Friday, March 30, 2018

Social Media Censorship in 2018

In case you haven't noticed, social media has become frighteningly Orwellian in the past few months.  Some blame it on Trump, others on bad press from recent tragedies like the Parkland shooting while others claim it's linked to bills like FOSTA, which is being passed under the guise of ridding the internet of sex & gun trafficking.  But the reasons aren't as important as the fact that dramatic and coordinated changes are definitely taking place at Youtube, Reddit, Twitter & probably other popular sites I don't use.

Let's start with Reddit, which banned not only the sale and trade of CBD and kratom (both of which are completely legal on a federal level), but also the very discussion of vendors who sell these items on the clearnet.  Let that sink in for a minute.  I can understand banning the sale of Schedule I drugs, guns or stolen IDs, but we're talking about something else here.  A ban on free speech.  To not be able to mention the name of a vendor who sells legal items is akin to not being able to reference the name Coors or McDonald's in your post.  Who are they protecting here?  Not only is this a rule going forward, but the moderators have been forced to scrub the entire sub of past posts mentioning sales, deals, vendors & related topics so this information will no longer be searchable on the internet at all.  Years of intelligent discussion & info down the toilet.  Sounds like we're competing with China, Tunisia, North Korea & other countries that forbid their citizens from accessing information freely. 

Kim Jong salutes you, Reddit!

Worse, this ban actually makes harm reduction more difficult to implement by stifling the discussion of things like contaminated batches of CBD, which is a common & terrifying phenomenon.  Synethetic cannabinoids sold as CBD are killing people, and this is how Reddit chooses to behave?  By forcing subs to remove the list of trusted vendors from its sidebar? 

And of course Youtube has also engaged in a recent crackdown against channels that contain content they deem suddenly inappropriate...mostly anything with weed or guns.  Content providers with a clean record and tons of views are reporting big problems such as "strikes," loss of revenue & even closure of their accounts for reasons that are unclear to them.

No matter where you fall on the issues of drug & gun control, it's hard to argue that censorship helps the situation.  It only creates more enraged radicals convinced there really is a conspiracy against them (because censorship kinda IS a conspiracy in a country where free speech & peaceful assembly are the law of the land).  While Facebook struggles with its Cambridge Analytica drama, other social media sites will have to grapple with whether it's better to risk ending up in the news for inadvertently hosting a mass shooter/other maniac or punishing all its users with broad censorship measures...and still potentially ending up in the news when a crazed person uses their site anyway.  Censorship doesn't prevent bad press or stop bad people from using your site.  It only creates a sense of disenfranchisement that often leads to bigger problems. 

As someone who's used Reddit daily since about 2012, I'd like to see it go the way of Digg.  They've strayed so far from their original intent that they're no longer recognizable.  But that's what happens when things get too popular.  The government engulfs corporations, compelling CEOs to do the government's bidding, such as limiting discussion of harmless plants that are stealing money out of Big Pharma's pockets by competing with their painkillers, antidepressants, statins, sleep aids & other prescription meds.  Actually there's no separation between government & corporation anymore.  It's a revolving door.  Or as Mussolini described it, "Fascism". 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

(Review) 4 Strain Kilo of Kratom

Vendor:  Swirl Girl Inc.
Location:  Midwest, USA
Price:  1KG; 4 strains.  $104 including Priority shipping w/ tracking

Swirl Girl Inc is a vendor I've used since my research chemical days back in 2013.  She's slowly morphed into more of an ethnobotanical/nootropic vendor but occasionally offers some pharmaceuticals or RC's to return customers.  Her kratom is hands-down the best I can find at the moment, even though it takes about 5 days after ordering to arrive due to the way she obtains her items from her supplier.  This process never takes more than a few days & always goes smoothly, plus she usually throws in a "bonus" goodie or two for my wait which is much appreciated.  The quality is well worth the wait & not a big deal if you plan your orders before you run out.  Plus she takes Paypal which is getting harder to find with kratom vendors.

Chocolate Bentuangie

This time I went with the 4-way split kilo & got some of each color:  White Elephant, Chocolate Bentuangie, Monster Blend & Red Hulu Kapuas.  The Monster Blend is a discount strain, which subtracted $5 off my order.  It's a combo of Green Malay & Gold Bali.  Very mellow & long-lasting.  (Discount strains are no weaker than regular ones--they're usually just blends of two or more strains together that are $5 cheaper than the others).  The Chocolate Bentuangie is also very mellow: a dark brown color with a super easy-to-handle taste compared to other strains--almost like dark roasted coffee.  I am partial to Bentuangies, i.e. the fermented strains.  They go down smooth & have a unique taste that you either love or hate.  This Chocolate Bent is made from a red-vein strain but is slightly on the more energetic side than, say, a Red Bali.  It numbs my neck pain in a hurry without making me sedated.  I had some last night & remained fully functional through the evening.

White Elephant

Next we have White Elephant which I consumed before writing this review.  I must say I'm feeling more lively than when I started writing.  I suffer from chronic fatigue which tends to get worse in the spring for some reason.  I think the wind kicking up pollen & dust might be contributing, or maybe it's just the change of seasons.  Anyway, it's horrible and all I can do is sleep.  So this extra boost of adrenaline is very refreshing.  This is a different energy than you get from coffee or even Adderall.  Not entirely euphoric but very productive, sort of like Ritalin if I had to compare it to something.  (Note:  white strains seem to be stronger than reds, so start with a low dose if you're new to kratom).  I'm not normally a white-vein kinda guy but I've been so fooking tired lately I had to try something new, and am glad I opted for the White Elephant. It's a great morning strain. 

Last we have Red Hulu Kapuas: the crown jewel.  I've had this strain from this vendor many times & it's my all-time favorite.  Pure bliss, like being wrapped in a warm comfy blanket.  This batch is no different.  I had a spoonful yesterday as a night cap & drifted off to a peaceful sleep, but not before watching the entire series of "Generation X" on National Geographic and having a blast doing it.  This strain can make even the dullest things fun, which is why I urge moderation with it.  Everything isn't supposed to be this fun, haha.  😊

Conclusion:  There's cheaper kratom out there, and there's faster delivery out there.  You could get kratom right now from a gas station or head shop, but do you know what's in it?  With Swirl Girl, you know you're getting quality kratom from a domestic supplier who gets all her leaf from the same source every time.  It's finely ground with no "enhancers" or additives and comes in tightly sealed reusable bags that are sturdy & won't fall apart.  But most importantly, it's potent.  Really potent.  The best potency for the money I've found to date.  I'd even say it's on par with DG Botanicals, which is a membership-only site.  And she's a really small one-man (woman?) operation so you get one-to-one customer service that feels personal & special.  As long as you're not a dick.  😉

Friday, March 16, 2018

4 Elements of Growing Bomb Weed (Beginner's Edition)

     Fire.  Water.  Earth.  Air.  The 4 elements upon which everything is based: the Zodiac signs, the Tarot deck, the four seasons.  They're also the 4 major elements needed to grow bomb cannabis. 
     Cannabis is a weed that is incredibly easy to grow compared to finicky flowers like poppies & the like.  It needs comparatively little to thrive.  Once you have quality genetics in your hand, these four elements applied properly will provide a booming harvest every time. 
     This article is written BY a beginner, FOR beginners (BBFB).  It's by no means a definitive guide to cannabis cultivation (ha!) so don't take it as such or you'll be sorely disappointed.  For a more comprehensive guide, check out Grow Weed Easy.  The internet is overflowing with grow advice...some good, some not.  My intention here is to drown out all the static & bring it back to basics so beginners can get a solid foundation. I've linked to some more detailed explanations throughout the piece, so check 'em out if you need more info.  Since autoflowers are smaller & generally easier for beginners, we'll focus on those for now.  


     FIRE = light.  Light is the energy & power source that fuels all life, including ganja.  Lighting setups can get overly complicated if you let them, but they don't have to.  Got access to direct sunlight during the daytime?  If you have a South-facing window in your home, you can set your autoflower plant in the windowsill & get 6-8 hours of sunlight per day during the Spring & Summer months (depending on where you live).  Ditto for patios, balconies & porches.  This is sufficient to sustain your plant all the way through flowering if necessary, but you can also supplement with LEDs, CFLs or other indoor lighting after the sun goes down.  Autoflowers tend to like 18/6 or 20/4 lighting schedules (18 hours on, 6 off).
     Be sure to place your lights far enough from your plants so they don't burn, but not so far they stretch & become lanky.  This will vary depending on your setup & stage of growth.  One benefit of autos is that they flower automatically (get it?), so you don't have to worry about strict dark periods or light leaks.  Score!     

     WATER is the yin to FIRE's yang.  It hydrates, cools & restores.  Watering is tricky for some folks.  It's tempting to water your plant often because it feels like a loving thing to do.  But this can easily kill it by causing "damping off," root rot, fungus & other issues.
     To combat these problems, make sure to put a lot of drainage holes in your container.  Better yet, use a Smart Pot that allows all-over drainage.  A good breathable soil with lots of perlite also helps keep water from pooling.
      Only water when the top inch of soil feels dry, though it's okay to mist seedlings with a spray bottle more often if you live in a dry climate.  Seedlings like humidity.  The goal is to strike a balance between letting the roots grow & search for water & giving them enough moisture to prevent drying out.  How often you water will change throughout the plant's life:  germination requires near-constant wetness; the seedling stage can get by with 2 good waterings per week & some cool mist on the leaves.  Once in flowering, plants will be quite thirsty attempting to meet their growing needs.  3 good waterings per week is usually adequate in flowering depending on your setup.
     Optional:  About 5 days before harvest, flush your soil with lots of water, allowing it to run out the bottom of your container.  This will be your last watering ever.  Let the plant dry out for the next 4-5 days before cutting it down for harvest.  Some say this increases potency by stressing the plant.  If you're using chemical fertilizers, this step is NOT optional & is a must for safety reasons.


     AIR refers to the flow of oxygen through your growspace, and it has a lot of important functions.  First, wind helps strengthen the stems of your plants by training them to withstand pressure.  Secondly, it plays a vital role in germination.  If you put a seed in a cup of water or soaked paper towels for days on end, it will drown.  It needs to "breathe" every now and then to keep germinating.  Just lifting the paper towels for a few seconds each day to expose the seed to the air will serve this purpose well.  Most importantly though, roots need oxygen because it's not as readily available beneath the soil.  They obtain it from water, and it's more abundant in cool water (72 degrees F or less) than warm, so use the cool stuff when watering.
     After harvest, air will play a very important role in helping your buds reach optimal dryness before curing.  You can manicure your plants wet (before drying) or dry, but I prefer doing it wet because its easier to shape the buds & remove all the leaf particles.  You can dry them by hanging them upside down on clothes hangers or putting the individual buds on a drying rack.  10 days is generally a good amount of time to dry your buds--they should feel crispy on the outside & cushy on the inside with stems that snap when bent.  That's when you'll know it's time to cure.  Curing can be done in a mason jar or baby food jar with a lid.  Just 'burp' the jar by opening the lid for a few minutes every day or so, and in 2-3 weeks your buds will be ready to consume.   


     Finally, we come to humble old EARTH.  This includes both the soil your plants live in & any nutrients or fertilizers fed to them.  EARTH is all about nourishment & abundance.  Choosing a rich, well-draining soil is one of the most important steps to growing bomb buds.  I use Black Gold organic, but Fox Farms Happy Frog & Roots Organics brands are also popular.  You can also make your own soil by combining ingredients like earthworm castings, vermiculite, peat moss & others.  But since this is a beginner's guide, we'll stick to the pre-mixed soils.  One thing to AVOID are soils with slow-release nutrients, such as Miracle Grow--largely because it contains too much nitrogen & drains poorly.  But there are other cheap brands to watch out for that do the same thing.  Autos do not like to be transplanted, so start them in biodegradable seed pods or their forever home at germination.
     Since autoflowering plants have such a short lifespan & don't grow to the towering size of their photoperiod sistren, added nutrients are not quite as important*.  If your soil is rich, you shouldn't need to add much else until at least the 3rd or 4th week of growth.  Doing so before then could burn your seedling so be careful.  There are a lot of pre-made fertilizers for vegetative growth & flowering, but I haven't tested any of them.  I'm more interested in the cheap homemade ones like diluted urine, used aquarium water or banana peelsChicken poop tea(!) is another winner.
     Just be sure to research the proper dilution ratios before adding these things to your soil.  In fact, if your plant looks healthy & happy without them, don't add them at all.  If it ain't broke don't fix it.  Nutrient deficiencies will often make themselves known in the form of yellow or purpling leaves, drooping, curling or white spots.  Make sure to research your particular symptoms before adding a specific fertilizer or you could end up making it worse. 

*Note:  I'm referring only to soil grows in this article, not hydroponic.  

Any questions?  Share your tips & tricks in the comments!  😏

Monday, March 5, 2018

Worst Legal Highs (And Safer Alternatives)

I frequently write about "good" legal (or grey-area) substances such as hemp, kratom, mescaline cacti & coca leaf, but there are also some legally available drugs that are downright dangerous.  As most know, legal does not = safe.  Just because a substance is available online or over-the-counter doesn't mean it's a safer choice than something illegal.  I don't care how desperate you get, you should never abuse the following substances to obtain a "high".  These drugs are toxic in high doses & can produce nasty side effects that are neither fun nor enlightening.  Some can even kill.

(Note:  The "safer alternatives" are only safe if you research the appropriate dose & interaction information first & use them in a familiar, comfortable setting.  Anything can be dangerous if used carelessly).  

Nightshade Plants (Datura, Belladonna, Henbane):  This family of plants contain tropane alkaloids like atropine & scopolamine.  They act as a deliriant when ingested & can easily kill by sending the heart into overdrive.  Other side effects may include blindness, terrifyingly real hallucinations, dry mouth, convulsions, self-injury & overheating.  In some cases, simply touching these plants can be sufficient to cause mind-altering effects, so if you see them growing wild (which they do in many parts of the U.S.) just keep walking.

Safer Alternatives:  DXM, 3-MeO-PCP, MXE, Deschloroketamine.

Antihistamines:  Like nightshades, antihistamines have anticholinergic effects & act as deliriants in high doses.  And they're dangerous for all the same reasons.  But don't take my word for it.

Safer Alternatives:  See above.

Inhalants: (Gasoline, Computer Duster, Glue, Paint, Freon) Inhalants are in a class by themselves--more a toxin than a drug.  They can easily kill you the first time you use them by triggering irregular heartbeat, freezing of the throat (!) or stroke .  They produce their effects partially by depriving your brain of oxygen.  There is no safe way to use volatile inhalants of this type*

Safer Alternatives:  *Nitrous oxide, nitrite "poppers," diethyl ether (technically inhalants but don't cause brain/organ damage with responsible use like the volatile chemical solvents listed above).

Nutmeg:  While often used to spice up eggnog & other flavorful dishes, nutmeg also causes deliriant effects in high doses.  It can also cause horrific nausea, vomiting, seizures & CNS depression that can be dangerous.  It may not kill you, but you'll wish it did.  Some of the Erowid Trip Reports have titles like "Dizzy for 5 Days Straight," "The Two Week Hangover," and "Early Morning Dementia". 

Safer Alternatives:  Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seed, Kava, Salvia Divinorum leaf.

Imodium:  This common over-the-counter diarrhea medication doubles as a recreational substance for opiate users and is sometimes used to stem withdrawals from drugs like heroin.  But the high can come at a cost.  In addition to its opioid effects, Imodium is a cardiotoxin in high doses and has caused several deaths.  If you're looking to ease withdrawals or obtain an opioid-like high, there are much better options out there. 

Safer Alternatives:  Kratom, Tianeptine, Poppy Pods, Akuamma Seed, Cheratussin AC (available without Rx in some states--ask a pharmacist).  

Ergot:  Ergot is a fungus that grows on rye & is used as a precursor to synthesize LSD.  While it might seem like a good idea to ingest it for psychedelic purposes, doing so could result in dire consequences such as limb amputation or death.  Ergotism was common back in the day & was even theorized as a possible cause of the Salem Witch Trials.  Today, ergot is used to synthesize some migraine & Parkinson's Disease medications but can be deadly when ingested directly. 

Safer Alternatives:  1P-LSD, AL-LAD, Morning Glory seed, 4-AcO-DMT, San Pedro cacti.

That Time I Tried: 4-HO-MET

I first tried 4-HO-MET around 2012 during the absolute pinnacle of the research chemical Golden Era (2010-2015).  It was the 2nd psychedelic...