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5% Discount on Legal Highs, Salvia Divinorum and Everything Else From The Coffeesh0p

Coffeesh0p Is Doing Great

So, I’ve been playing around with Excel (read: pro­cras­tin­ating) a lot lately and pro­duced these lovely looking graphs. Since they do look ever so lovely, and without revealing too much, I thought I’d post them here, along with a healthy dose of good advice. Also, the second two show the first month’s results from my little article exper­i­ment.

The X axis rep­res­ents the months from Jan 2007 until Dec 2008. The extra­pol­ated curves of best fit do not take into account December’s data.
Orders
I guess this first graph shows we’re here to stay — this is the number of orders placed with us each month. While the number of orders placed last month is a little lower than November’s data, this is con­sistent with most other e-​​commerce sites, who all see a slump in traffic (and sales) over the hol­i­days. Who’d have thought people would prefer to spend time with their fam­ilies rather than shop online? The same thing also occurs during December of last year. Still, not bad for a reces­sion.

Traffic

This graph shows overall traffic to the site. Internet mar­ket­eers may be inter­ested to learn that the dis­tinct peaks rep­resent my limited foray into social book­marking. Notice how the same months in the pre­vious graph do not show any similar increases in the amounts of orders placed. This just goes to show that social book­marking is shite for e-​​commerce.

One final point: traffic dropped sig­ni­fic­antly in December — far more than you’d expect over the hol­i­days. For­tu­nately, this was exactly as I’d planned. December was when I moved all the old art­icles over to this blog, and art­icles are big traffic-​​generating machines. Take note, budding mar­ket­eers — article mar­keting can really drive traffic to your site! Compare the month of December on both graphs so far though — while traffic dropped sig­ni­fic­antly, the number of orders decreased only slightly. There are also plenty of other things you can do with old static content, so make sure you don’t let things stagnate.

conversion-rate

This final graph shows each month’s con­ver­sion rate — that is, the per­centage of vis­itors who go on to place an order. December’s data shows a sig­ni­ficant increase as soon as I moved those art­icles, which just goes to show — traffic isn’t everything! It sur­prised me that before then, the con­ver­sion rate was still con­tinu­ally on the rise. I must have been doing some­thing right. Unfor­tu­nately though, many, many things can affect your con­ver­sion rates, none of which have a par­tic­u­larly large effect. Here’s a great post on 108 ways you can increase your con­ver­sion rates.

Why I should Be Worried

There’s no doubt about it — our little herbal highs hobby is kicking some ass, but it’s not all good news. More orders means more work, and right now me and my girl­friend are in the last term of our final year at uni­ver­sity, so time is not some­thing we have in abundance.

We might have to hire someone…

Posted in Internet Marketing | Tagged article marketing, coffeesh0p, conversion rates, e-commerce, traffic |

How To Grow Salvia Divinorum: A Rough Guide

Green Fingers

Buying Your Plant

The most expensive part of growing Salvia Divinorum on a organic/​semi-​​organic basis is actu­ally buying a cutting or whole plant. I managed to get my plant for £12 including postage and pack­aging. After this follows compost and a suit­able size pot.

There are many places to find salvia plants/​cuttings, not only at local plant nurs­eries, but all over the internet; there’s at least one salvia plant on ebay at any one time. It’s worth noting that prices can vary sig­ni­fic­antly with little vari­ation in quality, so make sure you shop around.

Try and buy a plant locally if you can. If not, def­in­itely buy from a website based in your home country to min­imise the time it spends in an envelope.

Growing A Cutting

When your cutting arrives, remove it from it’s pack­aging extremely care­fully and let it sit in luke warm water. Assuming your cutting already has roots, leave it in the water for a couple of hours. If no roots are present, leave it in the water for a week or so until there’s enough root growth present to allow for potting.

After it’s sat in water for a while, it’s time to plant it. You’ll need a pot at least 20-​​30cm wide to allow your cutting to grow without having to be repotted every couple of months. The first thing to do is place some gravel or broken crockery into your pot up to about 5cm from the bottom. This thin layer allows for superior drainage after watering. After that, fill the pot up with your loam based compost avail­able from any gardening store and dig a little hole in the centre where your plant will sit. Next, take your cutting, splay out the roots gently with your fingers and place the cutting into the hole you provided. Back­fill the hole with more compost and com­press down lightly around the stem of your plant.

Trav­el­ling through the mys­teries of the postal service and being stuck in some soil is thirsty work for a plant. Imagine you have been slaving away all day in the blis­tering sun, doing vast quant­ities of manual labour. How badly are you gagging for a pint at your local? This is how your plant is feeling right now. Although your plant needs a drink, don’t feel obliged to buy it any peanuts. Now your plant is potted, give it enough water so that excess water will drip from the bottom of the pot.

From here, I advise you to put the plant in a humid envir­on­ment, at least at first, to promote healthy growth. Just like a fat kid loves cake, Salvia Divinorum loves indirect sun­light. This can be any­where such as a light room with no direct sun blazing down on it all day, or even dir­ectly in the sun, but behind a net curtain. Provided your plant is not exposed to too much direct sun­light, it will do all right.

Leave it a few weeks and your cutting will start turning into a fully-​​fledged plant. Keep an eye on the compost, making sure it doesn’t dry up. Water once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter. Just be careful to never over water your plant, or root rot could set in.

Growing & Maintaining A Plant

Growing an estab­lished plant is almost the same as growing a cutting. Salvia Divinorum can be very flex­ible about its growing con­di­tions, but a quick change in con­di­tions will most likely piss your plant right off. You have to con­sider that your plant has already been growing for prob­ably quite some time in certain con­di­tions, which it is now used to. These includes, but is not limited to, dif­ferent light levels, compost, humidity, etc so it is very important to find out as much as you can about these con­di­tions from the plant’s pre­vious owner, then try to match those con­di­tions as best you can. Once the plant has been repotted and is begin­ning to settle into it’s new envir­on­ment, then you can slightly alter it’s envir­on­ment a little each day until you have it growing in con­di­tions easy for you to maintain.

The growth of the plant at first will be slow. Remember, it’s been shoved in an envelope for a few days with no light, so it’ll need to recover from that trau­matic exper­i­ence before it will even think about new growth. This can take up to around 2 weeks before any pro­gress can be seen.

Look out for the leaves and edges of the plant turning brown, this means it is NOT in the right con­di­tions. There are many things it could want, but chances are it’s some­thing to do with humidity. Try misting the leaves if your envir­on­ment is not very humid, or con­sider building a humidity tent or moving the plant into the bath­room, where people use the shower fre­quently. The stem, and pos­sibly the leaves should return to normal in a couple of weeks. If not, cut the leaves off at the stem to facil­itate new growth.

Some­times the leaves might turn a yel­lowish colour. Never fear, it just means your plant could do with some more sun. This could be because other leaves on the plant are blocking out light, in which case, feel free to remove those other leaves and do with them what you will.

If your plant is wilting, it simply means it could do with more water. And if it’s bent, try rotating the pot 180 degrees. Plants will grow towards the sun, which could be causing the bowing in the stem.

Miscellaneous Tips

Auto­matic Watering — One method for ensuring your plant always has enough water is by setting up a low main­ten­ance auto­matic watering system. You’ll need some organic rope (NOT plastic), a drill and a tray. Firstly drill two holes near the base of your pot in the side and push your rope into one side and out the other. Make sure there is plenty of slack inside the pot. The next step is to pot your plant or cutting as described above, only this time, wrap the slack from the rope around the root system of your plant before you pack it out with soil. You should now have one plant in its pot with two bits of rope hanging down from either side. Finally, place a couple of bricks, a lump of wood, or some other object into your tray and fill the tray up with water. Place your pot onto the bricks, wood, or whatever and allow the two pieces of rope to dangle into the water. This will auto­mat­ic­ally deliver enough water to the plant all the time.

Pinching — Pinching is a method to promote bush­i­ness and outward growth in your plants instead of growing too tall. At the tip of each branch, there is a section called the apical mer­istem. This is where all the new growth comes from and is respons­ible for reg­u­lating a plant hormone called indole-​​3-​​acetic acid (IAA). This hormone pro­motes the growth of the main stem and inhibits side­ways growth from nodes along the stem. If this hormone weren’t present in the plant, it would grow out­wards instead of upwards, so it follows that if you remove the apical mer­istem, this hormone will no longer be pro­duced and your plant will bush out instead of grow tall.

When your plant has reached the desired height, cutting off the top of the main stem with a clean sharp pair of scis­sors will safely stop the plant from growing taller, while max­im­ising leaf output.

Posted in Drugs | Tagged cultivation, cuttings, growing, pinching, salvia divinorum |

Animal Testing & Species Differences

Today, I thought I’d share another one of my essays I had to do recently. This one looks at animal testing, prob­lems con­cerning species dif­fer­ences and what we can do to avoid them. This essay is a little more sciency than my other one on living forever, so I’ll include the ref­er­ences this time. Here goes:

The use of non-​​human animals in the drug devel­op­ment process can attract cri­ti­cism due to the issue of species dif­fer­ences. How sig­ni­ficant is this problem and what strategies can be employed to min­imise the impact of species differences?

lab ratAnimal testing is a major tool in the drug devel­op­ment process, required by law before any new drug can enter the market. Animal models are set up to not only test the efficacy of a com­pound for its intended effect, but also to observe any poten­tial side effects, to cal­cu­late a safe dosage for humans and to check for any addic­tion poten­tial. Although animal testing is a legal require­ment, imple­mented for our own safety, it is still only a model; a sub­sti­tute for human physiology, whose results could be com­pletely erro­neous if they were derived from a poorly planned exper­i­ment. Dif­fer­ences between species are always a concern when setting up an appro­priate animal model, and a lot of time is spent agon­ising over them to ensure any results obtained are both accurate and applic­able to humans. When it comes to exper­i­mental design, species dif­fer­ences can be broadly clas­si­fied into the fol­lowing cat­egories: anatomical/​physiological dif­fer­ences, dif­fer­ences in meta­bolism and sub­sequent tox­icity, phar­ma­co­lo­gical dif­fer­ences and behaviour.

Anatomical/physiological Differences

This is perhaps the most obvious class of species dif­fer­ence. It is no good testing a drug on an animal and looking for effects that are phys­ic­ally impossible for the animal to mani­fest. Any tests carried out on one species with implic­a­tions for another must only test parts of the physiology common to both species, or identify an ana­logous symptom that cor­res­ponds to the effect you are looking for.

A prime example of this kind of dif­fer­ence crops up when invest­ig­ating the emet­o­genic poten­tial of a drug – unfor­tu­nately, evol­u­tion has not provided rats with a vomiting reflex, so an dif­ferent model would have to be devised looking for an altern­ative beha­viour or using another species with a physiology closer to ours.
chicken-anatomy

Metabolism & Toxicity Differences

Dif­ferent species also meta­bolise drugs dif­fer­ently – either via dif­ferent meta­bolic path­ways or with dif­ferent kin­etics. As such, a drug toxic to one species may have little effect on another, which is par­tic­u­larly important when trying to determine the tox­icity in humans. A drug’s LD50, the amount required to kill 50% of sub­jects in a par­tic­ular sample, is usually given in mg/​kg of body mass, scaled up from animal exper­i­ments. If a drug’s tox­icity or phar­mokin­etics are only determ­ined from one animal species and extra­pol­ated for the average human, the data would not take into account any dif­fer­ences in meta­bolism that may be present, res­ulting in poten­tially extreme inaccuracies.

For example, dogs should never be given coffee or chocolate, as they are poor meta­bol­isers of theo­bromine1, a xanthine alkaloid occur­ring nat­ur­ally in both, as well as being a meta­bolite of caf­feine. As little as 50g of chocolate can result in theo­bromine pois­oning for small dogs, while humans can meta­bolise it fast enough without issue.
Sim­il­arly, meta­bolism of NSAIDs shows a huge vari­ation across dif­ferent species. The plasma half-​​life of aspirin ranges from 1 hour in ponies up to 37 hours in cats2, due to their poor glucuronid­a­tion ability, while dogs are more sus­cept­ible to aspirin’s gastrointest­inal side effects3.

One final example would be the varying MPTP tox­icity between species. MPTP can be formed as an unin­tended byproduct in the man­u­fac­ture of MPPP, a syn­thetic opioid with great poten­tial for abuse. MPTP on its own is not harmful, but MPP+, the natural meta­bolite of MPTP, is a potent neur­o­toxin. MPP+ is pro­duced via MonoAmine Oxidase B in neuroglia and the capil­lary endothelia com­prising the blood-​​brain barrier, and results in rapid-​​onset Par­kin­so­nian symp­toms barely indis­tin­guish­able from typical Parkinson’s disease4. These symp­toms are also reduced by L-​​DOPA, a drug com­monly used in Parkinson’s disease. Rats, however, are almost entirely immune to MPTP tox­icity, most likely due to a dif­ferent level of expres­sion of MAO B5. Mice, on the other hand, do produce MPP+, but clear it from their brain in a matter of hours, unlike the primate brain, in which clear­ance can take days.

Pharmacological Differences

The chem­ical path­ways and their asso­ci­ated protein machinery will not neces­sarily be struc­tur­ally identical, or indeed act in the same way. Path­ways may be more or less complex, depending on the species, with more or less scope for mod­u­la­tion by other factors. Receptors too may also differ in struc­ture, ligand affinity and the type of G pro­teins they may couple with. All of these factors may be of huge import­ance when designing a drug with a par­tic­ular molecular target in mind.

A few inter­esting cases have res­ulted from these types of dif­fer­ences. For a while, Leptin was the­or­ised to sup­press hunger, as knockout mice that did not express leptin or its asso­ci­ated receptor got fat. Giving leptin to those that could not express it them­selves, but still pos­sessed the appro­priate receptor, caused them to lose weight6 – a poten­tial gold mine if the results were also applic­able to humans. Unfor­tu­nately, they were not. Leptin showed little effect in humans, as weight prob­lems tended to concern signal trans­duc­tion rather than a lack of leptin7, in much the same way as insulin-​​resistant diabetes.

Another, rather more serious example is that of TGN1412, a mono­clonal anti­body with not only a high affinity for the human CD28 receptor, but a strong agonist ability too. Ori­gin­ally intended to help patients with rheum­atoid arth­ritis and B cell chronic lymph­o­cytic leuk­aemia, TGN1412 was ini­tially tested on animals and an appar­ently safe dosage cal­cu­lated. Of the 6 volun­teers hos­pit­al­ised, each given a dose 500 times smaller than that given to their animal coun­ter­parts, 4 developed mul­tiple organ failure as a result of cytokine storm8. Hope­fully, this example high­lights the import­ance of species dif­fer­ence; that it is a real issue and not just a the­or­et­ical concern.

Behavioural Differences

hedgehog ballThe final cat­egory, and perhaps least obvious, is that con­cerning animal beha­viour. Unfor­tu­nately for us, animals are not able to clearly express their feel­ings, so we are left to try and inter­pret that beha­viour, which can be par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult. Humans seem to have an intrinsic pen­chant for anthro­po­morphism – we are always uncon­sciously trying to attribute char­ac­ter­istics that are uniquely human, such as complex emo­tions or inten­tion, onto animals and even non-​​living objects. Chil­dren are espe­cially guilty of this, smacking a rock, perhaps, as a pun­ish­ment because it tripped them up. It is only as we grow older and put in a little more thought that we realise that perhaps the rock was not to blame. With animal models, we must also put in that extra thought when it comes to inter­preting an animal’s beha­viour, instead of opting for the instinctive, human­ised interpretation.

Other prob­lems are encountered when we assume a par­tic­ular beha­viour is a result of a par­tic­ular effect. For example, in the tail flick assay, designed to measure effects on nocicep­tion, anal­gesia is asso­ci­ated with an increased latency in moving the tail away from a heat source. Approving a new drug as an anal­gesic based on only this inter­pret­a­tion could be dis­astrous if the increased tail flick latency was instead due to a loss of muscle control or paralysis.

One final thought con­cerning animal beha­viour, is that some beha­vi­oural responses may be unique to the species in ques­tion. For example, a hedgehog might curl up into a ball as a typical fear response. While this may be easy to inter­pret, other idio­syn­cratic responses may not.

Strategies

A number of strategies have been devised for com­bating the issues species dif­fer­ence brings up, ranging from simple common sense to the rather more complex. An in-​​depth know­ledge of the species under invest­ig­a­tion is a good start. Exper­i­ence and famili­arity with a par­tic­ular species will nat­ur­ally lead to a better ability to read an animal’s beha­viour, just as we become better at reading the people around us the longer we spend in their company. Someone new to animal work will be more likely to anthro­po­morphise, drawing instead from their exper­i­ence with other people, whereas someone with ample exper­i­ence could make a more accurate judge­ment. Another benefit from exper­i­ence is that any of the more subtle dif­fer­ences between that species and us is more likely to spring to mind, redu­cing the risk of some­thing important being over­looked. For example, rat models are a useful tool when studying the intest­inal bioavail­ab­ility of drugs, but are a poor choice when it comes to intest­inal meta­bolism9.

Another strategy to reduce the risks imposed by any unknown or over­looked dif­fer­ences, and one that is required by law, is to test on more than one species. Doing so greatly reduces the chances that any observed response is unique to one species in par­tic­ular, and is there­fore likely to be exhib­ited by humans too.

Although there are an incred­ible number of indi­vidual species, some pro­teins remain rel­at­ively con­served. Working with these spe­cific pro­teins that share a great deal of sim­il­arity between their human coun­ter­parts will likely lead to more reli­able results. For example, the mus­car­inic receptor family has remained much the same throughout evol­u­tion such that the human and rat receptors share a very similar agonist/​antagonist profile10. It is very likely that some­thing acting on rat mus­car­inic receptors will elicit the same response in humans, making this an accurate model.

More recently, the latest tools and tech­niques of the genetic engineer promise to make animal models even more rel­evant. Genetic manip­u­la­tion has already delivered knockout animals, not expressing par­tic­ular genes, and trans­genic animals, expressing genes belonging to another species, but in 2008 a chi­meric mouse with 90% human hep­ato­cytes (liver cells) was pro­duced11. Until now, the best tool for studying the effects of drugs on the liver would be to use actual human liver (another strategy for over­coming species dif­fer­ences is to use human cells if pos­sible), but the chi­meric mouse has already shown great poten­tial. The liver is mainly respons­ible for the phar­ma­cokin­etics of a drug, as it is the primary place that drugs are meta­bol­ised, which has sub­sequent effects on the tox­icity and efficacy of that drug. The chi­meric mouse has shown a similar phar­ma­cokin­etic profile to the human donor, as well as human-​​specific meta­bol­ites not ordin­arily found in mice, making this an excel­lent model with which to study phar­ma­cokin­etics and tox­icity. This advance­ment brings with it all the bene­fits of testing drugs on an actual human target, without any of the ethical con­sid­er­a­tions raised with human testing.

We humans are an animal species like any other, and we may have our own species-​​specific responses that are impossible to capture or anti­cipate with any animal model. It is important to remember that an animal model is just that – a model. Species dif­fer­ences will always be an issue; there are even idio­syn­cratic reac­tions to drugs within the same species, such as some humans being allergic to peni­cillin, so we can never elim­inate these dif­fer­ences com­pletely. Increasing research, aware­ness, cri­ti­cisms from the animal rights cam­paigners and new genetic tech­niques will con­tinue to help us reduce the severity of these issues until they can be reduced no further.

References

  1. Kahn CM, editor. The Merck Veter­inary Manual. 9th Ed. New Jersey: Merck & Co., Inc; 2008.
  2. Boothe DM. The Anal­gesic, Anti­pyr­etic and Anti-​​inflammatory Drugs. In: Adams HR, editor. Veter­inary Phar­ma­co­logy and Thera­peutics. 8th Ed. Iowa: Iwoa Uni­ver­sity Press; 2001. p. 433 – 454
  3. Crosby JT. Veter­inary Ques­tions and Answers — Can you give a dog or cat aspirin? [cited: 2008 Sept 02] About​.com: Veter­inary Medi­cine. Avail­able from: http://​vet​medi​cine​.about​.com/​c​s​/​a​l​t​v​e​t​m​e​d​g​e​n​e​r​a​l​/​a​/​d​o​g​c​a​t​a​s​p​i​r​i​n​.​htm
  4. Lang­ston JW, Ballard P. Par­kin­sonism induced by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP): implic­a­tions for treat­ment and the patho­gen­esis of Parkinson’s disease. Can J Neurol Sci. 1984 Feb;11(1 Suppl):160 – 165.
  5. William Lang­ston JW. The Impact of MPTP on Parkinson’s Disease Research: Past, Present, and Future. In: Factor SA, Weiner WJ, editors. Parkinson’s Disease: Dia­gnosis and Clin­ical Man­age­ment, New York: Demos Medical Pub­lishing, 2002. p. 407 – 436
  6. Pel­ley­mounter MA, Cullen MJ, Baker MB, et al. Effects of the obese gene product on body weight reg­u­la­tion in ob/​ob mice. Science. 1995 Jul 28;269(5223):540 – 543
  7. Con­sidine RV, Sinha MK, Heiman ML, et al. Serum immunoreactive-​​leptin con­cen­tra­tions in normal-​​weight and obese humans. N Engl J Med. 1996 Feb 1;334(5):292 – 295
  8. Sun­thar­alingam G, Perry MR, Ward S, et al. Cytokine storm in a phase 1 trial of the anti-​​CD28 mono­clonal anti­body TGN1412. N Engl J Med. 2006 Sep 7;355(10):1018 – 1028
  9. Hurst S, Loi CM, Brod­fuehrer J, El-​​Kattan A. Impact of physiolo­gical, physi­co­chem­ical and bio­phar­ma­ceut­ical factors in absorp­tion and meta­bolism mech­an­isms on the drug oral­bioavail­ab­ility of rats and humans. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2007 Aug;3(4):469 – 489
  10. Venter JC, Eddy B, Hall LM, Fraser CM. Mono­clonal anti­bodies detect the con­ser­va­tion of mus­car­inic cholin­ergic receptor struc­ture from Dro­so­phila to human brain and detect pos­sible struc­tural homo­logy with alpha 1-​​adrenergic receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1984 Jan;81(1):272 – 276
  11. Katoh M, Tateno C, Yosh­izato K, Yokoi T. Chi­meric mouse with human­ized liver. Tox­ic­o­logy. 2008 Apr 3;246(1):9 – 17
Posted in Essays, Pharmacology | Tagged animal testing, drug development, ethics |

Psychoactive Mushrooms Presentation

What with the hol­i­days and the decision to move all the art­icles from Coffeesh0p over here, it’s about time I posted some­thing with a bit more meat. Having said that, this post is also suit­able for veget­arians, so read on!

As I men­tioned briefly before, I had to give another present­a­tion to my neuro­phar­ma­co­logy class in a similar vein to the one on Salvia divinorumpub­lished earlier. In the end, I chose to talk about psy­cho­active mush­rooms, so here’s the slides and a bit of blog­gi­fied talking along with each. Before we begin though, I’ll just say this was the worst present­a­tion I’ve ever given — I (prob­ably) had the most severe case of flu ever recorded and only managed to summon the courage to deliver it with Beechams flu plus, aspirin and a cheeky dihydro­codeine. Without these unsung heroes, this talk would not have been possible!

Oh, you can also click on the slides to enlarge them. Without further ado:

mushrooms-presentation-slide1mushrooms-presentation-slide2

I’ll be talking about both the tra­di­tional “Magic Mush­rooms” and the fly agaric mush­room, which is less well known, but is actu­ally pretty cul­tur­ally sig­ni­ficant. For both of these, I’ll touch on a bit of history and tra­di­tion, phar­ma­co­logy and a few other inter­esting bits and pieces.
mushrooms-presentation-slide3The typical magic mush­rooms are actu­ally many species of the Psilo­cybe genus with each species having its own subtle dif­fer­ences. There are 60 species of Psilo­cybe mush­rooms growing throughout the united states, of which 25 are hal­lu­cino­genic. These mush­rooms will grow in nearly any kind of habitat, apart from arid deserts, so are found throughout the world. The greatest species diversity falls within the neo­tropic climate zones, encom­passing much of South America.

mushrooms-presentation-slide4These mush­rooms were tra­di­tion­ally used by the native peoples of middle America for divin­a­tion & healing pur­poses as well as reli­gious com­mu­nion. In fact, these people referred to the mush­rooms as “God flesh” in their native lan­guage. Tra­di­tional use con­tinued until the Spanish invaded, bringing European culture with them in the 14-​​1500s which pushed mush­room use under­ground. In 1955, Robert Gordon Wasson was the first west­erner to take the mush­rooms, and since then, western interest has exploded.

mushrooms-presentation-slide5Some of the pos­itive effects brought on by these mush­rooms include a euphoric change in mood accom­panied by gig­gling and laughter, as well as an increased flow of ideas and tend­ency to think “deep”. Objects and lights also appear more inter­esting and col­ourful. The neutral effects include a general shift in con­scious­ness, as with most other psy­cho­active sub­stances, but also an increased emo­tional sens­it­ivity, pupil dila­tion & pho­to­sensit­ivity, leth­argy and time dila­tion – the feeling that time is passing faster than it actu­ally is. The neg­ative effects of mush­room use can include intense fear, a head­ache as the effects begin to wane, gastrointest­inal dis­com­fort such as cramps & nausea, anxiety, con­fu­sion and fainting. There has been no evid­ence of organ damage fol­lowing use.

mushrooms-presentation-slide6mushrooms-presentation-slide7

The phar­ma­co­logy – The important con­stitu­ents are two com­pounds in the trypt­amine family, psilo­cybin and psi­locin. Psilo­cybin is not actu­ally bio­lo­gic­ally active – rather, it’s a prodrug that gets dephos­phorylated by the body to form psi­locin, which is psy­cho­active. I’ve also put a model of 5-​​HT on there for com­par­ison. Psi­locin is an agonist at 5-​​HT 2A, 2C and 1A receptors, but it’s hal­lu­cin­atory effects are due to the binding to 5-​​HT2A receptors in the brain. Psi­locin shows no effect on dopam­in­ergic path­ways, and only affects norad­ren­ergic path­ways in high doses. It is believed to be the degrad­a­tion of psi­locin into some kind of blue pigment respons­ible for the char­ac­ter­istic blue/​black bruising of these mush­rooms fol­lowing hand­ling. The ease at which they bruise is a good indic­ator of the mushroom’s potency. One species will even turn blue from just blowing on it.

mushrooms-presentation-slide8While there are no recog­nised medical uses of magic mush­rooms, they have been used as an exper­i­mental treat­ment for a number of dis­orders. There’s sig­ni­ficant anec­dotal evid­ence to suggest that mush­rooms can abort the period where people with cluster head­aches are prone to attacks and also prevent relapses. Cluster head­aches are quite a serious con­di­tion, being described as more painful than child­birth (by women!), so it’s no wonder people are willing to break the law to treat them­selves. There are also cur­rently studies under way on the effect of these mush­rooms at easing the psy­cho­lo­gical suf­fering asso­ci­ated with cancer.

There’s not a lot more to say about these mush­rooms, only that making them illegal nat­ur­ally hampers research into a poten­tially useful drug.

mushrooms-presentation-slide9mushrooms-presentation-slide10

The Amanita mus­caria mush­room is a whole dif­ferent kettle of fish. Here’s a few pic­tures so you know what I’m talking about.

mushrooms-presentation-slide11

Also known as the Fly agaric, this mush­room is the archetypal toad­stool of the fairy tales, and is native to many places throughout the northern hemi­sphere, where it has been used cere­mo­ni­ally and recre­ation­ally for thou­sands of years. The mush­room, when freshly picked, is pois­onous, but with careful pre­par­a­tion, the mush­room loses its tox­icity. Unlike its psilo­cybin con­taining coun­ter­part, this mush­room is com­pletely legal.

mushrooms-presentation-slide12mushrooms-presentation-slide13

Amanita have a long past, appearing in artwork from as long ago as 3500 BC. They also appear in paint­ings from the renais­sance period, becoming more prom­inent during the Vic­torian era. This mush­room is asso­ci­ated in par­tic­ular with fairies, elves and little people in general. They also began appearing on Christmas cards as a symbol of luck, and models of the mush­room were hung on Christmas trees as dec­or­a­tions. This could be due to the natural asso­ci­ation between these mush­rooms and pine forests.

It’s also been sug­gested that Santa Clause himself is mod­elled after the fly agaric mush­room, with his red ‘n’ white suit. Reindeer have also been observed eating this mush­rooms in the wild and becoming intox­ic­ated, so could that be behind the stories of flying reindeer? In fact, here’s another article on Amanita mus­caria & Christmas — a very inter­esting read. Alice in Won­der­land by Lewis Carol seemed to draw it’s inspir­a­tion from Amanita mus­caria too.

Here’s a few images of this mush­room appearing in art through time. The top left one is from Disney’s Fantasia from 1940 — another example of just how wide­spread this mush­room has become within our culture.

mushrooms-presentation-slide14Use of these mush­rooms has been as wide­spread as their geo­graphic dis­tri­bu­tion, but heavy use has been recorded in Siberia in par­tic­ular. The Siberian shamans use the fly agaric as an altern­ative method to drum­ming and chanting to enter a trance state, but in eastern Siberia, the mush­rooms were used by everyone both reli­giously and recreationally.

mushrooms-presentation-slide15These mush­rooms have a much more of a sed­ative effect with less hal­lu­cin­a­tions than the psilo­cybin con­taining coun­ter­parts. The pos­itive effects include euphoria, anal­gesia, trance-​​like states being achieved, syn­aes­thesia, and seeing “little people”. Maybe that one’s not so pos­itive… The neutral effects include sed­a­tion, although some people can feel par­tic­u­larly ener­getic, along with changes in body per­cep­tion, blurred vision and such. The most common neg­ative effects asso­ci­ated with fly agaric use are nausea & gastrointest­inal dis­com­fort, but a powerful dis­so­ci­ation and deli­rium can occur at higher doses.

mushrooms-presentation-slide16
The active com­pounds in Amanita mus­caria are Ibotenic acid and it’s deriv­ative, muscimol. Ibotenic acid is a neur­o­toxin, which has since found a use in research, being a good inducer of brain lesions. This is the com­pound respons­ible for the toxic deli­rium res­ulting from inges­tion of the fresh mush­rooms. When dried in a par­tic­ular manner, the ibotenic acid is decarboxylated into muscimol, making the mush­rooms a lot safer to eat.

mushrooms-presentation-slide17Muscimol itself is a selective agonist at the GABA-​​A receptor and a partial agonist at the GABA-​​C receptor. Muscimol’s effect profile is the sum of its actions at both these receptors, where it binds to the GABA site rather than that of an allos­teric mod­u­lator, such as ben­zo­diazepines or bar­bit­ur­ates. These GABAergic effects alter neur­onal activity in many regions of the brain including the cerebral cortex, the hip­po­campus and the cere­bellum. Muscimol is not meta­bol­ised further by the body, but is excreted in large quant­ities, as we shall see…

mushrooms-presentation-slide18Time for some inter­esting bits and pieces about muscimol. Alcohol with­drawal can lead to hal­lu­cin­a­tions of little people much like muscimol. Since alcohol also acts on GABAergic path­ways, maybe the effects could be related?

Siberian tribes used to drink the urine of their shaman, as it con­tains a high con­cen­tra­tion of muscimol after cere­mo­nial fly agaric use. I can’t think of any reason someone might find this out in the first place though.

And despite the name, Amanita mus­caria have neg­li­gible mus­car­inic effects. They do contain mus­carine, but in such tiny quant­ities to not make a difference.

mushrooms-presentation-slide19Muscimol has also found use as a phar­ma­co­lo­gical tool, being a GABA agonist. GABA itself plays an inhib­itory role, so GABA agon­ists applied to the brain will also have an inhib­itory role. This is a useful method of sim­u­lating axon-​​sparing brain lesions, making revers­ible inac­tiv­a­tion of brain areas a great way to study brain-​​behaviour rela­tion­ships, such as where and when neur­onal events for learning and memory take place.

And that’s that!

At this point I handed round a fly agaric cap for extra cool points.

The slides are avail­able as a PDF here: Psy­cho­active Mush­rooms Present­a­tion [1.79 MB]

Posted in Pharmacology | Tagged fly agaric, mushrooms, presentation |

How To Make Salvia Divinorum Extract

Have you ever tried making your own crude Salvia divinorum extract at home, and wondered why it looks like a black sticky mess that smokes harsher than a por­cu­pine eating com­pet­i­tion? Well, fear not, for this guide will ensure a quality fin­ished product rivalling that of store-​​bought extracts.

This extract will make approx­im­ately 10g of unstand­ard­ised 10x extract. Provided you can use a cal­cu­lator, the quant­ities detailed below can be jiggled around to make any strength extract you want.

Salvia divinorum Leaf

Equipment

100g Salvia divinorum Leaf
You can get Salvia divinorum Leaf all over the Internet.
1x Large Saucepan
Just a regular large saucepan. Make sure it’s clean. No one wants to find the remains of burnt on spa­ghetti in their pipe.
1x Pyrex Tray
A large, wide, glass dish essen­tially. You might find a cas­serole dish fits the bill.
1x Small Glass Container
Any­thing will do, even a jam jar.
1x Tall, Narrow Glass Container
The perfect tool for the job is a boiling tube, but any­thing remotely similar will do.
1x Pipette
Not everyone has access to cal­ib­rated volu­metric pipettes so any­thing that looks like an eye dropper will do. That means, a thin tube with a rubber bit on the end which you can squeeze.
2lt Propane Based Solvent
No not propane, but either propan-​​2-​​ol (AKA Iso­p­ro­panol, Iso­p­ropyl Alcohol, Rubbing Alcohol) or pro­panone (AKA Acetone). They need to be 99% pure at least. Don’t even think about using nail varnish remover.
300ml Naphtha
The best source of com­mer­cially avail­able naphtha in the UK is lighter fluid.

Step 1 - Powder Your Leaf

The first thing to do is weigh out your 100g of Salvia divinorum Leaf. Remove 10g of the best leaves from your stash and set them aside for later. The remaining 90g needs to be powdered using your trusty coffee grinder. It’s high RPM motor and stain­less steel blades are no match for your dried salvia leaf. It’s worth pointing out that although the leaves may not instantly grind, you’ll have to give them a few minutes, but they WILL powder even­tu­ally. Use the grinder in 1 minute bursts, allowing the motor to cool in between. When you remove the lid from the grinder, unless you want to look like Shrek, do it in a fume cup­board. The coffee grinder will reduce the leaf to a flour like con­sist­ency which will billow out as soon as you remove the lid, turning everything in the imme­diate vicinity a sexy shade of green.

Step 2 - Extract The Salvinorin-A

Now you have 90g of powdered leaf, get it in your saucepan and pour in enough solvent to com­fort­ably cover your leaf. Stir it con­stantly for 5 minutes and then let it sit for 8 hours or so. After that time, enough of the salvinorin should have dis­solved in your solvent, so you can now care­fully pour off the liquid in your saucepan into your Pyrex tray, being careful enough to leave all the solids behind.

If you’d like to make sure you extract as much salvinorin-​​a as pos­sible, you may repeat this step once more.

Step 3 - The Waiting Game

As simple as it sounds, you have about 16 hours in which to twiddle your thumbs, watch some paint dry, or whatever you feel like. During this time, don’t even think about touching your extrac­tion, and make sure it’s in a dark place. Light has a nasty habit of des­troying salvinorin-​​a in solu­tion. The purpose of this step is to let any sed­i­ment such as tannins fall out of the leaf which are hard to extract later on.

After the 16 or so hours are up, you may pour off the remaining liquid into the ori­ginal saucepan, provided you emptied out the powdered leaf earlier.

Step 4 - Evaporating The Solvent

This takes forever, is incred­ibly boring and will give you ter­rible stomach ache if you don’t do it some­where well vent­il­ated. The best, safest and longest method of evap­or­ating the solvent is in the dark, in the absence of heat. Remember, the solvent is flam­mable, so applying heat to it should be avoided. Blowing air across the solvent will speed things up sub­stan­tially, so if you have a fan, use it, but again, only some­where well vent­il­ated. If the fan pro­duces a spark, it could ignite the vapour, blowing up both you and your extraction.

When the evap­or­a­tion is com­plete, you should be left with a load of black gunk on the inside of your con­tainer. This is as far as most people get with their extrac­tions and is the reason why the end result is a black sticky mess. That’s ok for about 5x or 6x extracts, but any stronger than that and it becomes unsmokable.

Step 5 - Purification

When your black gunk is com­pletely dry, you can scrape it out of your con­tainer and place it into a tall, narrow con­tainer. To this, add 50ml or so of naphtha. The naphtha dis­solves the green/​black waxes but leaves behind the salvinorin-​​a. After you add the first lot of naphtha, allow the con­tainer 30 minutes or so to settle, then pipette off two thirds of the naphtha and discard it. Repeat this process at LEAST 5 more times until your salvinorin-​​a is no longer a black colour. If you keep washing with naphtha, it will even­tu­ally turn white, however that kind of purity isn’t neces­sary for making 10x extract. If you were making some­thing like 40x or 60x (not recom­mended), then the higher the purity, the better.

After the last naphtha wash, remove two thirds one last time and this time, allow the naphtha to evap­orate off, leaving you with rel­at­ively pure salvinorin-​​a. DO NOT try and smoke/​ingest this, as even a tenth of a mil­li­gram can be too much for some people.

Step 6 - Fortification

Now we have the salvinorin-​​a from 90g of leaf, we shall add it back to the 10g of quality leaf you set aside in Step 1. Although not com­pletely accurate, you can see this is why it’s called 10x extract, as there’s 10x the amount of salvinorin-​​a in the fin­ished product.

To do this, we place the salvinorin-​​a we pro­duced in the pre­vious step into the saucepan and add to it the same amount of solvent we used in step 1. Stir it round for a few minutes to ensure it has all dis­solved. Next, add the 10g of leaf to your small con­tainer and pour the con­tents of the saucepan over it.

You can now evap­orate off all of this solvent as before, until all of the solvent has evaporated.

The fin­ished product is approx­im­ately 10g of leaf, looking a little darker than normal, 10 times as strong.

Posted in Teks | Tagged salvia divinorum, salvia extract |

How To Make Hallucinogenic Vodka

Sick of that naus­eating feeling and blurred vision from eating Morning Glory (Ipomeia violacea) seeds? Why not try making your own hal­lu­cino­genic vodka! Investing a bit of time and money into your Morning Glory seeds will result in a much more refined exper­i­ence, keeping neg­ative side effects to a minimum.

This rel­at­ively straight­for­ward process will give you about 10 trips assuming 6g of seeds for a standard dose.

Equipment

100g Morning Glory Seeds
You can buy Morning Glory seeds all over the internet or find them growing naturally.
1lt Good Quality Vodka
Since you want to enjoy this, don’t cheap out on the vodka. Ensure at least 40% alcohol by volume.
600-​​1000ml Naphtha
The best source of com­mer­cially avail­able naphtha in the UK is lighter fluid.
Filters
If you have lab filters, use ‘em. If not, a coffee filter. If you can’t find them, use a tea towel.
Pint Glasses
Don’t worry, you won’t be drinking your product out of these, we’re just using them to hold liquid. If you have access to lab beakers, use those.
1x 2lt Bottle
This can be a plastic pop bottle or any­thing. You’ll be using it for shaking things up.
1x Coffee Grinder
A small hand­held coffee grinder, used to powder coffee beans. You can also get away with a pepper grinder but it takes forever.

Step 1 - Powder Your Seeds

Simple enough. Take your 100g Morning Glory seeds and grind them into a powder using any means neces­sary. If you have a coffee grinder, use it. If not, empty out a pepper mill and try that. It might take an age, but the finer ground they are, the higher the quality of the end product.

Step 2 - Get Rid Of The Nasty Stuff

Take your 100g of ground seeds and pour them into your 2lt pop bottle. To this, add your 600-​​1000ml of naphtha and shake. Shake for as long as pos­sible. Let it sit in the naphtha for about a day with as much shaking as your arms can handle.

Step 3 - Filter And Dry

Yes, it realy is that easy. Filter the con­tents out using your filter/​beaker tea towel/​pint glasses and let the seeds dry until they no longer have the slightest scent of pet­ro­chem­icals about them.

Step 4 - Extract The Good Stuff

First off, clean that 2lt bottle out with plenty of water, then take your litre of vodka and pour it into the 2lt bottle. Add to that the dry seeds from the pre­vious step. Just like step 2, shake this up until your arms hurt and let the seeds sit in the vodka for three days this time, shaking it whenever you can.

Step 5 - Filter

Just like step 3, filter the seeds again. Squeeze all the vodka out of them then throw them away. By this time your vodka should be looking a little cloudy and brown. It will also have developed a some­what nutty flavour. Let’s hope you like nuts.

Step 6 - Serve Chilled

Measure out 100ml of your vodka and drink it however you like. With coke, over ice or through your eye. You can now enjoy your LSA trip without wanting to throw up.

Posted in Teks | Tagged drinking, hallucinogenic, lsa, morning glory, vodka |

How To Use Salvia Divinorum

This guide is by no means a com­plete ref­er­ence for any would-​​be Salvia divinorum user. It simply describes, com­pares and con­trasts the dif­ferent methods by which one can exper­i­ence the effects of Salvia Divinorum. There are other factors which must first be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion before you should embark on your journey with salvia: don’t take too much. Start off with smaller doses first and get com­fort­able with the exper­i­ence, then maybe later, increase that dose slightly. Never jump in at the deep end — it could put you off salvia for a long time. Also, espe­cially if it’s your first time with salvia, or the first time you’ve increased your dose, make sure you have someone sober nearby making sure nothing bad happens. With that warning out of the way, here we go!

The "Mazatec Oldskool" Method

Tra­di­tion­ally, the Mazatec people, indi­genous to the Oaxaca region of Mexico where Salvia divinorum was first found, used to use salvia as part of their sham­anic prac­tices. It is believed they used to grind up large quant­ities of Salvia divinorum leaf, which was then added to water and drank. This method leaves a lot to be desired. We know now that salvinorin-​​a, the active chem­ical in Salvia divinorum is not very readily absorbed through the stomach, so large quant­ities of leaf must be used. It also doesn’t taste par­tic­u­larly fant­astic. These draw­backs are countered by the fact that the effects from the salvia last much longer than any other method out­lined here. The Mazatecs also used to chew fresh leaf for long periods of time, which is still quite popular today. See the Quid method for more details.

Pros:

  • Safe
  • Doesn’t harm the lungs
  • Longer lasting effects

Cons:

  • Inef­fi­cient — lots of leaves required for desired effect
  • Tastes hor­rible

Smoking Leaf

Salvia Divinorum LeafSmoking salvia leaf can be effective, but it’s not ideal for non-​​smokers. The active chem­ical in Salvia divinorum, salvinorin-​​a, requires a high tem­per­ature to vaporise, so the leaf should be smoked through a pipe or bong rather than rolled as a cigar­ette. When smoking the leaf through a pipe or bong, you should try and use a torch lighter if pos­sible. The extra heat gen­er­ated by the torch flame will vaporise more of the salvinorin-​​a per hit com­pared with a regular lighter. That said, many users have reported a more relaxed mood shift when smoked as a cigar­ette, and a more “trippy” high when using it to replace tobacco in a can­nabis joint. It’s gen­er­ally con­sidered harder to achieve the full effects of Salvia divinorum when smoking only leaf, com­pared with the stronger extracts. This is because the salvinorin-​​a from the leaf is meta­bol­ised by the body rather quickly, so smoking more over a longer dur­a­tion will only main­tain the level of trip, rather than enhan­cing it. To get the most from this method, it is advised that you take two to three hits from the pipe or bong, each time holding your breath for as long as you can, exceeding 30 seconds if pos­sible. The effects will be notice­able after about one minute, giving you up to about three hits before you should put the pipe or bong down. The effects will remain for up to about half an hour.

Pros:

  • Quick
  • Easy
  • No bad taste
  • Rel­at­ively safe — It’s quite hard to get too much salvinorin-​​a into your body from smoking only leaf

Cons:

  • Hard to achieve effects
  • Smoking any­thing is never good for your lungs
  • Harsh on the throat/​lungs — the smoke is very hot
  • Short effect duration

Smoking Extract

Salvia Divinorum ExtractSalvia divinorum extracts are quite simply salvia leaf with a lot more kick. Extracts are pre­pared by taking the salvinorin-​​a from a large quantity of leaf and depos­iting it back onto a much smaller quantity of leaf. For example, one gram of 20x extract is, give or take, one gram of salvia leaf, with the salvinorin-​​a of 20g of leaf added to it. To visu­alise it, imagine filling your bowl with 20x the amount of normal leaf, and smoking it all. For more inform­a­tion on the extracting process, you might like this article: How To Make Salvia divinorum Extract. This method ensures you get enough salvinorin-​​a into your body as soon as pos­sible, opening up the deeper levels of the salvia exper­i­ence. Unfor­tu­nately, due to the strength of some extracts, it can be hard to accur­ately measure out a correct dose, so you could end up taking in far more than you intended. The extract should also be smoked in a pipe or bong.

Pros:

  • Effects are very easy to achieve
  • Less material needs to be smoked com­pared to leaf for the same effects

Cons:

  • Short effect duration
  • Easy to take too much
  • Smoking any­thing is never good for your lungs
  • Harsh on the throat/​lungs — the smoke is very hot

The Quid Method

A “quid” is basic­ally a big wad of leaves. Fresh leaves, if pos­sible, but dry leaves can be used too. If the leaves are dry, immerse them in a cup of warm water for about a minute before you wish to begin — this step is essen­tial, oth­er­wise you’ll be chewing on dry leaf, which will taste just plain dis­gusting. Take about ten to fifteen fresh or soaked leaves, roll them up into a ball and pop the ball, or quid, into your mouth. Now all you have to do is chew those awful tasting leaves for a good fifteen to thirty minutes. Sounds easy? Well, you have to do it swal­lowing as little saliva as pos­sible. This method works by a process called “sub­lin­gual absorp­tion”: the salvinorin-​​a is absorbed into your blood through the mouth, so the quid needs to stay in your mouth for as long as pos­sible. After the time is up, you should begin to feel the effects, although rather subtly com­pared to smoking the leaf or extract. You can now either spit out the con­tents of your mouth, or swallow it. Swal­lowing it can be a ghastly exper­i­ence, but it’s recom­mended, since any remaining salvinorin-​​a in your saliva or the leaf will even­tu­ally get absorbed through your stomach. Just like the “Mazatec Old­skool” method, the effects last longer than smoking.

Pros:

  • Safe
  • Doesn’t harm the lungs

Cons:

  • Tastes hor­rible
  • Takes longer for the effects to set in
  • Can be harder to obtain full effects

Salvinorin Tincture

Salvia Divinorum TinctureSalvinorin tinc­ture works in the same way as the quid method: sub­lin­gual absorp­tion. That is, you let the liquid sit in your mouth for 15 to 30 minutes, allowing the salvinorin-​​a to diffuse into your blood through your mouth. The tinc­ture itself is an alcohol-​​based solu­tion of salvinorin-​​a, meaning doses can be meas­ured more accur­ately by diluting it, and it doesn’t taste nearly as bad. The effects are also brought about much faster.

Pros:

  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Rel­at­ively safe
  • Tastes nicer than quid method
  • Doesn’t harm the lungs

Cons:

  • If the tinc­ture is not diluted enough, it can burn the mouth

Conclusions

Many people report a variety of dif­ferent effects from each method, from nothing at all, to a full-​​blown shit-​​your-​​pants trip. Non-​​smokers will nat­ur­ally prefer the oral methods, while smokers would nat­ur­ally be more com­fort­able smoking the leaf or extract. It’s also not unheard of for people to combine two or more of the above methods to achieve a greater effect than either on their own.

Posted in Drugs, Pharmacology | Tagged quid, salvia divinorum, smoking, tincture |

Cannabis Cookies

This recipe is just a quick one to follow on from the can­nabutter and infamous hash brownie recipe I posted recently. Even without the can­nabutter, these cookies are amazing. Here goes:

Ingredients

Equipment

  • 4oz (115g) Can­nabis Butter
  • 8oz (225g) Caster Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 5oz (150g) plain flour
  • 1/​2tsp bicar­bonate of soda
  • 1/​4tsp salt
  • 2oz (50g) Rice Cris­pies (or another crisped rice cereal)
  • 6oz (175g) chocolate chips
  • Kitchen Scales
  • Sieve
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Flat baking tray

Method

  1. First, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla essence, flour, bicar­bonate of soda and salt and fold in.
  3. Next, add the cereal and chocolate and mix thoroughly.
  4. Drop small spoon­fuls onto a greased baking tray, around 5cm/​2in apart.
  5. Bake at 180ºC (350F or Gas Mark 4) for 10 – 12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged cannabis, cannabutter, cookies, cooking, space cakes |

The Ultimate Hash Brownie Recipe

If you can’t be arsed to cook, check out these Smoking Mix­tures instead!

Introduction

Although I do say so myself, this is the ULTI­MATE Hash Brownie recipe. So good in fact, we recom­mend trying them without Can­nabis Butter, because you’ll want to eat so many of them. They’re very moreish so take care if you do make the can­nabis version — it can take up to 45 minutes to feel the effects, so don’t just eat more and more — it could get very messy! If you want to learn how to make hash brownies, this is the article for you.
Baking

Ingredients

Hash Brownies

  • 4oz (115g) Can­nabis Butter
  • 2oz (60g) Self Raising Flour
  • 8oz (225g) Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1.5oz (45g) Cocoa Powder (NOT Drinking Chocolate Powder)
  • 1oz (30g) Ground Almonds
  • 2 Eggs
  • Grated Rind Of One Large Orange (Important!)
  • 1/​2tsp Baking Powder

Chocolate Butter Icing/​Frosting

Making icing for a cake really isn’t an exact science — it’s dif­fi­cult to give amounts as you may have a dif­ferent sized baking tray meaning more or less brownies, or you may just have a dif­ferent per­sonal pref­er­ence. The fol­lowing amounts are a guideline so feel free to tweak as you wish!

  • 4oz (115g) NORMAL Butter or Margarine
  • 1 — 2oz (30 — 60g) Cocoa Powder
  • 8 — 10oz (225 — 285g) Icing (Powdered/​Confectioners) Sugar
  • 2tsp Water, as needed
  • Maltesers (optional, but totally worth it)

Equipment

  • Kitchen Scales
  • Sieve
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Shallow baking tray
  • Greaseproof paper /​ Wax paper

Method - Hash Brownie Base

  1. First, sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the ground almonds, sugar and orange rind and mix together well.
  3. Next, add the butter and eggs and beat the mixture together until smooth.
  4. Bake at 150ºC (300F or Gas Mark 2), in a shallow dish, greased and lined with greaseproof (wax) paper for 50 — 55 minutes.

Method - Chocolate Butter Icing/Frosting

  1. Just mix together the ingredi­ents in a bowl and spread over the top of the brownie.
  2. As an optional tasty extra, smash up a couple of packets of Maltesers and sprinkle them over the top. Do this straight away so they will stick in the icing rather than just fall off when you try and take a bite!
  3. Cut into at least 16 pieces and serve! If it’s your first time cooking with can­nabis, be sens­ible and don’t have more than one or two in the space of an hour, no matter how abso­lutely fant­astic they taste.

Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged cannabis, cannabutter, cooking, hash brownies, space cakes |

How To Make Cannabis Butter

If you can’t be arsed to cook, check out these Smoking Mix­tures instead!

Introduction

This recipe pro­duces a small amount of cannabis-​​infused butter, or can­nabutter, which can be used in a massive range of recipes to add that extra kick! If your recipe requires more butter than the amounts given here, feel free to mul­tiply up all the amounts.

Ingredients

Baking

  • 4oz (115g) Butter or Margarine
  • 1/​8oz (3.5g) Can­nabis buds/​hash OR
  • 1/​4oz (7g) Can­nabis leaves

Equipment

  • Small saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sieve (optional)

Method

  1. Melt the butter slowly in a pan. Add 18 oz (3.5g) finely ground can­nabis, and simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes. This allows the can­nabis to infuse fully into the butter. Take care to keep the heat low, and stir con­tinu­ously as the butter can burn easily.
  2. After 30 minutes, pour the butter into a jug or tub. As you do this, if you want to remove the bud/​hash/​leaf, you can pass it through a fine sieve. You won’t be wasting any “good stuff”, since all the THC should have dis­solved into the butter, but if you don’t mind getting green bits in your teeth, you can just as easily leave it in.
  3. Allow the can­nabutter to set for around an hour, or until rel­at­ively hard, before using.
Posted in Recipes | Tagged cannabis, cannabutter, cooking |