The 'chemputer' that could print out any drug

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When Lee Cronin learned about the concept of 3D printers, he had a brilliant idea: why not turn such a device into a universal chemistry set that could make its own drugs?

Professor Lee Cronin is a likably impatient presence, a one-man catalyst. "I just want to get stuff done fast," he says. And: "I am a control freak in rehab." Cronin, 39, is the leader of a world-class team of 45 researchers at Glasgow University, primarily making complex molecules. But that is not the extent of his ambition. A couple of years ago, at a TED conference, he described one goal as the creation of "inorganic life", and went on to detail his efforts to generate "evolutionary algorithms" in inert matter. He still hopes to "create life" in the next year or two.

At the same time, one branch of that thinking has itself evolved into a new project: the notion of creating downloadable chemistry, with the ultimate aim of allowing people to "print" their own pharmaceuticals at home. Cronin's latest TED talk asked the question: "Could we make a really cool universal chemistry set? Can we 'app' chemistry?" "Basically," he tells me, in his office at the university, with half a grin, "what Apple did for music, I'd like to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs."

Pot-smoking moms tired of being judged by wine drinkers

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Every night, Margaret’s two boys fly into the house after sports practice and flip on the TV, while she races to the kitchen to get dinner cooking. “It’s that tedious witching hour when I feel incredibly frazzled,” says the Tennessee singer/songwriter mom of a 6- and an 8-year-old. But instead of pouring herself a glass or two of merlot, she heads to the standalone garage next to their house for a few puffs of Humboldt Kush, one of the four strains of pot she smokes seven days a week.

The drug helps her keep focus on the giant statue of popsicle sticks she’s building with her kids and relaxes her so she can get through the rest of the night without stressing. “It can make folding a pile of laundry fun,” says Margaret, 45, who asked that we not use her last name for fear of getting in trouble with the law. “If I didn’t smoke, that’d be three piles later in the week.”

Psychedelic drugs can unlock mysteries of brain - David Nutt

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Scientists should have access to illegal psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin to aid them in brain research, according to the government's former drug adviser Professor David Nutt. He said that research into the deepest mysteries of the brain, including consciousness and mental illness, had been curtailed by the prohibition of the drugs.

Prof Nutt said that scientists might find treatments for conditions such as schizophrenia by using modern techniques to study the effects of psychedelic drugs on the brain.

"Neuroscience should be trying to understand how the brain works," said Nutt, who is professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. "Psychedelics change the brain in, perhaps, the most profound way of any drug, at least in terms of understanding consciousness and connectivity. Therefore we should be doing a lot more of this research.

"It's extraordinary that 40 years of advances in brain imaging technology and there's never been a study about this before. I think it's a scandal, I think it's outrageous the fact these studies have not been done. And they've not been done simply because the drugs were illegal."

The ‘gateway drug’ is alcohol, not marijuana

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A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate, but shifts the blame for escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.

Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.

Seven hidden costs of the ‘war on drugs’

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Saturday, June 30, 2012
By Cameron Ljubic

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation recently informed me of Count the Costs: 50 years of the war on drugs, a new online research tool developed to educate people on the need for drug law reform.

Comprising pf groups like the Drug Policy Alliance and the Beckley Foundation, International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies, Count the Costs highlights seven key costs to society under current draconian drug policy initiatives. This collaborative effort of global organisations coincides with the 50th anniversary of the enacting of the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Obama's Second Term Drug Policy

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According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War.

Don't expect miracles. There is very little the president can do by himself. And pot-smokers shouldn't expect the president to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But from his days as a state senator in Illinois, Obama has considered the Drug War to be a failure, a conflict that has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse, devastated entire communities, changed policing practices for the worse, and has led to a generation of young children, disproportionately black and minority, to grow up in dislocated homes, or in none at all.

ADHD - is it that common? Does Adderall stop working?

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The incidence of ADHD in the US seems amazingly high. It seems like every man and his dog has the illness. Now I might be cynical, but I suspect a lot of the people don't really have the illness at all and want ADHD medication such as Adderall either to get high or to use as a cognitive performance enhancer especially if they're in college.

Is this really the case or is there really an epidemic of ADHD? If not, and most use it to help them study and function, how sustainable is this sort of use? If you're using moderate dosages a person with 'legit' ADHD would use, can you really sustain an improvement in energy levels and cognitive performance over the long term or will you just burn out like someone using more recreational doses would?

A study of online drug discussion

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Dear Bluelighters

Bluelight has been facilitating connections between researchers and drug-using research participants for many years now. If you haven't already seen Drug Studies, you should check it out to see what sorts of research is being conducted and how you can be involved.

One of the studies supported by Bluelight was my very own PhD thesis, which I submitted for examination only a few weeks ago. This year I have presented results from the thesis at a variety of conferences. I have recorded three of these presentations, which are available for public viewing on Vimeo.

My most recent presentation is called 'PMA sounds fun': Negotiating contested meanings of PMA in online settings. For my PhD, I participated in and observed 40 online forums where drugs were discussed, including Bluelight. This paper is about an event that occurred during the fieldwork period, the death of Annabel Catt from PMA (in a cap sold to her as ecstasy), and how this event was discussed by...

MAPS 25th Anniversary!

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Dear Bluelighters,

We wanted to give you all a heads-up that soon you should be receiving an email from Bluelight in regards to an exciting upcoming event. Cartographie Psychedelica will be the celebration of MAPS’ 25th Anniversary, held from the 8th – 12th December at the Oakland Marriot City Center, California. MAPS have had a very successful 25 years of psychedelics and medical marijuana research and education and will be celebrating with four full days of social events, workshops and seminars with many respected guest speakers. Tickets are on sale now.

We hope that some of you are able to attend this fantastic event to help celebrate MAPS’ excellent contributions in the field of drug research, and we wish MAPS another very successful 25 years and beyond.

Bluelight Administration

"From Neurons to Nirvana : Psychedelics in the 21st Century" Film

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Dear friends (and family) of Bluelight,

I hope this post finds everyone well, enjoying the last days of summer (or winter, for all our friends in the Southern hemisphere). ☺

I want to first say thanks to all of you for your patience during the recent upgrades, with special appreciation to our engineers, Hoptis and Chr15. Without their efforts the daily operations of this site would have come to a screeching halt long ago. It’s exciting and humbling to know we have so many talented people dedicating their free time and expertise to make Bluelight the powerful resource (not to mention fun place) that it is today.

That being said, it is now my pleasure to share some exciting news regarding a landmark opportunity for all of us at Bluelight.

As many of you know, TheLoveBandit and I have been investing a great deal of time analyzing Bluelight’s strengths, potential and opportunities for improvement as we plot a course for our community going forward. Building on...