Drugs. We love to love them. Feeling tired? Sip some coffee. You’re stressed? Smoke a little bud. Feeling extra edgy? Drop some acid. Need something to brighten the monotony of driving or doing homework? Whip out the Juul. Want to look like a douchy 8th-grader? Rip your Juul in public. Or, better yet, talk about Juuling in front of strangers. Whatever your ailment, there exists a cure in the wet and wild world of drugs.
I think I can safely say that almost all of us here at Cornell have ingested some kind of drug at some point. And most of us hold opinions about which drug is the best. Of course, the merits of nearly all drugs are situation-dependent. It can be said that there is a time, place, and feeling for every drug. After all, nobody goes to a party to get lit smoking cigs. That’s the domain of alcohol. Similarly, if you wanted to hunker down and get some work done, you probably wouldn’t bring along your shot glass. A Monster or a cup of coffee would be better suited to that occasion.
Still, everyone has their favorite drug, and some drugs are definitely better than others. Better is an ambiguous term, and that can’t be helped. As of yet, there’s no official index for rating the pleasure induced by ingesting drugs. And since I’m not writing a dissertation on the subject, I’m not going to try to make one. I will, however, use the slightly sketchy ratings compiled by the Global Drug Survey.
Alcohol (GDS Pleasure/Prevalence Rating: 5/92.69%):
Well. This is undoubtedly the Big Papa of the drug family. He’s rowdy, he’s everywhere at once, and you can be damn sure that he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Alcohol is the optimal drug for many because it’s legal for most, easy to ingest and intake control is as simple as looking down at a label. Furthermore, the response to alcohol is relatively uniform. While different people may have varying reactions to ingesting cannabis, partaking in alcohol almost always results in the trademark buzz and loss of inhibitions, barring, of course, excessive consumption. Getting drunk can help to let loose and forget about your problems. One freshman, who asked not to be named because he is underage, says he prefers alcohol to all other drugs because when he “let[s] the liquor do the thinking it eases the pain.” The major downsides to alcohol include the possibility of death from over-consumption, hangovers, and the ease of losing control of one’s actions while under the influence.
Nicotine (GDS Pleasure/Prevalence Rating Nonexistent):
Nicotine was once the cool Grandpa of the drug family. With the surge in popularity of e-cigarettes and other vaporizers (cough, cough, Juuls), it has become the annoying little brother. In private, he’s fine. Get him in public, and suddenly your face is locked into a repulsed cringe. That being said, Juuls and other vaporizers are great for ripping while bored or while under the influence of other drugs. They’re discreet, they’re convenient and they provide a good, albeit transient, head rush. Most students here, if they do ingest nicotine at all, generally do so via vapes. According to a sophomore I spoke to, “dip is probably the second most common [form of nicotine ingestion behind vaping]…but a lot of people think it’s gross…I’ve only ever seen any of my friends smoke cig[arette]s while drunk.” The only real bummer to ingesting nicotine is the fact that it may cause cancer.
Cannabis (GDS Pleasure/Prevalence Rating: 48/63.14%):
Cannabis. This is the cool cousin of the drug family. For many, the preferred form of ingestion is smoking, although sundry other methods exist, including eating ‘edibles’ and drinking cannabis-infused beverages. This is a drug better suited for a chill social setting, as opposed to boisterous gatherings. Most find the effects of cannabis to be more fun than alcohol, which essentially just impairs your senses and dampens your cognition. A Cornell student is partial to cannabis because of those effects, citing one experience in which he “smoked [himself] into the fourth dimension [and]… [saw] everything from outside [his] body.” Another anonymous student, slightly more coherent in his explanation of his affinity for the drug, said cannabis “is more fun, less damaging and easier to use than all other drugs I’ve tried thus far…[all] while being non-physically addictive and removing risk of overdose.” As the legality of cannabis becomes increasingly common, cannabis will become more widely accepted and casually used. Major downside: it’s still illegal in most places.
Although the Big 3 — alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis — may be the most popular drugs, there are many others worth mentioning. Caffeine, in my opinion too mundane to have been given a whole paragraph, nevertheless is used on a daily basis by countless Cornell students to sustain their focus. Anna Lifsec ’21 appreciates the psychological value of ingesting caffeine in the for me of coffee. “I know lots of people who really benefit from…getting a large coffee and…sitting down and grinding,” says Lifsec. “Something about making that purchase…makes students say to themselves, ‘Now I’m going to be really productive.’”
A freshman I spoke to prefers LSD to others drugs, explaining “it’s not inherently dangerous unless you take it in large amounts…and it provides new perspectives about…your purpose.” The feeling of “being handed control of your own perception” is what a junior told me is his reason for favoring acid. An L.A. native here at Cornell says DMT, a powerful psychedelic, is seconded by jenkem, an unusual hallucinogen fermented from human waste, as his favorite drug. “[Jenkem] is cheap, easy to use…[and] can be made easily with cat spray (cat piss, essentially) substituted in for human excrement.”
For those of you who don’t use drugs, or use them sparingly, this article may have felt a bit unrelatable or intimidating, but you don’t need drugs to be cool or to have fun. People don’t say it — they may even try to say the opposite — but most have immense respect for those who abstain from drugs. They couldn’t do it, so they try to pressure you into caving. Well, I say kudos to you, and keep on keeping on!
Christian Baran is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. Honestly runs every other Friday this semester. He can be reached at [email protected]