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  1. #1
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Morality of Marijuana

    I've been kind of interested in this for some time, SO as mental health is also apart of general health, I though I would bring up the discussion here.

    What do you all think of marijuana in terms of write and wrong, mentally that is? Meaning is it okay or beneficial to use marijuana (or any drug) to alter your mind, just for a *good time,* or even as an escape from everyday life?
    Keep in mind when I say OKAY I do not mean physically okay (I do NOT want to bring up the discussion of wether or not marijauna is *good for your body* or not) I mean do you think it's okay for a person to alter his or her mind with a drug.

    This may seem like a dumb question at first but let me explain.

    I have a friend that lifts weights with me who has been trying to convince me to smoke with him on the weekends. At first I gave him the obvious reasons for why I didn't want to smoke with him, i.e. *it's bad for you* or *it's illegal* blah blah. Plus I saw what kind of life he's getting attachted to (this may have no connection with his marijuana use) as he's now using vikaden, shrooms, and esctasy.

    But When I actually got down to why I don't use marijuana and drugs in general, it's because I see anything that one may use to alter his or her state of mind to enjoy life, or to escape it, as a weakness. Even if it's not an addiction at all, I believe it's a weakness that my friend has to use this drug to enjoy himself now (Even if he's not addicted).

    Another reason I want to see what you all think is because I'm trying to convince him to stop. I know that saying that *it's bad for you* or *you're going to get arrested or get in a car wreck* are awful reasons as to why he should quit, because: 1, he doesn't he believe that it's bad for him, and: 2, he thinks he is in control of his own life and wont' get arrested or get in a wreck. So I'm trying to find a way to convince him in different terms.

    So what do you think? Am I off my rocker or does anyone agree with me? (Or does anyone eve UNDERSTAND me Wadaya think?
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    drugs are often abused because of an underlying psychological problem. if the psychological problem is cured the addiction should be as well. your friend may have a problem other than drugs and he is masking it with drug use. this problem may be simply "boredom" or it could be something else...

    a big problem with the drug lifestyle is that it truly kills your emotional state. Say you have a "mood meter" from 1-10, 10 being happiest. your buddy is probably around 5 normally, he feels sorta bored and depressed. He then takes a drug which brings him up to 8,9,10, but when it is over it drops him to 4 or 3. this is common ofcourse, known as "coming down" or hangover.

    you wont get it so extreme from marijuana, usually u will just be tired, hungry, and unwilling to do anything. i wouldnt worry so much about hallucinogens, they are not so addictive as ecstacy. tell your friend that hes gonna get huge holes in his brain if he keeps using Ecstacy.

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    Do`in weed on ocasions is alright in my books cause i do it from time to time but when u have to do all the time then u got a problem dude as with other drugs that`ll alter u`re state mind..As far as exctasy it`s NOT!! addictive from what others tell u..
    Last edited by ADog; 04-12-2005 at 05:49 AM.

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    MulletII - AKA Ninja Boner Gyno Rhino's Avatar
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    Since this thread is discussing morality and mindsets, it'd probably be better served in General Chat (and you'll get many more answers there, also).
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    I don't see anything wrong with people smoking weed, it's really not such a terrible thing in my opinion. I think Americans have kind of a juvenile, stupid attitude about it. I didn't even know that most jobs drug test for weed until I came to America, I don't think they do that in Canada. It really doesn't make sense that alcohol is legal and weed isn't, from what I've seen, alcohol is much worse physically and mentally. Not that being legal has much to do with right and wrong

    I don't smoke or drink though, so this isn't going on first hand experience, just what I've seen from my friends who for the most part indulge in both. I don't think I've ever seen anybody become beligerent from weed, or potentailly dangerous to themselves or others (although I'm strongly against drunk/high driving, I'd be much more comfortable knowing someone I'm sharing the road with is high as opposed to being drunk) like I've seen with alcohol, so if somebody wants to smoke, I say let them

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    Journalist galileo's Avatar
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    Unless you equate law to morals, it shouldn't be a moral concern. I think that the bigger concerns would be with shrooms, E, etc. as I've seen brain-scans of heavy E users and it isn't pretty and with shrooms you could endanger others if you choose to drive. Weed is more of a personal issue as unless you look like a bag of Tostitos, you are likely not going to be hurt by someone on weed.

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    morality wise, I dont see people smoking weed as wrong. as long as its not abused and becomes their whole life. What I do find as wrong is people who say that their smoking weed isnt slowing their gains and acts as if it is perfectly healthy. smoke it if you want but dont deny what its doing to you. while its not even close to being like ciggs they are similar in the sense that people cant deny that they arent healthy but they choose to do it anyways...
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    Banned phreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazerboy
    ... When I actually got down to why I don't use marijuana and drugs in general, it's because I see anything that one may use to alter his or her state of mind to enjoy life, or to escape it, as a weakness.
    This definition includes painkillers. Pain is sometimes part of life, hence using painkillers is escapism and therefore immoral. Would you ever take pain medication, even for genuine pain? If so, then you too are weak.


    I don't see drugs as being any more escapist than, e.g., extreme sports, just a lot less tiring. Both are done to escape a humdrum reality, both give a neurochemical stimulus which is lacking in everyday life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phreak
    This definition includes painkillers. Pain is sometimes part of life, hence using painkillers is escapism and therefore immoral. Would you ever take pain medication, even for genuine pain? If so, then you too are weak.


    I don't see drugs as being any more escapist than, e.g., extreme sports, just a lot less tiring. Both are done to escape a humdrum reality, both give a neurochemical stimulus which is lacking in everyday life.
    same for alcohol, it's hypocritical to think that taking a few hits is an escape but having a beer isn't. the bottom line is that pot is milder than alcohol, yet demonized because of stupid old rules. racist rules actually. marijuana can cause amotivational syndrome. so can alcohol. so can television. i personally smoke on a nightly basis, and take five courses at university (hard ones at that, and get dean's list), work full time, am vice president of our wrestling team, wrestle, and train for powerlifting. certain people who smoke pot and become lazy prolly would have been lazy, maybe not as lazy, but it hardly ever changes someone. most people that i know smoke and are successful and hardworking.

    as far as while you're stoned, yes you typically don't want to do anything. so if you are constantly high, like during the day, you won't get stuff done. but my point is that it can be balanced into a productive lifestyle.

    (also ecstasy DOES NOT put holes in your brain. the ricuarte studies were propaganda bull****)

  10. #10
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with smoking up once in a while. I draw the ambiguous line at "if you control the drug then you are ok. if the drug begins to control you then it's not ok." I see nothing "morally" wrong with recreational smoking, or ecstacy, or almost any of the softer drugs just as I see nothing "morally" wrong with drinking, having sex, etc. I think morality is an overused term and is overapplied for something that is entirely arbitrary. I like to think of drugs as a personal responsibility issue, akin to tattooing, piercing, sex, creatine, steroid use, etc.

    For an obligatory devil's advocate rundown through others' posts:
    But When I actually got down to why I don't use marijuana and drugs in general, it's because I see anything that one may use to alter his or her state of mind to enjoy life, or to escape it, as a weakness.
    Why is altering one's mind temporarily a bad thing? Do you apply this to everything or only what is labeled as "illigal drugs"? Do you oppose marijuana for medicinal purposes? What is wrong with weakness?

    Another reason I want to see what you all think is because I'm trying to convince him to stop.
    He has to figure that out for himself. You should definitely voice your concern if you are concerned, but it's really outside your scope as a friend to get him to stop unless he is clearly damaging himself. Things done intelligenty and in moderation generally don't require interventions.

    i wouldnt worry so much about hallucinogens, they are not so addictive as ecstacy. tell your friend that hes gonna get huge holes in his brain if he keeps using Ecstacy.
    MDMA is a hallucinogen, afaik. What are these huge holes you speak of? Occasional ecstacy use has not been proven to be seriously damaging, in fact it's been de-illigalized in the UK and other informed countries.

    I've seen brain-scans of heavy E users and it isn't pretty
    Neither are lung x-rays of heavy smokers, or liver ultrasounds of alcoholics. I think that if we go down the "morals = law" path (which I know you weren't) we will get tied up in selective inforcement.
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    I think that as long as you're doing it because you like it and it's not hurting anyone or anything, it's morally OK. If you get enjoyment from smoking weed and it's not negatively impacting your relationships with others or impairing your judgement, putting you or others at risk, it's fine.
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    putting in work Roark's Avatar
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    the ecstacy brain scans were proven to be false

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    Journalist galileo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by excokehead
    the ecstacy brain scans were proven to be false
    Do you have a reference? I'm interested to see more.

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    putting in work Roark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galileo
    Do you have a reference? I'm interested to see more.
    an article is below.

    i'll add though, that mdma is in itself not a "harmful" drug, BUT there's no telling what one is getting when buying pressed pills. there was a time when some pride was taken by manufacturer's as to the potency of their product, but that time is long gone. many many adulterants are added to those crappy pills that kids eat now.




    Ecstasy Agonistes
    A retracted study on a controversial substance raises questions about the reliability of government-sponsored research on drugs

    By THOMAS BARTLETT

    Until recently, Ecstasy had been very good to George A. Ricaurte. An associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Ricaurte is the nation's most prominent researcher on methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, the chemical name for Ecstasy, a drug that produces feelings of intense euphoria, heightened sociability, and enhanced sensations like touch. His research in the mid-1980s was the first to suggest that the drug might be damaging to the serotonin system, which is important in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and other functions. He has also received nearly $10-million in federal funds in the last seven years, and some of his research results have become key building blocks in the government's much-ballyhooed "war on drugs."

    In an article published in the September 27, 2002, issue of the journal Science, Dr. Ricaurte (pronounced ri-CAR-tay) launched another salvo in support of that war. His article warned of new dangers attached to the use of Ecstasy, including the risk of severe brain damage and debilitating neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's -- even from just one night of using the drug.

    It was sensational and frightening news. Within days, Dr. Ricaurte's findings were printed in scores of newspapers around the world and repeated on television.

    But that particular alarm about Ecstasy turned out to be false. A serious and almost unbelievable mistake -- the primates in the study were injected not with Ecstasy, but with methamphetamine -- negated both the study and its startling results. Almost exactly a year later, Dr. Ricaurte retracted the article.
    That is the way science works. A scientist makes a mistake, discovers it, and issues a retraction. End of story.

    But this was not just any article, and Dr. Ricaurte is not just any researcher. His previous work had already attracted plenty of critics. Many of them are leading researchers themselves, who contend that Dr. Ricaurte's studies have been flawed and biased. Specifically, some accuse him of overstating the dangers of Ecstasy to please his government backers.

    The fallout from the mistake has brought not only Dr. Ricaurte's reputation into question, but also that of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has supported his research for years. "It kind of gives science a black eye because people start to question whether NIDA has an agenda," says Glen R. Hanson, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Utah and a former director of NIDA.

    The retraction has prompted some, like Charles S. Grob, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine and a longtime critic of Dr. Ricaurte's work, to urge a second look. "The whole thing about Ricaurte really demands a thorough, objective re-evaluation of the whole record of MDMA research going back 15 years," he says.

    At the least, say some researchers, future Ecstasy studies may be ignored or viewed more skeptically by the public. "An Ecstasy user is not going to believe any statement by a scientist," says Stephen J. Kish, head of the human-neurochemical-pathology laboratory at Canada's Center for Addiction and Mental Health. "Whether they did before, I'm not certain, but it's now going to be much more difficult."

    Holes in the Research

    It is not surprising that Dr. Ricaurte's 2002 claims inspired such a strong reaction. The drug, first synthesized by the German pharmaceutical company Merck in 1912, has been used by millions of people for more than 20 years, and inspired a popular music and fashion subculture. Many former and current users wondered if the damage had already been done.

    But the 2002 study was not the first time that his work had landed in the public spotlight. Another article by Dr. Ricaurte, published in 1998, became the centerpiece of a provocative anti-Ecstasy campaign paid for by NIDA. In the study, Dr. Ricaurte scanned the brains of Ecstasy users and compared them with nonusers' brain scans.

    In the advertising campaign, two of those images were combined into a single image that the drug-abuse agency used on its Web site and printed on posters and postcards. The left half of the image is labeled "plain brain" and appears healthy and vibrant. The image on the right, which is labeled "brain after Ecstasy" is much darker. An entire chunk of the organ is missing, as if the drug had eaten away part of the gray matter.

    The compelling campaign seemed to prove that Ecstasy could cause severe, long-term brain damage. But was its message -- based on Dr. Ricaurte's research -- accurate?

    A German study published last year using similar methods arrived at a very different result. As in Dr. Ricaurte's study, a radioactive marker was used to tag serotonin neurons in the brains of human subjects, using Positron Emission Tomography, or PET, scans. Recent users of Ecstasy and nonusers were scanned. Instead of finding massive reductions in the number of serotonin neurons, as Dr. Ricaurte reported, the loss was small -- about 4 to 5 percent. And when the German researchers looked at those who had not used the drug recently, they found no decrease at all. There were no holes.

    "I've been on record saying [Dr. Ricaurte's study] was terribly flawed and should not have been published," says Mr. Kish, who is also a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto. In November Mr. Kish published an article that highlights the contradictory results of the two studies. In it, he also argues that there is little evidence that Ecstasy leads to Parkinson's disease. Others, like Marc Laruelle, an associate professor of psychiatry and radiology at Columbia University and a specialist in PET scans, agree that Dr. Ricaurte's study was inaccurate.

    In December The New York Times reported that two of Dr. Ricaurte's former subjects said they had been encouraged by a research assistant to lie about their past drug use and that they were mistreated during experiments. Dr. Ricaurte has defended his methods and called the use of heroin by a subject days before being tested "unfortunate." He stands by his 1998 article and says that improvements in technology account for the large discrepancy between the two studies.

    But even Dr. Ricaurte has doubts about the "brain after Ecstasy" image used by NIDA. He says he mentioned once to an official at the drug-abuse institute that the image was of "poor quality" but didn't pursue the matter. Asked why he didn't insist that it be corrected, Dr. Ricaurte at first says it was not his concern. When pressed, he concedes, "Maybe I should have picked up the phone and complained."

    The image, once featured prominently on NIDA's Web site, has been removed.

    Monkeys and Mistakes

    The risks that Dr. Ricaurte examined in his retracted 2002 article in Science were different from those he had explored before. While the bulk of previous research had focused on serotonin, this new study examined MDMA's effect on dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to emotion and movement, among other functions.

    For years, studies had suggested that MDMA affected only serotonin neurons. Many researchers felt sure that it did not damage dopamine neurons. Dr. Ricaurte decided to test that notion.

    In his retracted article, he describes how five squirrel monkeys were given three doses -- with three hours between each dose -- of what turned out to be methamphetamine.

    One of the monkeys had trouble walking after the second dose, so researchers did not administer a third. Another monkey died within hours of receiving the third dose, a victim of hyperthermia, or overheating.

    Brain scans of the three monkeys that had tolerated the drug without apparent difficulty showed massive reductions in dopamine neurons.

    Dr. Ricaurte later performed the same experiment on five baboons, again apparently mistakenly administering methamphetamine instead of MDMA. As in the first experiment, one of the primates died and the others suffered severe damage to their dopamine systems.

    The project took about two years, according to Dr. Ricaurte. He argues that researchers who say he rushed his results into publication before thoroughly testing them are "uninformed." In an e-mail message, Dr. Ricaurte wrote, "We reject the notion that, due to our experience and knowledge of the literature, we should have concluded that there was some sort of error."

    Such explanations have done little to satisfy critics.

    Dr. Hanson, who was interim director of NIDA at the time of the study, was suspicious of the results from the beginning. "I had a chance to talk to him, and I said, 'George, we never see this. Where is this coming from?'" Dr. Hanson says. "And he said, 'Well, the dosing paradigm is different and there are some subtle differences and maybe there is just this little window that you don't see unless you do it exactly right.'"

    Dr. Hanson was not persuaded. "I just said I really need to see this in more animals," he says. "And you always like to see it done in another lab."

    Because of Dr. Hanson's doubts, the drug-abuse institute, which had given Dr. Ricaurte $1.3-million to carry out the research, did not publicize his results. There was no press release, no mention on its Web site. Dr. Hanson says that while some have used the study to accuse NIDA of bias, "the irony is we totally stepped back from it because we wanted to see it replicated somewhere else."

    One of the red flags for Dr. Hanson and others was the deaths from hyperthermia of two of the 10 primates cited in the article. Deaths from hyperthermia do occur among Ecstasy users, but they are extremely rare. The drug can affect the body's ability to regulate temperature, and there is a risk of hyperthermia, albeit a small one, in people who are exercising vigorously or who are dehydrated. A recent British study of Ecstasy-related deaths in that country showed that most of those who died while on Ecstasy were taking it with another drug.

    Dr. Ricaurte scoffs at the suggestion that the deaths of the two primates should have alerted him to a problem. He says that Ecstasy is known to cause hyperthermia and that because the sample size was small, the high mortality rate was not significant. Dr. Ricaurte also points out that the paper made it through the peer-review process at Science. If the flaws were so obvious, he contends, "Science wouldn't have published the paper."

    Donald Kennedy, editor in chief of Science and a former president of Stanford University, says that the publication of the flawed article does not mean that there was a breakdown in the peer-review process. How, he argues, could peer reviewers have known about the drug mix-up? "Sometimes in science, mistakes get made and you discover ... a paper that on balance, with perfect hindsight, you wish you hadn't published," he says.

    Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science, agrees with Mr. Kennedy's assessment. Mr. Leshner is a former director of NIDA, and some have speculated that he had a hand in getting Dr. Ricaurte's paper published -- a charge Mr. Leshner denies. He says he was not even aware of the paper before it was published. He calls the retraction "unfortunate" but doesn't believe it should end Dr. Ricaurte's career. "I don't think he should be tarnished for a mistake that he very rapidly retracted," says Mr. Leshner.

    Researchers like Mr. Kish, however, are less willing to let Science or Dr. Ricaurte off the hook. "How could Science accept an article purporting to show that Ecstasy causes dopamine neuron damage in monkeys without having mentioned in the article that two human studies have been conducted in which there was no evidence that Ecstasy caused the same type of brain damage?" he says.

    Dr. Ricaurte says he was aware of the studies showing no effect on dopamine and noted in the article that in previous research Ecstasy had been shown to affect only serotonin neurons. He says it was not necessary to cite the other research because the dosing regime -- the frequency with which the primates were injected with Ecstasy -- had not been attempted in this way before, under these conditions. It was possible, Dr. Ricaurte says, that this dosing regime could account for the unusual results.

    And yet, long before he acknowledged there had been a mistake, others in the field voiced skepticism. In fact, four months before the retraction, Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which supports research on the benefits of drugs like Ecstasy and marijuana, had a letter published in Science questioning Dr. Ricaurte's results. Dr. Ricaurte responded in the same issue, dismissing Mr. Doblin's concerns.

    When that letter was published, Dr. Ricaurte says, he was trying to determine why he had been unable to replicate the results of his earlier experiments. The following month, he wrote to his backers at NIDA, telling them that the primates had been injected with methamphetamine, not MDMA. He blamed the error on "mislabeled drug bottles" from the supplier of the drug, RTI International. In the report to NIDA, he wrote that tests showed that bottles from the company labeled MDMA had contained methamphetamine, and vice versa. (A spokesman for RTI denies that the company mixed up the drugs, but offers no additional details.)

    Dr. Grob, who has battled Dr. Ricaurte in public for years, has trouble believing that explanation. "How the hell could he have mixed up drugs?" says Dr. Grob. "It's unheard of. Where's the precedent for people doing this level research, of this supposed caliber, where they are mixing up drugs?" He goes on to call the retraction "one of the more bizarre episodes in the history of science."

    The Straight Dope

    So what do we know for sure about Ecstasy?

    After it was created -- apparently by accident -- in 1912, MDMA mostly disappeared from view for the next 65 years. It re-emerged in the 1970s when psychotherapists found that it helped patients relax and be more open.

    In the early 1980s, MDMA moved out of the therapist's office and into the streets, acquiring the sexier name of Ecstasy. It became available for sale legally in some bars. At one point, tablets could even be ordered by telephone from a company in Texas.

    That all changed in 1985 when Ecstasy was made illegal even for psychotherapy. That decision remains controversial, and Ecstasy advocates argue that it was banned before there was any evidence that the drug was dangerous. Indeed, the first studies definitively linking MDMA to the damage of serotonin neurons came only after the drug was declared illegal. One of those pioneering studies was the work of a young researcher named George Ricaurte.

    In those early years, Dr. Ricaurte had a close working relationship with Mr. Doblin, a believer in the therapeutic uses of Ecstasy who nevertheless helped arrange financing and volunteers for Dr. Ricaurte's research. "I felt that those of us who were looking into the benefits should also be at the forefront of looking into the risks," says Mr. Doblin.

    That working relationship broke down eventually as, in Mr. Doblin's view, his colleague began reporting his results selectively -- trumpeting Ecstasy's harmful effects, and leaving out contradictory data.

    That Ecstasy can damage serotonin neurons in animals is beyond question. What is debatable is at what dose that damage occurs, whether the damage is permanent, and if the damage occurs in humans.

    There is evidence suggesting that, at low enough doses, Ecstasy does not cause damage to the brain, according to Mr. Doblin. He says Dr. Ricaurte has consistently ignored and suppressed evidence of this "no-effect level."

    That isn't so, according to Dr. Ricaurte. He says a study in squirrel monkeys did produce such results, but that there were good reasons not to publish them. "I discussed these data with Rick Doblin on numerous occasions and explained that until these negative data were fleshed out by conducting full dose-ranging studies, they would never be accepted by a peer-reviewed journal," he wrote in an e-mail message.

    Besides, Dr. Ricaurte argues, the doses were much lower than what people normally take. "I think it's fair to say that if there is a margin of safety, it appears to be a narrow one," he says.

    As for the potential therapeutic benefits of the drug, Dr. Ricaurte says they are not his concern. "I'm a neurologist," he says. "What I can speak to are the risks. Period."

    Collateral Damage

    The effect of the retraction on Dr. Ricaurte's career is still unclear. A spokesman for Johns Hopkins says the university has taken no action against him because it was determined that the drug mix-up was not his fault. He continues to receive grants from NIDA, but some researchers, including Dr. Grob, doubt that his professional reputation can ever recover.

    "I don't think he shot himself in the foot. I think he shot his whole foot off," says Dr. Grob.

    Dr. Ricaurte argues that the retraction should bolster his credibility. "Anybody who looks at this current situation would see that here is a scientist who recognized an error and immediately did everything in his power to correct the scientific record as quickly as possible," he says. Dr. Ricaurte continues to research the possibility that MDMA harms the dopamine system.

    Larger questions about the future of Ecstasy research -- and its public reception -- remain open. Martha Rosenbaum, who has also received NIDA grants to study Ecstasy, says Dr. Ricaurte's studies have contributed to a steady stream of misinformation about the drug that has led to fear-driven legislation. For instance, a bill recently passed by Congress allows the government to prosecute the owners of establishments where drugs like Ecstasy are used.

    "I'm now convinced that any information coming out of the government is suspect," says Ms. Rosenbaum, who is a staff member at the Drug Policy Alliance, which opposes current drug policy.

    The controversy comes at a time when researchers like Marc Laruelle at Columbia believe that they are on the brink of understanding how Ecstasy affects the brain. A new, more accurate radioactive marker is being used that scientists say will produce much more reliable brain scans. "I think it's very important that scientists behave in a way that's going to increase the trust of the public," says Dr. Laruelle.

    Last month a study into the therapeutic possibilities of Ecstasy sponsored by Mr. Doblin's organization was given final government approval. His goal is to make MDMA into a prescription medicine for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    "We've got megamillions going into the demonization of Ecstasy," Mr. Doblin says, "and all we need is $5-million to do the clinical trials that will be necessary to provide the data to decide if this drug will be a helpful medicine to many, many people."

    The new director of NIDA, Nora D. Volkow, worries that the retraction has sent the message that Ecstasy has been proved harmless, which is not true. She says she is committed to making sure that the information the agency disseminates is as accurate as possible. "The question that comes to light is, why has this attracted so much attention?" she says. "And I think perhaps it's because some people are exaggerating the adverse effects of drugs."


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    KEY MOMENTS IN ECSTASY RESEARCH

    1912: Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, is accidentally discovered by the German pharmaceutical company Merck.

    Late 1970s: Some psychotherapists begin administering the drug to help their patients relax and communicate more freely.

    1985: At the urging of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the drug, which is being used recreationally and is now called Ecstasy, is banned.

    1988: George A. Ricaurte, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University, publishes one of the first studies linking Ecstasy to damage of serotonin neurons, which help regulate mood.

    1998: Dr. Ricaurte publishes another study of the effects of Ecstasy on the brain.

    2000: The National Institute on Drug Abuse uses Dr. Ricaurte's 1998 study as the centerpiece of a campaign against the drug, distributing 740,000 postcards advertising its ill effects.

    September 2002: Dr. Ricaurte publishes his paper "Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose of MDMA" in Science, saying that Ecstasy causes severe damage to the dopamine systems of primates.

    March 2003: A German study is published that challenges Dr. Ricaurte's 1998 findings.

    June 2003: In response to a letter published in Science questioning his results, Dr. Ricaurte defends his study.

    July 2003: Dr. Ricaurte writes to his backers at NIDA informing them of his inability to replicate the results and his suspicions that bottles labeled MDMA actually contained methamphetamine.

    September 2003: Nearly a year after its publication, Dr. Ricaurte retracts his 2002 paper.

  15. #15
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    excokehead
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    I will ignore for the purposes of this discussion the legality/lack thereof of drugs. Seems to me that the core issue is "do you think it's okay for a person to alter his or her mind with a drug."

    People will make all kinds of moral judgements and value judgements on drug use based on their own background, experience, religion, etc. And to try and come up with one single answer as to "is it right or wrong" is kinda pointless because everyone has a different opinion of what is right and wrong.

    But, lets try to take it objectively.

    1) Does the act of drug use directly harm anyone other than the user?
    No. Don't be silly. There's all kinds of tangental arguments here about 'supporting criminals', and/or 'getting stoned and hurting someone' but the reality is that the ACT of smoking the chronic or doing a few bumps of coke or whatever doesn't directly harm anyone else. (I will concede that secondhand smoke is a possible factor that can be EASILY mitigated by smoking outside or alone).

    2) Is it immoral to chemically alter your mental state with drugs?
    Why the hell should this be immoral? Hell, drugs are just a label for substances that affect our bodies in certain ways. Every time you drink water, eat a steak, lift weights, have sex, watch a scary movie or hold your breath, you are taking an action that results (in some way) in a chemical alteration in your body that has an impact on your brain chemistry and mental state. What about the millions of people on antidepressants, erectile drugs, etc. Our society (for various reasons) has decided that it's ok to take drugs to feel less bad (i.e. antidepressants) but it's not ok to take drugs to feel better, or feel DIFFERENT or whatever. I don't buy the notion that it's immoral to get twisted, regardless of your drug of choice.

    If you are going to say it's immoral to do drugs, you must therefore decide that it's immoral to drink alcohol as well (health and legal implications aside).

    Overall, I think this is an interesting take on the discussion of drugs though; most people argue about the health benefits/problems and/or the illegal nature. I like the idea of investigating the notion of whether or not it's somehow wrong to get f'd up.
    Last edited by Relentless; 04-12-2005 at 09:37 AM.

  17. #17
    Re-Dedicated midee1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Callahan
    What about the millions of people on antidepressants, erectile drugs, etc. Our society (for various reasons) has decided that it's ok to take drugs to feel less bad (i.e. antidepressants) but it's not ok to take drugs to feel better, or feel DIFFERENT or whatever. I don't buy the notion that it's immoral to get twisted, regardless of your drug of choice.
    That being said I have to agree with you. What would be the difference in my son taking Wellbutrin (anti depressant) and Seroquel (anti psychotic) to alter his moods legally and for the betterment of his life and family life in general. As opposed to someone who wanted to hit the chronic or his choice of drug for enjoyment. Although Micheal needs these meds to function in society others may feel that they function better smoking etc...
    Here we go again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by midee1
    That being said I have to agree with you. What would be the difference in my son taking Wellbutrin (anti depressant) and Seroquel (anti psychotic) to alter his moods legally and for the betterment of his life and family life in general. As opposed to someone who wanted to hit the chronic or his choice of drug for enjoyment. Although Micheal needs these meds to function in society others may feel that they function better smoking etc...
    exactly. as a matter of fact, an adult in my life who is very sick began smoking marijuana a couple months ago, and has been since in small doses a couple times daily, and has found it far more beneficial than her prescribed medications.


    this type of things really makes you think of the line between what is okay and legally condoned and what is illegal and can ruin your life. i like taking benzodiazepines (xanax, klonapin, ativan) to relax on occasion. however, last year or the year before that, i was having trouble sleeping and told my doctor i wanted something to calm down, and asked for (and received) a script for xanax. i find it really funny that if i go and talk to my doctor i can have it and that's all good, but if i ever got caught getting it from my friend, or having it in my possession, i'd be in some real trouble (well, that depends on the cop i guess, and how much you suck up to them. there is potential for real legal trouble for being in possession of prescribed drugs that aren't yours)
    Last edited by jazer80; 04-12-2005 at 09:55 AM.

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    hehe that's funny, i felt like digging up some proof against that tard(ricuarte), but didn't; then cokehead posted it at the exact same time i was thinking of it. that study was government scare tactic bull****

    (i didn't know that he retracted it tho. that's pretty f'in cool. i love how they based their entire campaign against ecstasy on a study that jsut happened to be HUGELY FLAWED TO THEIR ADVANTAGE. boy, what a funny coincidence huh? of course now that it's been retracted, so what? the people who know that are few and far between, the study did what it was meant to do regardless of whether they had to call it back or not, since a study getting retracted doesn't have the same publicity as a study claiming that ecstasy burns holes in your brain. it is the dumbest statement, i know people, and have personally, taken very large amounts and are totally fine. you guys wouldn't even believe the amount i've taken or that my friends have, and are all totally fine)
    Last edited by jazer80; 04-12-2005 at 10:30 AM.

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    but back to marijuana. the only way you should be able to say marijuana is totally, unconditionally bad is if you do not agree with any alteration of your state of mind. if you drink caffeine for instance, it's tough to say that you should be able to alter your mind throughout the day on a regular basis with caffeine (or nicotine), yet on special occasions, or even at night to relax, it is not okay to get high.

    also, if you are telling your friend not to smoke pot on any grounds besides legality, i sincerely hope you're telling him to not drink alcohol either, because alcohol is worse than pot any way you look at it, except legality. if not, explain to me how your argument is not hugely hypocritical.

    hazerboy, could you tell me exactly why you want him to stop? also, do you ever drink alcohol?
    Last edited by jazer80; 04-12-2005 at 09:50 AM.

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    Excellent information, thanks.

  22. #22
    Go Heels! MixmasterNash's Avatar
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    Legal mind altering drugs are used (and abused) more than illegal ones.

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  23. #23
    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MixmasterNash
    Legal mind altering drugs are used (and abused) more than illegal ones.
    ++ quoted for truth.

    Self-righteous indignation exhibited within "you must quit your pot smoking because my mom [or insert your own authority] said you're gonna die! and don't you know to think of teh children???" is mildly amusing for the first 5 minutes and then gets really really annoying.
    Last edited by TwiloMike; 04-12-2005 at 10:46 AM.
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  24. #24
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    I thought it was pretty interesting that so many of you brought up alchohol when I didn't mention in my beggining post. (Well, I guess I did say *any drug*) But whatever. :-p

    As of now the only drug I am taking is an antibiotic for acne (At least, that I know of and occasionally caffeine, though that is hard NOT to get these days, as it seems like it is in everything (ice cream, chocolate, almost every carbonated drink) Though as a side note I don't drink pop more then once a month. I don't smoke or drink alchohol either, though that is more for personal reasons (My brother is an Alchoholic and in AA, I guess I'd feel like I would be letting him down if I started drinking. Not to mention I'm under 21)

    With that said, I can understand someone smoking or drinking in moderation; I don't see anything wrong with that. My problem with either of the two is when that person gets an infatuation with the drug. I don't know if you would call this an addiction or not, as it doesn't necessarily have to be a chemical addiction. For instance someone who is addicted to watching TV isn't excacly a chemical addiction, but that person doesn't believe he can have a good time or function without television.

    I believe my friend has this kind of addiction (even though he frequently tells me he can stop "any time I want" ). On the weekend that's all he does with his brother (along with taking other drugs) and he doesn't really hang around me or any of our original *group* any more. It's really kind of sad to see that he's gotten a completly new set of friends and is ignoring us. It seems to me that he cannot enjoy himself anymore without the drug.

    Is this sort of dependancy really that bad though? That is where I am torn. Maybe it is all that government brainwashing. Or perhaps it is just a personal choice; maybe I'm just against marijuana because I don't feel like I need it.

    And when I say I am against my friend smoking marijuana, I really mean I'm against the whole lifestyle he has chosen. (getting drunk on the weekends and doing drugs). I just don't think it's worth all the heartache it brings. If you're using drugs to relax for awhile or to cope with depression, okay. If you're using drugs just to get f'd up, I don't believe in that. You're only alive for a very short time and I just don't think it's worth it to spend life destroying yourself. Then again, that comes down to the question of what you think we're here for and what life should be spent on. Accomlishment? Just to be happy and have a good time? That is something each person has has to decide for himself.



    Now, as far as legalizing marijuana, I'm all for it. I feel the government should do the same thing with marijuana as they did with alchohol. They should legalize it tax the hell out of it. It's common sense to me. People who really want drugs are going to get them; the government only has the control of where. Do you want your child buying marijuana from an alley drug dealer or from a Pharmacy?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazerboy
    And when I say I am against my friend smoking marijuana, I really mean I'm against the whole lifestyle he has chosen. (getting drunk on the weekends and doing drugs). I just don't think it's worth all the heartache it brings. If you're using drugs to relax for awhile or to cope with depression, okay. If you're using drugs just to get f'd up, I don't believe in that. You're only alive for a very short time and I just don't think it's worth it to spend life destroying yourself.
    that's funny because i am the opposite; i think using drugs to cope is a BAD, BAD idea... drugs are 'recreational drugs' for a reason, because they're fun. altering your state of mind is just for fun

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