Hard News by Russell Brown

25

Psst! Got any Earl Grey?

If you were wondering, the secret magic ingredient in Stargate's new party pills, Hummer, Vegas Nights and Comet is synephrine, as also seen in dodgy diet supplements since US authorities banned ephedrine. Like ephedrine, it seems to be relatively harmless for occasional use -- unless you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular problems -- but it's probably not something you want people gobbling all the time. (Neither, for that matter, was BZP.)

It is, as Matt Bowden said in a somewhat evasive interview on Campbell Live, naturally-derived: it's present as an extract of Citrus aurantium, or bitter orange, which is used in various cuisines and in traditional Chinese medicine. One variety of the orange, Bergamot, provides the oil that flavours Earl Grey tea.

Bowden has patented the particular mix of extracts in the pills as Floradrene, which I don't think is particularly helpful. People should know precisely what they're taking, and botanical names don't quite do it. There are a couple of user reports on this British site.

Interestingly, it appears that a revamp of the Misuse of Drugs Act to allow for testing and approval of novel recreational drugs is still on the cards -- and, indeed, is the subject of active discussion between the industry and the relevant ministries. Stargate customers have been told that Ease (that is, methylone, or "ecstasy for grown-ups") will be properly trialled later in the year. This is interesting new territory. And David Herkt will be happy.

Meanwhile, big ups to TV3's David Farrier for the excellent April Fool's Day report (well, I hope that's what it was) on jenkem that aired on Tuesday evening. It doesn't look like anyone bit, though.

PS: The video from last night's first Media7 show has been encoded and will be uploaded later this morning. I'll let you know in a separate post as soon as that happens.

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