The effects of drinking absinthe has been long debated. To say that the drink is controversial is an understatement. In fact, consumption of the Green Fairy was banned for a time in many countries.
Absinthe is a very popular and controversial drink also known as the “Green Fairy”. This drink is anise flavored which is extracted from the herb, Artemisia absinthium or “grande wormwood”, green anise and Florence fennel. The sour, bitter and aniseed taste came from the combination of all the herbs and ingredients such as licorice, star anise, angelica root, hyssop and sweet flag. It was made in Switzerland by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire and it was originally used to treat several kinds of illnesses. It was even used by French soldiers for malaria in the year 1840’s.
Back then, there have been many wild tales on the effect of absinthe to people. Apart from being just an alcoholic drink, there are some known secondary effects; however, these alleged hallucinogenic absinthe effects differ from one person to another. However, there are claims of some kind of heightened clarity of mind and vision, influenced by the alcoholic drink. These sensations attributed to the spirit were the reasons why famous artists and writers were known to drink absinthe. Most people said that these effects came from a natural occurring substance in the wormwood plant called the thujone, known to block Gaba-A receptors of the brain which is why the mind fires up to its maximum capacity.
Looking back, the so-called effects of absinthe were never scientifically proven but it was still banned in the year 1915 due to the presumption of its hallucinogenic effects on the human mind. Nevertheless, a scientific study in 1970 reported that the effects of thujone are actually similar to those produced by tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which is the main chemical found in marijuana.
Purported Absinthe Side Effects
Experiments were conducted and reports stated that the effects of absinthe really were worse than any common alcoholic drink. There have also been actual reports of clinical effects of absinthe alcohol addiction called absinthism. The clinical effects were told to be seizures, speech impairment, brain damage, sleep disorders, mental prostration, auditory and visual hallucinations and even death. However, the modern scientific agreement seems to contrast the talked-about absinthe reputation, since they say that the clinical effects could simply be traced back to the effects of alcohol or other toxic compounds that could possibly have leaked in during faulty distillation. The negative effects of thujone can only be factored in if consumed in large amounts. Therefore, even if absinthe was banned, the drink was no more dangerous than the other spirit drinks out there.
Corinna Wu even tried to explain the unusual effects of absinthe through an article entitled “Absinthe Makes Neurons Run Wild”, found in the Science News Magazine, where points of research about the effects of wormwood in the human brain was described. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, it was found that wormwood, along with the other ingredients in absinthe, causes “CNS cholinergic receptor binding activity”. According to scientists, this has the effect of improving the intellectual functions of the brain.