TikTok is a breeding ground for the wildest trends. Earlier this week, the ‘choking challenge’ surfaced on the platform encouraging users to choke themselves until they blacked out. The life-threatening trend was quick to be reported and wiped off the platform. So why is TikTok blowing up with vitamin C supplements lately? Does it work? And even if it does work, should we be worried?
When you see TikTokers wave packets of vitamin C supplements at the camera, you would probably think they’re onto some wellness trend. Well, you could say they’re sort of into health and wellness. Just that there is another substance involved to give it a little extra push: recreational drugs.
TikTok’s ‘vitamin C challenge’ typically involves the intake of one or two packets of Emergen-C (a powdered supplement containing high doses of B and C vitamins) either mixed with water or consumed directly—in extreme cases even snorted. Now, the key here is the timing, in order to ‘feel the difference’ you’ve got to consume Emergen-C half an hour before smoking up any kind of recreational drugs.
‘The difference’ you would essentially feel after jumping on this trend is described by its glassy-eyed users as the “ultimate high.” So what does this combination—which has been blowing up over the past month on the platform—actually do? Why is vitamin C the specific choice? Most importantly, does it work?
Users who have tried the combination are calling it a “magical tolerance reset button.” Consuming the vitamin C supplement half an hour before smoking supposedly lowers your tolerance hence landing you higher than a kite. The combination has been equated to the idea of mangoes intensifying the high from smoking marijuana.
So, does it work? Those with actual medical degrees don’t think so. Drugs.com lists no interactions, dangerous or otherwise, between cannabis and vitamin C. In fact, the only proven way to drop your tolerance, according to the source, is to avoid smoking for a long time. The Bluntness further links the enhanced effects of recreational drugs from eating mangoes to a compound called terpenes. However, this phenomenon is not related to the fruit’s vitamin C content whatsoever.
But most TikTok users who have tested out the theory themselves, swear by its conclusion. “Hey TikTok, it worked,” they are heard saying on-camera after filming their grins and finding themselves sleeping on the curb outside the next morning.
If you head over to Reddit for further explanation from “actual stoners rather than pseudo ones you would find on TikTok,” the insights regarding the trend are endless. “LSD resets your weed tolerance by changing how weed affects you, shrooms can do the opposite and make weed feel less intense,” one user wrote. “Vitamin C on the other hand won’t do anything, the antioxidants may help the high feel purer but it won’t change the high in any way.”
“Emergen-C is something my family has used for decades to avoid colds and keep our immune system strong, they’re not gonna get you higher because of the Vitamin C in it,” another user explained, labelling the combination as a placebo effect thereby recommending a bag of nuts or mango slices instead if you “desperately want to get things going.”
On the surface the TikTok challenge looks relatively harmless, however, Parentology tracks its potential of influencing an overarching trend in itself. “According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, regular marijuana use in teens can impair brain function and is often associated with decreased school performance and dropping out,” the article mentioned, revealing the potential of the viral trend in “encouraging users to push the limits of their drug abuse.” The challenge further manifests into concern when users consume multiple packets of these supplements out of frustration.
With that said, vitamin C might just be your go-to for its original benefits like immunity boosting, skin tone correction and prevention of iron deficiencies. Though there is no medical harm in trying out the combination, it’s always better to be mindful before jumping on such viral trends. After all, TikTok once licked down toilet seats and subway floors for clout.
On Wednesday 10 March 2021, lawmakers in Mexico approved a bill to legalise recreational marijuana, which could lead to the country becoming the world’s largest cannabis market, leaving the US stuck between two pot-selling neighbours.
The 316 to 129 vote took place in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, and came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional, as well as more than three years after the country legalised medicinal cannabis.
On Wednesday night, the chamber approved the bill in general terms before moving on to a lengthy discussion of possible revisions introduced by individual lawmakers. In its final form, though, the measure is widely expected to get approved by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has previously signalled support for legalisation.
The news means that adults will be able to smoke marijuana and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home. It will also grant licenses for producers (from small farmers to commercial growers) to cultivate and sell the crop.
“With this, the false belief that cannabis is part of Mexico’s serious public health problems is left behind,” said Simey Olvera, a lawmaker with the governing Morena party. If everything goes to plan, Mexico would join Canada and Uruguay in a small but growing list of countries that have legalised marijuana in the Americas, potentially adding further momentum to the legalisation movement in the region.
In the US, Democrats in the Senate have also promised to scrap federal prohibition of the drug this year. Speaking about this potentiality, John Walsh, director of drug policy for the advocacy group Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) said: “North America is heading toward legalisation,” adding that “Mexico, given its size and its worldwide reputation for being damaged by the drug war, to take this step is enormously significant.”
However in Mexico, the bill’s announcement has led to division—critics say it is unlikely to change much about the country’s infamous rates of cartel-fuelled violence, and argue that it is unwelcome when nearly two-thirds of people oppose legalising marijuana, according to recent polling.
“It’s a political fad,” said Damián Zepeda Vidales, a senator with the opposition National Action Party and one of the bill’s most vocal detractors. “It’s a matter for politicians, for an elite that’s now empowered in Congress and in government that wants to impose a way of life on society.”
Security experts further agree that the law’s impact on violence will likely be minimal. With more than 15 American states having legalised marijuana, it has become a small part of the Mexican drug trafficking business, with cartels focusing on products like fentanyl and methamphetamines.
On the other side, advocates of the legalisation of marijuana say that the bill is too limited, even if it represents a symbolic breakthrough in the push to end a drug war that has cost an estimated 150,000 lives, according to the Council on Foreign Relations and as reported by The New York Times.
Of course, legalisation is an important step toward building peace in a country like Mexico, but many fear that this bill falls short of achieving that. Furthermore, while the bill instructs that small farmers and indigenous people be given priority in licensing, it completely overlooks the fact that most of Mexico’s farmers have grown marijuana for decades and often end up in the middle of conflicts between cartels.
This means that, without additional state policies to tackle organised crime, particularly in areas where marijuana is grown, such requirements may not have a meaningful impact for farmers. That being said, many Mexican entrepreneurs are excited about the news. With more than 120 million people, the country would represent the largest marijuana market in the world by population.
Marijuana could therefore easily become big business in Mexico, a potential financial lift for an economy badly hit by the COVID-19 crisis. But here again, another issue could appear—activists fear that the law will favour large corporations, giving them access to the entire marijuana supply chain (from seed to sale), and leaving small-scale producers out of the lucrative market.
The bill will allow individual users to carry up to 28 grams of marijuana and grow six cannabis plants at home. Cannabis will also be available for purchase by adults aged over 18 at authorised businesses, and grown at larger scale by licensed groups. Medical marijuana, which Mexico legalised in 2017, will be regulated separately by the health ministry.
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