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Debate on the Psychoactivity of Wormwood (LONG!)

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On another forum I'm on someone had brought up the purported psychoactive effects of AA when used in drink/smoked/taken generally internally. I promptly debated the statements with as much fervor as I could muster, however, the discussion simply ran into the ground. I wanted to repost the important excerpts here and get the opinion of those absintheuers who dwell on the WS.

 

I know this is a very touchy topic so I should note that AFTER the whole fired up discussion was had the poster noted to me that he meant only to prove the "psychoactivity" (in the dictionary definition of the word, i.e. that something "psychoactive" merely "effects the mind" etc.) of Wormwood -- that he did not, necessarily mean to imply that when/if imbibed, Wormwood would make someone "trip balls." To that revelation I obviously thought "Yes, I know. Of course it's psychoactive, it can cause renal failure...of which hallucinations and convulsions are precursors. It is not something that should be used to 'get high' though." Which, coincidentally may have been what he was trying to get at...that one can use Wormwood to "get high." Or he could have been starting the discussion because he knows that I am very watchful when the words "psychoactivity" and "Wormwood" are used either expressly or when implied.

 

So, without further delay, here are the more finite details of our discussion:

 

He started off the thread by citing a book from a noted Psychonaut (i.e. someone of Tim Leary's school of thought...), Dale Pendell:

 

Wormwood may also be smoked. ... Jonathan Ott (1993) reports psychoactive effects from smoking Artemisia absinthium, an assertion that I have been able to verify. ... Thujone, an isomer of camphor, c10h16o, is the major psychoactive ingredient. ... Like Cannabis sativa, Artemisia absinthium is a cognodysleptic. But the differences in absinthe's effects prompt us to place it in a new class, rhapsodica, on the path between inebrientia and rhapsodica. A lot depends on dosage, length of use, and intent. ... {what follows is a description of Pendell's first experiment with wormwood tea} After some minutes, I noticed that I wasn't writing anything. I was just staring off into space. And the space was beautiful. The light was brighter. Mottled sunlight filtering down through the walnut tree. It was afternoon. The temperature was perfect. I could feel the air on my arms and face. I got up and opened the door, letting the light and the outdoors into the room. I lay down on a couch where I could look out the door and up into the tree.

 

It was nice. Everything was nice. The light was different, softer and more intense at the same time. I felt great, actually. I gazed around my study and spent a lot of time looking at my paintings. ... Experiments with wormwood on animals seem to verify that it produces both auditory and visual hallucinations. In a scene reminiscent of H.P. Lovecraft, dogs injected with absinthe were reported to stand barking at blank walls.

 

(Pendell, Pharmako/Poeia, pp. 104-106 and 108; italics in original)

 

To which I replied:

 

Please look up my other threads where I've posted many, many links to dispute your "reputable source" (where's the plural of this that you used?)

 

I think you're making a mistake by advocating this. Please actually search and read all the links to all the other sources I posted that the dangers of thujone far outweigh any perceived psychoactive properties.

 

I'm serious about this one Cliff...

Just one of the more "known" cases of the TOXICITY of wormwood/thujone. From the New England Journal of Medicine: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/337/12/825

 

Note, you have to be a member to log in and read the whole article but this is just one published source of this happening. I posted other links in the other threads I spoke of.

 

 

EDIT: Also, re-reading your quote of what I said I should expand and say that in my own experience and in the distilled experiences of which I quoted in the thread you obviously read I have never known wormwood to be psychoactive whatsoever.

 

All things considered I should note that whether a substance is considered "psychoactive" may have a lot to do with many variables and a blanket statement from me saying a substance is flat out not psychoactive is at best subjective.

 

I still do not know from personal experience, nor have I read anything (until now, being your quote from Pendell) that would lead me to believe that wormwood is psychoactive.

 

That recalibration of my point of view notwithstanding I should note that my main concern is not the semantics of whether wormwood is psychoactive or not but rather that thujone is dangerous and will kill you. I do not believe this to be on the level of a discussion of certain drugs for instance, where one could argue that it is one's personal choice and there are acceptable risks involved that can be overcome with a little moderation. I believe that this substance is simply too dangerous to be of any psychoactive use.

 

My real issue is that I don't want to see any more articles like the above cited NEJM link where people have been irresponsible in trying to use wormwood in a psychoactive manor.

 

I thought it best to clarify my motives for this before it goes on.

 

To which another poster noted:

 

So, if wormwood is not psychoactive, are you implying there are no psychoactive ingredients in Absinthe?

 

What about this new drink , "four".

 

Four ( alcoholic drink + wormwood )

 

You'll note they say "FDA approved wormwood oil". Why would the FDA have to approve something that is not psychoactive?

 

The same poster noted:

 

Ok, you are right, from Drugs.com :

 

QUOTE

Toxicology

Wormwood is classified as an unsafe herb by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of the neurotoxic potential of thujone and its derivatives. The safety of wormwood is poorly documented despite its long history of use as a food additive.

/QUOTE

 

There is clearly a great deal of vaguery, as it would seem despite Thujone and Wormwoods long history of human use little to no research has been done into it.

 

But then...

 

QUOTE

Thujone produces a state of excitation and is a powerful convulsant. Ingestion of wormwood may result in neurologic symptoms known as absinthism, a syndrome characterized by digestive disorders, thirst, restlessness, vertigo, trembling of the limbs, numbness of the extremities, loss of intellect, delirium, paralysis, and death.

/QUOTE

 

That sounds like some pretty psychoactive shit to me, however the negative symptoms sound like the result of overdose or impurity in the absinthe rather than some inherent toxicity in the Thujone. Granted, Thujone is inherently toxic, but not in the sense that I believe it to be inherently dangerous.

 

QUOTE

Main Entry: psy·cho·ac·tive

Pronunciation: "sI-kO-'ak-tiv

Function: adjective

: affecting the mind or behavior

/QUOTE

 

This drug clearly effects both the mind and behavior, but its clear we aren't sure exactly how, and results may vary.

 

The FDA regulates the drug because some of the psychoactive components can be deadly.

 

QUOTE

There is no recent clinical evidence to support dose recommendations for wormwood. Its classical use for dyspepsia was at a dose of 3 to 5 g for infusion daily or 2 to 3 g daily as the herb. Use caution because the thujone content of wormwood varies widely. 12

/QUOTE

 

There would be no "dosage recommendation" on substances not psychoactive.

 

 

To which I replied:

 

Rill (that was the poster directly quoted above): No, absinthe is not psychoactive, not in the terms of this discussion that is. Of course, alcohol is psychoactive under the sense of the word so then yes, absinthe is psychoactive -- but again, not in the context of this discussion regarding wormwood.

 

Regarding "four" this was discussed on two absinthe forums I'm on and after email replies from the company which were vague at best, the conclusion was that four contains a *species* of Artemesia, of which many are often called "Wormwood" as misnomers; however, it does not contain the oil of Artemesia Absinthium or the real "Wormwood" aka "Grand Wormwood." It most likely contains oil from Artemesia Pontica, Southernwood which contains no thujone.

 

Further, there is an FDA ban on thujone, not wormwood specifically. There exists such a ban because thujone is a toxic substance.

 

Insofar as your quote from drugs.com, I have to say that "absinthism" was LONG ago discredited as an actual disease, noting that it was made up around the turn of the century to try and help get absinthe banned for political reasons. I am surprised you bought into this...

 

Please note as well that it may do you well to compare drug.com's "absinthism" to alcoholism as you may find some striking similarities.

 

Other important points were that absinthe impurities in pre-ban years (ca ~1900-1915) were noted as a common cause of toxicity from absinthe. It was common to add chemicals to try and make a low quality absinthe have that beautiful green color associated with it, this being a major source of its toxicity. Also note that pre-ban absinthes (as well as new ones) contain hardly any thujone in them and it has been apparent for a while that this was not ever the cause of the absinthe bans in the first place. My references for this were all posted in the other aforementioned threads. And again, the FDA only regulates thujone for human consumption (citations on demand), not wormwood nor absinthe specifically.

 

Cliff (the ORIGINAL POSTER -- he had asked "what he was advocating by posting this): You are by proxy advocating the use of wormwood for it's purported psychoactive properties simply by starting this thread. My worry is not that some dumb kid will try smoking wormwood (which will inevitably lead to a headache) but that they will try drinking wormwood extract/oil and die. Please understand that this is my main reason for even posting regarding this subject as for all intents and purposes this thread only serves to aggravate my common sense.

 

Conway: No, absinthe is not toxic to consume...well, it is a high proof alcoholic drink at minimum so in that respect, yes it is, but it is not toxic because of wormwood or thujone. If you read my reply to Rill you will note that both current and pre-ban samples of absinthe contain very small amounts of thujone in the final product. This is due to the distillation process and has been backed up by GC/MS tests. By EU, Canadian and Australian law absinthe is not allowed to contain more than 35mg/kg thujone (that's the highest I've seen, and the product must be labeled as "bitters" to even contain that much, and that's only in France. The rest of the EU is only 10mg/kg thujone in absinthe). The GC/MS tests show the average current product at (IIRC) about 6mg/kg, nowhere near the EU limit.

 

To which was replied by the Original Poster:

 

QUOTE

Cliff: You are by proxy advocating the use of wormwood for it's purported psychoactive properties simply by starting this thread.

/QUOTE

 

Accuracy is not advocacy. You claimed that wormwood is not psychoactive, this is incorrect.

 

Harm Reduction is rooted in knowledge of the facts, and inaccurate facts (even if created for the purposes of dissuading people from what you personally regard as dangerous actions) will ultimately only discredit you as a source.

 

QUOTE

My worry is not that some dumb kid will try smoking wormwood (which will inevitably lead to a headache) but that they will try drinking wormwood extract/oil and die.

/QUOTE

 

I have seen sources that state that with proper dose wormwood poses little to no threat to health.

 

The article you cited in this thread notes that rhabdomyolysis can also be induced by ethanol, so, using your logic, drinking alcohol carries an unreasonable danger.

 

To which I replied:

 

QUOTE

Accuracy is not advocacy. You claimed that wormwood is not psychoactive, this is incorrect.

 

Harm Reduction is rooted in knowledge of the facts, and inaccurate facts (even if created for the purposes of dissuading people from what you personally regard as dangerous actions) will ultimately only discredit you as a source.

/QUOTE

 

Psychoactive:

Function: adjective

Affecting the mind or behavior <psychoactive drugs>

 

Cliff, broccoli is psychoactive. Exercise is considered nootropic and by that logic psychoactive. Masturbation is psychoactive. Driving a car is psychoactive. Taking a shit, being stressed at work, taking your daily vitamin; being in love, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn -- these are all psychoactive.

 

If we define the word "psychoactive" in a more finite manor that parallels this discussion my view is that (in terms of this discussion only) a "psychoactive" substance is something that is tangible and palpable in its effects (think marijuana or DXM) . I respect Pendell as an authority of sorts, however, in my own extensive experiences with wormwood and/or absinthe and the first hand experiences of those with whom I've been able to get to know via other internet forums dedicated to absinthe (and as a byproduct, dedicated to trying to dispel rumors of wormwood and absinthe in general) say otherwise.

 

That said, there is a lot to be said for body chemistry and/or environmental surroundings. So, with that in mind and the knowledge of the human mind/psyche and the placebo effect leads me to believe that almost any substance can be "psychoactive" (or not) to a given person. It is because of this that one citation of an author's experience will not be able to dissuade me from my current position. I have seen and know personally many, many other people and know of many other situations where wormwood has not been found to be psychoactive in the least.

 

QUOTE

I have seen sources that state that with proper dose wormwood poses little to no threat to health.

 

The article you cited in this thread notes that rhabdomyolysis can also be induced by ethanol, so, using your logic, drinking alcohol carries an unreasonable danger.

/QUOTE

 

1. Proper doses being as relevant as a car to a fish. Both are useless to their respective would-be owners. Why would one need a "proper" dose of a potentially harmful, non-psychoactive substance?

 

2. Well, high doses of alcohol will kill you as well, so given the circumstances and the person, yes they do. Further, the point is not necessarily the risk, but rather the risk for the reward. The article from the NEJM has to do with a person trying to use a substance which is dangerous and non-psychoactive to receive psychoactive effects from it (possibly because of something they heard on the internets, sound familiar?), and it almost killed them. So the reward of ingesting a non-psychoactive substance to try and get high possibly being death doesn't seem in the least worth it to me.

 

To which someone replied:

 

I think it's common knowledge than both Wormwood and Thujone are psychoactive. If you have never tried either, then please kindly shut up.

 

To which *I* replied:

 

No, it's a common misconception, not knowledge. However, the misconception is common, I will cede you that point.

 

To which the Original Poster replied:

 

QUOTE

If we define the word "psychoactive" in a more finite manor that parallels this discussion my view is that (in terms of this discussion only) a "psychoactive" substance is something that is tangible and palpable in its effects (think marijuana or DXM).

/QUOTE

 

The individual in the case report you referenced earlier (the text of which is available here) experienced agitation, incoherency, and disorientation, and was lethargic and belligerent in the hospital. These sound like palpable effects.

 

Additionally, there is at least one paper indicating palpable psychological effects from doses of thujone apparently lower than those associated with seizures and renal failure.

 

QUOTE

I respect Pendell as an authority of sorts, however, in my own extensive experiences with wormwood and/or absinthe and the first hand experiences of those with whom I've been able to get to know via other internet forums dedicated to absinthe (and as a byproduct, dedicated to trying to dispel rumors of wormwood and absinthe in general) say otherwise.

/QUOTE

 

Having met Mr. Pendell on more than one occasion, and being aware of his wide range of experience with numerous psychoactives and his encyclopedic knowledge regarding them, I tend to favor his report over yours.

 

BTW, the recipe for absinthe he gives in his book results in thujone concentrations of 45 mg/l.

 

QUOTE

It is because of this that one citation of an author's experience will not be able to dissuade me from my current position.

/QUOTE

 

Said citation cited another well-respected author, so that's, again, two citations.

 

Further, I just converted one of your citations into a citation in my favor, so that's three citations. And I found a paper on PubMed showing measurable psychoactivity in absinthe correlated to the thujone content, so that's four citations.

 

Thujone may not be sufficient to explain all of the effects of wormwood or absinthe, but it clearly has effects.

 

QUOTE

I have seen and know personally many, many other people and know of many other situations where wormwood has not been found to be psychoactive in the least.

/QUOTE

 

Maybe you're doing it wrong.

 

{shrug}

 

QUOTE

Why would one need a "proper" dose of a potentially harmful, non-psychoactive substance?

/QUOTE

 

Well, leaving aside snide comments about vitamins, you haven't proved that wormwood is non-psychoactive so much as you've just repeatedly asserted it.

 

QUOTE

The article from the NEJM has to do with a person trying to use a substance which is dangerous and non-psychoactive

/QUOTE

 

Where does that article state that the essential oil of wormwood is non-psychoactive?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To which I replied:

 

QUOTE

The individual in the case report you referenced earlier (the text of which is available here) experienced agitation, incoherency, and disorientation, and was lethargic and belligerent in the hospital. These sound like palpable effects.

 

Additionally, there is at least one paper indicating palpable psychological effects from doses of thujone apparently lower than those associated with seizures and renal failure.

/QUOTE

 

Quite palpable indeed, this I do not question. However, not in relation to any useful psychoactive effects. The effects in question were palpable (both in the NEJM link and your PubMed link) -- they were palpable because thujone functions as a convulsant and obviously has neuro-motor effects, but only because it is on its way to shutting down your renal system and killing you.

 

In regards to your PubMed link, are there other notes on the experiment? I ask because simply adding thujone to absinthe proves nothing, as absinthe naturally has much, much lower (if any) levels of thujone than I suspect were added to the drinks in the paper.

 

QUOTE

Having met Mr. Pendell on more than one occasion, and being aware of his wide range of experience with numerous psychoactives and his encyclopedic knowledge regarding them, I tend to favor his report over yours.

 

BTW, the recipe for absinthe he gives in his book results in thujone concentrations of 45 mg/l.

/QUOTE

 

1. I wouldn't expect you to favor my reports over his, you're taking an antithetical view of the current discussion we're having, it wouldn't be at all in your best interests. Further, I wouldn't expect you to do so outside of this discussion either. I certainly hold my own personal experiences and those of the folks in absinthe culture of whom I have an personal knowledge, at a higher level than Mr. Pendell's -- so goes the logic.

 

2. Could you post the recipe? As an absintheur and one who has intricate knowledge of distillation I would be very interested in seeing his "recipe" for absinthe. I have a hunch, but would like to see the recipe before expanding on it.

 

To which the Original Poster replied:

 

QUOTE

Quite palpable indeed, this I do not question. However, not in relation to any useful psychoactive effects. The effects in question were palpable (both in the NEJM link and your PubMed link) -- they were palpable because thujone functions as a convulsant and obviously has neuro-motor effects, but only because it is on its way to shutting down your renal system and killing you.

/QUOTE

 

Actually, its currently known mechanism of action is GABA-A receptor antagonism, and I don't see that any psychoactive effects are necessarily correlated to renal failure and death.

 

Additionally, you have yet to cite documentation on actual deaths.

 

Finally, the full-text of the article you cited uses the case study as a means to suggest that thujone was the likely agent implicated in absinthism, a conclusion contrary to the one you promulgate.

 

QUOTE

In regards to your PubMed link, are there other notes on the experiment? I ask because simply adding thujone to absinthe proves nothing, as absinthe naturally has much, much lower (if any) levels of thujone than I suspect were added to the drinks in the paper.

/QUOTE

 

It proves that thujone is psychoactive, which is the topic of this thread.

 

QUOTE

Could you post the recipe? As an absintheur and one who has intricate knowledge of distillation I would be very interested in seeing his "recipe" for absinthe. I have a hunch, but would like to see the recipe before expanding on it.

/QUOTE

 

Quite certainly.

 

QUOTE

30.0 g wormwood

8.5 g hyssop

1.8 g calamus

6.0 g melissa

30.0 g anise seed

25.0 g fennel seed

10.0 g star anise

3.2 g coriander seed

 

After maceration (with 800 ml of 85-95 percent alcohol and 600 ml of water), decanting, and distillation, color the liquor with:QUOTE

4.2 g mint

1.1 g melissa

3.0 g wormwood

1.0 g citron peel

4.2 g liquorice root

 

There are further operations (maceration, decanting, filtration, bottling). Pendell states it will result in one liter of 135 proof Swiss-style Absinthe.

 

He also gives a recipe for use of the essential oil of wormwood to be added directly to Pernod:

 

QUOTE

If you can obtain the essential oil of wormwood (without the thujone removed) your job is easy: just dissolve 0.3 or 0.4 milliliters of the oil in some alcohol and add it to a quart or a liter of the pastis

 

(Pharmako/Poeia, pp. 112-113)

/QUOTE

 

Of course, even if Mr. Pendell's recipe results in lower concentrations of thujone than he claims in his book, that has nothing to do with whether or not wormwood and thujone are psychoactive, because as we've established, they are.

 

To which I noted the thread I referenced earlier where I had posted numerous links re: thujone:

 

Cliff,

 

Since it seems pertinent to the discussion and you don't seem to have followed the other thread closely:

 

http://www.feeverte.net/thujone.html

http://www.feeverte.net/worm-idx.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thujone

http://www.thujone.info/

http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/thujone.html

 

^ a b Conrad III, Barnaby; (1988). Absinthe History in a Bottle. Chronicle books. ISBN 0-8118-1650-8 Pg. 152

 

^ a b Thujone Gamma-Aminobutyric acid type A receptor modulation and metabolic detoxification. Hold K.,Sirisoma N., Ikeda T., Narahashi T. and Casida J. (2000). Retrieved Oct.28, 2006

 

^ Absinthe: Attention Performance and Mood under the Influence of Thujone. DETTLING, A., GRASS, H., SCHUFF, A., SKOPP, G., STROHBECK-KUEHNER, P. AND HAFFNER, H.-TH. (2004) Retrieved Oct. 28, 2006.

 

^ Absinthism: a fictitious 19th century syndrome with present impact, Padosch et al. Retrieved Oct. 28, 2006.

 

^ Thujone—Cause of absinthism? Lachenmeier, Emmert et al. Retrieved Oct. 28, 2006.

 

^ Thujone Separating Myth from Reality Ian Hutton Retrieved Oct. 28, 2006.

 

^ Determination of a-/b-Thujone and Related Terpenes in Absinthe using Solid Phase Extraction and Gas Chromatography, Emmert et al. Retrieved Oct. 28, 2006.

 

^ Conrad III, Barnaby; (1988). Absinthe History in a Bottle. Chronicle books. ISBN 0-8118-1650-8 Pg. 101-105

 

^ Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Thujone Scientific Committee on Food (2003) Retrieved Oct 28, 2006.

 

^ Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption. Food and Drug Administration (2003). Retrieved Oct 28, 2006.

 

^ Substances generally recognized as safe. Food and Drug Administration (2003). Retrieved Oct 28, 2006.

 

In those you should note the reality of my point of view.

 

It seems odd to me that for someone so smart and willing to dig up information that you have missed these? Honestly, no sarcasm intended.

 

Also, regarding Pendell's "absinthe recipe" (which is not a traditional Swiss Style absinthe, BTW...just FYI) and his purported 46mg/kg of thujone in the final distillate:

 

QUOTE

In one 2005 study, Lachenmeier et al. took three historical recipes from 1899 that were high in wormwood and produced three different versions of each using wormwood from different sources. They then tested all nine samples for thujone content. One recipe came in at 0-4.3 mg/l, another 0-3.2 mg/l and the third 0-1.0 mg/l, it was discovered one of the three wormwood sources was apparently thujone free. Of those that contained thujone the less active beta isomer was 6.39 times more likely to end up in their absinthe. [7] The contents of a Pernod Tarragona 1930s absinthe was also tested at 1.8 mg/l thujone as well as two traditional absinthes made from a small Swiss distillery, they came in at 9.4 mg/l and 1.7 mg/l thujone. [7]

 

A 2004 study by Emmert et al tested fourteen modern brands. Most fell in a similar range, six contained 10 mg/l or less, three over 10 mg/l but under the 35 mg/l bitters limit and finally five contained no thujone at all. [6] It is possible to create an absinthe with higher thujone by either selecting high-thujone plants, adjusting distillation methods or adding wormwood herb or oil after distillation. Even then it takes effort to come up with an absinthe that falls outside EU regulations. As there is no evidence historical producers tried to maximize thujone content or could evenly accurately test for it, it's safe to say efforts to increase it are not traditional and modern absinthe is equal to if not higher in thujone content than vintage.

/QUOTE

 

(References on this page: http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/thujone.html)

 

To which he replied:

 

QUOTE

you don't seem to have followed the other thread closely

/QUOTE

 

I'll admit I didn't follow it closely, but I had read this particular post, and followed every one of the links therein.

 

QUOTE

In those you should note the reality of my point of view.

/QUOTE

 

Well, this is from http://www.feeverte.net/thujone.html, on the horrendous dangers of wormwood:

 

QUOTE

...in 1975 researchers found that dilute oil of wormwood did inhibit the growth of 4 out of 7 types of bacteria. (Kaul VK; Nigam SS; Dhar KL. Antimicrobial activities of the essential oils of Artemisia absinthium linn, Artemisia vestita wall' and Artemisia vulgari Linn, Indian Journal of Pharmacy, 1976, 38(1), 21-22).

 

Wormwood has also been shown to be a hepatoprotective. Gilani and Janbaz found that an extract of Artemisia absinthium protected against acetaminophen and carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in mice. The presence of antioxidants and calcium-channel blockers in wormwood also probably contributes to its hepatoprotective effects. (Gilani AH; Janbaz KH., Preventative and curative effects of Artemisia absinthium on acetaminophen and CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity, Gen. Pharmacol, 1995, 26(2):309-315; Gilani AH. Search for new calcium channel blocking drugs from indigenous plants, International Congress on Natural Products Research, 1994, August 1-5, Halifax 0:29). Recent studies have demonstrated that extracts of wormwood (and other plants used in absinthe) have CNS cholinergic receptor binding activity and therefore contrary to accepted wisdom, absinthe may actually improve cognitive function (Wake et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2000 Feb;69(2):105-14.

 

This is from http://www.feeverte.net/worm-idx.html:QUOTE

Wormwood, prior to the hysteria that started over absinthe in the 19th century, generally was not regarded as so dangerous and toxic, and the herb is still used in modern herbal concoctions. Used correctly and in moderation, herbal teas made from wormwood are often mentioned in herbal medicinal guides, mainly as a stomach tonic and sometimes as a concoction to be applied externally to bruises and sprains.

/QUOTE

 

I could go on, but I won't (unless you want me to).

 

To which I replied:

 

You may if you wish. However, before you do, I would like you to define exactly what the terms of this discussion are.

 

When I speak of wormwood being "unsafe" or "non-psychoactive" I am talking about specifically when used to try and get "high" off of it. I am not trying to argue whether it is psychoactive in the broader sense of the word because by the very definition of the word it is all but impossible to argue that almost any given substance (or act for that matter) is not in some way psychoactive.

 

My worry was never that someone tries to make some wormwood tea for their stomach, but rather that they use it in a irresponsible manor and try to get high.

 

To which he replied:

 

QUOTE

However, before you do, I would like you to define exactly what the terms of this discussion are.

/QUOTE

 

The original point of this discussion was whether or not wormwood and thujone are psychoactive. Because of arm-waving hysterics on your part, we have now moved on to discussions of the inherent toxicity of wormwood/thujone.

 

At this point, the main concern seems to be: is there evidence showing that wormwood and thujone are inherently unsafe at psychoactive doses?

 

My answer is "apparently not" - or, at the very least, you have yet to provide it.

 

QUOTE

When I speak of wormwood being "unsafe" or "non-psychoactive" I am talking about specifically when used to try and get "high" off of it.

/QUOTE

 

Again, reputable sources disagree.

 

QUOTE

There is good evidence that both thujone and wormwood have psychoactive properties. ... There are also indications that thujone itself is psychoactive. Rice and Wilson (1976) have found that (-)-3-isothujone, the dominant isomer in wormwood oil, has an antinociceptive (pain killing) effect, comparable to codeine, when injected subcutaneously in rats. Because the effect is stereospecific and not elicited by similar compounds, the researchers suggest that (-)-3-isothujone acts at a specific pharmacological site. ... In summary, thujone seems psychoactive although probably not by acting at the cannabinoid receptor.

 

Erowid AbsintheFAQ

/QUOTE

 

It seems that you may be reading "psychoactive" as "makes you see shit like in Moulin Rouge," and I assure you, this is not my argument.

 

QUOTE

I am not trying to argue whether it is psychoactive in the broader sense of the word because by the very definition of the word it is all but impossible to argue that almost any given substance (or act for that matter) is not in some way psychoactive.

/QUOTE

 

I'm uncertain what 'broader sense' you are referring to, as I have been arguing no such thing.

 

QUOTE

My worry was never that someone tries to make some wormwood tea for their stomach, but rather that they use it in a irresponsible manor and try to get high.

/QUOTE

 

You have yet to show that trying to get high from wormwood is irresponsible.

 

Additionally, you were previously indicating that there is no reason to take 'correct doses' of wormwood because of its danger, which has been definitively disproved.

 

You can keep changing the terms of the argument if you like, but it's a fairly transparent tactic.

 

To which I replied:

 

QUOTE

At this point, the main concern seems to be: is there evidence showing that wormwood and thujone are inherently unsafe at psychoactive doses?

/QUOTE

 

I cannot speak to this at this point with much certainty as I have no knowledge of what would be considered a "psychoactive dose" in this discussion's terms. But...

 

If I had to make a very sloppy guess I would use one of the references used in the Wikipedia article which states that in rats the LD50 of thujone was ~45mg/kg with 0% lethality of 30mg/kg and an LD100 of 60mg/kg.

 

For a 90kg male, that would make the LD50 around 4.05g. A safer dose of 30mg/kg where a 0% mortality rate was observed would be 2.7g (and to be thorough, 5400mg for the LD100).

 

Knowing that wormwood oil is 40-60% thujone (round this off to middle of the road, 50% for discussion purposes)...a 1oz bottle of wormwood oil would be 28349.52mg and 50% of that being thujone would yield 14174.76mg or 14.17476g of a-thujone in a 1 ounce bottle of wormwood oil (roughly, of course).

 

Or about 3 times the dose noted in the 100% mortality cases of rats in that study.

 

Now, this does not specifically say anything about where thujone starts to become psychoactive, however. Again, I have no real knowledge of this, but from one of the citations in the Wikipedia article (which might be the same as the link you posted on PubMed), "The researchers administered 0.28 mg/kg thujone in alcohol, 0.028 mg/kg in alcohol and just alcohol to their subjects. The high dose had a short term negative effect on attention performance. The lower dose showed no noticeable effect."

 

Knowing that the higher 0.28mg/kg had only a "short term" negative effect on performance I would say that (for discussion and easy math purposes only) that a little less than or around 1mg/kg would start to cause any "psychoactive" effects. This does turn out to be much lower than the LD0 in rats, however, how well rats correspond to humans in clinical studies I have no idea. Maybe you can help me out on that? I assume you have at least some knowledge of that.

 

So saying that 1mg/kg is where the "psychoactive" effects start...how does one administer a "safe" dose FOR SURE? The thujone content in various artemesia species varies greatly, which means so would any kind of oil one tried to use for this. Further if one measured out 1mg/kg of an 80kg person, that would be 80mg, or 0.002821917oz. So how does the average kid from the burbs trying to utilize any purported psychoactive properties of wormwood or wormwood oil go about accurately measuring such an amount? If making wormwood tea I can surely not place any value on how much one would need to make. In fact I have yet to find any estimates on how much thujone is in the actual physical Artemesia Absinthium plant as well, so for this I will not even make any assumptions.

 

As for absinthe, I should note that most commercial absinthes have around 2mg/kg of thujone still in them (many have none) from the distillation process. Most are sold in one liter bottles, making them 0.958611414kg, so there is only 1.9172...mg of thujone in the average bottle of absinthe anyway. So, if you drank a liter of 150 proof (average proof for absinthe) absinthe to get your ~2mg of thujone, you'd die or be VERY close to it from alcohol long before you'd EVER notice any type of "thujone" psychoactivity. It is with this that I question where Pendell got his "46mg/kg" in his "absinthe" recipe. Unless he's had it GC/MS tested and can assure all persons making the recipe that their Artemesia Absinthium has exactly the same thujone amount, he cannot say at all for sure. Just thought I'd add that.

 

QUOTE

It seems that you may be reading "psychoactive" as "makes you see shit like in Moulin Rouge," and I assure you, this is not my argument.

/QUOTE

 

Yes, I have been...which was what I was trying (poorly) to clarify earlier.

 

I apologize if that's not what you were trying to espouse, I honestly thought you were.

 

________________________________________________________________________________

_

 

 

 

 

And that was the end of discussion from both of us.

 

I'm interested to hear the thoughts on this from you folks as I trust your experience and opinion as much as any personal friend.

 

Did I defend the cause enough/correctly? Did it really look as if I was trying to switch up the discussion to make a point, or because I couldn't defend the stance I took correctly?

 

Info, feedback...links, information. This is what is needed.

 

Hopefully this will garner a few replies. I'm very interested to year your takes on this.

 

Aaron

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*blink*

 

*blink*

 

Wow. I'm afraid I can't contribute much, as I'm awed beyond words by the scope of the OP.

 

I've had a few heated discussions with folks about the supposed hallucinatory effects of thujone, but none so eloquent, extensive or well footnooted as yours. I'm going to take notes and make a cheat-sheet of URLs for the next spat I get into with a flame-toting fratboy.

 

I admire your stance, shinsain, on the definition of psychoactive - fuzzy definitions cause half the fights on the planet, it seems.

 

I'm going to have to re-read the OP and see if I can't find something more coherent to say...

 

- Johanna

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Yes, I'm sorry if that got a little technical for some (what with obscure receptor functions, etc.). Not implying that those who have/will read it will find it too technical...just apologizing beforehand if it does/has, etc.

 

I have an acute interest in in pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and chemistry, it's a hobby (albeit a dorky one, I admit).

 

I am really interested in what some of the more science-minded folks have to say regarding the subject and the above thread, I know there are a few out there.

 

Absomphe, nothing to add? Seriously?

 

Aaron

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I haven't read it all yet, but I will.

 

"the poster noted to me that he meant only to prove the "psychoactivity" (in the dictionary definition of the word, i.e. that something "psychoactive" merely "effects the mind" etc.) of Wormwood -- that he did not, necessarily mean to imply that when/if imbibed, Wormwood would make someone "trip balls.""

 

Sure sounds like back-pedaling to me. They always do when you shoot 'em down.

 

Hell, iced tea is psychoactive by that definition.

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Absomphe, nothing to add? Seriously?

 

Seriously.

 

I was a poli-sci, history, and English major in college, and my interest in the chemistry, and pharmacology is less than zero. I realize that this great thujone debate gets many of you wet in the pants, but frankly, it bores me silly.

 

Although I find the history (as well as the paraphrenalia) surrounding the drink both captivating, and fascinating, the thing that really floats my boat about the better stuff is the wonderfully complex expeience it affords my greedy palate. :)

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Shinsain,

 

Thanks for the article. It is very helpful because I'm trying to do as much research as possible on this subject. The problem is that there is not much out there. The reason why is as follows:

 

I usually drink Absinthe on Friday and Saturday nights. I also have 2 glasses each night a glass each from different brands. I have the Kübler, the full Jade line, the full Duplais line, and CLB. I have experienced no hallucinations. It's relaing me so much that it knocks me out. The only problem is that the next morning, my eyes literally hurt and the back of my head hurts to the point that it feels like my head is going to fall off. Don't know yet if its the Absinthe or another problem, but I'm going to take notice to how I feel after imbibing more often. This leads me to my next point:

 

Why doesn't someone research ABSINTHE and not frickin' Wormwood oil!!!!

 

There are actually other ingredients besides Wormwood. These other ingredients may or may not enhance the properties of Wormwood.

 

What would be nice would be a catalog of the Thujone content within the modern day Absinthe like the Jades, Duplais, etc. even the Czech-sithes - all analyzed the same way. That way people can make their own decision about what brand they want to drink, nad why to drink it.

 

Any Chemists out there!!!!!

 

The makers may have a problem with the above because it may divulge too much information to the public. I do not know though. To some it may or may not be a good marketing tool.

 

 

 

Of cour

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I haven't read it all yet, but I will.

 

"the poster noted to me that he meant only to prove the "psychoactivity" (in the dictionary definition of the word, i.e. that something "psychoactive" merely "effects the mind" etc.) of Wormwood -- that he did not, necessarily mean to imply that when/if imbibed, Wormwood would make someone "trip balls.""

 

Sure sounds like back-pedaling to me. They always do when you shoot 'em down.

 

Hell, iced tea is psychoactive by that definition.

 

It sounded like back-pedaling to me as well, but I was told later in the thread that I was the one essentially "back-pedaling" so I could somehow back up my stance (which I thought I did well enough?).

 

Also, I agree with the "iced tea" statement and actually said something about broccoli being psychoactive, by the dictionary definition!

 

 

Absomphe, nothing to add? Seriously?

 

Seriously.

 

I was a poli-sci, history, and English major in college, and my interest in the chemistry, and pharmacology is less than zero. I realize that this great thujone debate gets many of you wet in the pants, but frankly, it bores me silly.

 

Although I find the history (as well as the paraphrenalia) surrounding the drink both captivating, and fascinating, the thing that really floats my boat about the better stuff is the wonderfully complex expeience it affords my greedy palate. :)

 

Oh...no problem.

 

Shinsain,

 

Thanks for the article. It is very helpful because I'm trying to do as much research as possible on this subject. The problem is that there is not much out there. The reason why is as follows:

 

I usually drink Absinthe on Friday and Saturday nights. I also have 2 glasses each night a glass each from different brands. I have the Kübler, the full Jade line, the full Duplais line, and CLB. I have experienced no hallucinations. It's relaing me so much that it knocks me out. The only problem is that the next morning, my eyes literally hurt and the back of my head hurts to the point that it feels like my head is going to fall off. Don't know yet if its the Absinthe or another problem, but I'm going to take notice to how I feel after imbibing more often. This leads me to my next point:

 

Why doesn't someone research ABSINTHE and not frickin' Wormwood oil!!!!

 

There are actually other ingredients besides Wormwood. These other ingredients may or may not enhance the properties of Wormwood.

 

What would be nice would be a catalog of the Thujone content within the modern day Absinthe like the Jades, Duplais, etc. even the Czech-sithes - all analyzed the same way. That way people can make their own decision about what brand they want to drink, nad why to drink it.

 

Any Chemists out there!!!!!

 

The makers may have a problem with the above because it may divulge too much information to the public. I do not know though. To some it may or may not be a good marketing tool.

 

 

 

Of cour

 

I believe there are comparisons out there (rather, on WS somewhere) of thujone content in modern CO's -- but don't quote me on that.

 

Aaron

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(Pendell, Pharmako/Poeia, pp. 104-106 and 108; italics in original)

 

Anyone who quotes this work as a reference in matters absinthe will (eventually) find themselves very confused. Pendell's laughable 'Swiss recipe', thujone claims, suggestion of adulterating Pernod make it most apparent that his beliefs were erroneous and outdated. Such notions were widespread until accurate, scientifically sound information superseded the outdated fallacies and myths that were based purely upon conjecture and assumptions, with no scientific and/or analytical backing.

 

FYI

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Oh, believe me Ted, I KNOW; hence asking for the instructions on his "recipe."

 

So, maybe you can point me to a little more scientific back-up on this? Maybe some GCMS test results you've got laying around?

 

Aaron

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Damn! As long as that first post was, I thought I was in the Lounge! :tongue:

I was a poli-sci, history, and English major in college, and my interest in the chemistry, and pharmacology is less than zero. I realize that this great thujone debate gets many of you wet in the pants, but frankly, it bores me silly.

 

Although I find the history (as well as the paraphrenalia) surrounding the drink both captivating, and fascinating, the thing that really floats my boat about the better stuff is the wonderfully complex expeience it affords my greedy palate.

:cheers: :thumbup:

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So, maybe you can point me to a little more scientific back-up on this? Maybe some GCMS test results you've got laying around?

 

I don't have much 'laying around' since Katrina.

 

Point him to recently conducted/published analytical studies by Emmert, Lachemeier, et al here: http://www.thujone.info/science.html

 

Explain that more has been revealed about absinthe within the past few years than in the previous 200 years, and the results thereof have debunked what speculators (e.g. Pendell) published prior to the advent of proper studies. Anyone with a genuine interest will read said studies. Anyone uninterested will just keep repeating the same old false information and myths.

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:cheers: :thumbup:

 

Right back atya, Guillaume!

 

And to conclude summarizing my love affair with absinthe, let me take this oppotunity to contradict our beloved ancient comedy troupe, and add the following:

 

"NO SUGAR"!!! :devil:

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