I had never heard of "reverse tolerance" before, but apparently it's a real thing. It describes a condition in which some habitual users of a drug will, over time, require less of the drug (instead of more) to achieve the same effect. It's most often discussed with reference to marijuana, but sometimes alcohol also.
One theory is that marijuana accumulates in the body for a long time and that's what produces the effect -- i.e. you think you may be having just a little, but you've already got a lot in you. Another theory is that it's just a psychological illusion. As users become more familiar with how to smoke it, they do so more efficiently and learn to identify the effects earlier. Therefore, they think they need less to achieve the same effect.
When people develop a reverse tolerance to alchol, it's usually because of liver damage. They lose the ability to break down alcohol, so a little bit produces a big effect.
Minneapolis Star Tribune - Dec 18, 1970
St. Cloud Times - Feb 17, 1973
Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 22, 2017 -
Sarpa salpa (above) is a type of sea bream found in the Mediterranean as well as in temperate areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It has one unusual quality. Eating it can cause hallucinations. For this reason, it's sometimes called the "dreamfish."
People have known about this for a long time. Apparently Sarpa salpa was occasionally eaten for recreational purposes during the Roman Empire.
A 2006 article in the journal Clinical Toxicology describes some medical case reports involving dreamfish consumption. For instance, in 1994 a 40-year-old man on vacation in the French Riviera ate some, and the next day the hallucinations began:
he began to experience blurring of vision and hallucinations involving aggressive and screaming animals. Agitation and disorientation led him to seek medical assistance (he was not able to drive anymore as he was seeing giant arthropods around his car). Physical examination upon arrival at the hospital emergency room demonstrated no notable abnormalities: no fever, no sign of focalization or sensory-motor deficit, and normal hemodynamic status except for sinusal tachycardia linked directly to the mental disturbances. During hospitalization, the patient recovered rapidly with complete resolution of symptoms within 36 h post ingestion. He was unable to recall the hallucinatory period.
Similarly, in 2002 a 90-year-old retiree ate some sea bream, again in the French Riviera, and experienced hallucinations involving "human screams and bird squealing."
A case described on Wikipedia seems to have been far more pleasurable. In 1960, National Geographic photographer Joe Roberts purposefully ate some broiled dreamfish: "he experienced intense hallucinations with a science-fiction theme that included futuristic vehicles, images of space exploration, and monuments marking humanity's first trips into space."
The authors of the Clinical Toxicology article note that cases of hallucinogenic fish poisoning (ichthyoallyeinotoxism) are often confused with ciguatera poisoning — the latter caused by fish flesh contaminated by "various toxins produced by the benthic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus."
Ciguatera can also cause hallucinations. However, it may also kill you, whereas you should recover from the dreamfish hallucinations within 36 hours.
(Thanks to hotsauce269 for letting us know about the dreamfish.)
In 1974, a cigarette named Zateeva Smokes began to be sold in America. It was advertised on its label as having the aroma and taste of marijuana, but it contained no marijuana and produced no high whatsoever. Therefore, it was entirely legal. The name was a play on the Latin name for marijuana, Cannabis sativa. From an article in Florida Today (Apr 20, 1974):
The pack of Zateeva says it's "An exclusive smoke that captures the heady flavor and grass-like aroma of Cannabis Sativa. All natural ingredients, non-psychoactive, no tobacco or nicotine."
The pack says Zateeva's sole distributor is the House of Imagery Inc. in Montclair, N.J., but the phone company has no listing for that firm. Officials say no cigaret manufacturing firm exists in that town.
Unlike Bravo Smokes (the lettuce cigarette) that I posted about yesterday, Zateeva Smokes were not intended as a harmless substitute to help smokers quit. Instead, their primary purpose seems to have been to prank cops. They allowed pot enthusiasts to stand on street corners, smoking away, and if challenged by a cop, they would inform the officer that they weren't doing anything illegal. They were simply smoking a Zateeva.
So they were essentially a gimmick, and it doesn't seem like they ever gained much popularity. The sole reference to these Zateeva Smokes that I've been able to find is the 1974 Florida Today article. And I'm not sure if it's significant that the article itself ran on April 20 (4-20). Probably just a coincidence.
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
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