Japanese Vending Machines, Selling You Hallucinogenic Herbs for Sexy Good Times

Illustration for article titled Japanese Vending Machines, Selling You Hallucinogenic Herbs for Sexy Good Times
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Prior to the 2002 World Cup, hallucinogenic mushrooms were legal in Japan. They were sold in little vending machines at love hotels across Japan and funky little shops. Then, worrying about an influx of soccer hooligans, mushrooms were outlawed.

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These days, there are quasi-legal herbs. And some are being sold in vending machines and even in Tokyo's geek district Akihabara. And they'll apparently get you high.

The quasi-legal herbs contain substances that resemble those in stimulants, but that are not technically illegal. In Japanese, they're called "dappou herb" (脱法ハーブ), and "dappou" means to skirt the law.

According to Kyodo, sales of these herbs can be banned if the police find illegal substances in these herbs. Even if authorities do find said substances, the sellers can deny that they knew the herbs contained illicit ingredients.

Recently, an increasing number of stories about the herbs have been appearing online. One Japanese weekly recently reported how young people were getting high off the herbs—and then getting off. According to one 20 year-old woman, one herb called "J" effects the body's orifices, making sex of the anal variety more pleasurable.

Young people like it because it's "legal" and relatively cheap. For ¥1,000 (around US$13), you can get about 50grams.

Last week, cops raided a "general merchandise store" in Yokohama for selling herbs that apparently had illegal drug like ingredients. The problem with these herbs (and this crackdown) is that they exist in a legal gray zone. Thus, no one was arrested, and the shop simply shut off its herb vending machine.

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Some of these vending machines are located right on the street (check this blog post), so people can easily purchase the herbs. There's even a capsule toy machine that dispenses dappou herb instead of toys. Kyodo reported that authorities confirmed 390 vendors across of Japan, which could mean one thing: lots of buttsex.

Hallucinogens sold in vending machines legit? [The Japan Times]

DISCUSSION

I'd advise caution when dealing with modern day "herbals".

Though I'm not particularly knowledgable of what's currently available in the grey markets of Japan, I suspect it is probably some kind of research chemical being masqueraded as a herbal substance.

Unlike the traditional herbal products you'd find in a hippie store (e.g skullcap, damiana, blue lotus) which are generally mild enough to borderline on placebo, there has been an increasingly popular trend of discretely packaging research chemicals in with various non-active herbs, selling it as a "natural product".

For those not in the know, a research chemical is essentially a substance which produces strong psychoactive effects, many of which are similar to various illicit substances.

Some are analogues of existing illegal drugs (many of the more well known being structurally related to mescaline), while others are completely new. The one main thing they share in common however is that there is very little information known about the long term (and even short term) effects.

The most well known case of a research chemical being packaged with herbal products would be "Spice Gold" , which turned out to have a substance in it which was structurally similar (but uniquely different) to that found in cannabis.

I seem to recall reports that various research chemicals (based on mescaline) were available in Japan around a decade ago, on the grey market. If my memory serves me right, (which admittedly isn't that often), the laws were clamped down on after a death, possibly of teen.

However, as many of these substances are designed to evade current laws, it can be rather difficult to ban them entirely (though again, I'm not particularly knowledgable about Japan, particularly it's laws).

If you see these products just keep in mind that there may be something else in it rather than what's on the label, and that the "something else" could be as strong, or stronger, than current mainstream drugs.

[For the record, while I have no problem with an individual consuming a research chemical when they know what the substance is and what dose to take, in the case of these herbals the real chemical is often unknown, and the dosage similarly unknown, which makes them exceedingly more dangerous]