Consumer guide to drugs: Tripology

Because most psychedelic drugs are illegal, reliable consumer information about them is rare. For many years I have been looking for a comparative survey of available “head drugs” that would truthfully and simply provide basic info on each. What is it? What effects does it have when you take it? What’s a typical dose? What is the trip like? What are the dangers, risks and side effects? I looked everywhere for this kind of information, but with no success. Most people get their info from friends of friends, and it is usually unreliable. I finally found what I was looking for in a small book published by a non-profit drug treatment and advocacy center in the UK. The thin cartoonishly illustrated booklet is aimed at young people who use drugs and it is simply stating the facts: Here’s what the drug is, why people use it, and what the effects and downsides of using it are. In addition to the highs, the book realistically addresses the “costs” of use, overuse, and abuse. (Note: their discussion of the legal status is UK-based.)

This is the best consumer guide to mind-bending drugs I’ve seen. If you know of a better one, please comment. Don’t just say No. Say Know. -- Kevin Kelly



    1. Yeah, I was going to say… Erowid is the /free/ answer to these questions. I’ve found my experiences have been consistently similar to those described in the vaults, and they’ve lead me to some really interesting articles.

      1.  Erowid is great and all, and I think it’s a wonderful resource, but I wouldn’t consider it all that reliable. It’s accuracy and reliability is all over the map, and in the specific sub-domains which, er, I’m intimately familiar with, I’m actually a bit disappointed in said accuracy. (I’m the sys-admin for a popular site on certain related topics, and I’m always surprised at the bad information that people who find our site via Erowid have.)

    2.  yes Pihkal as well as Tihkal sre freely available online on erowid and give a pretty damn comprehensive analysis as well as dosage range but probably is a bit too umm “heady” for most people as the usually cant designate the diffrence betqween those and say psychedelic quinolines…. that said it is very informative

  1. Again I realize that my level of experimentation in life has become quite boring.  This spring we planted the peas on a different part of the garden – I am very excited to see the outcome.  Later I might try a different route to work on my bike.  Don’t stop me, you can’t, I am just that crazy.

    This book would have been like a message from the gods 20 years ago however.  I now feel that I dodged a few very large bullets back in the day, and don’t have a heck of a lot of interest in chemical experimentation.  But for those who do, best to go in with full and accurate knowledge.

  2. Have you investigated the Bluelight website? In addition to a wiki, there is also a forum for posting about all sorts of drugs. They have sections for oploids,  steroids, ecstasy, amphetamines….

    The url for the site is Hope this helps!

    1. Entertaining site. John McAfee claims he invented a false psychoactive substance and wrote threads about it on Bluelight.

      Your dosage may vary…

    1. Funnily enough, I have had both chocolate and morphine, and chocolate gets you just as high with fewer side effects.

        1. If Dawn Davenport can mainline eyeliner, I can get Black Tar Godiva through there.

          1.  “Davenport. Dawn Davenport! I’m a thief and a shitkicker, and, uh, I’d like to be famous.”

            — Female Trouble, 1974

            Black Tar Godiva…the artisanal high.

  3. What about the classic “Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers”

  4. David Nutt: Drugs without the hot air. I first read about it here on BoingBoing, and it isn’t just about drugs themselves but also about the politicised drug ranking systems in the UK, but it has a lot of good info. 

  5. Lifeline are a good bunch. They produce a lot of harm reduction books/comics and so forth in a style that gets through to people who wouldn’t be interested in Erowid/Bluelight/Shulgin et al. They do sterling work and have done so for many years. They’re good folks.

  6. A lot of great online resources mentioned herein.  Erowid and Bluelight stand out to me as the best places to start any personal research, Erowid for the wealth of static page data, and Bluelight for the vast number of experienced (and surprisingly level-headed) members and moderators, willing to give individualized advice.  Then there is always PIHKAL and TIHKAL for the serious drug geeks who need to know their molecules atom for atom.  :)

  7. IMHO The Consumer Union’s Guide to Licit and Illicit Substances is the best book on drugs that there is. It’s about 40 years old, but there hasn’t been that much new research (except on marijuana) so it’s still pretty up to date:

    For marijuana I’d recommend the book Marijuana Is Safer:

    Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts is also supposed to be very good but it too is almost ten years old at this point.

    For LSD, the best book right now is probably Jim Fadiman’s book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide:

    I link to a bunch more good resources from my personal page here:

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