When I was volunteering at the hostel, a Mexican man came to stay there. We chatted a bit, he was in Montreal to participate in a clinical study. Clinical studies are investigations conducted to evaluate the safety, effectiveness, and optimal dosage of a drug, medical device, procedure, or therapeutic approach. They pay a decent amount of money but it requires a lot of schedule flexibility because you must be checked in several days (non-consecutive) into a clinic and stay overnight.
The idea had a lot of appeal to me. I could work on creative projects while being interned and under observation. Ever since I was a young professional I've wanted to have a low stress, low attention job so that I could put that effort and attention into my creative work. My romantic idea was being a night-shift security guard who did creative computer work during his shift.
On the downside... I take a lot of care of my body and I'm in excellent health. Making my body available for testing unproven medications sounds risky. This is what I thought at first, but then I noticed my hypocrisy.
Out of curiosity I've consumed single boxes of anti-depressants which weren't prescribed (Welbutrin, Prozac, Paroxetine and fluvoxamine) just to see how it felt--they all just give you nasty side effects if you are healthy. I've also tried a bunch of nootropics (Ritalin, Modafinil, Choline, Piracetam) which seem to give me an initial boost but then flattens to normality. I've tried ED medication (Viagra and Cialis) and I'm not ashamed to admit that I like them. Oh, and I almost forgot the recreative drugs I've tried: LSD and mushrooms (couple of times); peyote, cocaine, MDMA and ayahuasca (once each); and Marihuana (regularly).
One time I found a single unknown pill sitting on the ledge of a window at a friend's house, I promptly put it in my mouth and swallowed it. I immediately wondered "why did I do that?" (it didn't have any noticeable effect).
But these experiments belong to a former life. I don't regret doing them, the knowledge can be useful, but these days I try to get what I need through nutrition and spirituality rather than medication and drugs. But I still dabble into it, last time was three months ago, when I found my grandmother's morphine based pills (dilaudid). As I'm not in pain I felt nothing. Then I read people use it recreationally while getting drunk. I drank three beers and took two pills and thought it was a pleasant drunkardness. It felt harmless, but that's the trap. I once read that's the trick with opioids, they feel subtle and harmless but that's how they creep unto you.
Participating in clinical studies would also force me to leave my marihuana habit. I have a love-hate relationship with weed. When sober I tend to drive myself to stress because I'm continually seeking to accomplish more. Weed is what allows me to take the foot of the gas pedal and enjoy the scenery. I notice many more things while high, but I drive very slow. Sometimes I have something important to do yet I don't want to do it. To quiet the conflict in my mind I will smoke a joint and not-doing wins.
The reason why I'm writing more in the last few days is because I've stopped smoking. Dreams are starting to come back. I don't remember them yet, but I experience them. I'm tackling many tasks and responsibilities that I avoided by being high. It's my fourth day smoke free and I only see benefits, but I know two weeks from now I might develop a rash in my face that appears when I'm under stress. Self-inflicted stress. To counter this I must meditate a lot.
Another counterpoint to the "making my body available to test unproven medication" is that I'm well-versed in reading and understanding medical literature. Some of the best paid studies are for mental illness and cancer drugs. These carry the highest risk and I will simply not do them. The clinical study I signed up for is pain and fever medication, probably a generic version of a well known medication, but I will only know that when I go to my first appointment.
Another thing that makes me queasy is collaborating with big pharma. It's not unlike working for a tobacco or liquor company. Big pharma doesn't give a shit about health, the opioid crisis in United States (and Canada to a lesser degree) comes from big pharma pushing opioids and covering up their nasty tracks.
But I also want to see things from the inside. The mexican guy told me he was working with a filmmaker to expose some of their practices. Clinical study participants are supposed to be healthy and in decent shape. The guy told me many of the participants are homeless and unhealthy in the intuitive biological sense. Their bloodwork and weight might come within normal ranges, but us humans have an intuitive sense of health for humans, animals and plants. We know when a plant is struggling or when a dog is sick and he perceived this in other participants, they are not really healthy but simply fulfill the checklist of parameters for normal health.
I've written enough and I'm not high, I have an urgency to get to work. Bye for now.