Recent Questions Archive

Recent Questions Archive

My sister has been using cocaine & ecstasy at the same time and recently her doctor has put her on Zoloft for depression not knowing of the drug problem. Is this a dangerous combination?

There are no direct physical dangers from mixing Zoloft and Ecstasy (MDMA). Zoloft (or to use its chemical name, Sertraline) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the same class of anti-depressants as Prozac (Flouxetine), Celexa (Citalopram Hydrobromide), Luvox (Fluvoxamine), and Paxil (Paroxetine). These chemicals will actually reduce or even completely eliminate the effects of Ecstasy when the two are taken together, due to both drugs having almost opposite effects on the brain's serotonin system. Celexa, in particular, is sometimes used to treat cocaine dependency and may reduce cocaine effects and craving.

Cocaine works on the dopamine system in the brain to produce its effects and MDMA has no direct effect on this system, although dopamine does play a role in the MDMA effect. Cocaine, however, does increase heart-rate and blood pressure which may cause physical problems in an unfit person.

Perhaps more importantly, long term, both cocaine and ecstasy cause significant crashes and depression after use, in different ways. There are consistent reports, both anecdotal and scientific, that constant or binge ecstasy use is linked to depressed mood. Cocaine causes noticeable mood-swings and crashes on a next few days basis for occasional users, and long-term mood problems for chronic users. Using both on a regular basis is likely to exacerbate her depression.

I am 7 months pregnant. I have smoked an occasional "one hitter" of cannabis throughout my pregnancy. What is the possible side effect for my child? I do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.

"Marijuana has no reliable impact on birth size, length of gestation, neurological development, or the occurrence of physical abnormalities. The administration of hundreds of tests to older children has revealed only minor differences between the offspring of marijuana users and nonusers, and some are positive rather than negative. (...) While it is sensible to advise women to abstain from all drugs during pregnancy, the weight of evidence suggests that marijuana does not directly harm the human foetus." (1)

You can find more on this subject here.

I am off to Amsterdam today with my fiancée who doesn't smoke cannabis. My idea is to introduce him to hash cakes but he is allergic to aspirin and I am worried that he might have a reaction to cannabis.

Your fiancée shouldn't have any allergy problems with eaten cannabis. However, if he hasn't ever taken cannabis before, BE VERY CAREFUL about feeding him hash cakes. Dutch cannabis is very strong and eating cannabis triples the effect (see cannabis effects). It could be very disconcerting for him if he's never been stoned.

Is it possible to be allergic to cannabis? Recently I have had nasal problems when cannabis smoke is around me, my nose gets plugged and sometimes I get a runny nose and occasionally I sneeze too.

It is possible to be allergic to cannabis although the active ingredient, THC, is endowed with some moderate anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic properties. There has been little study in this area. It may be that other elements in the smoke, especially if you mix with tobacco, are causing your reaction. If you can, try smoking through a vaporizer (which significantly decreases the amount of toxic smoke-based compounds) and see if that produces the same effect. If it does, then you probably are allergic to cannabis.

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What is the most common way to test for LSD?

There used to be a product available from online Dutch smart shops which tested for LSD and other tryptamine-family chemicals (i.e. psilocybin and DMT) but we are unable to find it anymore. You may be able to locate it if you search around Google.com. The alternative is one of the numerous home-testing kits marketed for suspicious parents. Like this residue test.

Is it dangerous to take ecstasy if you have asthma?

Anecdotal reports seem to suggest that there are no particular problems or direct physical dangers for asthmatics taking ecstasy. However many asthma inhalers (such as Ventolin or Salbutamol) use amphetamine-like chemicals which increase heart rate and blood pressure and may not be wise to combine with Ecstasy.

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When I take drugs like mushrooms, they seem to last a lot longer for me than anyone else? Is this heard of or am I a freak?

Basically, different people react differently to different drugs. Some hard heads have a very high resistance to psychoactives and have to take double or triple doses just to feel the normal doses. Other people, like yourself, are highly sensitive and are bouncing off the walls after the smallest amount. Size, body-weight, gender, and race are all factors which can affect sensitivity.

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How come sometimes I can smoke 5 grams of marijuana and be perfectly alright, and other times have one joint and have an anxiety attack?

The character of many drugs' effects and reactions are dependent on 'set and setting', your mindset (how you feel at the time, what's going on in your life, your prevailing mood, the kind of day you've had) and your environment (where are you? are you relaxed there? who's with you? are you comfortable with everyone?).

Maybe examining when, where, what, and how you smoke will help?

Is there any thing consistent in your panic reactions? Time of day? Place where you're smoking?

You say sometimes 5 grams is okay. Sometimes one joint is enough to send you spiraling off. Could it be a strength issue? Is the cannabis you smoke always the same quality? The difference between a mild or low-grade strain and a fresh powerful strain can be considerable. If you're not prepared for being so stoned, so quickly, it may unsettle or even panic you.

What time of day do you smoke? Evenings are generally best as the body and the mind is more relaxed. Have you eaten before? Generally, an empty stomach will make drug effects stronger. A full stomach tends to ground you and lessen the possible unsettling out-of-body spacey side-effects of cannabis.

Our page on Bad Trips And How To Avoid Them might be of help.

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1. Zimmer L, Morgan JP. Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts. A review of the scientific evidence. New York/San Francisco: The Lindesmith Centre, 1997.'

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