1997-07-10 - Re: Recreational pharmaceuticals by genetic engineering

Header Data

From: Eric Murray <ericm@lne.com>
To: tcmay@got.net
Message Hash: 20488b28f1ee3d8ce18eda7d7dfddab3a9f0e15d85c42cab910db7db56ca7ec2
Message ID: <199707101959.MAA05736@slack.lne.com>
Reply To: <v03102800afead774beaf@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-10 20:08:09 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997 04:08:09 +0800

Raw message

From: Eric Murray <ericm@lne.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997 04:08:09 +0800
To: tcmay@got.net
Subject: Re: Recreational pharmaceuticals by genetic engineering
In-Reply-To: <v03102800afead774beaf@[]>
Message-ID: <199707101959.MAA05736@slack.lne.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Tim May writes:
> Speaking of which, I recall that the origins of LSD were from some kind of
> fungus or "rust" found on some types of grain.

Ergot (Clavecps sp.), which grows on wheat, rye and other grasses.

> And there's that other type of fungus, the mushroom.

Psilocibe sp. (which grows in the new world)
and some members of the genus Amanita, found in europe and the new world.

The problem with many of these natural sources of hallucinogens
is that they contain other poisons- ergot alkaloid molecules
have an LSD molecule attached, but other parts of the alkaloid
cause gangrene and convulsions.  Hardly party material!

Psilocibe mushrooms usually cause vomiting.  Most Amanita species
have an lethal dosage which is uncomfortably close to the
effective dosage, not a good thing in a drug.  Amanita muscaria
however was used by the vikings to help induce their 'berserker'
state for battle.

The problem with these is that it's generally hard to seperate the
drugs from the poisons, to the point where if you have the knowledge
to do so you might as well just set up a factory to make the drugs
from cleaner and cheaper non-biological precursors.

> I expect Steve is right that someone will find a way to engineer a
> drug-producing common mold or yeast. The profit motive, per se, will not be
> much of an impediment, provided the costs of development are not huge. I
> can think of many who would participate, were any reasonable directions
> apparent.

I don't see how that's really any different than marijuana- dope
is a weed, it's so easy to grow that retarded alcoholics can grow it.
And a different cultivar of the same species (hemp) is a plant that's
incredibly useful commercially.  Yet it's still illegal to posess any member
of the species (or related species like C. indica).  If some smart
biologist 'fixed' ergot to make nice clean LSD, it'd just be made
illegal to posess grain that's got a certain species of mold on it.


> Such "dangerous knowledge" will join bombmaking instructions in being added
> to Fineswine's law. Downloading of instructuctions for NC machine tools,
> too, if the instructions are for zip guns and even real guns.

Everything that's not compulsory is illegal.

Eric Murray  ericm@lne.com  Security and cryptography applications consulting.
PGP keyid:E03F65E5 fingerprint:50 B0 A2 4C 7D 86 FC 03  92 E8 AC E6 7E 27 29 AF