For this edition of Flashback Friday, we’re bringing you an excerpt from The Drug User by legendary drug aficionado, Herbert Huncke, originally published in the October, 1991 edition of High Times.

Although not as well known as his fellow “Beats”—Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassady, and Burroughs—Herbert Huncke is just as important. Writer/ junkie/thief/hustler Huncke has been in and out of prison and various addictions throughout his 70-odd years on the planet. The always-neatly-pressed Huncke has had a life checkered with adventures (quite a few of them not very pleasant), and as a result his writings are engrossing, enlightening and perversely entertaining. His last book, Guilty of Everything (Paragon House) tracked the ups and downs and ins and outs of his sometimes-debilitating heroin habit.

Benzedrine—an amphetamine—was widely used in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s by n’er-do-well crank-heads who would order it over-the-counter from their local drugstores. It first took the form of pills—Bennies—and later, nasal inhaler after the pills got a little too popular. The inhaler form proved even more handy, and the drug was subsequently reclassified under the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1971. The following is an excerpt from The Drug User (Blast Books), a compilation volume that looks at drug use from a historical perspective (deliberately ignoring the already well-documented ’60s), which is due to be released this month. Along with Huncke’s piece, there are contributions from other well-known drug users, including William S. Burroughs, Baudelaire, Anais Nin, Aldous Huxley and Jean Cocteau.


Go back to the 1930s—though it must have been discovered somewhere in the ’20s, I’m almost sure—start from say ’32, under cover before ’33, I know that— Benzedrine was then only known by a few: nurses and doctors, students at universities where they’d come in contact with science types and medical people, and a few oddballs like myself. I grew up in Chicago—so, say at the University of Chicago, someone would say, “Man, I have to cram for an exam and I’m exhausted’’—and someone would know someone who was a nurse with knowledge of this new thing called Benzedrine—“Hey, why don’t you get a few Bennies” (right away it was ‘Bennies’)—I’m guessing it started to spread like that, students in-the-know. I learned a lot about amphetamine through them.

Soon I learned that a lot people who weren’t of the underworld were piddling around with the stuff—one experience I had was the summer when I took a job as an elevator boy at the Illinois Athletic Club on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. A guy stepped into the elevator one night and asked me to buy him a bottle of pills—I think two dozen, 10 mgs, for about 89¢. This guy was considered a great athlete, and upper crust—I guess he figured I was only going to be there for a short time, and that I wasn’t likely going to squeal. Me, I could do a bottle of 20 to 25 in a period of about three days. It was a stimulating thing, as you know, and you could go for long periods doing things you liked without feeling exhausted. I liked to talk, it was a perfect talking drug. One used to stay up all night and end up at the jazz joints after hours. Life fascinated me to no end. To end up over into the Black Belt in the South Side of Chicago—there wasn’t anything that knocked me out more.

Everyone’s complaint about it though, at the beginning, was that it killed the sex drive—so many stopped using it after a short while. But OK! Perseverance corrected that assumption! See, in those days people were uptight about sex, so psychologically, you know once Bennie kicked in… well, it teases you a little. Sure—it kind of encouraged the freakish aspect—so you had to let go, and when you got going you could go for hours and hours. We found that it helped the sex drive! So that’s how basic sexual discoveries began to come about—letting go in bed, and then afterwards being less embarrassed to talk about it—they just followed their inclinations!

Benzedrine gets to the mind, too—I don’t like to separate the mental from the physical, and while I was jumping around I’d start thinking about things I’d never thought of before. Although it gave you all this energy, as I say, it didn’t make you angry. One would simply pass out the stuff—no one needed to make a buck off of it—one wasn’t inclined to steal or anything like that—that wasn’t the idea at all. You need a Bennie? Here, I have ten, here’s three or four—we weren’t so paranoid in those days…. And I’d travel around with it, too—town to town, popping. I’d leave Chicago and I could still buy without any problem—this was about the mid-’30s. Of course I kept myself well-groomed at all times, and while people didn’t look down on the drug so much yet, it always helps to have a good appearance. Once, I ran into Toledo and I had a problem getting some. It was obviously getting more popular, and some drugstores were picking up on that. I had to buy caffeine tablets that time, and suffered from it—I got ill and could not talk well.

If you start to feel trouble, of course you want to know what the trouble is, right? It still wasn’t illegal, but it had come to the attention of many people because, I think, workers in the industrial areas and truck drivers were buying it more and more to keep alert on their jobs. I remember in the road stops—in the restroom stalls—seeing “George the Bennie King was Here,” or things like that.

It was when they got hip to the pills, and they became difficult to get, that French & Kline—who had a priority claim as Benzedrine manufacturers in the US, to the best of my knowledge (they were located in Pennsylvania, if I recall)— well, they switched over to these nasal inhalers. These quickly became a big item in drug counters. It was put into a small metal container—later plastic—stuffed with some kind of gauze and rolled very tightly with not only Benzedrine, but oil of lettuce and menthol and God-knows-what else. The problem was you not only got hooked on amphets but on this other shit too! We used to share the inhalers, sitting in a cafeteria with a cup of hot coffee—by the time you got up and walked out you’d be a new man! They were very delightful, just euphoric. The world was beautiful.

They didn’t last for very long on the streets—they knew they had a problem almost immediately. Anslinger, who’d already ruined the pot scene, got on the ass of Benzedrine and got carried away with this new thing—Oh, we got something else to take care of now! Don’t you know there were a lot of payoffs down the line in the process. The cops—who still didn’t know what the fuck amphetamine was on into the ’50s—didn’t mind because, after all, what was an inhaler when it came down to it.

By 1939-40, when I hit Times Square, Bennies were illegal, but there were those of us who still managed. Over on Eighth Avenue there were a couple of drugstores tucked away that street people like myself— who hadn’t tipped our mitts—used to get by.

The post Flashback Friday: An Oral History Of Benzedrine Use In The USA appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.

THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.

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