Monday, April 30, 2012

Buying a Piece Part One: What kind of piece do you need?

If you're anything like the stoners that I know, you can't get enough stoner gadgets. Visions of grinders and ice catchers and colorful bongs dance through your dreams. Or maybe you don't own any yet, but your friend's bong makes your mouth water. You're interested in finding a smoking device that you love just as much. This is the post in a series about finding the right piece for you, whether you're a beginner or a veteran.

Though it is an oft-overlooked point, you should first think about who you usually smoke with. The size of the group that you toke with really affects what piece is best to use. (I will be leaving out joints & blunts, because they're not exactly gadgets that you keep around.)

If you usually smoke alone or with a small group, you should look into buying:
  • Basic pipe, small bowl. This is usually people's first piece, because it is the simplest and most versatile. Most are made of glass, and small enough to be very portable. You can find varying bowl sizes, so if you smoke alone you can avoid packing a huge bowl and having it go stale when you can't finish it.
  • Bubbler. Bubblers are pipes (again, usually glass) that force the smoke through water. It's healthier than some other methods but it is much less portable and stealthy.
  • Vaporgenie. I reviewed this piece earlier, and it's definitely my new favorite way of smoking. It's stealthy, healthy, and doesn't create any smell. However, it's not good for large groups because the bowl is relatively small, the weed will burn if it gets too hot after multiple uses, and there is a learning curve for actually using it.
  • MFLB. There's no really good reason that this CAN'T be smoked in large groups, but it's so convenient for stealthy outdoor toking that I decided to put it in this category. If used for a long period of time (like being passed along in a large group) it can sometimes get too hot for your lips.
If, however, you're popular enough to regularly smoke with a large group of friends (five or more people), some of these options might be better choices for you:
  • Bong. Bongs are good for groups because you can customize them. Get a bowl that's deep so you don't have to keep re-packing it.
  • Pipe with a deep bowl. Contrary to what I said about pipes above, some are constructed with deeper bowls and are better for groups.
  • Volcano Vaporizer. That is, if you're super rich. They're definitely worth it, but only if you have a large income and a lot of people who would use it often. If you live in an apartment or house with multiple people, this may be a good investment to share.
  • Hookah is marketed towards tobacco users, but you can certainly mix some pot in with your shisha.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

BDSM and Psychedelics

This is just going to be a quick PSA.

Someone arrived at Furthur by searching for just that (see the title) and I don't know whether they found what they were looking for, but I am quite into both of those things. However, they are NOT a good mix. BDSM is a risky behavior, and although that isn't inherently a bad thing, one should be taking the precaution of remaining sober while engaging in power-play activity, whether they are the dominant or the submissive.

Stay safe, psychonauts!

Monday, April 23, 2012

LSD vs Psilocybin

What's the difference between the two?This question is often discussed in psychonaut circles, and everyone seems to have a different answer. It's most often asked by newbies who have only tried one or the other and are curious about the other substance. I'll give you my assessment of the differences, but I'd love to hear from other psychonauts about their experiences.

Disclaimer: Dedicated readers will already know that I have only done shrooms twice, and therefore I'm not as much of an expert on that substance as others are. Please fill out my knowledge with your comments. :)
  • On LSD, I experienced a heightening of my existing synesthesia (crossing of the senses). Those that don't already have the condition often develop it while on acid. On psilocybin, I did not experience any particular synesthesia, but my sense of taste became really decadent. Eating organic honey while on shrooms made it one of my favorite foods.
  • While we're on the topic of taste, LSD totally obliterates my appetite, rendering me unable to eat, whereas psilocybin does not affect my interest in food.
  • LSD causes depersonalization. My first trip illustrates this: on my comedown, I remembered I was a human with a past and a personality and it felt very strange integrating these ideas with the "no-one-ness" I had been experiencing for the last few hours. Psilocybin, on the other hand, causes what I like to call "repersonalization," meaning you become convinced of being someone other than yourself. I became an aztec goddess for eight hours, and felt very powerful and sexual. Someone else I know found himself to be a gorilla and stripped off his clothes and ran around town, eventually getting arrested (true story).
  • On LSD, my closed-eye visuals mainly consist of blobby but colorful patterns, like a more extreme version of what you get every time you close your eyes. On psilocybin, my eyelids became a jungle of weird (but by no means scary) little centipedes with hundreds of eyes and hundreds of legs.
  • LSD trips are longer than psilocybin trips by a couple of hours.
  • LSD trips peter off into a sort of "hangover" where I'm very sensitive to motion in the corners of my eyes and I feel a little off-kilter for a day. The effects of shrooms ended promptly after eight-or-so hours, leaving me feeling clean and refreshed.
  • LSD tends to create a variety of emotions in me throughout a single trip, including discomfort and anxiety. Psilocybin tends to be an unfailingly positive experience, making me giggly and energetic.
  • Psilocybin mushrooms can cause vomiting, but LSD really cannot on its own. This is the sole reason that I have more experience with LSD, because I have a phobia of vomit.
A user on a forum summed it up as "LSD is electric, mushrooms are organic." What do you guys think?


I spend a lot of time talking about why (and how) people should be doing LSD. After all, it has done worlds of good for many people (including myself). However, I do NOT advocate the use of LSD for EVERYONE. Many acid-heads get excited about the creation of an acid utopia inspired by their own psychedelic experiences, but taking LSD is a risk that some people just should not take. If you belong to any of the groups listed, you should think very carefully before you use any psychedelic substance.

  • People with a tendency toward mental illness. People with a history of, or a genetic predisposition towards, schizophrenia can be triggered by hallucinogens and may not recover in a timely manner-- or ever. These are the horror stories you hear about "permanent bad trips:" in almost every case the patient has a history of certain kinds of mental illness. Other, more common, mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression, can also be made worse by the use of LSD, as it puts you in a fragile mental state that may exacerbate these conditions. This is not to say that those with anxiety and depression should not EVER use psychedelics; in fact, LSD use often helps me with my own depression. Just be prepared for the possibility.
  • People on SSRI antidepressants. SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) and LSD work the same way, by blocking the neurochemical serotonin from getting used and recycled. Unfortunately, having too much serotonin active and bouncing around in your system can cause Serotonin Syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening and has symptoms like headaches, confusion, shivering, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, twitching, tachycardia, and coma. Since another symptom of Serotonin Syndrome is hallucinations, you might not know what is happening to you until it is too late. Please do not take this risk with any hallucinogen.
  • People who do not feel comfortable using psychedelics. I'm sure you've heard the old adage for preparation: set and setting. One must make sure that their external "setting" and environment are good for a trip, but they must also make sure that their mindset is positive. If you are much more nervous about tripping than you are excited, then don't rush it. You will always have another opportunity if and when you feel more confident. It's like a roller coaster: it will always be a little scary, but it certainly shouldn't be terrifying.
  • People who don't know they're taking a drug. Sometimes people get really enthusiastic about an experience that they have had and want to share it with others who might be wary or even negative about psychedelics, so they decide to make it a "surprise." This is a violation of someone's personal freedom of choice, which I never advocate, and can also very easily cause a bad trip. If someone doesn't know that they've taken a drug, the effects thereof can be really frightening and might make them think they've gone insane. Not good. Or, even worse, some people will attempt to use psychedelics to take advantage of others sexually. This is EXTREMELY wrong, for many obvious reasons, and is not something anyone should do to another human being. Ever.
  • People who just don't really want to. If you don't think that psychedelics would be your thing, then whatever. I do not think that everyone should do psychedelics, just that those who do want to should have the freedom to do so. Whatever you choose is the right choice for you.
And of course, Timothy Leary has summed it up best: "Acid is not for every brain .... Only the healthy, happy, wholesome, handsome, hopeful, humorous, high-velocity should seek these experiences. This elitism is totally self-determined. Unless you are self-confident, self-directed, self-selected, please abstain. "

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Racism and Marijuana Prohibition: Video Version

I made a video based on my most popular post, Why Pot Supporters Shouldn't Use the Term "Marijuana." It's slightly revised and also shows off my handsomeness and charm. ;) Watch the video and let me know what you think! :)

I'll read your comments when I'm done with my appointment with Lucy: stay tuned for a trip report, and after that an article about meeting Steve Bloom, former High Times editor. Stay stoned, psychonauts!