Absinthe is a pale green (sometimes clear) highly alcoholic anise-flavored liquor distilled from wormwood and herbs, famous for its purported mind-altering effects for artists such as Oscar Wilde and Van Gogh. It was banned, but lately has experienced a revival, and a century’s worth of lies and distortion has returned.
Absinthe, even of the “ordinare” variety is a strong alcoholic beverage somewhere between 100 to 180 proof. That means 50% to 90% percent ethanol or drinking alcohol. Alcoholism is one of the most prevalent addictions on our planet and kills 2.5 million people worldwide annually. That’s a better killer than violence and AIDS put together. You don’t want to get your stomach pumped; drink responsibly.
I’m here to ruin the fun and romance! There never was an absinthism. Absinthe has no hallucinogenic effects, it won’t make you horny and it won’t inspire you any differently than drinking some whiskey or 151. The clinical features of the so-called “absinthism” are no different than chronic alcoholism. The temperance movement created a moral panic around absinthe, succeeding in banning it, and delayed our modern understanding of alcoholism for untold time. Thanks, Prohibitobama.
Thujone, the alleged psychotropic drug in absinthe, is only present in trace quantities. Early experiments that described absinthe causing excitement, hallucinations and seizures were done with pharmaceutical strength wormwood extracts called “essence d’absinthe.” These powerful extracts were conflated with the drink. As early as 1868, The Lancetcriticized the experiments and questioned whether absinthism was distinguishable from alcoholism.
Certain types of thujone are capable of causing seizures, but remember, alcohol on its own is a powerful GABA agonist similar to benzos like phenazepam or Xanax. As time goes on, tolerance starts to build, and you require higher and higher doses to stay withdrawal free. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are the reverse of the five classic benzos effects and sound exactly like absinthism: seizures, muscle tightness or shakiness, severe anxiety, unease, and inability to sleep. As there is little thujone in absinthe, whatever seizure inducing effects it has, are being countered by the alcohol.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink absinthe. You should avoid Bohemian-style or Czech-style absinthe. This is just ethanol mixed with herbs and food coloring. The way of drinking it, by lighting a sugar cube soaked in absinthe on fire, is to compensate for its poor quality. Green absinthe in a clear bottle is fake. Real absinthe is colored by chlorophyll and will turn from green to brown just like leaves in autumn.
This adulteration and spread of DIY kits brings the second danger of absinthe that disappeared a century ago but now has returned thanks to the internet — unsafe additives. In the past, unscrupulous folks would make “absinthe” out of whatever. They’d use any alcohol, any flavoring, and any way to fake the green color. Toxic dyes like antimony, which caused seizures, and copper sulfate, which caused severe gastrointestinal upset were used to get the color. Methanol, just a carbon and two hydrogens away from ethanol, was sometimes used. Drinking methanol causes your body to produce formic acid, which in high amounts, can blind you.
Modern absinthe producers and makers of online absinthe kits play on the propaganda produced by the temperance movement and the romance of those famous artists. They tell you tales of high thujone content and you’ll just placebo your way to the “green fairy.” Very strong wormwood extracts contain extremely high levels of thujone, well over what you can get from ethanol, along with other organic compounds. Online DIY absinthe kits make a vile tasting drink that might take you to the hospital. With no oversight, who knows if you’ll drink something that will cause your muscles to break down and your kidneys to fail, like this schmuck.
Quality absinthe is a distilled product, you can’t fake it with at-home infusions from online kits with food coloring. The various herbal flavors dissolved in the absinthe are poorly soluble in water, that’s why absinthe is so strong. Traditionally, absinthe is made with a sugar cube being dripped on with ice cold water. The addition of water causes the “louche” or the sudden precipitation of these herbal flavors, making the drink appear milky. This brings out the subtle herbal flavors in absinthe.
As there could be any amount of things that could be in the fake absinthe, it’ll be hard to tell the doctors what’s wrong. If you can, tell them in the most detail what you know — whether its oil of wormwood, or an online kit. Treatment will have to be symptomatic. God help you if you drink this shit. Once for the awful taste, and second for your liver and kidneys.
Have fun; try not to die.
BP consumed quaaludes, benzos, mephedrone, “molly,” etizolam,gabapentin, kratom, 2C-I, 25I-NBOMe, sleeping pills, more sleeping pills, smart drugs, stupid fake weed and “bath salts.” Backdoor Pharmacist makes “liver magic,” dreams of a better world, doesn’t want you to rot or overdoze and does NOT drink coffee.