over the drug molecule, similar to a lid.
“We think this lid is likely why the effects of LSD can last so long,” said Roth, who holds a joint appointment at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “LSD takes a long time to get onto the receptor, and then once it’s on, it doesn’t come off. And the reason is this lid.”
Eventually, though, an acid trip ends. Some LSD molecules pop off their receptors as the lid moves around. Also, brain cells eventually respond to this strange molecule by sucking the receptor into the cell, where it – along with the LSD—is degraded or disassembled for recycling.
The scientists hope to continue in their research to figure out a way to remove the side effects of LSD, not because they are proponents of its use a recreational drug but because LSD could have potential for medical use, such as in the form of a treatment for people with depression, anxiety, or even autism.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently shared its top 20 confiscations of 2016, posting images of the creative ways smugglers have attempted to transport illegal products – not just drugs – across the border. Our favorite? Fake carrots stuffed with marijuana.
Hit the jump below for some more crazy photos of tortillas stuffed with meth, coconuts filled with weed, and an entire roasted pig someone tried to get pass customs .
An Arlington, TX police officer recently discovered a teen smoking weed on public property outside a local movie theater. Since the boy was respectful, the cop gave the boy a choice – either he could get arrested or do 200 push-ups as his punishment. He chose the latter. Afterwards, Officer Eric Ball reportedly went and found the kid’s mother, who reportedly thanked him and told him she would’ve made him do even more push-ups.
A quick reference chart of bad (meaning potentially lethal) drug combinations, provided by TripSit. It’s not meant to suggest any drug combination – or even any single drug – is good or safe, but the chart was created as a risk assessment tool for those who are already committed to using drugs. TripSit lists this as the third and most recent version of its chart, incorporating corrections to past mistakes, but makes it clear it is “not intended as a sole reference point” for decision-making.
In a first, in northwest China scientists have found actual cannabis plants left on top of the body of a middle-aged man who was buried around 2,500 years ago. The plants appeared to have been used as a shroud to cover the man.
Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man’s chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face.
Cannabis plant parts, such as seeds, have been found before in such archaeological digs, but this is the first time complete complete plants have been found. According to National Geographic, the find adds to a growing body of archaeological evidence showing cannabis consumption was widespread across the Eurasian steppe thousands of years ago.
Well, technically drugs aren’t completely legal in Portugal (trafficking in and selling them will still earn you to a ticket to jail). But since 2000 possession of all drugs for personal use has been decriminalized to where if you are caught carrying a small amount of any drug, at worst it would earn you a small fine and you would be sent on your way, with no arrest or criminal record. (This amounts to a 10-day supply — a gram of heroin, ecstasy, or amphetamine, two grams of cocaine, or 25 grams of cannabis). Despite this, deaths due to drug overdose are the second-lowest in the European Union. HIV infections have also dropped dramatically.
The rate of new HIV infections in Portugal has fallen precipitously since 2001, the year its law took effect, declining from 1,016 cases to only 56 in 2012. Overdose deaths decreased from 80 the year that decriminalization was enacted to only 16 in 2012. In the US, by comparison, more than 14,000 people died in 2014 from prescription opioid overdoses alone. Portugal’s current drug-induced death rate, three per million residents, is more than five times lower than the European Union’s average of 17.3, according to EU figures.
Portugal’s officials estimate that by the late 1990s one percent of its population, around 100,000 people, were heroin users, compared to around half that many today. So why did decriminalization result in such positive results? It’s complicated, but it likely has to do with the country coming to regard drug use as less of a criminal problem and more of a public health issue – those who are repeatedly caught using drugs or identified as addicts can still be ordered into treatment or to check in regularly with their family doctor.
In 2008, while the fictional Walter White first began building his methamphetamine empire on AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad, a real meth chef by the same name was arrested for manufacturing and trafficking the drug in Alabama. White was featured in a VICE documentary released yesterday about his adventures as one of the best crystal meth cooks in the state.
“My name is Walter White and I’m a meth cook,” White said in the documentary. “For 10 years I had the best meth in Alabama. If you wanted the best meth, you had to come this way, you had to come to me.”
White added at the height of his meth-making and drug-selling business, he was making several thousand dollars a day.
In the above video taken at some point in the 1950s, Dr. Sidney Cohen (author of The Beyond Within: The L.S.D. Story), administers LSD under clinical conditions to an anonymous self-described “normal” person. Her description of what she is seeing and feeling during her acid trip is hilarious.
Check out this map of the drug war in Mexico which shows drug-related homicides in different locations around the country. The size of the markers indicate the number of homicides at that location. By selecting a marker, you can view a graph showing the number of homicides over the last eight years. The included drawing tools also allow you to search a custom area on the map.
There have been reports of local law enforcement putting up fake narcotics checkpoint warning signs on freeways, resulting in panicky drivers getting off at the very next exit immediately after the checkpoint — which is where the real police checkpoint is set up.
So, moral of the story: if you see one of these signs on the highway, keep cool and don’t get off the freeway!