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Website / Erowid

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Erowid is one of the first places to go if you're looking for information about the effects and uses of almost any psychoactive drug (prescription or not, legal, illegal, or anywhere in between) and you want to avoid erroneous depictions of drugs in fiction. It is one of the biggest databases of such information on the internet, and most databases contain enough information from enough points of view to provide a well-rounded view of the subject.


This website provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative: The tobacco vault. That said it's for fairly good reason: there are relatively few people for whom, pre-addiction development, tobacco has any pleasurable psychoactive effect.
    • The datura vault is also like this. Between the inherent danger that comes from even using it (as it has a good chance of being lethally poisonous), the terrifying and long-lasting trips, and the debilitating and excruciatingly long comedown, there is literally no good reason to trip on it and anyone who does so has made an incredibly poor choice.
    • PCP is another vault that does this; while the violent psychotic breaks that high dosages tend to bring are widely known, the loss of physical control and possibility of seizure, coma, or death are also an issue, and the effects of long-term usage (which include life-threatening physical ailments, namely rhabdomyolysis) are even worse. Like datura, there is a reason why PCP has virtually no positive experience reports.
  • Addiction-Powered: Some rare stories in "Glowing Experiences" and "Health" actually involve situations where an addiction is actually positive for the addict.
    • Maintenance treatment for an addiction (generally opiate addiction) and the stories about it also qualify. By being able to maintain a stable, safe supply, the addict is empowered to live a life that doesn't center around the drug and acquiring it.
    • Another case is opiate pain medication for chronic pain - technically, most long-term users of opiates are physically addicted/dependent, but in someone suffering from chronic, severe pain (usually from cancer, but the effects of an injury and some pain syndromes can also qualify), being on the correct dose of pain medication can literally save their life from suicide and keep them from being bedridden or immobile.
    • Habitual use of amphetamine stimulants is one of the worst addictions possible - except when it isn't technically an "addiction," but a doctor-prescribed treatment for adult ADD/ADHD, where, if properly managed, the addictive, dangerous drug in almost all other contexts is the best treatment for the disorder, or narcolepsy, where the use of the drug, if it works, prevents the sudden, overwhelming to the degree of disabling "sleep attacks" the disorder causes. They are also a last-ditch obesity treatment (if all other pharmaceutical means of reducing appetite or reducing body mass have failed, and the person isn't considering weight loss surgery/isn't a good candidate for it).
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  • The Alcoholic: See the alcohol vault for a few stories....
  • Apocalyptic Log: Quite a few in the personal sense of the term. For some especially tragic ones, look at the "Addiction/Habituation" and "Difficult Experiences" in the cocaine/crack or crystal meth vaults, almost anything listed under "Addiction/Habituation" anywhere, and almost every single thing in the datura vault.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: Both averted (the research and information, using the site for research, some user accounts) and played straight (some OTHER user accounts, usually resulting in said account being in the "Train Wrecks and Trip Disasters" section.)
  • Artistic Stimulation: The reports themselves! Some are incredibly well-written (though some are not), and the writing quality and storytelling quality of some people who submit reports is right up there with any published author.
    • Many of the people in the reports mention doing artistic and creative activities. There is a correlation between creativity and substance use on some occasions... even if the creativity is just how to get oneself higher or depict what your experience was.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Due to the less than legal nature of drug use in many locations and the lack of recourse, quite a few dealers/sellers engage in this, and quite a few users end up with less than optimal substances and experiences for this reason.
  • Beat Bag: Sometimes people get these. Usually results in nothing or, if the substance is dangerous/has worse effects, something in Train Wrecks and Trip Disasters.
    • In a combination of Bait-and-Switch and Beat Bag, there is a substance called "PMA" that is often passed off as MDMA/ecstasy. This substance is incredibly dangerous because its lethal dose is far closer to its effective dose than actual MDMA, and its effects are barely similar to MDMA, which makes it a very dangerous trap - a user who is unfamiliar with the symptoms of a PMA high may just assume they got cut or low-quality MDMA. So these users take another pill so they can get high (rather than realize they were ripped off and not touch the rest of the pills from that seller/in that lot), which with MDMA would likely not kill them, but with PMA has a near 50 percent chance of doing so. It underscores an important lesson - even if you feel no effect from a substance, do not take more of it - especially if you are unsure of its actual content.
  • Butt-Monkey: Some substances, and usually for good reason. Datura, crystal meth, PMA, and tobacco are some of the biggest.
    • Many of the neuroleptics/antipsychotics are also this, owing to a few factors: they're absolutely awful drugs to try to get high from taking or if taken by accident and/or by someone who isn't suffering from mania or psychosis, they're often administered to end a bad or undesired experience from other substances, and even in illnesses where they are warranted, too few doctors adhere to "start low, go slow" and often stick with the highest dose possible given in an initial crisis "just in case" a smaller, less side-effect-laden dose would lead to a return of symptoms for someone suffering from Bipolar 1 - even if the lower dose wouldn't result in relapse and would make the person less angry at side effects. The combination of these results in their vaults looking very negative, mostly because they are written in large part by people sane enough to be very pissed off with a Bait-and-Switch or with side effects they don't need to have for the drug to work.
  • Came Back Wrong: An issue with psychedelics in general; while prior preparation can greatly reduce the likelihood of this happening, there is always the chance that despite your best efforts, you will still have a really bad trip that you won't ever truly recover from. This is also why people with genetic predispositions to psychotic disorders should be extremely careful when using them.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Yes, some trip stories actually involve this or similar object contemplation. Tends to be more common with dissociatives and psychedelics, and it can actually be a very enlightening or happy experience to the individual.
  • Dr. Feelgood: The pharmaceutical vaults gain much of their population and popularity because these exist and are a common means of acquiring psychoactive pharmaceuticals.
  • Drugs Are Bad / Drugs Are Good: Both the latter ("Glowing Experiences" and "Health" have some good stories) and the former ("Addiction," "Difficult Experiences," "Train Wrecks and Trip Disasters,") sometimes in the same vault. The entire point of the site is neutral, nuanced information about drugs and substances and plants, so you will see everything from the most positive stories about drugs that are almost universally dangerous (e.g. someone squeeing over crystal meth) to the most negative rants on drugs that are generally helpful (e.g. someone ranting about how their roomie's psych meds didn't get them high). The best way to use the site is to review the information all neutrally, or, failing that, to assume that a drug with very few positive experiences or where almost all the positive experiences have major warnings may be "bad" for most users.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Cannabis in and of itself is the substance with the most positive experiences, health-related usages, etcetera, and the least addiction/habituation and train wrecks and trip disasters stories. Justified, because weed is arguably the safest psychoactive drug with the exception of certain individual health circumstances (such as some heart conditions or a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Nevertheless, like all substances, it can have a pronounced negative effect on one's quality of life if not handled properly, and most responsible and mature users will agree that there are certain people who do not have the maturity or self-control to be trusted to use it responsibly.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Some people claim to have had experiences like this. Most common with cannabis, MDMA, and the psychedelics.
  • Immune to Drugs: Just look at some of the combinations under "Combinations." And marvel that these people lived to coherently write about the experience.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Some experiences, and usually these end up in the Difficult Experiences or Train Wrecks And Trip Disasters sections.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: This site exists to help avert said misinformation.
    • As well as warn people about what marijuana can actually be laced with if it's bought from less scrupulous dealers. K2/"synthetic marijuana" and PCP being some pretty bad "additions" that turn weed from being one of the safest psychoactives into something far more dangerous.
    • As far as negative mental effects, the site acknowledges that some people can definitely experience paranoia and panic issues, and while it expresses skepticism regarding cannabis usage as a trigger for psychotic episodes with preexisting disorders (namely schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), it does conclude that while there is no absolute proof of a causal link, people with genetic predispositions to psychotic disorders should exercise great caution when using cannabis nonetheless.
  • Off the Wagon: The "Addiction/Habituation" stories.
  • Psycho Serum: At high dosages, PCP can turn into this, and the violent psychotic rages (coupled with the potentially debilitating and/or lethal physical effects of both heavy immediate and long-term usage) are the reason why, like the datura vault, the vault makes it very clear that you should never even touch the stuff.
  • Taught by Experience: The entire point of having user experiences in every vault.
  • World of Chaos: The result of a datura trip in a nutshell and part of the reason why it has virtually no positive experience reports and why the vault as a whole makes it clear that it is bad shit (the other reasons being the danger that comes with even using it and the highly unpleasant and prolonged comedown).


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