5 Illegal Drugs With Surprisingly Wholesome Medical Uses
Whether you agree with outlawing certain drugs or not, most of them are illegal for a reason, right? Especially the really hard ones -- they're like muggers, waiting for you to stumble down some dark alley so they can take all your money and leave you bloody and covered in sores. However, much like Darth Vader, some of them aren't completely evil, or even as bad as they seem. Sometimes, under bizarre circumstances, they actually help people, in ways you might not expect.
Cocaine Treats Wounds on Children
Let's say you're driving your son home from a nail-biting extra innings Little League victory. Before you can stop at McDonald's for a congratulatory Happy Meal to cancel out the past three hours of physical activity, you cheerfully let him know that you have to swing by the marina and pick up two bloody duffel bags of Bolivian Marching Powder from Uncle Icepick's cigarette boat.
The errand complete, you're pulling in to the McDonald's parking lot when a hipster rear-ends you at 35 mph because he was too busy sending a self-congratulatory tweet about how he never stops at said McDonald's to notice your turn signal. The duffel bags fly into the front seat, smashing your son's head into the dashboard and opening a substantial gash on his forehead. The first man on the scene says, "I'm a doctor! Quick, rub that cocaine on your child's face!"
"Use the pure stuff, not the bag you cut with drain cleaner!"
OK, that guy is probably not a medical professional, but many pediatricians do in fact recommend using cocaine on children who have wounds. You see, cocaine has a couple of important properties that make it a valuable tool for treating lacerations. First, it is an effective local anesthetic. Once applied, it numbs the relevant area very quickly, typically in less than two minutes.
Secondly, cocaine is very effective at restricting bleeding, or even stopping it completely. It's a vasoconstrictor -- a drug that narrows blood vessels. The smaller a blood vessel gets, the less you bleed. As an additional benefit, once you've scoured your son's open wound with cocaine, not only will the pain be dulled and the bleeding stop, but he won't give a shit anymore.
"I feel fine now, we should just hang out and talk. Why don't we ever just talk? We should talk."
Of course, in a doctor's office, you won't see him or her dump an eight ball of coke on your kid's face. Doctors use a solution called TAC that is commonly used to treat bad cuts on the head, face or neck of kids, and it is 11 percent cocaine (roughly equal to a vial of Tony Montana's sweat). It's used because it is less painful and invasive than injecting a topical anesthetic and it doesn't distort or misshape the wound, which can increase the chance of scarring. No other drug combines the properties of a vasoconstrictor and an anesthetic. See, now when the cops show up to the accident, you can claim that those bags of coke are simply your first-aid kit.
LSD Can Cure Alcoholism
Let's say you're on your second case of Keystone Lite and you've been watching old Wrestlemanias on Netflix for the past 72 hours. You haven't gotten off of the couch in over a week to do anything but drive your scooter in a hazy serpentine path down the street to the Circle K for more beer. Upon your return, you find that your concerned friends have staged an impromptu intervention, pointing out that your drinking is killing you.
After telling you that they care about you and want to see you get better, they pull out some strips of LSD, insisting that a hit of acid will put you on the fast track toward recovery.
And then you're all like, "Wait, why'd we have to get dressed up for this again?"
And they're right. Studies show that once the walls are finished melting and you're done talking to the universe, your chances of staying away from alcohol will be dramatically increased post-trip. An extensive study done in the 1960s and '70s showed that recovering alcoholics are much less apt to drink excessively, and some even stopped drinking entirely for several months.
Because all drinks now look like this to them.
And this wasn't just one test performed on a few dozen people trading one addiction for another -- six tests were done on over 500 participants, all based on administering a single dose of acid.
The LSD made the patients feel more confident, happy and satisfied with their lives, decreasing the feelings that led most of them to abuse alcohol in the first place. The effects lasted for about six months, at which point, if LSD were legal, the patients would be able to return to a treatment clinic for another dose, repeating the process until they were able to transition into (relative) sobriety.
Heroin Helps Women in Labor (Oh, and Heroin Addicts)
So your friend is driving your heroin-addicted ass to the methadone clinic, when all of a sudden her water breaks all over her floor mat and she starts going into labor. Fighting through the haze of the beginning stages of heroin withdrawal, you manage to shakily steer the car to the nearest hospital and stagger into the lobby for help. The nurses rush out and say, "Hurry! Get both of these people some heroin!"
"I'm sorry, but Scott Weiland was just in here, and we had to use every last bit of heroin to make his spiders go away."
Heroin, as you may know, is an opiate, a class of drugs commonly used as painkillers (heroin itself is actually much more effective than morphine, working its magic in about two or three minutes). The National Health Service (NHS) in Britain recommends giving it to people in extreme pain, people in surgery and women in labor.
"Thanks, heroin! I'll be thanking you again in a few hours."
That's right -- the NHS, which is made up of medical professionals who have each read at least one book, gives heroin to pregnant women. The women are given an injection of it to help with the contractions as they blast their progeny out with vagina propulsion. Because the child is on its way out of its mother's body, the one-time use doesn't do any damage and doesn't cause dependency, although the newborns won't stop crying until the doctors put on a Miles Davis record.
As for you, you could get some methadone, but if you really need it, the doctors will just straight up give you heroin for your trouble. You see, some addiction treatment centers give out medical heroin to addicts who don't respond to methadone, with the idea of keeping them safe and off the streets while simultaneously weaning them off of the china white dragon.
MDMA (Ecstasy) Can Cure PTSD
You've just come back from Iraq, and your friends have taken you out to a club to welcome you home, and to remind you that you went overseas to put your life on the line in defense of Axe Body Spray and Nicki Minaj remixes. Strobe lights are flashing in your eyes, people waving glow sticks are bumping into you from all sides and the thumping of the club's subwoofers is vibrating your brain against the side of your skull. Suddenly, a switch is thrown in your mind and you're back in Iraq. The desert night is lit by tracer fire and earth-shaking explosions, and you are surrounded by people with light sabers.
You're having a flashback. Quick, grab hold of one of those evil Jedi and fish through their pockets for some MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy (don't worry, they almost certainly have some).
And we're positive that they won't notice your hands down their pants.
You see, Ecstasy has been shown to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The reason for this is actually the same reason that the drug is popular recreationally: It releases large amounts of the chemicals serotonin and oxytocin in your brain, making you relaxed and euphoric. For the people in the club, this means they will have a good time and probably have sex with a stranger. For PTSD sufferers like yourself, this means life gets a whole lot less stressful.
"For me, it means I'm going to dong your grandma's butthole, and she's going to thank me for it."
MDMA also allows PTSD patients to relive their experiences more easily while in therapy, which is crucial to overcoming the disorder. Ecstasy lets the sufferers do so without being overwhelmed, by activating the area of the brain responsible for controlling fear and stress. Over time, this results in long-term reduction of fear, allowing the victims to get on with their now dubstep-filled lives.
Methamphetamine Helps ADHD and Obesity
Let's say for argument's sake that you're overweight. Also, you can't pay attention at school or work, and as a result your performance is steadily declining, so you're eating Butterfingers wrapped in bacon to help cope with your frustrated depression. But no matter how bad things get, you resist the urge to take drugs, even though grandma insists that the meth she makes is the bomb.
Finally, you go to the doctor to ask if anything can be done to control your crippling inattention and overeating. He scratches his chin and says, "Have you tried a little thing I like to call methamphetamine?"
"I promise you that by this time tomorrow, you'll be calling me 'Dr. Chad Feelgood.'"
OK, taking meth to lose weight isn't that hard to believe -- after all, anorexia and dramatic weight loss are two of the primary telltale symptoms of chronic meth use, so why not harness that power like Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream? So Desoxyn, the purest form of meth, is given to obese people for fast short-term weight loss. It's only prescribed as a short-term treatment for obvious reasons (meth is highly addictive and catastrophic to your well-being). It's also pretty uncommonly used in this way, as it's really only prescribed when all other treatments fail ("other treatments" here meaning "vegetables and jogging").
"Mrs. Johnson, all your boy needs is some discipline, a lot of fresh air and a dollop of straight meth."
But even stranger, Desoxyn is prescribed by doctors all over the United States to treat ADHD. Considering that sufferers of ADHD typically exhibit symptoms of jitteriness and inattentiveness, and that meth also causes all of those things, you'd think the first dose would cause the patient's brain to speed up until he was living in bullet time.
But nothing with the brain is simple, and meth (as well as other stimulants) help regulate brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. At least, that's what happens when the dosage is carefully controlled by a medical professional who can monitor the results. In general, you should not attempt to self-medicate any medical problem with any substance bought in an alley from a bunch of bikers standing around a burning trash barrel.
For more bad things that actually help you, check out 5 Hallmarks of Bad Parenting That Are Actually Good for Kids and 5 Surprisingly Positive Side Effects of Horrible Diseases.