In the quagmire of a world consumed by the pro-life vs. pro-choice, pro-legalization vs. decriminalization vs. prohibition, and pro-euthanasia vs. pro-suffering (or pro-life if I’m being charitable), it can be worrying to learn that people do what the hell they want, have done for centuries, and will do for centuries more.
Yet, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that dangerous legal highs are used in the void left by legal marijuana in New Zealand since prohibition elsewhere has ended in communities drinking jet fuel and highly toxic moonshine. Propriety is often used as an excuse to claim that alcohol or drugs are bad, but it seems to me that it is another case of ‘if I can’t see or smell it, it’s not there’. Wealthy communities arm home to craft beer and wine stores, while lower income areas are filled with gambling bars and crates of low-grade beer. If you have never tried Double Brown… just don’t. I call Waikato Draft ‘river water’, and not for any good reason. Basically, even if as some of the conservative commentators say, the war on drugs was never fought properly, I would argue that any such war has been and would continue to be pointless. People innovate, get their high elsewhere, and hide their world from outsiders.
Micro-dosing has been touted as the next step in bringing illicit drugs into the light. The concept is not actually new in any way. Vice ran a documentary series on Weed, Ganja, Hashish, and other such Marijuana products used around the world. One episode showed that Africans had used marijuana as medicine throughout their long history. It was used at carefully designated volumes and concentrations, such that what was going might be called dosing, if not micro-dosing. Marijuana is also usually consumed for recreation alongside medication, and now all those middle class socially acceptable drug addicts can point their fingers in derision, just be careful not to drop that double brandy or a Cuban cigar. I would say ‘pot, kettle, black’, but I’m pretty sure that whiskey and water cure for a chest infection is a bullshit excuse, so the proverbial ‘pot’ has melted atop the hypocrisy.
Now, many in the drug science community are claiming the idea ‘micro-dosing’ for themselves. Even so, a Native American told me that his culture had been micro-dosing for centuries, that it was funny micro-dosing has become popular now, and that drugs must be surrounded by a ceremony to be safe, or in other words for the more secular, procedures.
New companies have come up with new ‘neurotropic’ supplements, which are like vitamins for the brain. Most are made from natural ingredients and claim to help with problem-solving, sentence construction, general alertness, and cognition. I have no idea whether they are as effective as the companies who make them claim they are, but it is another example of people dosing themselves to get an edge.
That is micro-dosing, the premise that we take a tiny dose of something that otherwise might be detrimental to us in high volumes, to gain an edge. LSD has been touted as a new window into consciousness, MDMA at low doses is supposed to help with PTSD and anxiety, Marijuana is being treated as a wonder drug for veterans in the United Kingdom. Elsewhere, though not an example of micro-dosing as such, Kava has been linked to better sleep, propounded to help with anxiety, depression, and perhaps even provide effective pain management. Kava is a mild soporific and may be a valid non-addictive alternative to Benzodiazepine. In another case, some adventurers habitually inject themselves with toxic snake venom to boost their immune system (This is not advised). Some seem to be successful, others are rushed to the hospital or the grave. All that cannot be ignored, but neither should it be hailed as the next step in drug administration. Having said that, people will do it anyway, so we might as well explore the possible benefits.
It should be said that the whole idea of micro-dosing is not strictly radical. Medicine has been doing it for hundreds of years. That is why there are instructions on bottles which tell you to take two a day, once after breakfast and once before bed. Aspirin is an example of a drug derived from natural sources, a tree bark, that has been synthesized and measured carefully to ensure correct dosage. Medicine — even with the thorn in its side which is big-pharma — is not playing catch-up with micro-dosing, which they would probably just call dosing.
A final note is to all those who are mistaking what I am saying for homoeopathy or any of that other water nonsense. Micro-dosing is dosing at safe levels, it is turning something that is far too toxic for safe human consumption into something that has benefits. Water will not cure cancer, but codeine — an opiate — is routinely added to paracetamol in low volumes so that the pain relief is more effective, and it works. As long as you don’t have a system that dolls out strong opiates for everything then it will not be a problem. Such a problem is caused by the system, not by sensible dosing. Thus, illicit drugs like LSD and MDMA may soon be used routinely in medicine, and Marijuana may become as legal as cigarettes in New Zealand. The former could revolutionize medicine (it might not too), and the latter will not cause any problems — it will pale in comparison to cigarettes and alcohol — provided any governments involved take regulation seriously.