In this book Lanier covers Absinthe being similar to opium and cocaine in its effects and that it caused an immediate loss in both physical and mental faculties. Can there be any truth in this?
Absinthe was well-known in a time known by some as "The Great Binge", a period when heroin and cocaine were used in children's medicines and in beverages. The medical profession pointed out that these chemicals weren't as safe as they thought and they thought exactly the same concerning Absinthe. They believed that thujone, a chemical located in the wormwood in the drink Absinthe, was psychoactive and could trigger psychedelic effects exactly like THC in cannabis. They assumed that Absinthe wasn't simply a drink that intoxicated people, it was also a harmful drug that gave you hallucinations and might drive you insane. Doctors even developed a name for extented Absinthe drinking - "Absinthism", which they said brought on:-
- Brain deterioration
Really, "Absinthism" was only alcoholism, it was nothing special.
Lots of people blame Absinthe for Van Gogh cutting off his own ear and for his later suicide. But, could we blame a drink for Van Gogh's madness when he had suffered from mental illness as well as depression since he was a child then when we consider that he mixed Absinthe with turpentine? I don't think so. Absinthe cannot be held responsible for the so-called "Absinthe Murder" either. A Swiss man murdered his pregnant wife and children after consuming two glasses of Absinthe BUT he had also taken five liters of wine, six glasses of cognac and several other alcohol based drinks!
What is the Absinthe High Like?
The Absinthe "high" merely doesn't exist. We now know definitively from tests, that Absinthe is not an hallucinogen. Even pre ban Absinthe only covered really small amounts of thujone, not anywhere near enough to result in any effect in any way. Yes, you're going to get intoxicated quickly drinking Absinthe, after all it happens to be about 70% alcohol by volume (140 proof) which happens to be stronger than other spirits just like vodka however, you won't trip or get high.
Absinthe is called the Green Fairy but it won't cause you to see any fairies!. It does provide you with a different kind of drunkenness though. The blend of the high alcohol content, which behaves as a sedative, and also the herbs, that happen to be stimulants, can provide you with an incredibly strange "clear headed" or "lucid" drunkenness - an alcohol high. Perhaps this is just what artists and writers were discussing when they described Absinthe as their muse, stating that it gave them inspiration as well as their genius.
Be sure when you get your first Absinthe that you buy a high quality Absinthe or that you make your own originating from a kit from a reliable company. A number of company's herbal steeping kits claim to make an Absinthe which contains very large levels of thujone, much bigger than vintage Absinthe. Check out the essences from AbsintheKit.com that are also employed by the Absinthe industry.
Even though the answer to the question "What is the Absinthe high like?" might let down some people, Absinthe is a superb tasting drink which should be enjoyed.
Knowing What is the Absinthe High Like?