1. Drugscape

An Introduction #

Psychoactive substances are generally considered to be materials that alter perception, mood or consciousness. However, the context of their use far exceeds that of recreation. As entheogens, many are used for ritual, spiritual, or shamanic purposes, and are immersed in history. Others are used to explore new insights and engineer different perspectives, both for personal development, nootropic, and academic purposes.

This book embraces all of these dimensions. It charts and examines the entire drugscape, which was investigated and researched during a time of unparalleled access to psychoactive materials of all types and classes.


This was an unprecedented period of chemical discovery and innovation, which was fuelled by demand for legal highs. A substantial array of popular and emerging research chemicals was developed and brought to the market. These chemicals were systematically obtained and sampled, and are reported in the first half of the book.

Equally, full advantage was taken of the fact that the import of almost all psychotropic botanicals was entirely legal, enabling methodical desktop research to be undertaken without geographic restraint. Simultaneously, the world was traversed to experience as many as possible in an authentic setting. These are reported in the second half of the book.

Whilst the media distorted public perception, via the sort of misreporting and censorship which has been almost universally standard with respect to the grotesqueries of the war on drugs, a window of opportunity remained open: the opportunity to explore a new and developing frontier, rationally and relatively unhindered.

It was recognized from the outset that this situation wouldn’t last. It would only be a matter of time before ideological legislation blindly closed many of the available avenues, making some of the materials almost impossible to acquire.

An intentional and sustained effort was therefore made to sample and research materials from across the entire canopy of the psychoactive landscape, within the time frame available. The approach was systematic and structured, purposely alternating between the different drug classifications, and where possible, between chemical and botanical forms.

The layout of each individual report is framed to introduce the named psychoactive via factual and objective data, followed by a narrative of subjective experience. The latter comprise a mixture of live trip reports (logs recorded during the experience itself) and experience summaries which were documented retrospectively.

Given that they were usually written whilst under the influence of a psychoactive, the live reports can be a little disjointed, and are sometimes less eloquent than they might be. However, to retain authenticity, only minimal editing has been applied. It should also be noted here that these are individual experiences, and that they can differ widely, from person to person. They are dependent upon personal physiology and psychology, and in many cases, upon set and setting.

For each substance or material, basic information is also quoted from a number of third party harm reduction sources. These offer important public services, and the references provide generic rather than individual experience data.


The social-media drug scene is unsurprisingly dominated by the United States. However, the overlap of the particular drugs used in the United States and the rest of the English speaking world, including the UK, is huge. Even those chemicals and botanicals which are widely used in the United States but not elsewhere are globally available, courtesy of a little effort.

To make this book relevant to all, I therefore imported where possible, and travelled where necessary. Ensuring applicability and credibility across the international domain was a clear objective throughout.

Whilst references to the UK situation may be present in the first and final sections of the book, the major content is location neutral, and any such reference can be taken as illustrative of the situation in most other nations.

With respect to terminology, on those rare occasions on which a chemical or botanical has different common names between nations effort has been made to specify and explain all such nomenclature.


The contents are the product of a scientific pursuit, a quest for knowledge, and an adventure. They are the fruits of a journey of the mind, but one from which important lessons were drawn and recorded. The first and foremost of these was safety.

It is strongly recommended that Section 1.1 is the first port of call for anyone who intends to embark upon a psychoactive experience. These measures, and those further elaborated throughout the book, should never be skipped or shortcut.

Finally, none of this information is intended to encourage the use of any legal or illegal compound. It comprises data and insight which is provided to support harm reduction, and a safer approach by anyone experimenting with any of the materials covered.