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    I Am Going Nuts, Really
    By Sascha Vongehr | June 30th 2011 08:04 AM | 16 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    Over all that quantum physics lately, I have totally neglected a much more important issue: our happiness. And I mean true happiness of course, not the fake stuff you get from a loving family and friends as the slave drivers try to make you believe is what you must settle for. True happiness, that we scientists surely can all agree on, needs chemicals, like serotonin, THC, and so on.


    One totally misunderstood little gem in this arena is the Nutmeg, a fruit (nut ?) harvested from the Myristica fragrans tree. Therefore the title, get it? No, it wouldn’t mean anything else – what could it possibly?



    Why I write “misunderstood”? Well, not only that there is the usual vilifying of anything that provides true happiness without making Eli Lilly or Pfizer rich, partially out of carelessness, as even here on Science2.0 happened recently (it is otherwise a good article though, about one of the chemicals in nutmeg, namely myristicine; the mescaline connection is intriguing).



    Here another picture stolen from Enrico – but note that myristicine is not the only compound in nutmeg and it alone will not give you a pleasant time (there is safrole, elemicin, and probably unknown ones). The usual issue: pure THC without CBD, CBN, and CBG does not result in the medically useful effects of marihuana either, thus THC existing in tablet form is not a valid argument for putting innocent people into jail:


    Anyway, back to the red thread: Nutmeg is also totally misunderstood by many psychonauts that believe to know everything about drugs. The reason is only partially the misinformation by officially endorsed sources, although because of those, I also once hated nutmeg. School library books do not tell you the important stuff, so if you try nutmeg after reading one of those, likely you try it in some stupid way, and then it sucks.


    But this is what Science blogging is all about: Lets get down to the science of the important stuff that no scientist has interest publishing on otherwise. The main problem with nutmeg is not how you take it, although you should not smoke it of course, since that tastes absolutely awful and doesn’t work anyway. What I mean is, there are no known tricks like drinking grapefruit juice or Monoamine oxidase inhibitors to improve it – myristicine is itself a weak MAO inhibitor. After extensive experimentation, I can also report that there is no difference between consuming nutmeg with acids like vitamin C or bases like sodium carbonate, which make a huge difference when consuming amphetamines like meth.


    The only thing about consumption is: Do not take it together with green tea. Green tea does not let you take up fatty molecules, so drink lots when dieting, but not when ingesting oils that you want to take up, like fish oil, magic brownies, or vitamin A, D, and E.


    So what is the big “problem” with nutmeg? It is the timing! The main issue is not how, but when you take it. It must pass your stomach, is only taken up afterward, and maybe even needs some chemical conversion in the liver – not all is known about it. It implies that you must wait for two to five hours until you feel any effect. The result is the following: Dummies read that nutmeg is a trip in some stupid tabloid, they go buy it, attend a party later in the day, eat a little, it tastes terrible, nothing happens. Maybe next time, again late in the evening, they eat a little more, say a whole nut, then nothing happens, then they much later in the night blame any feeling on the drinks or whatever consumed out of sheer disappointment, maybe they feel nauseous, and they never touch it again. Or worse, they think they did not eat enough. Next time, they eat like five nuts and add beer because, you know, the last time “nothing happened”, then again nothing happens for three or so hours, then they start to feel like crap, then they fall asleep. Next morning they feel like having been through a train crash and their eyes were ripped out. Result: nutmeg has a really bad rep, and the reason is the same as for most of our troubles: Stupidity!



    Well here is how you do it: You take it in the morning, like mature people do with all such substances anyway! You ingest it straight after you wake up, first thing you do, 6:30 at the crack of dawn. Does not matter how you do it, but half a nut squeezed on with a heavy rock onto a wooden cutting board and rubbed into some instant coffee from one of those three in one packs works fine. If you cannot stand the taste, grind it into soybean milk powder instead of coffee, that works extremely well, much better than milk powder. It masks the taste and the consistency is just right to suspend the bigger pieces left over from your careless grinding. Add hot water, stir, and voila, down the hatch. I have some photos of the preparation.


    And then, at around nine or ten o’clock while you are banging away on the keyboard in the office, all of a sudden you realize that today is good, very good, unreasonably good; you really like to sit there and do whatever you do for ever, and a huge grin occupies your face. And the “problem” of the timing turns into the best aspect. That grin is going to stay with you for 10 or even more hours.


    If you wanted to get the same effect from the other best non-addictive, safest anti-depressant on earth, which is of course marihuana, you would not only pay much more money and often face legal repercussions (nutmeg is only illegal in one of the worst countries on earth: Saudi Arabia), but with pot, you would need to toke again every four or five hours, riding up and down as the effect comes and goes. Not so with our gem the nutmeg. One smooth ride all day long, and around bedtime, it bids you goodnight and quietly leaves.



    Well, there are some remarks in place: Firstly, do not buy ground powder. The best molecules will have evaporated away or oxidized or whatever they do.



    Secondly, nutmeg fruits vary widely in size, weight, and oil content, and they are often internally attacked by fungi, invisible from the outside. So, it is best to buy a lot and … well that is what I am going to tell you in my next article on this topic, which will be about making nutmeg liquor! I plan to do it again this weekend, so stay tuned. Surely I will actually come around to do it one of these days. One pound of nutmeg nuts, which cost me next to nothing, are already waiting at home, staring at the 500 ml of pure alcohol that will play a vital role in their demise. Life is good.


    For more on other important substances see under “Drugs” in Sascha Vongehr's Articles Topic by Topic


    -------------------------------

    Here the ridiculous attempt at making this article also look look sciency:

    [1] "Nutmeg Intoxication," New England Journal of Medicine, July 4, 1963;

    [2] "Nutmeg as a Narcotic," Angewandte Chemie International Edition, June 1971


    Addendum: And here is some link to a Slate Article about the recent nutmeg scare mongering in the media, and a link to the most ridiculous scaremongering I have ever seen, so the guy responsible for it does not need to put his link with some stupid, made up scare story into the comments like he does on every website in existence that mentions nut or meg. (I am pretty sure he will show up anyway – what is wrong with such people??? Man – just eat a nutmeg dude!)

    Comments

    rholley
    Nutmeg has a somewhat grisly history.

    A BBC television series, The Spice Trail (episode 2: "Nutmeg and Cloves"), recounted the doings of one particularly grim fellow, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, and his dealings with the people of the Banda Islands.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    so I'm thinking adding nutmeg to the brownies would double the happiness?

    looking forward to your next nutty blog.

    vongehr
    The brownies work after 45 minutes and their effect already trails off when the nutmeg knocks at the door. I never tried combining these. Always be careful with combining stuff that is not widely known to work well together. It might just give you quadruple the red eyes and half the happiness.
    Nutmeg brownies (only nutmeg) are known in the alternative scene under names such as "good mood cookies". Again - it is I think the timing that render them unpopular. One eats cookies in the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee, not at 6:30 am before breakfast.
    The Stand-Up Physicist
    If you combine Nutmeg, alcohol, and quantum mechanics - and remain coherent - that would be an impressive result. In terms of number of articles, your blogs are ranked: sex, quantum mechanics, and drugs. Nice.
    vongehr
    Nutmeg seems to protect entanglement, but alcohol leads to objective state collapse.
    The ranking: you mean "In terms of number of" hits? I only ever wrote one article about sex. Or does this have to do with your equation fetish? ;)
    The Stand-Up Physicist
    I don't get to see your number of hits. I was going on your Topic by Topic blog. I shortened "Sex and other Weird Stuff" to Sex, my bad. No more high heels for me.
    How do you take the nutmeg? I don't understand "half a nut squeezed on with a heavy rock onto a wooden cutting board ." Do you mean grate half a nut onto a cutting board and eat it all with instant coffee? Please clarify. I would love to try it.

    vongehr
    Main point is: It doesn't really matter that much - nothing you can do wrong except having too large pieces. You may chew it if you can stand the strong taste. As explained with pictures now here, I first cut it in four pieces with a big knife on a cutting board, then proceed to rasp one of them (total dose just 1/4 nut!) small with the knife (although that needs some skill, since the nuts can be quite hard). Then I pour the instant coffee mix or whatever over it before taking an almost fist size rock I found outside and press/grind it a few times putting my weight onto it. The coffee/milk powder soaks up the oils which seem to otherwise run off along the wood of the cutting board. This takes all together about two to three minutes while the water is starting to boil. It leaves a pile of powder that is used like regular instant coffee or soybean powder: add hot water and enjoy. Drink relatively hot, because at low temperatures, especially if there is no milk involved, the oil sticks to the cup's wall. I do not like drinking hot stuff, so I usually must pour another cup hot water to get the rest. It is not tea by the way - you should really swallow the whole lot, also the huge chunks on the bottom (grind it finer next time). You do not know the nuts' strength or your body's response yet, so start small, maybe 1/8 of a nut.
    The problem with cannabis as an anti-depressant is the side effect of increased anxiety and reduced motivation. It is all about dosage and frequency of administration. Weed is prescribed for a number of medical conditions, but depression is not one of them.

    vongehr
    I have seen it prescribed for depression. Sure, if anxiety is additionally involved (apart from depression), high doses are not indicated, but high doses (as may be necessary for end-stage cancer pain or suchlike) are anyway not indicated when treating depression.
    I can't think of a case of depression that is not associated with Anxiety. I could be wrong, but i think most commonly the road to depression goes like this: environmental stressors >> anxiety >> depression >>> suicidality, psychosis, etc.. Unless of course the depression is genetically-based (family history, etc), in which case it is a chronic condition, usually treated by a psychiatrist. I would be amazed to find a shrink supporting a marihuana prescription in this case. Most people who use pot to treat mental illness are self-medicating.

    vongehr
    You may have a good point there with the anxiety-depression relation. But maybe there are still different forms of anxiety. What you are talking about is the general work stress mixed/from constant anxiety about losing your job and all that. This kind of anxiety is exactly what goes away with dope. It is not my field for sure, but I do think there is a big difference between that anxiety and the one that can be triggered by higher doses of THC.
    Sure most people who use pot are self-medicating, same with ADD and coffee/speed/nicotine, and that is to a good part due to prohibition and the stigma of "mental illness" and all of that. Not sure what it proves though.
    I am not sure why you say that a shrink that could would not recommend pot if it were legal. You may underestimate the high ratio of cases where for example Prozac like drugs either do not do anything at all for the patient after half a year or so or lead instead to horrific side effects - no fear mongering here - it is fact. Weed comes away as a very good option, often the only one available for those folks.
    Many good points, well taken with thanks to you Sasha. Looking forward to articles and discussion here re: cannabinoid neuroreceptor research. I understand that a new class of anti-depressants is currently in development based on new knowledge in this area, but I'd like to know more.

    I took nutmeg quite heavily for a about a year in the late 90's. I was only ever able to attain the ground nutmeg, but I found it to be effective as well. After working out a system to take the vile powder, I found the timing aspect to just be a minor inconvenience. I would not endorse heavy drug use of any kind, but I stopped taking nutmeg specifically because I once read that it can cause fat cells to grow on the liver. I have no Idea if this is true or of the "LSD makes you jump off buildings." line of misinformation. I am anxious to read your article about the Nutmeg liquor, as I hope it will negate this possibly true side effect.

    I appreciate you sharing your experiences with this plant, and am pleased to see that your attitude regarding happiness-seeking seems to have mellowed considerably since the way you went off on Henry Cox in the comments to the yoghurt post. I can understand how when you are trying just to get to where life is tolerable, those seeking further happiness can sometimes seem like they are at cross purposes; I hope this means you have made it that far.
    I wish you many more pleasant trips!

    vongehr
    ??? I do not remember exactly what Henry did to trigger my not appreciating his widely off-topic comments, but I am very sure that looking for happiness was not the point of contention. The start in this article mentioning happiness is just a hook trying to be funny. Our seeking of happiness is mostly responsible for our suffering. The word "trip" is really misleading here. Nutmeg is not a good idea for a trip.