Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

Poisonous stories | Science | THE COUNTRY

Poisonous stories | Science | THE COUNTRY

Irvine Welsh is a British writer known for being the author of Trainspotting, novel of characters addicted to heroin that had its cinematographic adaptation at the end of the last century. The harshness of his direct dialogues and his lack of modesty when it comes to reflecting the environment of the addicts, have made Welsh a reference whenever it comes to talking about narratives about drugs.

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In another of his books titled Ecstasy, the British author presents three stories united by the chemical presence of recreational drugs, especially MDMA, acronyms with which 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine is known, which is a substance synthesized from a remote base contained in the volatile nutmeg oils. With everything, according to Antonio Escohotado tells us in his work The book of poisonsIt is not advisable to consume large amounts of nutmeg to achieve the effect of MDMA. A certain friend of his, after a high intake, "suffered a renal arrest that could have ended his life".

The recreational use of MDMA or Ecstasy It had its beginnings in the early 80's, when it began to be introduced in the nights of the New York Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage, the temple of electronic dance music during those years of chemical fever. Whether in powder or in pills, the substance crossed the barrier of inhibition to bring the consumer into contact with emotions that, in general, are not otherwise available.

The discovery of the substance is due to the chemist Alexander Theodore Shulgin, who was also known by the nickname of Sasha, a Californian from Berkeley who died on the verge of turning 89, in June 2014. It was at the time hippie, with the flowers, free love and all that, when Sasha set up his private laboratory in a shed that he would baptize as The Farm. It was a space that was the closest thing to an alchemist's cave and where Shulgin synthesized hundreds of molecules similar in structure to amphetamines, along with an alkaloid chemically related to the amino acid tryptophan and called tryptamine .

MDMA tablets used by the MAPS association in a clinical trial against post-traumatic stress disorder in Boulder (USA)
MDMA tablets used by the MAPS association in a clinical trial against post-traumatic stress disorder in Boulder (USA)

Shulgin experimented meticulously with the synthesis of each molecule, taking a written account of its effects. At first, this relationship was published in scientific journals but, from the 90s, decided to gather in the form of books that would publish under the titles PIHKAL Y TIHKAL; works in which not only speaks of his life and its relationship with chemistry, but also reveals the formulas of a number of substances and their procedure when it comes to getting them.

They are cookbooks on how to make psychotropic substances and how to apply them for therapeutic use. Without going any further, Shulgin tells us a case in which, thanks to the use of MDMA, he managed to cure the stuttering of a young guitarist. However, the agency of the Department of Justice of the United States, dedicated to the fight against smuggling and the consumption of drugs and known as "the three letters", DEA, raided the laboratory of Shulgin. The chemist ended up paying a fine for a crime against public health. It is curious because Shulgin, at first, was a collaborator of the DEA, a fixed counselor of the agency that was dedicated to write manuals on the different chemical substances, as well as their effects.

Shulgin would suffer a stroke in 2010, whose sequels dragged on until his death four years later. Like it says one of the characters of Trainspotting in Welsh's novel, death, more than a medical event, was for Shulgin a natural process subordinated to life. Hence, for Shulgin there were many ways to be alive, as many as molecules, but only one way to be dead.

The stone ax It's a section where Montero Glez, with a desire for prose, exercises its particular siege on scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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