This could be considered the craziest creative drug experiment ever, artist Bryan Lewis Saunders pushed himself to the ceiling when he decided to take a different drug every day for a couple of weeks.
“After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of self. So I devised another experiment where everyday I took a different drug or intoxicant and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage that fortunately wasn’t irreparable. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time and I only take drugs that are given to me. “
#1 Ablify/Xanax/Ativan (dosage unknown in hospital)
Abilify acts as an agonist for partial dopamine, and is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and certain strands of autism. Ativan is a similar medicine for similar treatments, as is Xanax. Basically, it would be extremely tough to feel anxious or jittery while on all three of these!
This is a psychedelic drug first discovered in 2003 by a chemist at the Free University of Berlin, and it started popping up on the streets around 2010 when some sneaky researchers out there in the scientific field started selling it on the sly. Apparently it’s pretty cheap and can be consumed in various ways.
#3 Psilocybin Mushrooms (2 caps onset)
Surely most people have heard of magic mushrooms, and there are 40 species of this particular strand of psychedelic mushroom, which is believed to have been used as a recreational drug since prehistoric times… what else is a bored caveman and his bored caveman buddies going to do for some fun?
#4 Absinth (1 sm glass)
There are a lot of misinterpretations about Absinthe. Most Absinthe you get over the counter at a bar isn’t real Absinthe – it’s a pretty lame, mild version of what is supposed to be a distilled and highly alcoholic drink concocted with various herbs and vegetable extracts that will get you a very different kind of intoxicated to your standard alcoholic beverage. In this case, it’s helped our friend Mr. Saunders here whip up a very imaginative and detailed self-portrait …
#5 Adderall (10mg)
Adderall is a type of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that stimulates your nervous system, used to treat people with ADHD or narcolepsy. This is a nasty little drug that can have huge effects on your mood and general behaviour, and even a slight overdose can result in a pretty quick death.
#6 Ambien (10 mg)
Ambien is an insomniac’s best friend. It’s a powerful sedative that relaxes all of your muscles and helps even the most restless and agitated of people drift into a nice, long, peaceful sleep in a matter of minutes, as it’s designed to dissolve instantly and get straight to work on the chemical in your brain that’s keeping you wide awake.
#7 Bath Salts
The umbrella term for these drugs (the name refers to a bunch of similar recreational designer drugs) comes from the fact that they are often disguised as real bath salt products for the purpose of transporting them without being detected. The packaging clearly states “not for human consumption” for legal reasons as well as health and safety requirements.
#8 Buspar (15mg snorted)
This is another drug used to treat anxiety disorders, though this one doesn’t have the components that cause dependency and withdrawals that the others do – that’s to say, a person can very easily get addicted to the other prescriptions for the same medicinal treatments, but this one isn’t chemically addictive.
#9 Butane Honey Oil
This is literally the oil extracted from plants of cannabis, and is considered the strongest form of cannabis consumption because of its high level of potency. It can be melted into a dripping honey kind of texture, or cooled into a hardened sheet of hash oil, or somewhere in the middle of the two of you want a kind of waxy butter.
#10 Cocaine (1/2 gram)
A very popular stimulant and appetite suppressant drug, cocaine is well known for being a party drug and is especially prominent in Europe. Countries like Peru and Bolivia permit harvesting cocaine as long as it’s for personal use, but the same serious penalties apply for mass production and distribution as other countries.
#11 Computer Duster (2 squirts)
You know those cans you can buy with the little nozzle on them for spraying bursts of air into your keyboard to get rid of all the accumulated dust? Those cans actually contain all kinds of dangerous gases that expand and cool rapidly after they come out of the nozzle – not ideal for spraying up your nose into your brain. Because, you know… your brain is pretty important!
#12 Cough Syrup (2 bottles)
As it turns out, cough syrup isn’t just taken by people with a bad cough. Many people out there take it recreationally and quite easily become addicted before realizing they have to deal with projectile vomiting and the fact that it’s a different high every time, and each one could be the one that tips you over the edge.
#13 Crystal Meth (1 “bump”)
Well, anyone who has watched Breaking Bad knows all about just how horrible crystal meth can be – the show is hardly a promoter for the product (just the manufacture of it!). If you’re using crystal meth, chances are you’re quite rapidly making your way up the nasty drug food chain and things are probably already pretty ugly for you… stay away from it!
#14 Dilaudid 1 shot and Morphine 3 shots (In the ER with kidney stones)
While other drugs are effective emotional painkillers (hell, sometimes you don’t need to look further than a bag of chocolate for that one), morphine also acts as possibly the best physical painkiller. The problem with this is that morphine feels so incredibly good that while you might not be chemically addicted, you can become psychologically addicted extremely quickly, and it’s not uncommon for hospital patients to get hooked on morphine when recovering from a painful injury and condition.
#15 DMT (during and after)
Terence McKenna MD, who has conducted decades of research on what he claims is the strangest drug experience in the universe, has described DMT as “the most powerful hallucinogen known to man and science” and “the commonest hallucinogen in all of nature”.
He’s also said, “Why this is not four-inch headlines on every newspaper on the planet I cannot understand, because I don’t know what news you were waiting for, but this is the news that I was waiting for.”
#16 Geodon (60mg)
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are typically a critical imbalance of chemicals in the brain – what Geodon does is balance out those chemicals and even alter the effect of some of those chemicals to bring a patient back down to the real world, or as close as they can get! Why Mr. Saunders took that to mean it would help his artwork is tough to figure out!
Hash is basically just cannabis with a higher concentration of THC and other cannabinoids because it’s not just un-sifted buds and leaves. It comes in all kinds of funky shapes and textures and is a strong part of Northern Indian culture, but is believed to have originated in Morocca. All in all, you can’t get a much safer drug.
#18 Heroin (snorted)
Heroin, on the other hand, is just about the most dangerous drug out there. Founded in 1874 by a guy called C.R. Alder Wright, I don’t think he realized the negative impact he was about to have on the world when he synthesized this twisted spin-off of the opium poppy that essentially turns into morphine when injected into the body.
#19 Huffing Gas (during and after)
Same kind of principle as the computer duster mentioned earlier, this is a nasty way to get a high that absolutely demolishes your body. If you still need more convincing, type “huffing gas” into Google Images and see what comes up. Some things are better left in your ‘dangerous chemical’ shelf out in the garage.
#20 Klonopin (3mg)
This drug stops people from having seizures or severe panic attacks, and helps balance out your endorphins. However, the fact that experts advise patients that they may have suicidal thoughts while on this prescription medication, and they’ll have to ‘push through’ those thoughts is enough to suggest this isn’t for the faint-hearted.
#21 Huffing Lighter Fluid
Huffing lighter fluid is proven to cause short bursts of euphoria and intoxication, but your high can be followed by a low, which will cause you to go out and chase that high again with more lighter fluid. This can have severely damaging effects on your health, not the least of which is rashes forming under your nose from the burn of the gas.
#22 Hydrocodone 7.5mg/Oxycodone 7.5mg /Xanax 3mg
This stuff is primarily used to treat severe physical pain or acts as an antitussive to treat a bad cough, believe it or not. It’s pretty much only used in the United States, with 99% hydrocodone being consumed in the US alone. Apparently it takes between ten minutes and half an hour to kick in, at which point it’ll last for around six hours.
#23 Marijuana (G 13)
It’s safe to say there are not a whole lot of artists out there who are strangers to marijuana, probably the most accessible and widely consumed illegal drug in Western society. Policing of this drug seems to have taken a step back in recent years, with more progressive parts of the world changing the legal classification from “illegal” to “tolerated”, which is as good as legalizing it really.
#24 Marijuana (Kine Bud)
#25 Marijuana Resin
#26 Morphine IV (dosage unknown)
IV means intravenous, and intravenous means to be administered into a vein. So Morphine IV means to consume morphine by injecting it into your veins, usually through the arm but addicts have been known to try to conceal their habits by injecting between their toes. Taking any drug intravenously outside of a hospital is considered extremely dangerous due to the risk of dirty needles and contraction of diseases like HIV and AIDS.
#27 Nicotine gum (2mg, but after quitting smoking for 2 months)
One would not have thought this would have any effect at all on a person’s mental state of mind, but if you had quit smoking only two months prior like Mr. Saunders here, the nicotine released in the gum would release much craved chemicals into your body and help relax your muscles perhaps. Either way, it doesn’t seem to have affected his creativity!
#28 Valium (20mg)
Valium helps reduce muscle spasms, ease anxiety and even assists with alcohol withdrawal, as well as working in conjunction with other drugs to treat seizures. Basically, when used properly or responsibly, Valium is the bee’s knees. That being said, over-doing it can still be a major problem.
#29 Salvia Divinorum (before and after)
This hallucinatory plant is mainly found in remote parts of Mexico, and remains legal in most countries at the moment, where it’s used in spiritual healing sessions to help people see visions, experience higher states of consciousness, and apparently have epiphanies… or they’re just high as a kite. All evidence suggests it’s a pretty safe drug and it doesn’t look like it will be illegal any time soon.
#30 4 Butalbitals (dosage unknown)
Butalbital is considered the headache cure. When it comes to those intense headaches when you feel like someone is jabbing you behind the eye with an icepick, there is no better remedy than the legal prescription drug Butalbital. Don’t plan anything too strenuous afterwards though because it can cause dizziness, drowsiness, a feeling of intoxication, nausea, sedation, euphoria, diarrhea, constipation, and even memory loss.
#31 Dilaudid (4mg)
This painkiller actually comes with a warning on the packaging that states, WARNING: DILAUDID CAN SLOW OR STOP YOUR BREATHING. The loss of ability to breathe is a pretty damn important side effect, don’t you think? You’re also specifically advised to ingest the pill whole, because crushing, breaking, or opening an extended-release pill can cause a potentially fatal overdose… maybe just don’t have it altogether!
#32 Nitrous Oxide and Valium I.V. (dosage unknown in hospital)
Yes, this is the same stuff Paul Walker and Vin Diesel shoot into the engine of their cars in The Fast and the Furious in order to go faster – apparently people shoot it into their bodies as well as their car because hey, if it makes your car go faster maybe it can make me go faster too, like a party drug!
Apparently the drug made its debut at the end of the 18th Century when upper class British people would party like it’s 1799 by having laughing gas parties… great for employees of a boss who tells terribly lame jokes all the time.
#33 Nitrous Oxide
Artist: Bryan Lewis Saunders