Friday, September 30, 2011

It doesn't take much of a molecule

kw: drugs, laws

The concept usually called Therapeutic Window is relevant to recent news. First, there is the issue of a number of designer drugs collectively called "bath salts". They are hallucinogens with this characteristic: the amount that you need to get "high" is rather close to an overdose. They have a rather narrow Window. The range between overdosing, where psychotic symptoms can become permanent, and fatal overdose is, fortunately, a little wider.

This is one of the "bath salts" molecules. Strange that such a small molecule can have such profound effects. Of course, one of the smallest molecules, HCN, or cyanide, is fatal in very small amounts.

One fortunate circumstance: little Delaware is likely to outlaw "bath salts", perhaps as early as today. The world would be a better place if marijuana were legalized and the sale of "bath salts" hallucinogens were made a felony. Pot has a very wide therapeutic window. Whether used for pain management or recreationally, it is hard to kill yourself with it.

Then there is this stuff. Propofol, the molecule that killed Michael Jackson. In yesterday's court debate, the defense claimed that the doctor was weaning the singer off the drug. Strangely, he had just ordered another three gallons of it!

There is no way it ought to be used as a sleep aid. It is used for a quick knockout when a patient is being prepped for surgery. Its effects only last for ten minutes, by which time safer long-term anesthetics have been administered.

Basically, if you can't sleep without an injection of something, you've got huge problems. I suspect the King of Pop was using stimulants to sustain his frenetic performances, to the extent that he couldn't sleep without something equally powerful to counteract them.

Finally, heads up on book reports: I am a quarter of the way through a 990-page novel, so it'll be a while before I get it done and review it.

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