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A look at the dangers of being a human guinea pig
Q: What are research chemicals?
A: "Research chemicals" literally refers to chemicals which are still being researched. When used to describe psychoactive drugs, it refers to new drugs which haven't been thoroughly studied. Many are very new, while others may have been around for years but haven't been formally studied or used by many people. Very little is known about them, and much of what is known is based only on first hand reports. Little if any research has been done on the toxicology or pharmacology of these drugs. Few if any human or animal studies have been done. Unlike well known drugs like ecstasy, which has been taken by millions of people over 20+ years, or marijuana which has been used by billions of people over millennia, research chemicals are new and may only have been used by a few dozen people for a few months. The risks involved with research chemicals are far far greater than with most other drugs, since they're unknowns. It should also be pointed out that while this FAQ refers only to chemicals, the same answers apply to new or unstudied plant drugs as well. In fact, the risks of research plants are even greater, because plants contain many chemicals, and the levels of different chemicals can vary greatly between different samples of the plant.
Q: Are research chemicals safe?
A: No!!! Using these drugs involves far greater risk than using older and better studied drugs. This is not so say that the chemicals themselves are dangerous... the risk lies in the fact that very little is known about them. There haven't been enough people using them in high enough doses for long enough periods of time for us to have an idea what the chemicals are capable of. When you're taking a new and unstudied drug, you are making yourself a human guinea pig. The drug you are taking may be perfectly safe. It may even be beneficial. On the other hand, you could take it 3 times and then suddenly find yourself being 20 years old and having Parkinson's disease. If you think this is an exaggeration, do some research on the drug MPTP, the chemical which was responsible for the DEA being given emergency scheduling powers. When you take a research chemical, you are stepping out into the unknown, and you could be the unfortunate person to discover a new drug's lethal dose. You could find yourself addicted. If you overdose and end up at the hospital, the doctors will only be able to guess at how to treat you. If you aren't prepared to accept these risks, you should avoid research chemicals.
Q: But this research chemical is very similar to a well known drug which is very safe. Doesn't that mean its safe too?
A: Not necessarily. In the case of a new drug which is very similar to a chemically related drug which is well known, you can try to extrapolate from the known drug, but there's no guarantees here. Consider the drug PMA: closely related to MDMA, but it can kill in doses only slightly over what you need to get the effects. Again, consider the case of MPTP. If a research chemical is similar to a known safe drug, there's a very good chance it's safe too; but there's also a very real chance it's not.
Q: I read some trip reports about this chemical I want to try, but they're all so different! What are the effects of this drug?
A: People react differently to different drugs. With well known drugs, enough people have done them that we have a pretty good idea what the common (and even most of the uncommon) effects are. With research chemicals, there are often many contradictory reports, and its hard to say what the typical effects are simply because not enough people have taken them for us to know what the average results are. You might read all the first hand reports and then take the drug yourself and get effects exactly like you expected... or you could have an experience totally unlike anything anyone else has had. Expect the unexpected... and be prepared for both pleasant surprises and horrible shocks.
Q: What are the side effects of research chemicals?
A: Who knows? While some of the stronger, more common side effects may be discovered fairly quickly, you could always be the unlucky first person to discover a new, previously unknown side effect. Before you take any kind of new drug, you should always investigate it. Read all the available information on it, whether in books, journals, or reports people have written on their experiences. Talk to people who have done it. This kind of investigation is extremely important if you're taking some kind of research chemical! Always start with much lower doses than you think you'll need, because with any drug, there are always some people who are hypersensitive to some or all of the effects. A moderate dose for one person could be a fatal overdose for you. Be aware of what's going on with your body when first trying the drug. Mildly annoying side effects at lower doses could be indicators of potentially dangerous side effects at higher doses. Its a good idea to keep around a blood pressure and pulse monitoring device so you can check your vitals if you notice anything unusual happening. When taking research chemicals, be prepared for unexpected side effects which could vary in strength between "mildly annoying" and "drug induced fatality."
Q: What are the long risks of these drugs?
A: The long term effects of research chemicals are unknown. They haven't been used by enough people for long enough to be able to tell what long term use can do. Even a single exposure to a research chemical could have long term repercussions. MPTP, the drug mentioned above, was an impurity found in the so called "designer drug" MPPP, a synthetic drug created by an underground chemist looking for a legal heroin substitute in the early 1980s. Using MPTP just once can cause damage to the brain, leading to a permanent condition resembling Parkinson's disease. If you decide to take a research chemical, you may want to avoid taking it often, and you may even want to go as far as to put a limit on your lifetime exposure to any given chemical (for example, only take it 3 times, then not take it again until many years have passed and more research has been done - if even then).
Q: What doses do I use?
A: With research chemicals, the dosage range may not be fully established. Some people are always going to be sensitive to any given drug, so its wise to start much lower than you think you'll need. Its better to take too little and get no effects than to take too much and discover you're hypersensitive to the drug. If necessary work up to a full dose over several tries. Give yourself time in between tries to make sure tolerance doesn't build up and throw off your numbers. Also, keep in mind that the overdose level for research chemicals hasn't been discovered. Taking large doses should be avoided unless you're willing to take the risk of being the first person to discover the lethal dose of some chemical. You should also always try to use things by the safest route possible. Taking a drug orally is the best bet. Smoking, snorting, rectal administration and injections all magnify the risks of dosage accidents.
Q: How do I measure doses of research chemicals?
A: As carefully and accurately as possible! Having a scale is virtually essential, especially for chemicals active in dosages under 100mg. Never ever measure out doses under 100mg by eye (not even using the "graph paper method" or by repeatedly dividing). If you don't have a scale, you can dissolve many chemicals in water or alcohol (always test a small sample for solubility first). Take a known weight of drug and dissolve it in a known volume of liquid (for example, 500mg in 50ml), then you can measure doses out by volume (in the example, 1ml of liquid would contain 10mg of drug). Tragic accidents, including freak-outs, trips to the emergency room, and even deaths, can be the result of mismeasuring doses.
Q: Can I mix X with Y?
A: Even with well studied drugs, mixes can produce unexpected results. If youre talking about new, barely studied drugs... we don't fully understand what they do on their own, much less in mixes. Also, the more drugs you throw in the mix, the more unpredictable things get. If you choose to mix research chemicals with other drugs, always use MUCH lower doses of each drug than you would use if you were taking them separately, because there is always the risk of an unforseen dangerous interaction. Look at how closely related drugs interact, this may give you a hint of what to expect. There are no guarantees though. Of course, the risks are even greater if you mix two or more research chemicals. Never mix a drug you haven't taken before until you've gotten familiar with what the effects of the drug are on its own.
Q: Are research chemicals legal?
A: That depends on what chemical and where you live. If you live in a country which has drug analogue laws, such as the USA, then some chemicals may be illegal to consume or possess. An analogue is a drug which is chemically related to an illegal drug, and has similar effects. Under US laws, thedrug analogue laws come into play if you consume a chemical, sell it for consumption, or possess it with the intent to consume it. If you intend to use the chemical to try and kill some poison ivy plants in your back yard or to clean your toilet, then the analogue laws don't apply. Also illegal would be to sell a research chemical as a look-alike drug - that is, to misrepresent it as an illegal drug. If you put some legal chemical in a pill and sell it as ecstasy, you can be charged with selling actual ecstasy - even if its a sugar pill. Unless either the analogue or look-alike laws are involved, though, most research chemicals are legal. In countries like the USA or Germany, where the government has emergency banning powers, a research chemical can be declared illegal immediately, so a drug can become illegal overnight without you knowing it. If you plan to keep around research chemicals, its up to you to keep up with changes in the law, or you could find yourself being arrested for something you thought was legal.
Q: Where can I get research chemicals?
A: From wherever they come from. Perhaps you are a chemist, and can make your own (if you have to ask how to make them, you aren't qualified). Perhaps you can order them from chemical supply companies (many of these require you provide credentials proving you are with a legitimate research institution). Perhaps your cousin Jimmy Bob's friend Gomer has some and will give you a sample. Occasionally, some of these things become commercially available to the public in some form or another (GBL was, for a while, available as an industrial solvent). Your best bet is to ask people you trust, discretely. Its not a good idea to go posting around Internet drug sites asking where you can get things, for several reasons. One, this attracts attention, which could speed up making a new drug illegal. Two, discussions like this tend to get repetetive and noisy, attract spammers and scammers, and are generally considered rude. Three, most companies which sell these things are not selling them to be used as drugs, and if you post about these companies in a drug forum and they hear about it, they might stop selling to the general public, and they might even get investigated by the authorities. And four, if you're caught with a chemical and charged for violating analogue laws, your posts could possibly end up being used as evidence against you that you intended to use the chemicals illegally. If you can't find what you want by searching the Internet, then ask people in private emails.
This document by Murple; distribute freely