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Deadly ecstasy pills sporting the Golden Arches MacDonald’s logo have been seized in Scotland, all containing para-methoxy-amphetamine (PMA) – a strong psychedelic and killer ecstasy substitute.
The price of ecstasy pills is on the rise and there is increasing belief that the quantity of MDMA in pills is increasing, but this deadly seizure reminds us that pills vary widely in composition - and there are pills out there you do not want to try.
If only ecstasy pills were as consistent as a Big Mac!
PMA closely related to PMMA, has been connected to a number of deaths over the last decade in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia. While PMA was initially thought to be a by-product created in the production of MDMA, this is unlikely given the different precursors that each requires for their production.
A delayed onset of effect (often more than 2 hours) can lead to inadvertent overdosing - thinking ‘these pills are crap, better take another one of two and see if we get something’. However it can lead to muscle spasms, burred vision, overheating (hyperthermia), and increases in pulse and blood pressure.
Nausea and vomiting can lead to loss of potassium leading to hypokalemia (low potassium levels) which combined with hyperthermia can lead to irregular heart rhythms, seizures and death – see more on taking pills here.
So if someone offers you a pill with the Macca’s logo on it – believe use you won’t be ‘lovin it’.
Stay safe, drugs meter
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If there’s one thing about smoking cannabis that is guaranteed not come with unwanted side effects, then it has to be rolling. Satisfying, engaging and much more creative than ordering a 50/50 pizza instead of a margherita or the inevitable all day cartoon-fest, the art of rolling has almost as much potential to get someone hooked as the drug itself.
Interestingly, smokers from around the world seem to adopt different styles of rolling. While spending time working for Time Out Amsterdam, engaging in the privileged task of writing Coffee shop reviews courtesy of the expense account, I had a chance to observe these various techniques, as demonstrated by pot-smoking tourists burning time in the ‘global-village’. I wouldn’t like to comment on what it says about the various cultural identities, but it’s interesting all the same.
Lets start with the Dutch style, well planned, serious, and big. Using the whole roach card to make a sturdy filter, notable for the folded Z-shape in the middle, these spliffs are chunky and coned. They are also filled with twice as much weed as you need, mixed with cigarette tobacco to help it burn longer.
Any pre-rolled joint you will find in a Dutch coffeeshop is rolled like this and if you do get lucky and spot a Dutch person actually in one, then you’ll find them rolling theirs the very same way. You could say it’s a design classic.
The American Pure
Quite the other end of the spectrum is the American style. A lot less tidy, and usually rolled with pure cannabis, there’s a reason they call them ‘doobs’. These often don’t even use roaches and instead are twisted up at each end like a sweet-wrapper. They resemble a kind of chubby slug rather than a cone. On the plus side they use up a lot more paper, but you end up wasting a fair amount of weed too as its pretty tricky to smoke it right down to the end with out burning your lips, or choking on the roach (Big Lebowski style). However, the purity does mean it’s fairer on your lungs.
The Slim British
Then of course there’s the UK style, which is similar to the Dutch, as in it uses a roach and is coned, but they tend to be a lot thinner. Like a polite, respectable version of the Dutch one, in line with the Brits’ sensibilities. In the UK, smokers seem to prefer rolling tobacco instead of cigarette flakes, which makes it easier to roll thinly and neater.
The weirdest style, however, has to be one a Spanish couple was spotted rolling, although it was so bad that it is unlikely that many people actually do this. Instead of using a roach for a filter they had just snapped off about an inch of a cigarette and used that instead, rolling a wide tubular spliff around it that was on the brink of falling apart as they smoked. This was a seriously botched job, but you can kind of see the twisted logic in it…
Bad Boy Blunts
For the champagne smoker, blunts are the only way. These are thick, brown rolling papers made out of tobacco, and a lot pricier than king-skins as you only buy one or two in a pack. Of course, when in Amsterdam, tourists like to treat themselves, and you can buy blunt wraps in abundance at the various shops selling googly eyed cannabis paraphernalia about the city. These are quite a bit harder to roll, as the paper is less sticky. They are also probably the worst for your chest as it’s a bit like smoking a cigarette and a spliff at the same time. Not to mention that they are generally pretty damn big. Still, nothing beats a novelty smoke….cough….tulip!
Of course, there’s no right or wrong in the world of weed – sort of – but the ritual of rolling, and the time and energy put into preparing your smoke seems to be an integral part of cannabis culture the world over. Unless you like vaporizers, in which case, you’re on your own…
Will Coldwell is a freelance writer and journalist based in London who writes for publications including Time Out, The Independent and The Guardian. (@will_coldwell)
Try our new cannabis app here. Follow us on twitter @drugsmeter
An image taken from- http://weedarded.tumblr.com
Welcome to the drugs meter #CannabisWeek!
Today we are launching our unique and exclusive ‘cannabis app’ for all smart phones and with cannabis being the most common illicit drug used around the world- what better way to begin?
drugs meter was launched last month and since then over 3,000 people have taken the drugs meter, bringing our comparison database to over 15,000 people! Like all drugs meters, the cannabis app provides you with immediate, objective and personalised feedback and lets you compare your cannabis use with thousands of other current cannabis users. So far around 5,000 cannabis users have examined their use against others on drugs meter….and wouldn’t it be interesting for you to anonymously compare your cannabis use to others within the community- well now you can.
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Shovelling mystery white powders up your nose, or any other orifice, can be pretty risky, because by definition you can’t be sure what it is
So, what is a ‘mystery white powder’?
They’re not always white!- they can be beige, brown, pinkish. They’re not always a powder either, they can be crystallized. You can say- ‘you never know what you’re taking’- true- but if you buy a gram of coke, you know what high to expect. Mystery white powders include research chemicals, bath salts, internet/head shop purchases. Although sometimes they are bagged and tagged, you still do not know what you’re getting, however you can google search to prep. Other #MWP’s include- powders offered to you by random strangers, dealers or your mate, things you’ve found on festival floors and any unknown substance you cut, pop and drop.
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Want some feedback on your drug use ? Want to know how much you spend? If your use is average? or even how much you use in a year ? Head over to http://drugsmeter.com/ to find out !
stay safe, drugs meter
The results of the Mixmag 2012 Global Drug Survey have been published in this months issue. Read them here.
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Global Drug Survey Exclusives from the 2012 Mixmag/ Guardian Global Drug Survey
The first Global Drug Survey hit the Guardian front page this morning and is set to lead two days of drug coverage- from ‘hidden’ drug users to synthetic cannabis to prescription drugs and our very own drugs meter app. dominating the society most read and Guardian Zietgeist, we had over 300 comments by 10am! Check out the animation, video, data and editorial here
Mixmag has launched their coverage of the Global Drug Survey data today with a massive 10 pages of coverage on all things drugs! Mixmag have been at the forefront of making drugs a media issue for the last decade and Global Drug Survey is proud to be working with them. Check out their beautiful coverage here
Global Drug Survey will be releasing our own exclusive coverage later today - want to see what drugs are the most popular? Watch this space!
You’re out with your mates in a club, you’ve popped some pills, it’s packed, it’s hot and you’re dancing your socks off. It is particularly important to be aware of your body and overheating – you need to make sure you top up on liquids, particularly water or an ‘isotonic’ beverage. It’s probably best to avoid alcohol- so don’t skull shots pre-session.
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