International, (TFC)– One of the most costly aspects of the drug war is the inability to regulate and control substances. Prohibition historically feeds the black market’s various players battling for domination. The subsequent free-for-all encourages and enables the development of dangerous obscure compounds. In the psychedelic sphere, one of the most dreaded is an LSD knock-off called 25I Nbome. Despite briefly declining in popularity, it’s making a deadly resurgence.
Most people have at least heard of “Acid”, and the wild experiences it produces. Very few, however, really understand its function or origin. In the 60’s, Acid was a colloquial nickname for Aunt Lucy, or LSD (Lysergic acid Diethylamide). Unlike cannabis or mushrooms, LSD is invisible to the naked eye.
It was discovered in 1938 by complete accident by Swiss researcher Albert Hoffman. He’d synthesized it from ergot, a mold-like substance which grows on corn and bread. Years would pass, however, before the properties of the compound were actually realized, once again by accident. Normally LSD in liquid form is applied to a small square paper called a tab. Their colorful designs sometimes include the fabled Grateful Dead dancing bears.
Some unfortunately think of the LSD trip as cartoonish, trivial entertainment. Rather, like most classical psychedelics, the experience is one of heavy introspection, joy, despair, and epiphany.
Like all illegal drugs, LSD is subject to control and monopoly in the black market. People don’t know what they’re getting, especially today. Back in the good ol’ days though, the worst you could probably get was a tab with nothing on it. Or poorly manufactured product, which in turn affects the trip. Today, you run the risk of ingesting any number of dangerous, untested compounds.
Often called research chemicals, the substances are the results of experimentation in labs nestled worldwide. People loved LSD, but black market suppliers always had a difficult time keeping up with demand. Eventually, someone figured that people might settle for “fake acid”. Something producing an effect similar enough to LSD to fill its niche.
A Bold New World
Dozens of compounds have been created in the last decade alone often by nameless researchers. From the lab, they migrating to online vendors whose operations change depending on legal situations. Different countries have different drug laws, and governments can be slow in drafting new laws. That’s how 25I Nbome first flooded the market after it’s discovery. When it broke into the market, it was so new it hadn’t even been scheduled by the American government. Thus, there was little parents or police could do to prevent teens from buying the substance, even online.
By 2010, the drug had become a popular replacement for LSD by teenagers and enthusiasts. Here’s the thing though, literally no one knew what they were taking. Even the name is sometimes fluid, with 25I Nbome being its scientific proper name. Just “25I”, however, can sometimes mean other things on the street like 2CI, another sketchy research chem.
25I and its cousins work just like LSD in a lot of ways in the black market. They’re microscopic compounds dripped onto paper tabs for mass distribution to god knows who or where. Both produce what can be called hallucinogenic effects, with LSD more pliable for personal development or creative fruition. Although the black market dosen’t notice a difference, the human body does. So does science.
Decades of literature exists on LSD, it’s effects, level of safety, and possible uses. Before being banned by the US government, a brief period of scientific exploration occurred for the compound. Potential therapies surpassing any conventional methods of psychological treatment were seen on the horizon. Today, the same results are being found for not just LSD but most classical psychedelics like psilocybin. By contrast, close to nothing’s actually known about 25I and many other research chemicals.
Toxicity Threshold Guinea Pig
One of 25I’s biggest question marks is toxicity and safety level. Researchers often determine a drug’s toxicity by finding it’s “L/D 50”. Let’s say you had 100 rats, and a drug you wanted to test. You give all the rats increasingly higher dosages until half of the group dies. That’s how you determine the L/D (Life/Death) 50 (%).
Dangerous drugs like heroin and meth have low L/D 50’s and vis versa. For LSD, the L/D 50 is so high it’s never been reached in humans. This also includes countless experiments both independently and by government entities which literally couldn’t kill rats or humans with LSD. Toxicity wise, LSD is quite safe.
25I is night and day by contrast, with overdoses filling the news since 2010. Although the drug dropped off in popularity slightly since it was scheduled, recent months have shifted the trend. In Europe and America, teens and others have overdosed after taking acid tabs. Not tripped too hard and done something stupid, but literally overdosed. Mind you this is a compound active at micro-doses. So it’s not a matter of taking a line too many. A distributor could apply one drop per tab of 25I, and still cross the overdose line. A line which, without extensive study, is impossible to see.
Drug “Education” & Propaganda Partly To Blame
Overdoses are punctuated around colleges and high schools. Drug education in America is dismal, and young students often drown out the propaganda. Realistic discussions of some drugs, particularly psychedelics, aren’t being held during primary education. To an average youth, LSD and 25I might as well be the same thing. All of the facts surrounding both compounds become void in the trappings of ignorance.
Since 2011, 19 confirmed cases of deaths caused by 25I have been recorded. Some of these include actual overdoses, not misadventure as sometimes happens with irresponsible LSD use. The unpredictable havoc has provoked responses from both lawmakers and parents of children who died by 25I.
Due to the drug’s nuance origins, many states and police agencies are playing catch up. The compound’s creation and resurgence coincide with an uptick in operations and efforts to combat the dark web. For 25I producers, the internet has been an invaluable companion and has facilitated countless sales. Perhaps some are simply cleaning house.
Among the drug war’s clearest casualties are truth and clarity. It’s an agent of chaos strengthening the black market as it attacks. 25I is a product of that dynamic, and will only continue to claim lives until the cycle ends. The rise of fake acid is the consequence the downfall of clean LSD; drug war prohibition targeting black market LSD while keeping it illegal, and a lack of youth education due to stigma. As fake acid returns to colleges and high schools, it’ll show how different from Aunt Lucy it really is.