History Of The User & Society: An Introduction

drugsBy Terry Gotham

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to be able to report on new, interesting and potentially dangerous trends in drug and alcohol use/abuse for Burners.me. Whether it was novel psychoactive substances, designer Xanax, Fentanyl as the scourge of North America or even just about the commercialization of cannabis, I’ve tried to ensure my points were data-driven and relevant in the current day. This next segment of my reporting for Burners.me is going to be less focused on the present and more the past.

Tens of thousands of people have written about drug use, both recreational and medicinal, in addition to the nature of using. What far fewer have written about is the systematic segmentation of consumers of certain substances as “addicts” or “problematic users.” Drug use goes back as far as we have written records, but the labeling of certain populations as addicted/sick/bad for society is a far more recent practice. In researching to help me understand why and how this designation came about, I was stunned how many commonly held beliefs about substance use and who was using what and why were smashed. Everything from conventional wisdom surrounding The Civil War to how societal markets were shaped by tea, coffee & chocolate. Continue reading

Two Ominous Side Effects Of Cannabis Legalization

By Terry Gotham

A caveat: things are heading in the right direction in places where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use for adults. We can all agree that Colorado, Washington, Alaska & the District of Columbia didn’t become the pot-drenched “Beyond Thunderdome” dystopias that pearl clutchers & puritans envisioned. My aim is not to deride legalization efforts, nor question the dedication or motives of anyone associated with the fight to get America’s head out of its ass. Because Burning Man can be seen as a laboratory for progressive thinking & ways of living, and because a lot of Burners live in states that are currently grappling with the “how” instead of the “if” of legalization, medicalization or decrmininalization, I felt compelled to mention them. We’re legalizing in uneven steps across the country, which has brought us into unknown economic, cultural & law enforcement territory and produced some worrying side effects. Continue reading

The Future Of Cannabis: Illegal Plants Become Legal Products

marijuana-marketing-blog-imageBy Terry Gotham

As part of my efforts to get the word out about the problems drug users currently face, I’ve presented at a number of academic conferences across North America. Whenever I’m in a state with more liberal drug laws than the one I currently reside in, I always like to examine it both as a consumer & a policy advocate. In Vancouver, while I was being pitched the differences between different sativa infused energy drinks & indica infused lip balm when it hit me.  We’re not in Kansas anymore ladies and gentlemen, the future of drug marketing is now.

While the majority of the USA is still screwing around, debating morality & incarcerating minorities for fun and profit, several states and British Columbia have seen what many moralizing policymakers claimed could never happen. The proliferation of cannabis products post-decriminalization & legalization is proof that recreational drug users are not skittering crackheads, but in fact discerning consumers who, if given the option, can make smart choices about their consumption and habits.

Continue reading

Party Like A Rockstar: A Primer On Drugs And Cardiovascular Health

heart-pills5

By Terry Gotham

Since we’re not getting any younger, cardiovascular issues will continue affect the Burner population in increasing numbers. Considering Burners also party like rockstars, in one of the harshest climates on earth, I wanted to take this time to go over some of the research associated with drugs & your heart. As a disclaimer, once again, many popular recreational drugs are specifically contra-indicated for people with anywhere from mild to major heart issues, but if you listened to your doctor, you probably wouldn’t be going to Burning Man with your minor CV distresses. As 30% of this country has High Blood pressure, and quadruple & quintuple bypass are now commonplace, these issues aren’t esoteric, so let’s meet them head on.

Continue reading

Dabs, Wax & BHO: What The Kids Are Smoking These Days

Image via Buzzfeed

At certain points in the history of drugs, there have been pivot points. Moments in time when the way a drug was consumed changed, altering the path of the habit for those that use it afterwards. The synthesis of Crystal Meth forever changed the population of amphetamine users, as the introduction of heroin to ameliorate the morphine epidemic changed opiate users. The 80’s in America would have been very different if no one had ever thought to create crack from it. We’re now seeing a similar shift, albeit from a much safer drug.

If you live in California, Colorado or Washington state, you’ve probably heard of this stuff, but if not, this might be something new. Butane Hash Oil, more commonly known as Wax or Shatter, has replaced the Hash of your day with something a bit more powerful & definitely not sprinkled on top of your bong. This stuff is cruising past even the most potent strains of “flower” (as regular pot is now being called) in THC/potency, with some dabs containing 70-90% THC. And not only is it something you can bury yourself in a couch doing at home, but modern technology has created on the go apparatus that allows the more privileged or networked among us to vape on the go. Continue reading