xkcd-sucks 10 months ago

Chloroform is great for extractions (if you don't care about the environment) because it sinks to the bottom of a sep funnel, but the thing about it being a knockout gas or sleep aid is complete BS.

Based on an unpublished study of about 4 degenerate chemistry undergrads:

    - It PROBABLY takes several minutes of inhalation through a saturated rag to induce full loss of consciousness, although shorter times do produce noticeable wooziness
    - However, full unconsciousness was not achieved in any subject because chloroform tasted too Totally Gross to continue past a minute or so (choking sickly-sweet) 
    - Subjective effects wore off within a few minutes, however the gross flavor persisted for several hours afterword much longer as residual chloroform washed out (along with mild headaches)
    - Ingestion was not investigated.
So, in order to incapacitate someone you would have to force them to do really unpleasant for a long time, in which case you might as well choke them out, and the victim would regain consciousness quickly. And as a sleep aid it would likely need to be ingested, would induce sleep but not maintain it (i.e. wake up shortly), and would leave the user reeking of gross chloroform for long after.

Join us for our continued lecture series, covering topics such as:

    - Why microwave assisted reactions in DMSO are a bad idea
    - Why attempting GHB synthesis via permanganate oxidation of THF is a bad idea
    - Harm reduction re: consumption of USP 99.9% ethanol
    - How peroxyacid syntheses of various things do not scale up well and how they absolutely should not be coerced into running more quickly
    - The poor efficacy of DMSO in assisting drug translocation through skin
  • kortex 10 months ago

    > Join us for our continued lecture series, covering topics such as

    Please share/blog these! I too have several degenerate chemistry undergrad stories.

    > The poor efficacy of DMSO in assisting drug translocation through skin

    Yep. During one particularly sleep-deprived finals week, and after recently learning about DMSO's transdermal transportation abilities, my friend and I tried making caffeine skin patches. It worked...vaguely increasing alertness. However, it itched and burned worse than just about anything I've ever experienced.

    Also I can concur that chloroform isn't some instant knock-out juice. But one time, a lab mate and I were running massive columns and had accumulated several hundred liters of DCM (dichloromethane) fractions in flasks (yes, it was a loong day). Despite the walk-in hoods running at full bore, by the end of the day, coworker and I were loopy, giggly idiots. Was it above OSHA PEL? Possibly, but probably not. I think the disinhibition was a combination of energy drinks, fatigue+boredom of running hundreds of fractions, and suggestibility, as much as it was the fumes. But my lab manager did walk in at one point and immediately recoiled from the fumes (which we were nose-deaf to at that point).

    • joosters 10 months ago

      But my lab manager did walk in at one point and immediately recoiled from the fumes (which we were nose-deaf to at that point).

      I don't know whether it's true or not, but I remember a chemistry lecturer telling me that you don't need to worry about terrible smells in the lab, our noses are sensitive to extremely miniscule levels of chemicals. It's when the levels are so high that they have overpowered our senses and knocked out our sense of smell, that's when you need to worry! A wonderfully paradoxical piece of advice...

      • kortex 10 months ago

        More or less, but with caveats. It's true that many smells (eg H2S, HCN) are detectable before toxic levels, and then become un-smellable at higher levels (saturates and depletes olfactory receptors). But you should still worry about certain terrible smells, because that's often the first sign that something is going wrong. Containment failure, reaction runaway, maybe someone dumped the wrong thing in the wrong waste barrel and now it's reacting, etc.

        There's also things which are toxic at the same levels as olfaction, and of course there toxins which are dangerous by the time you have smelled them, or you lack the gene to smell. Most really smelly things aren't acutely toxic like that though. Take DMS (dimethyl sulfide, byproduct of Swern oxidation. Smells like boiling cabbage at low concentration, and liquid ass at high concentration. If you are running a Swern in a fume hood, you are likely quite well-contained even if you've made the whole lab smell like a cesspit.

        When we ran cyanation at the kilo scale, you better believe we had HCN detectors all over the place, wore full-face respirators, etc.

        • jamesash 10 months ago

          I pass along this amusing advice, no doubt familiar to you, but probably not to the general HN readership.

          "Gattermann (Ann. 357, 318 (1907)) recommends that the operator smoke during the preparation [of HCN], for he found that a trace of hydrogen cyanide is sufficient to give the tobacco smoke a highly characteristic flavor. This preliminary warning is useful in case of leaky apparatus or a faulty hood" - from Org Syn http://www.orgsyn.org/demo.aspx?prep=CV1P0314

      • toss1 10 months ago

        Yup, similar to frostbite. Normal skin temp is around 86°F. as it is cooled, it goes from cool to cold sensation, to very painful at around 55°F. Below that, you don't feel anything as it continues to cool to the point where it freezes solid (which wouldn't be a problem if the freeze-thaw cycle didn't create so many little spiny ice structures that break the cell walls; a type of frog has 'anti-freeze' in it's makeup so it can freeze and re-thaw). So, when your skin stops being painful, that's when you really need to warm it up NOW.

        • jefftk 10 months ago

          > a type of frog has 'anti-freeze' in it's makeup so it can freeze and re-thaw

          Nit: it can't actually recover from freezing solid. It just has lowered the freezing point of the remaining liquid to below the temperatures it's going to encounter.

          • toss1 10 months ago

            Thanks, you provoked me to look it up in more detail, and we're both oversimplifying, and it's even wilder than I thought. From [0]:

            >> On an organismal level, they are completely frozen to death — their heart stops beating and breathing ceases. Image via Facebook

            >> The frog’s death-defying trick actually comes down to one simple factor: nucleating proteins. When the frog’s skin begins to freeze, these proteins cause the water within the frog’s blood to freeze first, which in turn serves as a vacuum for most of the water out of the cells. Simultaneously, their bodies pump out large amounts of glucose to serve as stuffing material, which prevents the cells from collapsing.

            >> Essentially, frogs fill their bodies full of sugar to keep themselves alive through winter. When warm temperatures melt the snow around their hibernacula, frogs slowly thaw back to life. Water melts and returns to the bloodstream, begins circulating, and restarts their heart and breathing. Within an hour or so the frog returns to normal life, completely unscathed.

            Just wild!

            [0] https://roaring.earth/frogs-literally-freeze-during-winter-a...

            • jefftk 10 months ago

              It's definitely wild!

              But "completely frozen" isn't quite right: if you slowly lowered the temperature of a "frozen" frog enough the tiny bit of water still within the cells would freeze, and the frog would die.

        • brutusborn 10 months ago

          I noticed a similar effect getting 3rd degree burns. It was very painful for a moment, then much less painful as the nerves burnt away.

      • somebodynew 10 months ago

        Hydrogen sulfide is a severe example: it initially smells strongly of rotten eggs but quickly damages the nose until it is undetectable and further exposure can be lethal. For most other chemicals, smells only fade to the background during prolonged lab work through mundane desensitization.

    • zoklet-enjoyer 10 months ago

      You have to really dilute DMSO if you're going to put it on your skin.

      • kortex 10 months ago

        I mean, pure DMSO on the skin feels fine, albeit not the safest.

        • throwawaymaths 10 months ago

          Can you not taste the garlic in your mouth for hours after?

          • ta988 10 months ago

            Not everybody does.

  • isk517 10 months ago

    Excuse me sir, but are you implying that in 1993 at WrestleMania 9 when Giant Gonzalez knocked out the Undertaker using a chloroform soaked rag that it was all fake? If so then mister, I think you are full of crap. /s

    • mrguyorama 10 months ago

      Professional wrestling got a lot more fun and cool when I realized it isn't "fake", because it isn't trying to be real because it's actually supposed to be modern day Shakespeare

      • Waterluvian 10 months ago

        Same! Learning it was fake ruined it. And then realizing that it’s in on being “fake” and that it’s a soap opera made me appreciate it a lot.

        And “fake” may cover the results of the matches but it doesn’t cover how intense it is on their bodies. Olympic wrestling is probably a far easier sport on the body.

        • TylerE 10 months ago

          I got into it pretty hardcore after hearing an NPR doc on the Montreal Screwjob.

      • isk517 10 months ago

        I loved watching it as a kid and my friend convinced me to check out some modern stuff about 2 years ago and I have been having a blast watching it ever since.

    • listless 10 months ago

      Upvoted despite the Reddit flavoring

    • ss108 10 months ago

      It was real if it was real to you goddammit

  • LeifCarrotson 10 months ago

    > Harm reduction re: consumption of USP 99.9% ethanol

    According to Ignition! by John Clark, high-purity ethanol used for rocket fuel undergoes a similar phenomenon when in storage tanks near rocket scientists and Navy personnel. Interesting to see that this also occurs in the proximity of undergrads. Study operators claimed that dissolving the ethanol in H2O, or, preferably, lime juice and/or soda water, merits further study.

    But yes, I would also be interested in reading that continued series.

    • int_19h 10 months ago

      The earliest HDDs were not sealed and required regular maintenance to clean the heads manually; you were supposed to use ethanol or isopropanol for that purpose. There was a story from late Soviet times about this - since they lagged quite badly when it came to computing, even in late 80s there was still plenty of hardware around like that. And for every such hard drive, there would be accounting to track the amount of ethanol issued, so the engineers had to make do with what they could skim after the cleaning.

      But then around that time some better stuff began to trickle in - instead of 3-5 Mb HDDs, you could get a whopping 30 Mb! Those were sealed and required no cleaning... but the legend goes that, in one such place, it occurred to the engineers that accounting doesn't know that. So, instead, they submitted a request to procure more ethanol for cleaning, on the basis that a 30 Mb hard drive would obviously need 6 times as much for servicing as a 5 Mb one does. It was approved, and the arrangement lasted until the head of the department caught someone drunk and traced the source.

      (Another version of this legend has a slight variation in that the engineers submitted a request for more than 6x, deliberately making a mistake in math to make it look like a clumsy attempt to get more. Accounting promptly "caught" it and gave them a stern lecture about how they're not getting even one drop over what the proper number required... i.e. 6x.)

    • function_seven 10 months ago

      So far the correlation between personnel proximity and tank depletion is just that: a correlation. All attempts at establishing causality have been met with fuzzy recollections, outright denials, and conflicting reports.

      More investigations are warranted.

  • RajT88 10 months ago

    It could well be a similar phenomenon to how silencers on firearms absolutely do not make a gun sound like it sounds in the movies, but because it's become an established (and convenient) film trope, it persists in film.

    Similarly - films depicting kidnapping people using chloroform as an instant knockout drug.

    • occamrazor 10 months ago

      I remember reading (can’t find the source anymore) that ether would work as knock-out drug, and that indeed it was used as a plot device in crime books as chloroform is used in movies today. The problem is that ether can be highly toxic at relatively low dosage, and then it was replaced by chloroform in fiction to avoid giving dangerous ideas to people.

      Is there any truth behind this theory?

      • tarotuser 10 months ago

        Weirdly enough, ether can be drank. Erowid has a great many self-reported case studies of the effects of ether drinking


        I've never consumed or inhaled it myself. However from someone who I know drank it, said the high is rapid and intense. Basically, it's enough to get you arrested for a public intox, and by the time you're at the police station, you're completely sober, save for your breath smelling like gasoline.

        Another source about consumption of ether in 19th c Ireland : https://www.newscientist.com/letter/mg19125630-800-bring-bac...



        As a final edit: It's probably a really bad idea to inhale or drink ether.. but it is definitely drinkable.

        • cwkoss 10 months ago

          “The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge. And I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon. Probably at the next gas station.” ― Hunter S. Thompson

      • kortex 10 months ago

        Ether and chloroform both have relatively narrow therapeutic windows - the toxic dose is very close to the minimum active dose. But they were one of the few true anaesthetics at the time (late 1800s). Alcohol was also used for surgery but it's slower and inhibits clotting. In fact often it'd be a combination of all three, known as ACE [1]. This worked okay-ish, as the GABA-ergic synergy was able to suppress consciousness and memory without poisoning the patient's heart or liver (as) severely.

        The other big issue was flammability.

        Ether still takes enough time to reduce consciousness that you have a good minute or two (minimum) of struggle. It's not "towel over face, muffled screaming, then sleepytime". But an attacker with advantage of surprise and a decent grapple could usually get the target dosed before they could break free.

        [1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACE_mixture

        • giantg2 10 months ago

          I've heard that grayanotoxin was uses for surgery around that time frame as well.

      • at-fates-hands 10 months ago

        Just some anecdotal evidence to support what you're saying.

        When I was in college and a freshman, I was told the urban legend about the "ether bunny". The story about a freshman who finds out his roommate has been drugging and having sex with him using ether.

        I wasn't very knowledgeable about these stories or urban legends in general so when I was home for Christmas vacation, I told my Dad about it, and he started laughing and said it was an old college urban legend but when he was told it (in the 1960's) as a freshman they used chloroform instead of ether. He mentioned some other details about the story that were changed due to the times, but that was one point that was clearly changed over time, possibly for the same reason.

        • martopix 10 months ago

          However, drink 'spiking' for the same purpose is a thing, and people have been jailed for it.

    • int_19h 10 months ago

      It's not just silencers - movies and video games are generally bad at gunshots. For good reasons - if you make them as loud as they ought to be, even to the limits of the recording equipment (since you'd need to go well into the hearing-unsafe territory), they'll drown out everything else.

      There are exceptions. The famous shootout scene from "Heat" does a surprisingly good job at conveying just how deafening gunfire really is close up, for a movie. Although even that is much milder than it would be IRL, due to use of blanks and the aforementioned equipment limitations.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9fnVtz_lc (shooting starts around 4:20)

      • JamesUtah07 10 months ago

        That scene was pretty interesting but can’t help notice that all the automatic guns just fired endlessly. There were a few reloads but it’s astonishing how fast you go through 30 rounds and they were firing way longer uninterrupted. On another note that final shot was amazing cinematography.

    • cwkoss 10 months ago

      Would be fun for a show like law and order to do an episode where someone is framed with chloroform and part of solving the crime is excluding the framed person because the chloroform TV trope isnt based in science.

    • johng 10 months ago

      A suppressed .300 blackout subsonic round sounds like the movies. It’s unreal. The slide and mechanics of the gun are louder than the round. A rather large round, at that.

    • kyleblarson 10 months ago

      Suppressed subsonic 300 blackout is pretty darn close to the movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AUDVoGOCxw

      • karaterobot 10 months ago

        It's quiet enough that those guys are not completely crazy for not having ear protection — but of course the microphone is not picking up the full volume of the shots either, any more than it does for unsuppressed, supersonic rounds.

        • saiya-jin 10 months ago

          Microphones generally are very bad at picking real volume of gunshots, silenced or not, subsonic or not, small, large and massive calibers alike

      • int_19h 10 months ago

        Not when you're standing right next to it with no ear protection. The peak is still going to be on the order of 115-125 dB at the muzzle even with the best can. This is well within hearing-safe territory (<140 dB per OHSA). But that is still louder than an auto horn!

        As others have noted, recording equipment doesn't register these levels reliably, so watching a recording does not reflect the actual experience.

        • TylerE 10 months ago

          Uh… the highest limit osha has on sound levels is 115db. 140 is a jet engine. A chainsaw is 110

          • int_19h 10 months ago

            That's for continuous noise like engines. OTOH "exposure to impulsive or impact noise should not exceed 140 dB peak sound pressure level".

  • kortex 10 months ago

    > The poor efficacy of DMSO in assisting drug translocation through skin

    Oh yeah, for the observer gallery: The reason DMSO (and DMF, DMAc, HF, to an extent haloforms, and polar aprotic solvents in general) are dangerous is that they can dissolve and transport small molecules (under 1000 daltons, possibly more) through your skin and into the bloodstream. They go straight through nitrile, vinyl, and latex gloves. You need to match the glove to the solvent. For these strong solvents, you want aliphatic polymers (LDPE) or laminates (mylar aka aluminized polyester).

    Actually one of the best protection schemes is the shoulder-length polyethylene gloves used for ...ahem... bovine obstetrics, with nitrile over that for grip and to keep the cow glove in place. Looks hilarious but great for pouring nasty solutions or weighing dusty powders.


    • azalemeth 10 months ago

      The garlic like smell of DMSO just doesn't leave you if it gets into your skin. It's "safe" but really, really bad to have fingertips smelling of it for days. I wish I had those bovine gloves during my PhD...

      • nwiswell 10 months ago

        > fingertips smelling of it for days

        It's even more insidious than that -- it is not only your fingertips that smell, since it penetrates the skin so readily. Pure DMSO itself is odorless, but it is metabolized into DMS, which stinks unbelievably strongly of garlic. The DMS has a very high systematic half-life (38 hours!!!) and remains dissolved in the blood, meaning your blood itself will stink of garlic for days after exposure.

        The gut punch, however, is that the victim is reportedly unable to smell it (probably because their olfactory tissue is literally awash in DMS), so they don't realize they smell like walking garlic bread.

      • sterlind 10 months ago

        isn't DMSO used as a (home?) remedy for joint pain?

        I've thought about trying it but have visions of it leaching the dye from my clothing and transporting it into my bloodstream. the garlic wouldn't make me many friends, but dissolving poisons is scarier.

    • Metacelsus 10 months ago

      I recently had to use a mitomycin C (very toxic) solution in DMSO, I was really paranoid to not spill any.

      • jamesash 10 months ago

        Wow. That's not something you want to have an oopsie with.

  • iSnow 10 months ago

    Holy lord, how do I join your curriculum? The topics look like straight out of Derek Lowe's "Things I won't work with"

  • Metacelsus 10 months ago

    >Why attempting GHB synthesis via permanganate oxidation of THF is a bad idea

    I'm interested . . . is it because of the risk of blow-ups?

  • giantg2 10 months ago

    The biggest issue is that it poses health risks, like being carcinogenic.

  • at_a_remove 10 months ago

    That's why the primitive anesthetic ACE (Alcohol, Chloroform, Ether) existed in many proportions, but never chloroform alone.

  • spaceguillotine 10 months ago

    you're telling me that movies LIED to me my entire life, i'm shocked, SHOCKED i tell you!!!!

Octokiddie 10 months ago

It's worth noting that the general class of reaction described here ("Haloform reaction") was discovered in 1822, and rediscovered after that:


Organic chemistry is a very old field whose older literature can still be used and remains relevant today.

Also, inhaling anything you produce in a lab, even if you did distill it, is idiotic.

  • bhickey 10 months ago

    My freshman advisor was a famous[1] organic chemist. He told me that he would do isolate THC, then elongate its carbon tail to induce a more powerful, longer lasting high. When I asked him, he responded that he had no concerns about his ability to make a pure reaction product.

    [1] Famous within organic chemistry circles.

  • fragmede 10 months ago

    Even if you're Albert Hofmann or Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin?

labrador 10 months ago

I'm a recovering nitrous oxide addict so this is interesting, but people should proceed with caution. I didn't know laughing gas could be addictive for some people until it was too late.

In the film Cider House Rules, Michael Caine plays a doctor addicted to ether for sleep


Google result: Is chloroform stronger than ether? Fluothane and chloroform produced similar anesthesia, and was 4 1/2 times more potent than ether.

  • sterlind 10 months ago

    I'm sure you know but PSA for those that don't: N2O is practically the only "safe" inhalant. Others, like gasoline, computer duster, urinal pucks, etc. have a risk of causing spontaneous heart attacks even in young healthy users.

    N2O's main physical risk is B12 deficiency, or asphyxiating if you use a mask.

    • ddevault 10 months ago

      In addition to the risk of sudden death, even on the first use, they cause permanent brain damage with each use and regular use will reduce you to a gibbering shell of yourself from which you cannot recover -- and then you'll probably die. Recreational use is incredibly dangerous and this is one category that you should probably put into the "never use" group. Much worse than any common recreational drugs, including the ones usually demonized by society such as heroin.

      • labrador 10 months ago

        With fentynal getting into everything I'd say it's far more dangerous to take a substance orally or by injection that it is to inhale nitrous oxide which fentynal can't get into

        • akerl_ 10 months ago

          What is fentanyl getting into?

    • ShredKazoo 10 months ago

      I read that the feeling of needing to breathe is actually triggered by CO2 buildup, not oxygen deprivation. So if you breathe pure N2O, you might lose that warning that you need to breathe oxygen. When I played with N2O, I noticed that the high was more intense if I rebreathed or otherwise deprived myself of oxygen. And it also would cause cognitive issues in the weeks after taking it, probably due to oxygen deprivation. I stopped taking N2O after that.

    • labrador 10 months ago

      I buy liquid B-12 drops for under my tongue since B-12 isn't absorbed very well by the digestive system

    • poulpy123 10 months ago

      u..u..urinal puck as a drug ?

  • ajb 10 months ago

    Random question: I've been hearing this strange clarinet-like noise in my area - exactly like someone practising the clarinet except only one note, never a tune or scales. After puzzling this over for some time the only thing I can think that it might be, is someone going a balloon with nitrous. Is that plausible?

    • codr7 10 months ago

      Nada Yoga :)

  • cwkoss 10 months ago

    Did you have any issues with B12 deficiency? I've always wondered to what extent oral B12 supplementation can mitigate the health risks of chronic nitrous use.

    • labrador 10 months ago

      Yes I need to take B-12 liquid orally or by shot, but my grandfather had pernicious anemia and it's hereditary, so I don't know whose fault it is. Other than that I have no major health problems, but I have neuropathic nerve pains that the doctor has never seen before so he blames the nitrous. It's not too bad. I was aware that I needed to take a lot of B-12 at the time. People ask me why I didn't get a tank instead of spending all the money on whippets. Because I would have died with a tank.

      Two more cautions. Nitrous is an oxidant. I found out the hard way when I almost set myself on fire smoking and doing nitrous. Also, that whah whah you feel when inhaling is not nitrous. That's hypoxia which can cause serious brain damage. I learned to do nitrous in a continuous stream without the hypoxia like at the dentist office.

      Edit: I remembered a third caution: nitrous is a hypnotic like kratom. You lose control, like an alcoholic or benzos blackout. One time after doing a bunch of kratom I "came to" riding my bike in my underwear at 2 am thinking I was going to find a swimming pool to take a swim. Fun times.

      • fragmede 10 months ago

        Why is the O in N₂O not accessible, thus resulting in hypoxia? If you blow nitrous oxide through a lit cigarette the resulting increased burn it says there's more oxygen, not a lack of it.

        • post-it 10 months ago

          Same reason the O in CO2 isn't accessible. Oxygen is used as an oxidizer in the slow burn that is human respiration. N2O is already "burnt", so your body can't burn it any further to release energy.

          • cwkoss 10 months ago

            I believe nitrous oxide can act as an oxidizer, but cannot be used for respiration for a different reason than CO2 (already fully oxidized). But I'm not sure what that reason is: maybe the enzymatic capacity to pull the O off the N2 is just order(s) of magnitude too small or it has to go through NO metabolism.

          • andrewflnr 10 months ago

            That contradicts "nitrous is an oxidant". Or at minimum, makes it more complicated.

            • mnw21cam 10 months ago

              Chlorine is an oxidising agent as well, but you don't want to be breathing that.

              • andrewflnr 10 months ago

                Yes, but again, for rather the opposite reason than CO2.

      • cwkoss 10 months ago

        Very interesting, thanks for the reply!

  • hattmall 10 months ago

    So like how much nitrous did you do?

    • labrador 10 months ago

      Let's see there's 50 whippets in a box, 12 boxes in a case. I did a couple hundred cases before I finally stopped. My last two binges 5 years apart were 15 cases over a 2 week period and 20 cases over a 10 day period. Once I start cracking whippets I can't stop. It felt almost like an OCD thing.

      • schwartzworld 10 months ago

        It's called hippie crack for a reason.

        • labrador 10 months ago

          I didn't know that when I started. I was thinking of "the nitrous philosopher" William James. Later I heard hippie crack. Yep.

      • pcthrowaway 10 months ago

        Was it a physical addiction? Like would you actually go through withdrawals from not being on Nitrous?

        I've done a little bit, a long long time ago, but didn't realize this was a possibility.

        I didn't really enjoy it personally

        • labrador 10 months ago

          No, there's no withdrawal so it must not by physical, but it would trash my nervous system so I was sick and in pain for a few days. Nothing more nitrous won't cure! So the cycle of abuse would continue until I physically couldn't go on.

      • JKCalhoun 10 months ago

        * whip-its

        • labrador 10 months ago

          The European manufacturers I used spell it a variety of ways

      • mahathu 10 months ago

        Probably it would be more efficient to fill up balloons from a larger tank and then inhaling from the balloons. You can continuously breathe in and out from the same balloon multiple times for a few times until all the N2O has been absorbed by the body (hypothetically)

        • kadoban 10 months ago

          Giving a drug addict, who obviously doesn't want to be doing the drug anymore, advice on how to more efficiently do drugs seems at _best_ morally questionable.

          They've probably already worked out many other options and know this, but even so...just why do this?

          • labrador 10 months ago

            mahathu isn't telling me something I didn't already know. When you are obsessed you figure all the angles. The only way I stopped was to take months long road trips to places that didn't sell nitrous, like the Alaskan wilderness. I did find spiritual recovery by reading Zen books on the road, so now I live in San Jose where there are smoke shops selling whippets on every corner and don't have a problem with it.

            Nitrous was useful for helping me look at traumas I suffered in the military by muting my anxiety and strong emotions when I approached the subject. Another reason I don't have a problem with nitrous right now is that I worked through my traumas adequately.

          • mahathu 10 months ago

            Yeah, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking. I can't delete my comment anymore, but I flagged the thread.

          • mahathu 10 months ago

            Yeah, you're right. I don't know what I was thinking. I can't delete my comment anymore, but I flagged it.

        • Jolter 10 months ago

          Let’s try not to help encourage a recovering adding to do drugs in a new, more efficient, way.

        • labrador 10 months ago

          I cracked the whippets into a large plastic bag and then inhaled from that. I stuck with whippets because it was the fail safe option.

          • skulk 10 months ago

            My buddy and I used to crack whippets with a knife and frantically try to put the neck into a balloon with.... mixed results. The idea of using a plastic bag never occurred to us!

  • siliconunit 10 months ago


    • giraffe_lady 10 months ago

      Yeah and I've done heroin and cocaine plenty of times without getting addicted but those are notoriously dangerous things to play with. Didn't help me out any with alcohol and I spent decades fighting that one off. Why risk it why encourage people to why even write this here?

ravenstine 10 months ago

I decided to open the Wikipedia page for Chloroform while this video played and thought it was interesting that the idea that criminals can immediately knock someone out with a chloroform soaked rag is really a work of fiction. Not that it couldn't be done, but that it would probably take minutes and not just a few seconds.

  • dalyons 10 months ago

    Pro tip: make it boiling hot. I knocked myself out instantly (but briefly) by accidentally breathing in over a boiling chloroform vat at a biotech internship. Came to a few seconds later on the floor. (Don’t actually recommend)

    • xen2xen1 10 months ago

      Was that the chloroform or hypoxia like someone mentioned? Seems the second would be much more dangerous?

      • dalyons 10 months ago

        Maybe! I’m no expert. But it was a really quick situation - lid popped, I looked in , there was boiling chloroform when there was supposed to be a different reagent (due to a software bug in the machine). Down I went. So probably not time for hypoxia? Fun bug report to write haha

    • pcthrowaway 10 months ago

      Did anyone see it happen? Were you close to falling in?

      • dalyons 10 months ago

        Fortunately it was in a busy lab so I was noticed! The boiling retort/bath was only a bit larger than head size, so technically possible to fall in but thankfully not :)

  • yreg 10 months ago

    There is a reason why anesthesiologists are paid well. Knocking someone out safely is not a joke.

    (Not only in US where everything health-related involves big money, but also in the countries which underpay other healthcare professionals.)

    • antognini 10 months ago

      My dad is an anesthesiologist and likes to joke that he can knock you out for cheap. Waking you up afterwards costs extra.

      • binarymax 10 months ago

        This really is the ultimate anesthesiologist dad joke.

    • dghughes 10 months ago

      Cats don't do well with anaesthetic.

  • ZeroGravitas 10 months ago

    There's a historical crime fiction series that intertwines the real history and discovery of Choloroform, gynecology etc. with crime:


    The author "Ambrose Parry" is a pseudonym for the combined talents of a crime writer and his wife, who is an anaesthetist with a master's degree in the History of Medicine

    • fsckboy 10 months ago

      >intertwines the real history and discovery of Choloroform, gynecology etc. with crime

      "phrasing!" - Archer

      when you juxtapose chloroform, gynecology, and crime like that, are you suggesting that the real history of chloroform was as a date rape drug, but I need to read a fictional crime series to learn about it? As in the modern day, new technology is first adopted by the sex (we call it porn) trade, I guess I wouldn't be shocked shocked, but is this the truth?

  • Apocryphon 10 months ago

    Now I'm wondering if the fictional trope effect can be reversed by the trope of using smelling salts to rouse a fainted person.

gus_massa 10 months ago

The author is Chemdelic. I was expecting a video by Nile Red, but I was not disappointed. (As the video explain, don't try this at home unless you have a degree in Chemistry or something. That invisible fumes looks nasty.)

  • petre 10 months ago

    Definitely do not try this at home without a Chemistry degree. Why? It's easy to accidentaly produce phosgene (WWI chemical weapon, smells like freshly cut grass) by combining chloroform fumes and oxygen under UV light or chlorine with carbon monoxide from a gas burner (yellow flame).

    • kortex 10 months ago

      Actual chemist here: it's actually pretty hard to accidentally produce phosgene via chloroform. Obviously don't deliberately try to oxidize chloroform in an unventilated space, but you should be fine in a fume cupboard with basic science hygiene.

      Don't attempt this without an understanding of general lab/workshop hygiene (ALWAYS wear glasses, gloves, labcoat or smock, no polyester, use proper ventilation, put hair back). But this is a pretty basic beginner chemistry experiment.

  • ok_computer 10 months ago

    Even doing this with a chemistry background is incredibly irresponsible. There’s more than personal know how at work in industrial and academic labs. Fume hood stacks well above grade and incinerators and permits or registration. Plus the waste disposal issue and byproducts. This brand of youtube entertainment is super bad. Same thing with people extracting mercury or whatever. Like what is the best end case: you’ve done bench work in your neighborhood and are a point emitter of byproducts and create a product that have no real end use. Chlorinated solvents are no joke and making a carcinogen for youtube views is beyond dumb. I’d call the cops if I saw my neighbor doing some home cooking like this it’s not well thought out and just selfish and irresponsible.

    • girvo 10 months ago

      > Chlorinated solvents are no joke

      I mean, you're right, but I can also literally walk down to Bunnings and buy some, so I'm not sure these YouTubers are really tipping the scales.

      • ok_computer 10 months ago

        I'm not offended by the volume he's producing, just the act of doing low value chemistry work at home making something gross, it will get repeated by less capable viewers in uncontrolled environments.

        On the other hand, I always thought things like anarchist cookbook and erowid type stuff is great for knowledge sharing. I don't think there should be a monopoly on knowing how to do stuff but this is different, maybe the youtube viewership monetization, I cannot place my finger on it.

        I'm saying this is a dumb synthesis to show off, there is no value in the product, if anything it is a disposal liability, and it's in a home lab. One mistake and you get a chlorine cloud or an organic solvent spill in a residential setting.

        It glorifies understanding where the electrons or protons jump but its super basic. Like how hungry for validation do you need to be to show off your recent degree or internet recipe scavenging.

        Solvents are commoditized. Chlorinated solvents need to be phased out. Whereas, in industrial settings that are vilified for justifiable reasons there is increasing scrutiny on any solvents introduction to processes especially chlorinated types for good reason.

        I'm saying it's a dumb thing to do and totally misses the mark for educational videos.

        That guy who makes chips in his garage with nasty etch gasses, high voltage magnatrons, photoresist, and projector litho I'll admit is really cool and impressive but may pose a greater neighbor threat if a mishap happens.

        • girvo 10 months ago

          > …it will get repeated by less capable viewers in uncontrolled environments.


          I dunno, I’ve been active in underground chemistry forums for 15 years at this point, and the thing it drove home to me is that 99.9% of the people on there are armchair chemists, and only a tiny fraction actually do any home chemistry.

          It’s all exciting to read about and watch, but for the most part people steer clear (for sane, good reasons). I can’t imagine this will be any different, same with NileRed, same with Explosions and Fire.

          Agreed on the need to phase out chlorinated solvents, but again I’m much more worried about Joe Blow buying DCM paint stripper from the hardware store and not understand what it is than I am someone who does know what it is watching someone else synthesise chloroform.

          • jamesash 10 months ago

            I run a fairly well-known organic chemistry website. Occasionally I receive notes from amateur chemists who want advice on various aspects of lab prep. Sometimes they are amusing, like getting late night calls from amateur CBD chemists. Other times they are scary. Two of my correspondents turned out to be so completely in over their heads there was no helping them.

            One guy, a former electrical engineer, was making elemental chlorine and pirahna solution in his condo. The other was convinced he was close to finding a new drug for curing cancer - he sent me a Chemdraw file with impossible structures - and was hell bent on fluorinating a compound using DAST.

            I had to cut off all contact with both, lest it be seen that I was aiding and abetting their reckless behavior...

            • poulpy123 10 months ago

              > One guy, a former electrical engineer,

              I noticed it's often the engineers that are in over their head, more than regular people

          • ok_computer 10 months ago

            > Joe Blow buying DCM paint stripper

            That's what gets me too. I cannot believe how much apparent threat there is in popular media about getting cancer from ocean straws (I'm not a fan of polymer waste and single use but still) and people go to any hardware store buy cheap latex 'water borne' paint with a nasty ether & NMP, fertilizer, weed killer, TCPM paint stripper, new carpeting or furniture on a recurring basis, vinyl siding and flooring, and synthetic fabrics. Then turn around and think 'lol corporations are bad for making CD cases or whatever someone should really do something about that' or vilifying modern production technology that we've become dependent on for high value battery, cars, chips, and medical devices. Like how are advanced economies supposed to function if they lose capability to produce necessary inputs in-house to an extent.

            Anyway hardware stores are full of environmentally and health questionable materials, its not right. I think it has to do with societies' tendency to despise labor.

            Good point though, I digressed, I think the hill to climb to start something like one of these experiments is enough to dissuade most viewers from repeating.

          • sterlind 10 months ago

            I'm hoping that with mushrooms getting legalized here soon, we're on the path to where eventually I could get a hobby license to synthesize psychedelics on a small scale, the way some people brew beer for fun.

            I'm in the same boat as you I think. I got into ochem as a teenager reading BL and thee Hive, but never did anything with it other than read and fantasize. if it were legal I'd do it in a heartbeat, it's just not worth the risk to me.

            • girvo 10 months ago

              I did a BSc in Chem/Maths, and I’ve done certain synthesis ahem “experiment at home. But most of the really interesting novel ones I’ve wanted to try require more glassware and equipment than I can be bothered to acquire, even ignoring the legality aspect. Where I live it’s illegal to have quite a lot of glassware lol

        • sterlind 10 months ago

          > On the other hand, I always thought things like anarchist cookbook and erowid type stuff is great for knowledge sharing.

          I recently watched YouTube channel where a guy made phenethylamine from bitter almond oil (benzaldehyde) via the P2NP route. other videos featured anthranilic acid, steam distillation of sassafras, and GBL.

          I'm astounded he hasn't been banned or raided, but it was massively cool seeing him run these synths in the middle of some forest.

          • girvo 10 months ago

            bb.expert also has complete drug synthesis procedures up too!

adamsmith143 10 months ago

Undergrad in our lab was working after hours and once dropped an entire jug of choloroform which promptly exploded on the floor. He shat a brick and ran out of the building. Fire Department and Hazmat cleanup crews both showed up and shut down the entire building.

  • cinntaile 10 months ago

    Don't you usually only take what you need such that accidents like these can't happen?

    • l33t233372 10 months ago

      Presumably you take what you need from a larger container that can be dropped.

cwkoss 10 months ago

Is there a youtube channel all about how chemical waste is neutralized for disposal? What happens to the tub of very basic water and maybe some bleach? Just pour down the drain? What pHs are safe to pour down the drain? How is more complex waste, like containing pharmacological products or heavy metals, neutralized and disposed?

  • scheme271 10 months ago

    It all really depends. For liquid wastes, you probably want to get it close to neutral so that it doesn't mess up your plumbing if you pour it down the drain. For any complex organic or any inorganic stuff, you probably want to capture it and then send it to a chemical disposal facility.

jdlyga 10 months ago

Make sure you open an incognito window before clicking on this, or your YouTube recommendations will look weird for a bit

pstuart 10 months ago

My shrink used to prescribe me chloral hydrate and it was great. Unfortunately it was banned because of mistakes made by dentists in improper use.

I've long advocated for legalizing illicit drugs but stuff like this should also be of the individuals discretion.

Apparently simple to synthesize but I'm not sure I'm up for that.

Edit: Erowid FTW: https://erowid.org/archive/rhodium/chemistry/chloralhydrate....

poulpy123 10 months ago

I take advantage of this post to ask if there is any good youtube channel/website/books for chemistry experiments at home (so reasonably safe and without the need of a full lab)

35mm 10 months ago

Valerian tea might be a safer alternative.

pazimzadeh 10 months ago

can't you just mix bleach with ethanol?

  • kortex 10 months ago

    I'm a bit rusty (worked as a chemist 2011-2015 before going into compsci) but I believe that this reaction produces some chloroform (enough that you should not mix ethanol and bleach inadvertently), but mostly as a side-reaction. The main reaction will be oxidation to acetaldehyde and then acetate. But it's slow, you probably get a bunch of side-reactions, etc.

    Acetone is a facile haloform reagent because the carbonyl acidifies ("loosens") the alpha hydrogen which allows the chlorine to attack the carbon.

  • gus_massa 10 months ago

    You should ask a real Chemistry [1], but in case there is none nearby

    Organic reactions are a mess, and there are a lot of side reactions.

    My guess is that mixing ethanol and bleach produce a mix of chloroform and other stuff.

    Ethanol is

        H H
        | |
        | |
        H H
    and my guess is that the mix has a lot of the thing you get replacing the lash Hydrogen with Chloride

        H H
        | |
        | |
        H H
    Acetone has no -O-H so you probably don't get too much stuff like that.

    [1] I only have a specialization in Chemistry Secondary School, it's somewhat similar to 1 or 2 years of a Chemistry Major (of 5 years). I know enough to understand the explanation in the video, but not enough to write them. [I've used similar equipment for other experiments a long time ago. For example, the connector to the water at the top of the condenser, should it be pointing up instead of pointing to one side?]

tiku 10 months ago

My history on YouTube is suddenly very slow to load and not working correctly after watching this video..

bradwood 10 months ago

And his favourite pick-up line?

> Would you like to see the back of my van?

anthk 10 months ago

Just take a single melatonine pill. They're usually safe.