4.7.1 Q&A

Q&A #

The following are the answers given by the author of this book in response to questions framed via Reddit and by the proof reader.

Q: Which psychedelics have you found to be the most interesting and potentially the most beneficial for your personal development?
A: This is very much influenced by factors such as set and setting, and dose. In my personal case I would say the following (in order of impact): ayahuasca; 1p-LSD; san pedro cactus; magic mushrooms; DMT. I feel that these were of enormous benefit, in much the same way as commonly articulated by others. They bestowed a wider perspective, a greater understanding of the nature of consciousness, an awareness of oneness and connectedness, and so forth. Overall I think they made me a kinder and better person.

Q: Which drugs have you most enjoyed recreationally?
A: In terms of physical high, amphetamine. It always came at a cost, however, which is why I never used it regularly. My brain subsequently felt like a car which had had all the oil sucked out of it. I usually felt drained for days.

Ephenidine is worth a mention too, because at a low dose it delivered both recreation and insight. Ketamine, cannabis, kava, and mephedrone are also worthy of honourable mentions, although it’s quite difficult to be exclusive.

Q: What was the best drug for chemsex?
A: The experience differs significantly from class to class. I would suggest that certain stims (particularly amphetamines) produce the most prolonged intensive orgasmic pleasure. Cannabis helps you to get lost in the moment and flow with it. At lower doses some psychedelics can take you to a different place, and enhance sensitivity. Empathogens tend to take a similar path, with a more muted headspace, but hardly surprisingly increased empathy.

I would offer some caution though. It is important to bear in mind that judgement is often impaired, and that events can develop quickly and potentially without due consideration. If applicable it is probably not the best idea for a single party to heavily engage whilst the other(s) doesn’t. Equally, parameters should be agreed beforehand.

I would again re-enforce the commentary I make under the entry for methamphetamine, including with respect to relationships and addiction. Finally, the compound stress of sex and drugs on the body should also be contemplated. See Section 1.3.4 of this book.

Q: What is the worst experience you have had?
A: The terrifying delirium of nutmeg, many years ago, and the paranoia and trauma of a couple of synthetic cannabinoids. All these were horrendous.

Q: Have you ever suffered an addiction?
A: No. Alcohol is the only drug I have consumed too regularly.

Q: Is there anything you wish you had never taken?
A: If anything, alcohol. At least the bad experiences I mentioned with respect to other drugs were once-only situations, which affected no other person. Alcohol, being presented socially at every turn, lends itself to repeated self-abuse, and it induces behaviour which affects others, often adversely. I have done many stupid things under the influence of alcohol, which I regret, but this almost certainly applies to most people (not that this is a viable excuse).

Q: Have you ever been arrested?
A: Not yet.

Q: What is your opinion of the war on drugs?
A: I consider it to be a war on humanity, initially declared by a man who was guilty of many crimes against humanity, Richard Nixon. When considering the war on drugs, it is always worth bearing in mind the words of Nixon’s domestic policy chief, John Ehrlichman. I will quote the piece, as reported by CNN.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did”

This was never about public harm or a social scourge. It was driven by politics, control and corporate interests. Also relevant here is the axiom: truth is the first casualty of war. The media, at least the mainstream media, has self evidently been pushing an unremitting diet of lies and propaganda for generations. The cost of this insanity is incalculable, not least in the loss of human life and the mass incarceration of human beings.

Q: Should drugs be legal?
A: Albert Einstein once said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Prohibition is surely a testament to the accuracy of this statement. Yes, absolutely, drugs should be legal, and health and education should drive public drug policy.

Q: Is there any drug that you wanted to cover but couldn’t obtain?
A: There were a couple that got away. Methaqualone (quaalude) is one of them. Sourcing this was even a primary mission of a visit to South Africa, where I had heard that it was available, but I was unable to track it down in the time I had. Another is khat, a stimulant plant which is native to Ethiopia.* Perhaps one way of looking at this is that if I couldn’t find these after 10 years of trying they are unlikely to be missed by most readers of this book.

Q: What is your political persuasion – left or right?
A: Left. Not only because drug policy reform is far more likely to come from the left (IMHO), but because I always vote for the helping hand and against the iron fist. Note also that this book was largely written during the international rise of a particularly unpleasant group of far-right authoritarian truth deniers (inclusive of Trump, Johnson and Morrison).

Q: What do you think of people potentially using your book to start using drugs but then becoming addicted?
A: I don’t think it works like that. Anyone considering the use of a drug (or drugs) is already on the path to using them. Indeed, having read my account for a drug, they may well decide that it isn’t for them. I don’t promote or glorify; I present truthful and honest accounts to the best of my ability. If they are going to proceed anyway, I refer to what I state throughout: it is far better to do this armed with sensible harm reduction and safety data than to embark from a position of relative ignorance.

Q: What do you think is missing from everyday life in society that makes people want to escape reality by using drugs in the first place?
A: This is not necessarily an accurate precept. Many people do use drugs to escape misery, but equally many simply use them for pleasure or for exploration. In either case, the book is intended to help mitigate the inherent risks: it won’t solve the causes of social anguish.

Q: Have you prepared yourself for an inevitable blame people will place on you (likely unwarranted) that your advice or disclaimers are not considered? Philosophically how do you mentally project this?
A: I could answer this in many ways, but I think it is important to understand what is actually in the book and balance risk. I provide information; I don’t tell people to take drugs.

I thought long and hard about this, for example, with respect to my own kids. If they were going to take drugs would I prefer them to navigate the drug world without the information in the book, or with it? The answer is with it.

Equally, when I took the 181 drugs myself I theoretically had a similar choice, and through thorough research and investigation I actioned the equivalent conclusion. I didn’t want to die on this project.

Hopefully you understand my point: the choice is between ignorance and potentially life-saving knowledge.

Will people blame me if someone dies regardless? Probably, but that doesn’t make the blame justified. I am possibly an easy target for prohibitionists and the propagandistic media.

Drugs don’t kill per se: the erroneous use of drugs kills. The void in understanding kills. All I have sought to do is to fill some of that void, as well as I could. Education saves lives.

Q: Have any of the drugs you have taken had a lasting negative effect? Like memory loss, bright light fright, concentration difficulties and so on. If so, which ones?
A: It is really hard to be objective. For example, how can I measure my own memory loss? Also, how do I differentiate between the negative effects of drug use and the natural deterioration that comes with age?

I don’t experience any obvious issues, and I don’t have any known medical conditions. Beyond this I feel fit and healthy, touch wood.

I am probably considered to be a little weird in a social or cultural context, but that may have been a prerequisite to embark upon this exercise in the first place.

Q: Are there any that you regularly experience intense cravings for? Which was the hardest to resist going “too far” with?
A: Methamphetamine invoked the most intense cravings and was the hardest to resist. Had I more than the 100mg available (and I made sure beforehand that I didn’t), I would have continued to binge.

Q: Do you use recreational drugs when not researching for your book?
A: I will smoke weed in Amsterdam, and I will explore the local psychoactive when I am travelling. For example, I recently engaged bhang lassi whilst visiting Varanasi in India.

But generally, do I sit at home and use drugs, or even go to the pub every week to use alcohol? No.

I would regard myself as a casual user, occasionally engaging if and when an appropriate scenario emerges. I try to use them to enhance my life experience rather than to resolve problems.

Q: How has the research for this book affected your own everyday life?
A: One of the objectives of the safety regime documented in the first section is to help reduce the impact of regular drug use upon a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t lose sight of this during my own research.

The intensity of the project, in terms of demands upon my time, certainly presented issues, but I was always able to undertake ordinary roles and responsibilities, and largely without disgracing myself. Behind this, however, I cannot deny that I changed as a person.

Q: What is your greatest wish with respect to this book?
A: That the people who would most benefit from the information within it actually get to see it, by whatever means.