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The euphoric body Physical sides of drug use.

 
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  #1  
Old 05-01-2011, 22:28
Gradient Gradient is offline
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Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

Whenever chatting with friends who enjoy a variety of alcohol-containing beverages, the perception of different effects from different beverages is routinely brought up. Cliches like ‘I always make bad choices with tequila’, ‘I’m a rowdy drunk after beer/bourbon/brandy’, or ‘I can always keep myself together with champagne or wine’ are consistently touted as rationales for this perceived variability in the nature of alcohol-induced inebriation. The simple fact is: ethanol is the active agent here. Variations in metabolism may exert subtle differences, but in my opinion, are not strong enough to be the underlying cause. It’d be entirely insular to ignore these perceptions, however; might there be something else to this?

I’ve been cultivating a pet theory to grapple with this issue, and I think it’s time the community help it grow into a species of answer to this question...

One thing that distinguishes the initial sensory experiences of alcoholic beverages from that of other drugs is the potent and unique olfactory stimulation generated by each alcoholic beverage. While there are absolutely different flavors of cannabis/tobacco when smoked, and subtle variations in tastes between different psychedelic compounds - the sensory sensitivity required to distinguish between members of each family unfailingly requires a fair bit of past experience; while a long-time smoker may be able to distinguish an afganica from a kafiristanica, or Dominican cigars from Haitian - no new smoker boasts such a capacity.

However, from the moment any given alcoholic beverage hits one’s taste buds - the differences between bourbon and chardonnay, rum and tequila, even stouts and pale ales, are crystal clear: there’s an inherent olfactory experience inherent to each beverage, regardless of past experience. Over time, one can begin to differentiate between types of wines, whiskeys, etc. - but the differences in flavors between families of beverages are quite distinct. More distinct than of any other class of drugs.

Another likely piece to this dynamic is the extremely wide receptor activity of ethanol; cholinergic, GABAergic, glutamatergic, serotonergic, and opioid receptor systems are all sensitive to ethanol exposure in one way or another. Likely others, as well. Interoceptive cues can therefore generate a high degree of variability characterizing experiences with the same beverage, even in the same individual. This is distinct from opiates, for example, which typically generate activity at comparatively restricted receptor systems - promoting fairly consistent and predictable experiences. If interested in some further information on ethanol pharmacology: Alcohol Pharmacology

The final piece to this is the unique nature of human olfactory sensory physiology. Our olfactory system has been suggested to be our nervous systems’ most ancient of sensory pathways; eliciting direct emotional responses, olfaction exerts powerful unconscious emotional modulation of the subjective nature of experiences - with the end result being associations between given smells/tastes, behaviors, and emotional processes. Nitty-gritty neurophys is outside the immediate scope of this discussion, though I invite others to contribute such information.

Here’s my theory: alcoholic beverages present a uniquely high degree of olfactory stimulation, each of which are unique to the beverage ingested. Behaviors and experiences following initial intoxication can largely influence the subjective qualities of subsequent experiences with the same beverage, and not necessarily others. For example, when one ingests several shots of tequila and engages in greater levels of promiscuity than would otherwise be pursued - one might thenceforth consider tequila, and tequila alone, to compel promiscuous behavior - due to its unique flavor. Similarly, if one had initially ingested wine at a dinner table with relatives - focusing on courteous conversation - one may subsequently consider wine appropriate for just that kind of social interaction, rather than promoting promiscuity. These are just examples; tequila with relatives and wine with novel sexual partners would be expected to generate the reverse associations between behavior & olfactory experience that'd logically follow this concept. This distinguishes alcohol intoxication from that of other drugs; though the same relationship between olfaction and behavior/emotion certainly applies to all drugs, no other drug elicits so strong an olfactory experience as the alcoholic beverages.
Or, more simply stated, alcohol is widely ingested as a form of food (beverage), while other drugs are ingested purely for their intended psychoactive effects - flavors being ancillary characteristics, learned over time. We therefore associate flavors of alcoholic beverages with behaviors/emotions, more so than with other drugs - and this contributes to wide variation in effects from the same drug.

Thoughts?

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Interesting question. I've often wondered this myself.
fantastic topic!

Last edited by Gradient; 09-01-2011 at 07:02. Reason: grammar, punctuation, clarification...
  #2  
Old 05-01-2011, 23:01
EscapeDummy EscapeDummy is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

Fantastic post Gradient. Swim agrees that a large part of the differences in types of alcohol effects could be due to conditioning from smell/taste. People generally (are conditioned to) drink wine with dinner or more strict social events, beer at sporting events/parties/for the hell of it, etc. Around here, college students mostly drink vodka with rum and tequila coming next, but the majority is vodka. That means when someone does produce whiskey or gin, not only has one not been conditioned to it, but they may retroactively place "labels" on it - "I got sooooo fucked up last night off that Jack Daniel's, whiskey always makes me belligerent" even though the reality is they were just drunk and it wouldn't have mattered what they were drinking. Wine is likely to be thought of as producing different effects by a wino compared to an Old Money family. Likewise, if one is accustomed to drinking vodka, and one night makes a spectacular ass of themselves, they are likely to rationalize that it was some other factor which caused their actions- "it's because I drank those beers too, I can handle my vodka but mixing drinks always gets me" or some such rationalization.

One more thing -

Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeDummy
[it was found that naturally occurring GHB and GBL were detected in those beverages involving the fermentation of white and particularly red grapes. No GHB or GBL was detected in other drinks such as beer, juice, spirits or liqueurs. GHB/GBL was detected in red wine vermouth (8.2 mg/L), sherry (9.7 mg/L), port (GBL), red wine (4.1-21.4 mg/L) and white wine 3-9.6 mg/L).] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15939164

>>>That's obviously making a difference in the wine-drunk, even if only slightly (those are far below threshold ghb doses, but small concentrations like these could account for the different 'flavors' of drunk mentioned earlier, plus take into account ghb/gbl + alcohol synergy).

And http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/sho...428#post731428 is the link to that topic.

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Pertinent terms contributed, very interesting quote provided

Last edited by EscapeDummy; 06-01-2011 at 03:21.
  #3  
Old 06-01-2011, 22:00
Jasim Gold member Jasim is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

This is an interesting discussion Gradient. Thanks for bringing it up.

I don't think that sheer expectation should be overlooked. Your points concerning olfaction are very intriguing and certainly play a role, but I wonder how significant this is. I would think that cultural expectations and associations play a larger role. People think of different alcoholic beverages in different ways.

A brandy on the rocks may be seen as a gentleman's drink and may, therefore, evoke a more relaxed response. Whereas something like vodka or tequila may be associated with "gettin' drunk and acting a foo'". Just speculation on my part.

Additionally, some types of alcoholic beverages may encourage users to drink more and users may be unaware of how much they are drinking.

Is there any relevant empirical information on this?
  #4  
Old 06-01-2011, 22:39
Gradient Gradient is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

Very interesting post, EscapeDummy. I wasn't aware that wine presented those compounds, and that undoubtedly plays a large role here. Thanks for bringing that here, and linking to a very relevant thread! If there's any other data that proves the presence of psychoactive compounds in alcoholic beverages aside from ethanol, I'd love to know.

I think you're presenting a similar argument, Jasim, but from a different point in the relationships between olfaction and behavior. Expectations must emerge from somewhere, and aren't inherent to types of beverages; a brandy on rocks may, today, be expected to be consumed in particular circumstances - but someone along the line had made the initial olfactory-behavior associations that now contribute to these expectations. In other words, I agree: expectations will undoubtedly color the experience, but there's a reason those expectations have come to be. I think it's not due to any significant difference in beverage composition, but to the olfactory character of beverages. Additionally, I believe any behavior can be associated with any alcoholic beverage.

Here's another means of expressing this dynamic. These days, I wouldn't drink anything with rum in it if someone payed me to. It was, however, the first alcohol that was ever ingested. The most powerful, brain-tormenting, vomit-inducing hangover ever witnessed on earth has caused a potently negative association with the odor of rum (Bacardi 151, if you're familiar) - and will cause rapid, fearful, evasion upon exposure. Nausea is even felt; gagging induced. Bourbon, however, is readily consumed. I believe this olfactory-behavior association translates to all behaviors and alcoholic beverages in one way or another.

No studies to speak of, this is pure speculation. If you know of any, I'd love to gobble em up!
  #5  
Old 07-01-2011, 00:33
rawbeer rawbeer is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

This topic is really one of my favorites; I've puzzled over it for years. The first time my friend Jim brought it up was after he drank a glass of ice cold green Chartreuse, stone cold sober, and experienced a most wonderful euphoric stimulation, which arrived in waves each time he took a sip. The arrival was far too soon to be an effect absorbed in the stomach; Jim was forced to entertain the notion that perhaps smell and taste alone can be psychoactive.

Which, when you think about it, is sort of obvious. The smell of feces can make us vomit; the smell of lilac can make us swoon. People have fought wars over spices. And while some of alcohol's differing effects are easily attributable to differing levels of sugars and carbohydrates and other 'inert ingredients' like wood sugars leached from oak barrels, etc. much of it is certainly no more than the taste and smell.

One of the wonderful things about alcohol is the variety in which it is available. Our species has spent over 5,000 years perfecting the art of drinking and we have some great beverages to show for it, each with its own unique characteristics, reflecting the tastes, habits, and environments of the people who originated them. Wine is a part of the Mediterranean, beer is a part of northern Europe, chica of Peru, etc. This of course adds to our expectations which are of course also a very important part of alcohol's effects. Alcohol seems to absorb the characteristics of the people who make it, in a symbolic way of course (Jim can't speak Turkish after three shots of Raki), which adds an imaginative, intellectual, and usually social dimension to the alcohol buzz which cannot be accounted for pharmacologically, in terms of the alcohol itself.

This, to me, is the strange archaic-placebo-magic of booze (and possibly the foundation of much ancient apothecary art). It is a vector for the power of suggestion. Watch people drinking absinthe and claiming they're tripping, or some fool who believes the flavor alone of Chartreuse can cause him to euphorically scribble poetic odes to the drink in his notebook. Or girls stripping down after Cuervo.

When one walks away from a great meal it is completely different from when one walks away from a meal at a diner. The flavors, not to sound cliched, can be an adventure, a new way of looking at the world. The smells can be dizzying and enchanting. How often have you kept nibbling or sniffing at some delicious dish, as if the smell or taste was some sort of puzzle, some ghostly impression of a far off and forgotten memory stirring back to life, a siren calling to you from a far off land? You experience a variety of smells and flavors crashing together, some familiar and some not, creating a harmonic overtone you have never experienced yet you know deep down in your body, a sum greater than its parts floating in your brain like a glow cast by the flavors.

(And then think of those haunting, horrible smells, that stick with you for days or weeks, and then you smell a can of Play-Dough or whatever that has just a small component of that scent but enough to make you nearly wretch...)

I cannot for the life of me remember the thread but someone else on this forum once said that different types of boozes sort of offer different types of roles to play. Cognac is the dapper rich guy, rum the pirate, tequila the drunken promiscuite.

The ultimate goal of alcohol is generally to promote sociability and fun (not for people with drinking problems, but this is why the vast majority of folks drink). And it succeeds in all its forms, on the right occasions. But then, so does music. In neither case is reductionism an insightful way to look at the experience. You can't just say "music is music, put anything on and they'll like it" any more than you can serve a bunch of lumberjacks Smirnoff ice, or a bunch of 15 year olds straight warm bourbon. Music and food and booze have become items of cultural exchange by which we can participate in other cultures, and see, hear, and taste the world as they do ( consider that, how different the world 'tastes' to an Arab versus and American). We don't always like the difference. And while we can write it off as cultural preference, there's no denying that the experience of tabouli and deep-fried pasta are entirely different and must be respected in their own right.

But damn, I'm rambling! I've gotta stop.

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pertinent associations contributed. nothing wrong w a little rambling and there ; )
  #6  
Old 09-01-2011, 23:42
frost458 frost458 is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

i've experienced A LOT with alcohol, wich is, my favorite drug.

we usually drink 50-70cl 40% alcohol each, at a party around here.
every beverage produce the same effect on me

whysky, tequilla, vodka, wine :

hihger sociability, inhibition of social fear/shame, extremme happiness and everything becomes funny

whysky, tequilla, vodka produce the same hangover and memory loss, wine do the same thing, but cause a much worse hanghover (and i drink far more than 70cl of wine)

my memory after a party is usualy like this :
allright --- pieces/flashes ---- NOTHING ---- pieces/flashes --- allright
sleeping or not does not influence the memory loss.
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:53
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

The dude has a pretty low alcohol tolerance and is a small guy - about 130 pounds.
When he was fourteen he basically got alcohol poisoning from southern comfort. He was an inexperienced drinker. He honestly drank 17-20 shots in less than an hour. Needless to say the people around him told him not to drink so much...it was 40% alcohol. He's lucky he was alright. To this day the smell of whiskey makes him want to gag and he's 23 now.
In his opinion different alcoholic drinks have different effects.
He's heard people call jagermiester "liquid valium." This is interesting as the dude has heard it may contain an opiate/opiod-like drug in small doses. While he isn't too sure of the truth of that it could have a huge change in the way it feels. The band Metallica used to drink the stuff and talked about in interviews...they gave up drinking it because they would get in to fights when they drank it.
Gin for example is made from juniper berries. And they contain a whole lot of chemicals called terpenes. Including pinene, alpha pinene, cadinene, camphene, terpineol, etc. They effect the aroma and flavor A LOT. Not only that a lot of terpenes are used for aroma therapy.
And absinthe is judging by the flavor and the plants invloved is probably very high in terpenes. Not only that the active drug that is said to change the flavor of the high is thujone. Thujone IS active and is a type of terpene (monoterpenes.) Thujone is a GABA and 5-ht3 antagonist. In high levels thujone causes seizures.

Last edited by Gradient; 10-01-2011 at 03:56. Reason: fixed duplicate Automerged Doublepost
  #8  
Old 18-01-2011, 08:15
rawbeer rawbeer is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

As far as I can tell Metallica themselves invented the "opiate in Jagermeister" theory...I believe the quote from James Hetfield was something like "it contains a special opiate that makes you angry".

Which doesn't make sense, as opiates do pretty much the exact opposite.

I had some friends who knew this Greek girl, and she claimed that the "real" Ouzo you get in Greece contains opiates. Which as far as I can tell is horseshit, I've never seen this asserted anywhere else - even by other Greeks - so I am forced to assume she was lying.

Point being, I'd take these claims with a grain of salt.

But here's something I've wondered about, in a similar vein, regarding Chartreuse, which is made using a "secret recipe" known to only a few monks. Jim finds it to be much more active than any Absinthe he's drank, even a good bootleg Swiss one from before it was re-legalized, and wonders if Chartreuse contains high levels of thujone. I mean, is anyone out there spot checking for thujone in non-absinthe alcohols?

I have seen numbers for Campari and Vermouth, both of which use wormwood and basically are thujone free. Even if thujone isn't implicated I'd love to see an analysis of the chemical constituents of Chartreuse.

And of course Jagermesiter could have some active admixtures in it, it is certainly an herbal drink. I just doubt it's any sort of opiate. Jim's drank plenty of the stuff and never felt anything worth noting, but he hates the flavor so is probably biased to begin with.

Absorbtion rate is also worth talking about - alcohol is most easily absorbed when taken in concentrations between 10 and 35 percent - from wine to a weak spirit or VERY strong mixed drink like a Martini, and is more easily absorbed when accompanied by carbonation (Dale Pendell, Pharamko/Poeia).

Which partly accounts for why beer is the dominant "party" drink, because it gets you drunk more slowly and so allows one to retain one's poise while still becoming intoxicated, at least more so than wine or stiff cocktails which more often lead to people getting "sloppy" drunk.

But now for some more experiments...
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Old 01-02-2013, 21:14
RoboCodeine7610 RoboCodeine7610 is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

Quote:
This topic is really one of my favorites; I've puzzled over it for years. The first time my friend Jim brought it up was after he drank a glass of ice cold green Chartreuse, stone cold sober, and experienced a most wonderful euphoric stimulation, which arrived in waves each time he took a sip. The arrival was far too soon to be an effect absorbed in the stomach; Jim was forced to entertain the notion that perhaps smell and taste alone can be psychoactive.
Not necessarily.Recently, there was a news article here in drugs-forum about a new sublingual EtOH spray, that would get you buzzed for a few minutes.It's completely possible, given the size of the EtOH molecule and it's vasodilating properties, that a sufficient amount of alcohol was absorbed sublingually as well as through stomach very quickly.

Robo

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very interesting suggestion
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Old 02-02-2013, 18:36
m314 m314 is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

It's not just about taste or olfactory stimulation. When I was more of a heavy drinker (late teens to early 20s), I noticed a difference in effects between different brands of vodka. Absolut seemed to bring a different, more enjoyable sense of euphoria compared to Smirnoff. It wasn't a psychological phenomenon where I was enjoying something more because I paid more for it. The cheapest store brand vodka had a similar feeling compared to Absolut (but a much harsher taste).

I don't know exactly why this would happen, but I'd guess this might be part of it. Copied from the wiki page on congeners:

In the alcoholic beverages industry, congeners, are substances produced during fermentation. These substances include small amounts of chemicals such as other alcohols (known as fusel alcohols), acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, and aldehydes (e.g. propanol, glycols, ethyl acetate). Congeners are responsible for most of the taste and aroma of distilled alcoholic beverages, and contribute to the taste of non-distilled drinks.[3] It has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a hangover.[4]

People think of vodka as being pure ethanol and water, but it's not that simple.
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Old 04-02-2013, 21:57
RoboCodeine7610 RoboCodeine7610 is offline
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Re: Differences in Effects from Different Alcoholic Beverages

Quote:
People think of vodka as being pure ethanol and water, but it's not that simple.
Actually, what people don't realize is that a lot of the vodka in the U.S is just pure EtOH from a chemical supplier diluted to 40%.

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