Hamilton Morris is an American journalist, science writer, researcher, and editor who lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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I've studied psychoactive drugs in academic and clandestine labs around the world and have been making documentaries about drugs and their impact on society for close to a decade. I've released five hour-long episode of my new show "Hamilton's Pharmacopeia" on Viceland and the season finale airs this Wednesday at 10:00 PM. You can watch the season premiere for free on YouTube and a trailer for the finale here.
EDIT: Damn there are a lot of questions, I'm going to eat a sandwich and brb.
What psychoactive substances will you never try? What draws the line for you?
I'm not in a huge rush to try 4-chloroamphetamine or 6-hydroxydopamine or domoic acid or ciguatoxin.
how many pairs of white pants do you own?
Until very recently two identical pairs, but the seat of one pair ripped and now I only have one. It never ceases to amaze me how engaged people are with my pants.
Do people on twitter ever successfully answer your random questions about organic synthesis?
Yes. I really like the idea of crowdsourcing research. Obviously the signal-to-noise ratio is going to be heavily skewed toward noise but within the hordes of unthinking commenters there really are smart people who sometimes have amazing insight into very specialized research problems.
It's possible pulverizer marijuana for later snort?
I'm extremely glad you asked. The answer is yes, here is some supporting information: http://www.vice.com/read/ask-hamilton-and-jason-pulverizer-marijuana-for-later-snort
Do you have any intention of returning to JRE or possibly doing the Duncan Trussel Family Hour soon?
I'd love to do either. I emailed Joe a link to the piece about weaponized methaqualone in South Africa but never heard back.
Are you single?
In a time where Big Pharma is being brought to task about drugs and their impact on society; what, in your opinion, constituted the most nefarious of drugs from a company standpoint in your research?
As a general rule I don't believe in blaming dealers for problems associated with drug use, assuming there is no misrepresentation of the product. This applies to all forms of drug dealer from the psychiatrist to the pharmaceutical company to the Chinese RC vendor to the stereotypical pusher in an alley. I believe we all must take responsibility for the drugs we ingest wherever they come from. For that reason I hesitate to wag my finger at Purdue over rampant overprescription and use of oxycontin.
That said, the cases of fen-phen and benfluorex are truly horrifying chapters in medical history. The manufacturers knew these drugs could cause irreversible cardiac fibrosis that would not be detectible by the user until it was too late and sold them anyway. It's unacceptable any time a pharmaceutical company suppresses information that would allow patients and physicians to make informed decisions about the drug.
Yo male commenter here! Did you solve that murder yet? How's the book going? Can you do more podcasts?
The book is going slowly because making six hours of TV for Viceland took a really long time and pretty much occupied the entirety of my life until this week. I hope to resume work on the book soon, the murder is medium-solved.
What's it like being roommates with Thomas?
He's the best roommate I've ever had. I live alone now and Thomas lives with his girlfriend, but it was a magical time for both of us.
Why does carfentanil exist?
Because some chemists at Janssen pharmaceuticals synthesized it in the early 1970s and it had spectacularly high potency, which medicinal chemists often like, and it was approved and manufactured for veterinary use because it's difficult to anesthetize large animals such as elephants for medical treatment and transportation. Just because a drug is potent dosen't mean it's bad, all drugs–potent or weak–should be carefully dosed before use.
How do you keep your white clothes so clean when you go out?
I don't. A new Vice on HBO piece in which I travel down the Congo river searching for rare Cannabis strains will prove that.
What are some lesser-known drugs that you think deserve more research and experimentation?
Gaboxadol, it's a conformationally constrained derivative of muscimol that's a truly remarkable hypnotic and, I believe, should have been approved for pharmaceutical use. I wrote an article about it for Harper's that is easy to track down online.
What do your parents think of your work?
They are both very supportive, watch my show, and apparently like it. I've actually heard of a few people's parents liking the show, it's a hit with the 'rents.
Hi Hamilton. I am a longtime viewer and I love watching all of your stuff. I heard you had some interest in kratom and I am a long-time Kratom user. Have you tried it ? And how do you feel about the government trying to ban it?
Yes, I have tried it. I find the chemistry, pharmacology, and social impact interesting, but the qualitative effects were not anything extraordinary in my limited experience. I found it euphoric and somewhat similar to tramadol in the sense that it seemed to have less sedative character than other opioids, it's fitting that certain misrepresented kratom extracts were actually made from O-desmethyltramadol, I've even analyzed such an extract myself so it really does happen.
By the way, thank you for making orgo fun.
Thanks, I really like hearing that. (Seriously.)
Any thoughts on an episode about diethyl ether?
Have you ever inhaled DiEtO? It's not really that interesting, I think the smell is beautiful and I love to watch the roiling vapors but the actual intoxication is not all that different from EtOH, though it's shorter acting and perhaps more euphoric at an otherwise equivalent level of intoxication.