The Most Popular Drugs in the World

At the end of my Project Claudia post, I promised I'd address this one.

What do you think are the most popular drugs in the world?

By some definitions, it is marijuana but there are two others that are legal and so commonly used that people don't think of them as drugs at all.

Before I tell you what they are, I want to define two terms. Emphasis mine:

1. Drug:

“a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” (Source: Google “drug definition”)
“any article, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of humans or other animals.” (Source:
something and often an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness” (Source: Merriam-Webster)

2. Addiction:
“compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal” (Source: Merriam-Webster)
“the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” (Source:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people begin taking drugs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • to feel good
  • to feel better
  • to do better – improve performance
  • curiosity and peer pressure

According to The American Psychiatric Association (APA), symptoms of addiction – or “substance use disorder” are grouped into four categories:

– Impaired control: a craving or strong urge to use the substance; desire or failed attempts to cut down or control substance use
– Social problems: significant problems at home, school, or work, including relationship problems; you stop doing activities you usually enjoy in order to use the substance (or perform the activity, as would be the case with addictions to gambling or internet or porn – to name a few).
– Risky use: you place yourself in settings or situations that could be or are dangerous just so you can continue to use.
– Drug effects: tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. (See M-W definition above.)

Can you think of any everyday, common substances that fit these definitions and characteristics of drugs and addiction?

The two I'm thinking of are both white powders: One bitter, one sweet.

Remember, I'm talking legal drugs here, so no, it's not cocaine.

Common additive substance #1

This is one of them:

Its molecules are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms.

You likely have the means of making it at home. You likely consume it daily, or often.

It's available in grocery stores and specialty shops.

Two writers in The Atlantic referred to it as, “The World’s Most Popular Drug”.

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My Thoughts on Toronto’s Pot Dispensaries & Project Claudia

Oh boy. This is a big topic. I'd been trying to write this post for three days before I started this post on May 29, took a few days off, and then spent multiple days on it on and off. I've been reading, watching, taking notes. This might not be the most eloquent post, but it contains facts and opinions that I want to communicate.

Recently, in an event called “Project Claudia“, Toronto police arrested 90 people and laid 186 trafficking charges after raiding 43 marijuana dispensaries. The City laid a further 79 charges on property owners for zoning and licensing bylaw infractions. The dispensaries received a letter from Toronto Police the previous week saying they were unlawful and were asked to shut down. Landlords were asked to evict their dispensary tenants.

Among the objects seized during the 43 raids, there was 270 kilograms of dry cannabis, 30 kg of resin, 25 kg of hash, 27 kg of pills, 73 kg of chocolate, 142 kg of cookies, 129 kg of candies, 101 kg of bars, 135 e-cigarettes, 457 drinks, 127 kg of oils and spreads, and 121 kg of other by-products were seized.

Police say 90 people arrested in connection with Toronto pot dispensary raids

I'm pro-legalization and pro-marijuana, but…

I'm pro-medical cannabis. It's an area that I'm fascinated by, and I'm an advocate for. I've been watching Toronto's dispensary community and I've been paying attention to the issues around legalization. I like that dispensaries exist. They're needed. I think that people SHOULD have a place to go for this type of medicine.  I also don't think there's anything wrong with adults using cannabis recreationally. I'm even planning a 4-6 week email-based course that teaches the basics of marijuana, mostly in the context of health. (Want in? Subscribe to my newsletter over on the right and up.)

I think that many of the existing dispensaries should be legal. People need access and it needs to be more open than it currently is.

I also don't think that the police are absolutely wrong. I watched the press conference and empathized with Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.

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Why I didn’t post about 420 on 4/20

Photo credit: Cannabis Culture
Photo credit: Cannabis Culture

It's now been over two weeks since April 20, aka “4/20”. I have a particular interest in cannabis in the area of healthcare and I considered a blog post about it on April 20.  I wrote up a bunch of notes about myths and misconceptions, and counterculture vs. mainstream. I mentioned “decades of damage to undo” and “changing the conversation” and my distaste for it being an excuse for stoner kids to flip off authority. There are some amazing examples of civil disobedience in history, but there's “civil disobedience” and then there's that. (As in, “being that guy”.)

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