Author Topic: Clandestine chemistry and mental health  (Read 1584 times)

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Offline Sawdust and Honey

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Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« on: April 12, 2022, 08:37:52 PM »
Yeah, the title is self explanatory.

Whether destined for self-exploration, trade or sale clandestine chemistry is a huge burden on one's mental health.
That is potentiated by insufficiently safe conditions (which applies to 95% of our community) and the intrinsic illegal nature of our research. I myself thought I was tough considering my previous experiences. Even though I never sold any drug to anyone ever, constantly taking the risk each and every time doing any labwork, ordering any reagent or having any, even the most minor accident is one of the most devastating experiences in one's mental health. Any of these issues can and will be potentiated by paranoic tendencies, if one suffers from them. I'm not even mentioning the potential for abuse of drugs - luckily that didn't catch up to me.

Anyone is welcome to post any input regarding their view on mental health in our community and I'm always here to listen to rants in DMs, or if someone just needs to talk. It's a difficult hobby to be consistently active in and I have to admit I feel proud whenever we're able to overcome that difficulty and work on an interesting project.

Man, whatever I said this post will never have a positive feel to it :-\.
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Offline xdragon

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2022, 09:11:45 PM »
Thanks for this post Sawdust, you are a great chemist, and a great person.

It's not exactly a healthy coping mechanism, but my brain just suppresses most of the risks associated with clandestine chemistry. And I'm of the sheepish belief I'm doing the right thing - I'm just making and tasting psychoactives to explore the interaction of a beautiful structure with my mind, I don't share and I certainly do not sell and will never ever. If I'd be aware of how much this hobby could truly destroy my life... I'd probably not be here and I wouldn't be in the lab. Let's just hope that things stay civil.

I'm always here to listen to rants in DMs, or if someone just needs to talk.

Dito. Feel free to reach out yourself (or anyone else) :)
"I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death."

Offline spice

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2022, 09:31:13 PM »
Great posts and topic. Definitely under-discussed.

I remember way wayyy back in the mid 90s when I was just starting out, probably the first year of the hives existence, there was a guy, still remember him, went by the name of Arthur Bach. He had fallen under the spell of clandestine chemistry, and fallen hard. We talked a good bit, and he was apparently setting up for a business, not just personal use....well he got caught somehow and got out on bail/bond and he re-visited the board and posted his cautionary tale. I clearly remember his shock at how much trouble he was in and that he had a family, etc....they were offering him like 20 years to plea to a lesser charge....he was really broken up, saying things like " nobody ever talks about this part of it "......and
" I wish I'd never found this site "......I heard thru the grapevine that he went up the river but never heard of him, or from him again....then it happened to me.

It basically retired me, and I never really have been quite the same since. (My wife would say that's a good thing) I'm not the fearless outlaw I was back then, I don't have years to give them to prove a point....there is a lot of loss involved when they get you. It affects other people and that's sometimes easy to lose track of when you are caught up in the thrill of the game.
  I recovered, but I am changed, hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.....I'm not a particularly paranoid person but it surely can put the fear in you.

I hope you all are careful and never have to learn it firsthand.

The take-away:  Be secretive, don't get careless. Don't get cocky.
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Offline spice

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2022, 10:16:30 PM »
Also, Shulgin has described a phenomenon known as 'inflation'

ALEPH 1
Shulgin wrote in his notebook: "Tell NO ONE about this drug so that it can never be identified and there can be no moves made to destroy it… Persisting in scientific publication in all peripheral areas as subterfuge, diversion. Keep all progressive work in my appendices. Code them 'SH'—too informative." It was "too informative" because Shulgin believes ALEPH-1 is the "essence of power", he told journalist Hamilton Morris in his last interview. He published anyway. It sounds awful: "It gives an interesting example of some thought processes associated with psychedelic intoxication, ego-inflation, and what might be thought of as bits of mania," he wrote in PIHKAL

Our psyches are a bit fragile, in whatever-their-current-state....sure, you can recover from nearly any trauma, but you are subtly altered every time....and, at least in my case, the former state cannot truly be returned to....everyone is different.

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Offline jacolives

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2022, 10:28:47 PM »
Yeah the sad truth of it is if you’re really into this “hobby”, it’s a smart idea to have money put aside for a lawyer.. and many contingency plans in place.  Wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with your local and federal criminal codes too.

To the topic at hand.. this is like the elephant in the room to me.  There’s a few members I talk with one an one, and at this juncture I probably send more messages regarding this very topic than I do about chemistry itself.

Setting things up so you can be comfortable is really a must.  If you’re going to have a fully functional lab lying around, it’s best if it’s sitting in a state that if the wrong visitors come knocking, you don’t have a prison sentence waiting inside.  This is easier said than done of course, but strict adherence to this is really crucial.

Also one of the best strategies for maintaining sanity is simply to give myself permission and plan to take breaks.  The lab can stay in place really - if it’s maintained , ‘properly’ labelled and everything illegal is gone.  Leave it for a while.  When the itch return (and it will), wait longer, set a date maybe a couple months out, plan the time off work, do some research and planning - acquire reagents as safely as possible (and secure them somewhere else), then when the time comes do all the work in a week or so… then return everything to its proper state of ‘harmless home chemist playing with inorganic salts’ ala sciencemadness.

Seems like a lot of us have secondary issues (well maybe not secondary), I’m talking about addiction.  Believe it or not I’m actually a fully committed and participating member of a well known 12 step program and have been for years.  There is a bit of a murky gray area here for things, me personally .. look I’m a REAL addict.  All the brain power in the world isn’t enough for me to beat what happens in my brain when I use amphetamine, methamphetamine, or any opiate… psychedelics not really the same story so I draw a line there.  But who am I do be experimenting with novel stimulants (new to me at least) knowing what I know about myself and having experienced what I’ve experienced?  I go back and forth about the issue in my head quite a bit but the real truth is, it’s not for me.  Would take me to a bad place, and when I get out of control I end up in prison.  Period.  I’m not going back. Not fucking doing it.  It’s not worth it it’s just NOT.

My heart goes out to everyone who is currently active, best wishes and in spirit I’m with you, but it’s recently been impressed upon me that to get back into it without 100% setting things up to be as safe as possible, just isn’t something I’m willing to do.  Though hopefully when the time is right… well you know.

At the end of the day, large private property in the middle of nowhere really is the best way to go for security and for sanity. At least the weather in my hemisphere is getting a little better for that kind of endeavor..

I’m rambling but, yeah, hang in there guys.  Shits stressful as fuck.  A few years back I lost something like 40 lbs in 3 months, stone cold sober, doing ‘work’, from the stress (I don’t eat when I’m stressed) alone.
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Offline timescale7017

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2022, 11:47:03 PM »
Thank you Sawdust and everyone for addressing this. It can be a heavy burden to carry and much of the time it has to be carried alone. I can say personally that I've struggled at times between the extremes of seeing my work as a glorious challenge of personal improvement and as a silly and immature waste of time and money. In reality, it's probably a bit of both.

I've come to the realization that it's nearly time for me to hang up the coat for at least a good few years, and focus on actual academic research. Maybe grow some shrooms if I need a hobby  ;)
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Offline Kasey Jones

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2022, 02:18:53 AM »
I got involved in this hobby initially because I couldn't find any real mdma.  I spent about a year collecting all the items of Methyl Man's write up and secured real sassafras oil off the auction site, right before it became super scarce.  I was lucky to find this forum and I am so grateful to Moriarty, Cerium, Roid rage and Spice for all their input throughout the years.  When you first succeed in making your own X it's an incredible feeling.  You have successfully jumped ahead in the supply chain and you feel powerful.  You want to tell everyone "look what I made!" But doing so is like handing a loaded pistol to someone.  It's extremely hard to do this hobby because you have to keep it so secret. It eats you up.  The nature of mdma can make you trust the wrong people. And once one person knows, 5 people know.  I'm lucky that I was in my early 40s when I started as I would have told too many idiots in my 20s and got knocked for the rest of my life:(  Eventually, if you're smart, you realize that the price of doing this hobby is telling no one you know IRL and vent on here with your bee brothers.  The chemistry is great on here, but having a place to discuss the side issues is priceless. 

Offline AustralisAlchemy

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2022, 04:30:47 AM »
Quote
I'm always here to listen to rants in DMs, or if someone just needs to talk.
My inbox is always open to anyone also.

It is incredibly difficult, and no one ever said how hard it would actually be to be a 'clandestine chemist'. I have always maintained a certain base level of paranoia, but this hobby has greatly increased it. Is that a bad thing? I have no doubt I am on a spiritual journey in regards to chemistry. Money never interested me, power never interested me, but the workings of our physical reality greatly interest me. I am not a violent criminal, and I am not a greedy criminal, but I am still considered a criminal because of my desire for knowledge. It is my belief that there should be no barriers to educating ones self. Regulations? Licenses? I get it, I can understand the reasons behind them, but I won't allow them to hold me back from learning things. This entire journey, the whole path, it is one great learning lesson. While I get paranoid whenever I hear a knock at the door, or see an undercover police car near my house, I wouldn't trade it for ignorance. Who knows where this path will lead me? Prison? Dead? Employed? It has opened many doors I did not ever consider even existed, and I've only just started my experience. I believe that if you are a grounded person, interested in the pursuit of knowledge, this hobby can take you beyond the stars  ;)
don't do drugs, you might get addicted to chemistry instead.

Offline loft

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2022, 06:37:42 AM »
Thank you for starting this discussion S&H.

I couldn't agree more with what has been already been said.
The struggles are real, so they say. Paranoia is definitely a thing, and I'm on board with xdragon's supression tactic.

If I'd be aware of how much this hobby could truly destroy my life... I'd probably not be here and I wouldn't be in the lab. Let's just hope that things stay civil.

Times change, and if you're really into chemistry (and the timing is right), chances are chemistry will become your profession at some point (not in a drugs selling way, but in an academic/industrial legal way). It's comforting to know that I'll always be able to prepare a drug I'm interested in if I want to, but being surrounded by chemistry all day at work and doing exactly what I would do in my private lab (but just with legal targets) also reduced my desire to do home chemistry.

There will probably be a point in every clandestine chemists life, when you almost get caught. In this moment, you might rethink the hobby and decide that it's not worth the fun and excitement to go to prison and loose years of your life. All the suppression can't help at this point. (Now I see how this topic really will not have a positive feel to it.) It might be important to point out that this realization usually doesn't last long. Unless you act immediately, it's very likely that you'll fall back into your supressive safe zone.

I can also agree with timescales comment on carrying this burden alone. Talking about problems usually helps but at least IRL, this option is most often not existent. There are very few, very close people in my life who know about my hobby - but just the legal side, doing SM-like innocent experiments from time to time.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2022, 06:39:35 AM by loft »
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Offline xdragon

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2022, 08:29:11 AM »
Times change, and if you're really into chemistry (and the timing is right), chances are chemistry will become your profession at some point (not in a drugs selling way, but in an academic/industrial legal way).

Of course my sentence was meant to be "I wouldn't be in the lab doing (illegal) drug chemistry;D

It might be important to point out that this realization usually doesn't last long. Unless you act immediately, it's very likely that you'll fall back into your supressive safe zone.

It won't even last long if you do indeed end up throwing away your collection. Been there, done that.
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Offline twerty2

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2022, 12:07:55 PM »
Good thread.

This hobby can and will fuck you mentally, it might not happen over night but it will happen. (fuck you 90's advert slogans)

The stress comes from more then one front though, cops ,friends ,family ,nosy neighbors and just outright cunts, bad deals, potential deals, failed reactions (this usually happens if u talk ur shit up and put guarantees down), so on.

And you never get one problem at a time to deal with shit, they come thick and fast and in multiples  (like a gangbang I guess)

I Stayed out of prison, my attitude was -- If I'm dumb enuff to crime, I can deal with the time, (If you are not prepared and not willing to face it -- this alone can bring about tremendous stress).

Take a couple from above, Add a good prolonged helping of your favorite powdered FUCK ME UP, and your mental health degradation is on fast forward.

Take care.
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Offline callejularbo

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2022, 03:57:17 PM »
You guys have balls doing this hobby in contries with draconic laws such as the US. Its stressfull enough in my country where I would probably get probation or a few months in the can at most.

Offline Newton2.0

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2022, 12:56:56 AM »
I definitely need some counseling and I'm glad you brought this up. For the longest time I felt like I was on a knife edge and I need some help processing my situation.

The stress was unbelievable.

Thanks for talking about this!

Ultimately, I wanted to know how to get away from this hobby. How to divest and how to manage that feeling of being overwhelmed. Doing innocuous experiments is well and good, but it still raises eyebrows and no one wants that attention. Personally, I would rather divest than risk anyone having questions...even though my last reaction was absolutely above board and in the interest of legitimate hobbyist experimentation.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2022, 01:00:33 AM by Newton2.0 »
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Offline spice

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2022, 02:30:57 AM »
There is really only one way out, other than death, and that is to grow out of it by filling your life up with things that you have decided you want more.

At one time, I couldn't fathom ever stopping but people can evolve into different states.
Real bees just hear the buzzing and it doesn´t ever stop. Ever.

Offline arkoma

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2022, 12:56:16 AM »
I got involved in this hobby initially because I couldn't find any real mdma.........You want to tell everyone "look what I made!" But doing so is like handing a loaded pistol to someone.  It's extremely hard to do this hobby because you have to keep it so secret. It eats you up.  The nature of mdma can make you trust the wrong people. And once one person knows, 5 people know. 

^^^^ "bucket list", and bucket list BECAUSE I will be SO proud and be like, "hey, homeboy, you gotta try this shit."  "Man, where didja get it?"  "Well, long story short, my kitchen!".  Friend of mine that lives about 15 miles away (and a PREACHER at that) owns several hundred acres FULL of sassy trees and bless his heart has marked quite a few of them with surveyors tape for me for when that day comes.

In the meantime, skill sharpening going on with uncontrolled end products.

And yeah Kasey, good thing I didna "find" this hobby 35 years or so ago (I'm almost sixty and been involved 7-8 years) because I'd probably still be in the clutches of the California Dept of Corrections. I knew  a number of good folks in North County (San Diego--Vista, Bonsall, San Marcos) in the 80's that ended up with TIME and penniless.  Only folks that made out in the long run were lawyers and bondsmen. And the CCPOA (the California PRISON PIGS union).

Craziest thing is I DID end up going to the pen in Cali--for CONCENTRATED CANNABIS of all things (early 90's, before Prop 215). I managed to turn that two year sentence in to 5 years on the installment plan.

@Spice--It IS all about what is more important to you. drugs and chemistry are VERY interesting, but so are grandkids.

*edit*Boy, do I have some stories to tell them grandkids when they get grown. looking forward to it ;)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 12:59:18 AM by arkoma »
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Offline aes256

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2022, 01:19:13 AM »
@arkoma glad to hear you got out alive  :D
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Offline Mrbovinejony

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2022, 01:21:20 AM »
I'm almost convinced arky is uncle fester, his stories I've read over the years have been similar  ;D
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Offline arkoma

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2022, 06:15:46 AM »
I'm almost convinced arky is uncle fester, his stories I've read over the years have been similar  ;D

Bwa-ha-ha!!!!   I just don't do a devil suit justice like he does (as I'm pouring mercury waste down the commode)
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Online goauld

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2022, 12:42:32 AM »
something that used to help me was a mobile lab that could be safely transported in suitcases. when the coast was clear and there were no signs of stress, i used to take a week or two off/vacation to experiment, this helped well against paranoia. chems could be ordered at leisure and then just waited to see if anything happened, projects were planned months in advance and not all chems or equipment were always in use. transportation was safe but unfortunately also somewhat time consuming.

What is the current situation in the usa, are precursors and usable chems currently easy to obtain or do you need relationships for this?

Offline timescale7017

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Re: Clandestine chemistry and mental health
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2022, 01:43:05 AM »
something that used to help me was a mobile lab that could be safely transported in suitcases. when the coast was clear and there were no signs of stress, i used to take a week or two off/vacation to experiment, this helped well against paranoia. chems could be ordered at leisure and then just waited to see if anything happened, projects were planned months in advance and not all chems or equipment were always in use. transportation was safe but unfortunately also somewhat time consuming.

What is the current situation in the usa, are precursors and usable chems currently easy to obtain or do you need relationships for this?

I think I prefer to have a physical location that I can leave instead of always having the stuff around. Of course this is a bit of a luxury.

In the usa, buying domestic is generally advisable since the act of importing listed chems is highly frowned upon... if you're willing to do a lot of research into otc products you can get most of what you need (on a personal scale. Commercial is a different matter), with some exceptions.
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