Recently, there have been a few nasty developments in the world of legal highs. I was contacted by this week by GMTV and Radio 5 Live, asking for an interview about the “new” legal high Ivory Wave causing a stir. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give any interviews for various boring reasons and could only give a bit of advice over the phone/email, so I thought I’d write a post about it now I’ve got the time. Also, The UK’s old friend JWH-018 seems to be causing some trouble over the pond, having been linked a couple of deaths in Indiana. Finally, our government have made some more noise about the “problem” of legal highs which makes no difference for a good year or so and will only make matters worse when they manage to cobble some new legislation together eventually.
Ivory Wave has been around for at least a year, and before that, it was called Vanilla Sky. Guess what? It’s always been notoriously dodgy. In a quest to pump out the strongest ever “party powder”, its makers sacrificed safety for a marketing angle.
Earlier this year, the Irish government had a number of legal highs analysed including Ivory Wave and found that it contained MDPV (methylenedioxypyrovalerone), and lidocaine. Lidocaine is a local anaesthetic, added to numb your nose, both to dull the pain of snorting the other stuff and to make it more like cocaine. This isn’t news though — a load of similar products around before the cathinone ban contained it. MDPV on the other hand is worrying.
MDPV appears to be a dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, delivering plenty of stimulation but little in the way of euphoria. The vast majority of similar products available before April’s cathinone ban contained either mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone) or a fluorinated analogue such as 3-fluoroumethcathinone. While these were also very stimulating, they delivered a much loved euphoria as well, so why would the makers of Ivory Wave depart from the norm and go for a subjectively worse compound instead? Because they just weren’t potent enough enough to earn Ivory Wave its reputation as the strongest legal high available.
A typical dose of mephedrone or similar analogue for a new user would be around 50 — 100mg, while a typical dose of MDPV is around the 5 — 10mg mark. Sure, at that dose, the effects of MDPV don’t seem like much compared to mephedrone et al, but when people are used to cheap cocaine or the majority of similar legal highs, they rack up their usual sized line and hoover up far more than an equivalent dose of MDPV. As a consequence, users were frequently terrified and unable to sleep for days on end. Well done, Ivory Wave, you truly are the strongest!
On April 16th, 2010, the UK passed legislation banning a huge number of compounds, including mephedrone, all common available derivatives including MDPV and a shitload of theoretical compounds that haven’t been made yet. Despite the original incarnation of Ivory Wave falling under the banning stick, on August 10th, there was a lot of fuss about legal highs including Ivory Wave hospitalising about 20 people, so what’s going on?
Well, firstly, just because MDPV got banned, it doesn’t mean the manufacturers couldn’t stick some new legal chemical in there and call it the same thing. I’m sure you’ve all seen a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar with “New improved recipe!!!!11″ plastered all over the packaging — this is the same sort of thing. Of course, it’s not as innocent as that — these are psychoactive substances we’re talking about — but it’s nothing extraordinary. Products like Charge+ or Beanz pills have changed their ingredients before, so that’s what I expected had happened with Ivory Wave.
That doesn’t appear to be the case. Several websites selling the stuff now claim both that Ivory Wave is no longer for sale in the UK, suggesting it still contains MDPV, and that Ivory Wave found in the UK at the moment is fake. This leaves us with several possible scenarios.
- Ivory Wave available in the UK is the same stuff it’s always been, and has been illegally imported.
- Ivory Wave available in the UK is fake, but still contains MDPV. If this MDPV had to be illegally sourced or manufactured, it’s more likely to be impure, and these impurities are doing some damage.
- Ivory Wave available in the UK is fake, but still a new product with new, legal and dangerous chemicals in, trying to capitalise on the original Ivory Wave’s reputation
At first glance, it looks like we can ignore the first one. If it’s been around for ages, why are we only hearing about it now? Well, before the cathinone ban, Ivory Wave was definitely the strongest, but nowhere near the most enjoyable or popular product, so people tended to steer clear of it. However, when the ban came into effect, and somehow Ivory Wave was still around, lots of people looking to find a “mephedrone replacement” would have stumbled across it. This spike in popularity makes scenario #1 as plausible as the rest, so for now, it’s anyone’s guess.
If you find any new information making one of these scenarios more likely, please let us all know!
For now, I’d advise anyone to steer clear, especially the stuff in red foil packets as that’s the type most frequently mentioned in the myriad forum posts on the topic.
JWH-018 was the main synthetic cannabinoid found in Spice and similar products in the UK last year. Here’s a couple of posts and comment threads here for some background:
A large number of synthetic cannabinoids (along with GBL, BZP and related piperazines) were banned on December 28th, 2009, but remained legal in the US, where the market has exploded just like it did here before the — the only difference is over there, the most popular brand is K2 rather than Spice.
Well, that was the only difference until very recently. In May, the smoking of K2 was “linked” to two deaths in Indiana — a rather odd situation indeed! It seems there’s no conclusive evidence available to say that K2 actually caused these deaths — it could be the same as all those people that apparently died of mephedrone over here who didn’t actually take it (Eg, Gabbi Price). However, just because we’ve been consistently lied to by the British press, it would be unwise to immediately rule out the other possibility — that K2 is somehow killing these people. As it happens, we’ve also got some more evidence right here on this blog that supports that conclusion: this guy reports vomiting blood after oral ingestion of JWH-018.
Here’s what I think. JWH-018 is safe, at least in the short term, so it’s not responsible for what we’re seeing. I reckon we’ve got a harmful contaminant or impurity left over from the synthesis which is causing all the damage. If there was a bad batch going round, it would also help to explain why those two deaths are both in Indiana, although I’m not sure where that commenter hails from.
Unfortunately, once again, this is all speculation, but it’s speculation based on all the evidence we have available. Fortunately, David Kroll, who’s forgotten more pharmacology than I know, has arrived at that same conclusion — contamination. Be sure to check out his post for links to the original stories, more detail and more speculation.
If you come across any more stories or bad batches, let us know!
For now, I’d advise those in the US to avoid any new brands popping up, avoid K2 in Indiana and, if you’re buying pure JWH-018, avoid it like the plague if it doesn’t exactly resemble the previous batches you’ve bought.
Just like Carl Sagan before him, Prof. Brian Cox likes to get completely twatted when thinking about physics.
As it happens, I’ve just finished this guy’s book, Why Does E = MC2?, which was fantastic. If I ever get round to writing a new “expand your mind” book list, this will definitely be on there. Here’s what the book’s about:
This is an engaging and accessible explanation of Einstein’s equation that explores the principles of physics through everyday life. Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that make up Einstein’s most famous equation. Breaking down the symbols themselves, they pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass? In answering these questions, they take us to the site of one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted. Lying beneath the city of Geneva, straddling the Franco-Swiss boarder, is a 27 km particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider. Using this gigantic machine — which can recreate conditions in the early Universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang — Cox and Forshaw will describe the current theory behind the origin of mass. Alongside questions of energy and mass, they will consider the third, and perhaps, most intriguing element of the equation: ‘c’ — or the speed of light. Why is it that the speed of light is the exchange rate? Answering this question is at the heart of the investigation as the authors demonstrate how, in order to truly understand why E=MC2, we first must understand why we must move forward in time and not backwards and how objects in our 3-dimensional world actually move in 4-dimensional space-time. In other words, how the very fabric of our world is constructed. A collaboration between two of the youngest professors in the UK, “Why Does E=MC2?” promises to be one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of the theory of relativity in recent years.
Also, some of you may remember I wrote about getting a new HD telly and I asked for some suggestions on what to watch. The stuff you lot mentioned was excellent, but now I’ve got one for you. Brian Cox’s Wonders of the Solar System (DVD, Blu Ray), which is what the video above was pieced together from, not only looks incredible but was the best documentary we’ve seen in a long time:
Prepare to immerse yourself in an alien world as if you were standing there yourself. Giant ice fountains rising over 100km high; an ocean hidden beneath a frozen crust of ice; storms twice the size of Earth coloured blood red by a vortex of dust and gases; immense volcanoes that could rip a planet apart — this series reveals the true and awesome beauty of our solar system. Using the very latest breathtaking images sent directly from space, groundbreaking CGI transforms the static into the dramatic. Travelling from the Sun to the far-out reaches of Neptune, the series has at its heart the latest scientific knowledge beamed back from the fleet of probes, rovers and telescopes currently in space, and offers a vivid and unprecedented tour of the world beyond our planet.
I promise you this will “expand your mind” far more than whatever profound secret of the universe you think you’ve unlocked via a quick chuff on your DMT pipe.
Yeah, yeah, I know. I said I’d do a Music On Drugs post aaages ago in this preliminary post, but, well, I just haven’t got round to it.
If you read that post linked above a while ago, hopefully you’ve made some effort when it comes to “getting your shit together” and you’ve at least got some speakers that can handle a low frequency or two, because today’s musical instalment is a dubstep mix “retelling” Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War of the Worlds, and dubstep sounds just terrible on laptop speakers.
If you have no idea what I’m on about, please read that post first.
Anyway, this mix is by a chap called erwtenpeller and is an hour long, so make sure you’re sitting comfortably. I mean it. Once you click play, if anyone has to go for a piss, there’ll be at least some kind of diabolic outrage.
Hat tip to SlicedMind for the suggestion.
The last four weeks have whizzed by in a blur of washing, catching up on Coffeesh0p and yet more wedding parties (you can never have enough!) but I’ve finally found time to sit down and write about our honeymoon. Now I just have to hope that some of you out there are still interested and that I can remember anything about it!
We went to Bayahibe, a pretty touristy resort on the south east coast of the Dominican Republic. Our hotel was frickin’ sweet, 5* all inclusive and right on the beach, with only one more hotel along the coastline between us and the completely uninhabited south east tip of the island, which is a huge nature reserve.
Just off this coast is the island of Saona, and our visit to there was quite possibly the best day of our lives and the highlight of the holiday. We had heard that the reefs there were the second best in the world (after the Great Barrier reef) so we just had to check it out and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The trip itself was brilliant, the staff were fantastic and we downed rum after rum on the boat while listening to (would you believe it?) the Trentmøller remix of Go by Moby — one of our favourite tracks. John had a good old boogie on the boat before realising he was being filmed and promptly stopping, but we bought a DVD of the trip so it’s now immortalised on film forever, no doubt to resurface for embarrassment purposes at some future birthday party or to show to the kids to prove we were young and cool once. We saw eagle rays and moray eels and other, much prettier sea creatures like enormous starfish, angel fish and sea urchins.
Lunch was on the breathtaking Saona Island — filming location of the iconic Bounty ads — and was delicious, ate overlooking the Caribbean Sea and covered in butterflies! The afternoon was spent in the amazing ‘natural swimming pool’ — a football pitch sized patch of shallow water, far out from the coast. Ironically, being miles from anywhere, this was probably the busiest place we went during the entire honeymoon! The water was clear and beautiful, about chest height (on me, but I’m a short arse) and the bottom was covered in huge, hard starfish — not like the crap squidgy ones we get in this country. Here, the staff on the boat turned the music up loud and we drank rum and coke and ate fresh coconuts that had been picked on Saona Island earlier. It’s safe to say it couldn’t have got much more Caribbean than that! Later on in this trip we’d break our camera, get incredibly pissed and emotional and a little bit sunburnt, and when we got home I spent an hour sobbing and exclaiming ‘that was the best day of my life!’…but the less said about that part, the better.
There was also some amazing sights to be seen in the sea just off the hotel’s beach — we saw a sting ray about 6 foot out from the beach, followed it round for a bit and made a large and rather obnoxious British family shit their pants and drag their kids back on to dry land when their nosiness got the better of them and they asked what we were looking at. Another amazing experience was feeding the fish just off the beach — turns out they eat bread (who knew?) and wading into the water with a roll or two causes hundreds of beautiful fish to swarm around you, jumping out of the water and stuff, it was absolutely incredible and we even borrowed snorkels so we could get underwater and in on the action.
Another awesome trip was to the capital city, Santo Domingo. We had the most fantastic tour guide called José who referred to his wife as ‘Fidellia Castro’ the entire day and talked about how wives were the bosses of the households in the Dominican Republic just like everywhere else in the world — all in the most good humoured and loving way possible of course! We were embarrassingly clueless about the place before we went on this trip, so here’s the history lesson: Santo Domingo was founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus and was the first place to be settled in the Americas. It boasts the first cathedral, chapel, hotel and just about everything in the New World. The Catedral Santa María La Menor, for example, is older than ANYTHING in the USA. The city’s modern history has been pretty turbulent, and it even had a different name from 1930 – 61 — “Ciudad Trujillo”, after the country’s dictator. He was eventually assassinated, but not before much bloodshed and 30 years of an oppressive and unpopular régime. To put this guy in a bit of context, there were extravagant gifts in the old mausoleum that had been sent to Trujillo from Hitler and Mussolini…so not a nice dude. That this period is still in living memory seems obvious, as does the rest of their history with links to Christopher Columbus, the slave trade and so on. In our experience, Dominicans are SUPER proud of their country, their heritage and their past, warts and all. It’s a very refreshing attitude and we enjoyed finding out all about it in an open and matter-of-fact way. The ancestors of a lot of the population, for example, arrived as slaves — and whilst we all know that this was a terrible time in history and many abhorrent acts were carried out towards these people, that is how they ended up there and that’s that. That something isn’t pleasant doesn’t make it any less true, and I really liked that quality that we found in so many of the people there. They were also very patriotic but not in the mental, nationalistic way you seem to get in the US and UK — they said things like ‘my capital city’ even if they didn’t live there, and thanked tourists for visiting ‘my beautiful country’. Overall, people were incredibly friendly and welcoming, and often even seemed grateful to the tourists for even going there in the first place. But then, it’s not long ago that Dominican Republic was a third world country, and thanks to the recent earthquake we’ve all seen on the news that it’s neighbour, Haiti, most definitely still is. Tourism has transformed the country and they seem thankful and proud to show it off — as well they should, because it’s so beautiful. It has the typical breathtaking Caribbean beaches as well as jungles, rainforests, coral reefs, bustling cities and Western style shopping precincts for the rich and famous — a bit of everything. I really don’t know why it’s not as popular as some of the other Caribbean Islands which, as far as I can tell, tend to be less diverse in their ecosystems and landscapes.
As well as the cathedral, we visited numerous significant buildings and places, including the first road to be built in the New World, the palace of Christopher Columbus’s son, Diego, and some stunning caves known as ‘the three eyes’ which featured beautiful, turquoise underground lakes (unfortunately this was post-camera-breakage so we don’t have any good photos of these. Boo!) We also bought the tiniest, most expensive piece of rock ever but it was totally worth it — a teardrop shaped chunk of amber (a Dominican specialty) with a 60 million year old bug in it. It set us back nearly £300 but still, there can’t be that many 60 million year old bugs floating around. Other purchases worth noting are of course the ubiquitous rum and cigars, which were so frickin’ cheap we ended up buying about double our customs limit and having to squeeze it all in our cases for the journey back. We had no trouble there, thank goodness, although we did see an hilarious stereotypical indignant American couple arguing with customs. They appeared to be the only people in the whole world who haven’t heard of the ‘no liquid in your hand luggage’ thing and loudly failed to grasp why their litres and litres of rum were being thrown away. Just as an indication of price, some pretty awesome 40-odd % rum was around £5 for a 70cl bottle — bargain! We drank plenty while we were there and also discovered some crazy Dominican aphrodisiac called Mamajuana, which John has since christened as ‘rum-hypnol’ (not because of anything rude, you filthy buggers…but because the only time I drank some was when I was already horribly drunk and I basically lost around 3 hours then passed out. The next day I actually thought I was dying of some tropical disease because the hangover was so bad). Basically mamajuana seems to be a mixture of herbs which are soaked in red wine, then honey and rum, then drained — this leaves you with the sex rum which you then drink. Or something like that. It’s delicious so keep your eyes peeled on Coffeesh0p as we’re hoping to source some of the herbs from somewhere at some point soon as no one sells them in the UK at the moment. Oh and John bought a SINGLE cigar for £20. That had better be one awesome cigar.
Last but not least, our other trip worth mentioning was to go and swim with dolphins! The place itself was a complete rip off and the staff were the most miserable shits we had ever come across — but once we were in the water with the dolphins those feelings just evaporated and it really was all the clichés you can imagine. We’ve never been that interested — as in, we’re not one of the many people to whom swimming with dolphins is the absolute pinnacle of being — so more than anything we got the opportunity to do it and we just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And would you believe it, Mr and Mrs cynic here just totally “got it”. It was incredible, and I’m now totally a dolphin convert. Do it if you ever get the chance.
Other than that, we spent a fortnight lazing on the beach, drinking so much rum it’s a wonder we’re still alive, eating amazing food, swimming every day in the sea and the huge pool (which happened to have a bar in it), and generally just relaxing. It was the most fantastic two weeks we could have hoped for (apart from the bastard camera breaking) and we’re incredibly glad that our ‘ah, fuck it, it’s our honeymoon’ attitude won out over our tight-fisted, sensible attitude. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity…although having said that, you are all heartily encouraged to buy plenty from us in order to help us afford to go again
So apparently there’s this trend going round a few blogs where we, the blog authors, ask you guys some stuff about who you are, why you’re here, etc. I can’t believe I haven’t asked you all sooner, to be honest. We’ve certainly got some interesting characters here, so let’s hear all about you!
Pleeeeaaase copy ‘n’ paste the following questions into the comment box at the bottom of this post and type in a few words for the benefit of us all. If you’re bothered about your details being made public, you can make up an email address, so long as it’s in the right format, and post under a pseudonym, so, no excuses!
- Who are you and what’s your background?
- When and why did you start reading?
- Why do you come back?
- What do you like here?
- What do you wish I did more of?
- What do you wish I did less of?
- For lurkers: If you don’t normally comment, why don’t you?
- For regular commenters: What do you get out of commenting? What do you think might encourage lurkers to comment?
If you can think of anything else to add, please do so! This is also a great time to tell us about any websites you may be involved with, just don’t be too spammy about it!
We’ve finallllly done it! Last December (2009), you may remember a tonne of legal highs got banned for a number of bullshit reasons, including our super popular Mellow Yellow. Well, now, after months of anticipation, Coffeesh0p.com (John & Jo’s Coffeeshop Ltd ;-)) has bought out another new, amazing incense: Meen Green!
It’s in the same “homemade” packaging as the Mellow Yellow, but it still looks awesome. The incense itself is a lovely green colour, very fluffy and burns evenly.
So How Can You Get Some For Free?
Before I continue, I’m afraid it’s only available to those in the UK for now. If this changes, I’ll be sure to let you know. So, if you’re in the UK, here’s how to score a freebie:
1) Comment on this post asking for some! I’ll give 3g to the first commenter and 1g to the next 10 commenters! I want some feedback though, so you have to let me know what you think of it.
2) If you’re on Twitter, retweet this message! I’ll pick a handful of people to give some to, depending on how many people participate.
3) Place an order with Coffeesh0p for £30 or more and we’ll throw in a free gram. This offer will be available for a couple of days at least, but after that, we can’t guarantee it.
In case you can’t tell, I’m super excited.
While we were in the Dominican Republic, Jo accidentally got addicted to ABC’s The Bachelorette. Naturally, I’ve been obliged to watch every episode since.
We’ve just finished watching an episode (it comes out Monday nights in America, so thank christ for SurfTheChannel.com), but to spice it up a bit we came up with the following drinking game:
Drink whenever any of the following phrases are mentioned:
Alone time/One-on-one time
All the blokes on the program will say this at least once each
Heart (as a metaphor)
This phrase is widerife among everyone. Hearts beating fast, etc, don’t count.
Absolutely (instead of "yes", not as a modifier)
Because in America, “Yes” isn’t extreme enough.
[Girl's name] looks/is beautiful/amazing
Again, all the blokes will say something this obvious each episode.
This is a new addition (09÷06÷2010), designed to replace some of the other rules as the series progresses and the format changes. This phrase is prolific, so hardcore drinkers only, please.
I know there’s only four rules, but it’s on for two whole hours (25% of which is adverts for incredibly cheap fast food — we also saw an amazing offer to buy six gallons of milk and get a seventh free — who the fuck is buying this much milk?! Anyway…) and the amount of repetition and stating the obvious is truly mind blowing.
Don’t forget, I still want suggestions for my list of drugs blogs!
It’s about time we dug out some of the best drug blogs on t’internet. I originally started this blog because there wasn’t anything else decent to read, or what was available was too obscure to be found easily, but there’s much more out there now.
I thought we could collect up a nice list of suggestions from you lot, maybe have a vote, then produce a list of the top drug blogs that everyone should be reading.
Let’s have some suggestions in the comments then!
(Oh, and the new misses is supposed to be writing summary of our honeymoon in t’Dominican Republic, but it seems that she’s been spending all her time in the kitchen since we’ve been back. I’ll have a word…)