LSD can be good for you? New study shows therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drug
03:25 pm


LSD trials

For the first time in 40 years, scientists have carried out controlled medical experiments on the hallucinogenic drug LSD, and the results have been surprisingly positive.

The drug was used as part of a psychotherapy course to treat severe depression in terminally ill cancer patients.

In a pilot test, twelve men and women at a private practice in Solothurn, Switzerland, were given high doses of LSD. The results showed a 20 percent reduction in symptoms associated with extreme anxiety relating to their medical condition.

The test also revealed that lysergic acid diethylamide had no severe side effects.

However, it was found that when issued with low doses of LSD, the participants’ depressive symptoms became worse.

The study, published in the Journal of Nervous and Medical Disease, concluded:

These results indicate that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted.

Psychiatrist Peter Gasser, who is based at the practice in Switzerland, said that eleven of the twelve participants involved in the trial had never taken LSD before, but all of them would take LSD again and would recommend the drug to other patients who were in a similar medical situation:

All of them said after 12 months of taking the drug that it was worth taking part in the trial and they would come again if asked. They also said they would recommend it for other people in the same position as themselves.

We showed that all the treatments were safe and any adverse effects were only mild and temporary – they did not last for more than a day or so. It can be a safe treatment with good efficacy, and it justifies further research with a larger number of people.

Gasser explained that eight of the trial were given a full dose of LSD, while four were given an “active placebo.” The placebo group showed an increase in their anxiety symptoms associated with depressive illness. These four were subsequently given a high dose of LSD.

One participant described his experience as “mystical,” and Dr. Gasser said all of the patients felt better in terms of their anxiety about being terminally ill. This improvement lasted for “at least twelve months after the therapy.”

They said in general they felt relief. They felt an intense process of what to do with the rest of their limited time and who they want to spend it with.

The last time medical trials used LSD on terminally ill patients was the early 1960s. LSD was made illegal in the United States in 1966.

Below, archive footage of one of the many LSD trials carried out in the 1960s.

H/T the Independent.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Pot protection: Cannabis-flavored condoms
07:23 am



Flavored condoms have been around forever, so why not weed-flavored condoms, right?

Green in colour, and smells and tastes like the real thing!

Cannadom is selling 10 packs for €9.95 and a single condom for €1.50.
Via The Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Ill-conceived ‘Too Cool To Do Drugs’ pencils are back!
12:57 pm



Back in the 90s, kids were given these pencils at schools and what not with the anti-drug slogan “Too Cool To Do Drugs.” Problem was, once they sharpened these puppies, the “anti-drug” message quickly changed to “Cool To Do Drugs,” “Do Drugs” and “Drugs.” Apparently, all of these problematic pencils were recalled in 1998. Boo!

The site BRRYBNDS decided these pencils needed to make a comeback and is selling five packs for $5.

Via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Disney legend Rolly Crump’s vintage drugs, Beatnik & Commie posters
04:20 pm


Rolly Crump

Rolland “Rolly” Crump is a Disney legend. Originally working as an assistant animator under Uncle Walt himself in the early 1950s, Crump performed “in betweener” work on Disney classics like Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmations, and Sleeping Beauty.

In 1959 Crump joined Walt Disney Imagineering, becoming one of Walt Disney’s key designers for Disneyland. He worked on the Haunted Mansion, the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Adventureland Bazaar. Crump served as key designer on the Disney pavilions featured at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including “It’s A Small World.” When that attraction was given a permanent home at Disneyland, Crump added the iconic puppet children clock at the entrance. He was also one of the lead designers on a Disneyland attraction that was shelved after Disney’s death, The Museum of The Weird.

During his long and illustrious career, Crump contributed to the designs for Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus World, before returning to Disney to project design “The Land” and “Wonders of Life” pavilions at EPCOT Center. Now 83 and still going strong, in 2004 Crump was given a Disney Legends Award.

Back in 1960, Rolly Crump made a series of whimsical and delightful posters depicting Beatniks and their predilection for drugs. Made for poster pioneer Howard Morseburg’s Esoteric Poster Company, Crump worked for Morseburg until 1964, also turning out posters satirizing Communism, Cuba and the Soviet Union.




Thank you Taylor Jessen!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
To Hell and back with Dennis Hopper
08:13 am


Dennis Hopper

There’s something in celebrities ‘fessin-up about how they became clean and sober that has replaced the witch trials as popular entertainment. Once it was naming familiars and butt-sex with the coven, now it’s mea culpa on Oprah, with tie-in book and a ten-minute-work-out DVD. (Of course, the conspiracist might take this just a wee bit further by pointing out the date of the first Salem witch hanging was June 10th, 1692; while Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10th, in 1935.)

To be frank, I’m not too impressed by hoary old tales of some star’s drink and drug excess, as I don’t think it important, especially in today’s culture of such ubiquitous and casual drug use. Haven’t we all been down that rabbit hole numerous times before, and all lived to tell the tale?

Of course, once it was novel and even considered revolutionary, but now drug taking is as commonplace as a franchise outlet. Blogs send out their hacks stoned or tripping to interview the dull and unwary, while our favorite TV chefs are exposed by trial to have allegedly snorted their way through the housekeeping money. (The most scandalous part of that last tale was not the alleged drug use, but the fact nearly a million dollars goes missing and nobody thought it important enough to investigate? How the 1% lives, eh?)

Of course, there has always been an element of pretend machismo in how many grams, pills, and shots one can take—like those would-be-writers who once daily stood wreathed in cigarette smoke at the end of the bar, downing pint-after-pint-after-pint, short-after-short, as if alcohol consumption were some Herculean challenge. Ah, we’ve all been there—no?

Dennis Hopper was there in spades. By all accounts he should have died from his excessive indulgence of drugs and booze. He didn’t. He went briefly mad instead, and ended-up in a mental hospital, where it is claimed Hopper was exhibited as a (barely) walking “Just Say No” advertisement (One can imagine the scene.)

Then Hopper got clean and sober and told everyone about it. You could say he switched his addiction for self-gratification to an addiction for work, acting in virtually every film, TV show, and video game he was offered. His aim was to be a grown-up, and provide for his family. This meant acting in a lot of duff films, such as playing King Koopa in Super Mario Brothers.

After seeing Super Mario Brothers, Dennis’ son Henry asked his father, “Why did you do that?” Dennis smiled and replied, “To buy you shoes.” Henry didn’t smile back at his father, “I don’t need shoes that badly,” he said.

It must have been galling for the clean and sober Hopper to see so many ill-conceived and poorly written movies get made (no matter the size of the pay-check), especially as he had tried for many years to make his own movies when he was under-the-influence. I know which ones I prefer.

In 1994, Dennis Hopper was the focus of this documentary for the BBC series Moving Pictures. It’s a star-studded, access-all-areas program, richly informative with a great central interview with Hopper, who happily ‘fesses up to just about everything.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘The Art of Tripping’: A Who’s Who of creative drug users

The Art of Tripping
The title of The Art of Tripping, a documentary about the visionary uses of narcotics that aired on Channel 4 in the UK in 1993, has a slippery double meaning. The surface notion is the idea of a guide to tripping well, of tripping with style, but that’s not what it refers to. More literally, the documentary addresses the artistic uses of drugs, art produced by tripping.

“Devised and directed” by Storm Thorgerson, well known as one of the members of the legendary Hipgnosis artistic team, The Art of Tripping is a satisfyingly intelligent narrative that brings the viewer through two centuries of the effects of mind-altering substances on highly creative minds. Hail Britannia: I’m trying to imagine CBS coming up with a program like this, without success. Even PBS wouldn’t likely go out of its way to praise the salutary uses of mescaline, although I’d be delighted to be proven wrong on that point. The narrator is Bernard Hill, who does an excellent job of imitating a certain kind of louche academic type who might plausibly have created the documentary you’re watching (even though he didn’t).
Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
The documentary takes you from the days of Coleridge more than 200 years ago up through De Quincey, Rimbaud, Modigliani, and Picasso before getting to the golden age of chemically enhanced literature and painting following World War II. Be warned: this is a high-minded documentary, and the focus is entirely on authors and painters. You won’t hear anything about Jimi Hendrix here. The doc has a highbrow bias but is no less witty for that: many interviews are digitally fucked-with in appropriate ways, including a Picasso expert whose bit is presented in a cubist style and a commentator on LSD whose outline is briefly replaced with footage of an underwater vista, and so forth. In the familiar effort to make sure everything stays amiably “visual,” there’s also a metaphor in which the narrator ascends a creaky elevator to the rooftop of a building—the resolution of that metaphor could not be more cheesy or perfunctory.

Most notable for the purposes of DM is its lengthy succession of prominent talking heads, from Allen Ginsberg and J.G. Ballard to Hubert Selby Jr. and Paul Bowles. Where such personages were unavailable for reasons of death, Hill “interviews”  De Quincey, Edgar Allan Poe, Anaïs Nin, Andy Warhol, and a few others who are embodied by actors who quote diaries and other literary works in order to “answer” the questions.

Paul Bowles
All of the great druggie classics of the postwar era are explored. Allen Ginsberg reads some bits of “Laughing Gas” from Kaddish and Other Poems, while Paul Bowles discusses the practice of ingesting kif in Tangier and reads a druggy bit from his book Let It Come Down. J.G. Ballard calls Naked Lunch “a comic masterpiece … a kind of apocalyptic view of the postwar world.” Amusingly, Ballard later says that “taking LSD was probably one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made in my life.” Of course, a few years after this documentary aired, Ballard wrote Cocaine Nights, which would obviously have fit this show to a T.
J.G. Ballard
J.G. Ballard
The show is chronological, so if you’re looking for Aldous Huxley or Ken Kesey or Jay McInerney, it won’t be too hard to find. My favorite bit comes towards the very end, when Lawrence Sutin, author of Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick, describes Dick’s disturbingly high intake of amphetamines:

At his peak, in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, by his own testimony he was taking a thousand amphetamines a week. White crosses and whatever speed, street drugs he was taking. The testimony of the roommate who I interviewed was that he would go to the refrigerator, in which was a large jar of white crosses, and simpy dip his hand in, take a handful, and swallow them, so if you ask how he fared with all this, the answer was: badly.


via {feuilleton}

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Psychedelic blizzard (Too much of that snow white?)
10:30 am



Bmaffitt on Imgur posted these triptastic images of falling snow in NYC. Bmaffitt says he/she “pointed a video projector out the window” onto falling snow then snapped some gorgeous pictures.





More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Aaaaand here’s a skull made out of cocaine
06:10 am



Skull made out of cocaine
In the puzzling biographical blurb on his website, the artist Diddo claims to have “aroused the curiosity of creators and tastemakers, receiving requests from the likes of Sasha Baron Cohen, Kanye West and Lady Gaga.” It also says that he “was born on the luckiest day since the sixth century (7-7-’77).”

Diddo’s most recent work, “Ecce Animal,” poses provocative questions about the human condition, such as “How much does that fucking thing cost?” It’s a skull measuring roughly 5 x 7 x 8.5 inches—I’m neither a doctor nor a medical examiner, but I’m going to go ahead and call that “life-sized”—and it’s made of “street cocaine.”

In the “Laboratory” section of his website, he drops such risible bon mots as “The analysis started with the preparation of the 100% Cocaine standard and sample solution. An amount of standard was dissolved in a mobile phase followed by a series of trial runs to calibrate and identify the HPLC method that gave adequate separation of the standard. ... The retention time of our sample matched the Cocaine standard, albeit with
 a much smaller peak. This is because the sample is diluted with so-called ‘cutting agents’. The purity of the Cocaine in percentage lies in the range of approximately 15% to 20%.”
Skull made out of cocaine
Skull made out of cocaine
Skull made out of cocaine
Skull made out of cocaine
Skull made out of cocaine
Skull made out of cocaine
via designboom

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘The Mind-Benders: LSD and the Hallucinogens’: Drug scare film from the swinging sixties
06:46 am



I was actually looking for the rather good Dirk Bogarde film The Mind Benders, based on the novel by James Kennaway, when I came across this famed anti-LSD film of the same name.

Based on genuine experiments that took place in the 1950s, Kennaway’s The Mind Benders dealt with the use of sensory deprivation tanks as a means to brainwash individuals—ultimately to be used by friendly western governments for covert political means. Though the story was couched within a tale of love and infidelity, it was highly controversial when first released in 1963, and both book and film received undeservedly harsh, misguided and reactionary condemnation.

A few years later, and the FDA produced The Mind-Benders: LSD and the Hallucinogens, which is variously dated as 1967, 1968 or 1970. The title alone sounds like a musical line-up. While it was okay for governments to mess with people’s minds, the youth taking acid or peyote and alike on their own, well that was a definite no-no.

It doesn’t really work as an anti-drug film, as the interviewees seem like nice people, from nice homes, who probably had nice lives, nice jobs, and who generally had a nice time with the drugs. They tell us about their experiences both good, bad and “really frightening,” after taking LSD for kicks, or to learn something about themselves or life.

One interviewee claims some people will flip out, and people may die, but they really should read up on what they’re getting into. Sounds like sensible advice. While others talk about bright lights, lights brighter than the sun; or everything vibrating, falling apart, and eyes like an electronic microscope; or the patterns and connections the hallucinogenic experience illuminates. And of course, the scary part, where people think they are dead, or fear that everything can break or can become one, and really far out things can just disappear. A bit like the Internet then.

M’colleague, Marc Campbell posted this a while back. At the time, Marc commented:

“Good production values give this drug scare film from 1967 the sheen of respectability, but it’s still full of the same old bullshit. At a time when kids needed a Psychedelics For Dummies instructional manual, we got the kind of spooky propaganda that caused more bummers than strychnine-laced STP.”

Nicely put.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Harvey Pekar’s pal and ‘Genuine Nerd’ Toby Radloff hilariously croons about cocaine
06:51 am

Pop Culture

Harvey Pekar
Toby Radloff

Toby Radloff Suit
I live right outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  Most of the people in my largely bohemian circle are proud to live and work in the area, and for good reason. It’s a gritty place on a cultural upswing; an amazing, cheap rent, close-knit universe, and a choice locale if you like your world tinged with blue collar, no-bullshit ethics, pierogies, cured meats, bad-ass rock n’ roll and some of realest people on the planet; guys like self-proclaimed “Genuine Nerd,” Toby Radloff.

Toby is perhaps best known for his appearance in the 2003 film American Splendor about Cleveland comic book writer and R. Crumb collaborator, Harvey Pekar. If you’ve seen the film or read the comic book series, you already know that Toby was a friend of Pekar’s and they met in 1980 while working together as file clerks at Cleveland’s VA Hospital. Radloff became a recurring character in Pekar’s American Splendor comic book series for which the film was named.

But the film version of American Splendor was hardly Radloff’s first nerdy experience in front of the camera.

Here’s Pekar on Toby in a 2009 interview:

When he first got on the media, what happened was I had just been on the Letterman show. And MTV sent somebody out to do a story on me at the VA Hospital and I was just taking them around and showing them different things. I introduced them to Toby and after five minutes with him they kicked me to the curb! I can’t compete with that guy!

Radloff was subsequently featured in a handful of vignettes for MTV starting in 1987 and aired, according to Toby, in conjunction with the release of Revenge of the Nerds II.  As an actor, the guy’s a true weirdo, and totally hilarious. He’s appeared in several outsider films, including Killer Nerd and Bride of Killer Nerd made in 1991 and 1992 respectively.  Both are distributed by Troma Films.

Here’s Troma’s synopsis for Killer Nerd:

The Troma Team is proud to present KILLER NERD, a film that stands up for the little guy. It’s every jock’s greatest fear; the nerd you teased in high school is back for REVENGE! Harold Kunkle is that nerd. Teased and taunted by even the paper-girl, he is pushed beyond his meek limits. Harold becomes KILLER NERD! You’ll be in shock when you take witness to KILLER NERD’s bizarre and horrifying ritual of retribution. You’ll be amazed at how a man so dorky could embark on such an orgy of gore. With effects and intensity rivaling that of TAXI DRIVER and Troma’s FATTY DRIVES THE BUS, you’ll be at the edge of your seat… IN FEAR. Starring MTV personality and real-life nerd Toby Radloff, and the stunning Heidi Lohr in her debut performance! This movie is sure to please anyone who has ever been pushed too far. Harold Kunkle is one KILLER NERD who is REALLY out for revenge!

Here you go, make it a double feature:

Killer Nerd

Bride of Killer Nerd

In 1999, Toby starred in another low-budget, fringe endeavor called Townies in which he played a necrophylic dumpster-diver, and in 2006, he was the subject of a documentary called, of course, Genuine Nerd.  Both films were created by one of the original producers of the MTV segments, Wayne Alan Harold.

Then, in 2007, Toby appeared with Harvey Pekar on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations at Sokolowski’s, a Cleveland staple for oversized culinary delights of the Polish persuasion.  Check it out:

I’m digressing here, and indeed, Toby’s all over the Internet. But the clip that inspired this whole post in the first place, the one that truly had me laughing my ass off, is from a 1989 Cleveland cable access program called The Eddie Marshall Show.  In it, we find Toby singing a rather goofy number he made up about cocaine to the tune of the “Coke is it!” jingle.  Note that Toby’s quick to point out that he in no way endorses the use of illegal drugs. Also note that the clip starts out with a PSA shout-out from Run DMC! According to Radloff’s own comment on the video, this and other Eddie Marshall Show segments were pitched to MTV but they were rejected. 

As a side note, my wife Lisa actually worked with Toby years ago in a now defunct Cleveland coffee shop called The Red Star Café.  She says he was one of her favorite coworkers, and absolutely the real deal. I don’t know Toby personally, but his voice is unmistakable, and I’ve seen/heard him and his Nerd Mobile around town on a number of occasions. It makes me smile when I do.

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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