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Does Absinthe Really Make You Hallucinate?

Always an interesting topic when discussing the allure of absinthe is that it makes you hallucinate. Absinthe was believed to turn people, even children, into criminals. Absinthe has even been blamed for murders, that in itself is a another lengthy topic. Oscar Wilde famously claims to see the tulips, popular movies such as 2004 teen comedy EuroTrip reinforce the hallucinating effects of absinthe by introducing the green fairy and many other tales lead you to believe that absinthe is not just an alcohol; it’s a drug. Are the rumors true, does absinthe really make you hallucinate?

true-merchant

My Experience with Absinthe

I can tell you from personal experience, absinthe did not make me hallucinate. Back in 2007 I traveled to Europe and on my to-do list was trying absinthe for the first time. This was right around the same time the almost century long ban of absinthe was lifted in the United States. I was in a shady strip club that seemed to be more of a bordello than anything else. When I saw absinthe on the menu, I immediately ordered it. It was served to me with a rocks glass full of orange juice and the absinthe was separate in a short stemmed wine sniffer glass. The absinthe was lit on fire and rotated within the wine sniffer for about 20-30 seconds, it was them poured directly into the rocks glass full of orange juice and I then had to drink that like a shot. The wine sniffer glass originally containing the absinthe was placed face down on the table so the the “fumes could not escape.” After taking the shot, with a tiny straw I then had to inhale the remaining fumes from the wine sniffer.

What happened next was nothing incredible. Pictured above is an incredibly attractive absinthe-inspired selfie I took walking the streets of Riga, Latvia. I did not hallucinate but I did become incredibly drunk as the night went on and I continued to order these shots. Not entirely sure what time we left the bordello but it was right around the same time our hotel started their continental breakfast. After drunkenly destroying a tower of plates at the hotel, I guess I decided it was bed time. Hours later I woke up on the floor of our hotel room with no recollection of how the night ended. All I had left in my wallet was the phone number to a beautiful Ukrainian blonde named Oksana. It was just another typical night of drinking for me. Oscar Wilde, I call bullshit!

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After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world. I mean disassociated. Take a top hat. You think you see it as it really is. But you don’t because you associate it with other things and ideas.If you had never heard of one before, and suddenly saw it alone, you’d be frightened, or you’d laugh. That is the effect absinthe has, and that is why it drives men mad. Three nights I sat up all night drinking absinthe, and thinking that I was singularly clear-headed and sane. The waiter came in and began watering the sawdust. The most wonderful flowers, tulips, lilies and roses, sprang up, and made a garden in the cafe. Don’t you see them?’ I said to him. Mais non, monsieur, il nây a rien. (No sir, there is nothing.) – Oscar Wilde

The Truth Behind Absinthe

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The chemical that’s taken all the­ blame for absinthe’s hallucinogenic reputation is called thujone, which is a component of wormwood. Most people believe that it is wormwood alone that causes the hallucinations and will often mention that when the topic arises. In very high doses, thujone can be toxic. It is a GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) inhibitor, meaning it blocks GABA receptors in the brain, which can cause convulsions if you ingest enough of it. It occurs naturally in many foods, but never in doses high enough to hurt you. Don’t worry, the scientists have looked into all of this, we are safe. With that being said, there is also not enough thujone contained within absinthe to hurt you, either. This happens during the distillation process. Truth is, you would die from alcohol poisoning long before you would be affected by the thujone. Modern science has also proven that there is no evidence at all that thujone can cause hallucinations, even in high doses. Still as a part of the absinthe ban being lifted, United States imported absinthe can no longer contain thujone.

So can absinthe actually make you hallucinate? The real answer is no, but it will contribute to one hell of a night!
@PatHanavan

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25 Comments

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  3. lance said:

    The real stuff does make you hallucinate. You have to get the right stuff and it’s really hard to find in Europe. They have a bunch of different types there that are all diluted, but there is one that does have the original affects. I don’t know what it’s called but the real stuff is hard to find. Anything under $50 for a 750ml means it’s fake and the diluted version of it. I had half a 750 ml, which it usually takes me a whole 750 ml to even get drunk and I was hammered tripping my ass off it. I went to Europe and tried about 10 different types. Only one of them was the real deal and it came with a warning about hallucinating while on it.

    • Getitright said:

      Hahaha! Man, any person who gets duped into buying something they think is absinthe to hallucinate is just getting taken. There are literally zero kinds of absinthe that will make you trip, and that’s including the “real stuff” you seem to mention.

      You realize you can still buy sealed preban absinthe, right? It’s expensive as shit but is about as “real” as you can get. And no…it does not cause hallucinations. You need to do a bit more research lance…

      • YouGotIt said:

        Getitright got it right. these people are born every day and they increasing in number.

  4. Luke said:

    As a coneaur of anything enjoyable l saw nothing exceeds like success w.s burroughs

    • tim said:

      Really , why do you have a problem with same sex attracted folks ? . Is it because you are sureptiously or latent same sex attracted ? . 99 times out of 100 , such is the reason . . .

    • mike the molly giver said:

      yep that happens to but thats not the absinthe thats probably just ur scizophrenia awakening in ur cerebral cortex from drug use

  5. mike the molly giver said:

    wrong. i had a real 750ml bottle from france with the fairy on the front holding the absinthe green drink i drank about 5 shots of it which i shouldnt have straight and it was so disgusting the taste everything about it. in about a few minutes i kept getting tracers like from LSD but not anything powerful compared to LSD and saw yellowish spots i was glad when i came down from it and dumped the entire bottle. i had the real shit u people know nothing if u say u cant trip off it ur just lying or to drunk to realize.

  6. Munky said:

    Im drinking it currently and i can tell you that. Drinking alot does cause strange visions im not into the whole blogging thing or bitching on the internet but it does the trick not like shrooms but somewhat similar

  7. BRAVO77 said:

    At a Party, My Wife had 2 beers and 3 shots of Absinthe (Neat) within 1 hour thanks to a friend. Mind you she is 5’1 and 120lbs. About an hour after her last Shot She didnt remember anything that evening. I however remembered everything. I didn’t drink as I was the Designated Driver. This Stuff is Wicked. We got a Bottle from Chezch as a gift. I don’t think she was hallucinating, But she got more than just flirty. Flirty and playfully is her norm. This went way beyond that. She was very touchy feely and very direct. To the point that I dont think she could have or would have bern able to stop the advance of another man after drinking this mess. She was not slurring her words or having any trouble walking or keeping a conversation but she was Doing things and acting in ways I have never seen before. In a world of her own. After 2 hours of this I was pissed and I insisted that we leave. Within 10 minutes of leaving in the car she started to crash and went from fairy land to Full bitch mode. Answering my questions with full vulgarity. We had never heard of or tried this drink and Will never try it again. Be careful. This Is Wicked Stuff. Especially if you have never tried it before.

  8. BRAVO77 said:

    At a Party, My Wife had 2 beers and 3 shots of Absinthe (Neat) within 1 hour thanks to a friend. Mind you she is 5’1 and 120lbs. About an hour after her last Shot She didnt remember anything that evening. I however remembered everything. I didn’t drink as I was the Designated Driver. This Stuff is Wicked. We got a Bottle from Chezch as a gift. I don’t think she was hallucinating, But she got more than just flirty. Flirty and playfully is her norm. This went way beyond that. She was very touchy feely and very direct. To the point that I dont think she could have or would have been able to stop the advance of another man after drinking this mess. She was not slurring her words or having any trouble walking or keeping a conversation but she was Doing things and acting in ways I have never seen before. In a world of her own. After 2 hours of this I was pissed and I insisted that we leave. Within 10 minutes of leaving in the car she started to crash and went from fairy land to Full bitch mode. Answering my questions with full vulgarity. We had never heard of or tried this drink and Will never try it again. Be careful. This Is Wicked Stuff. Especially if you have never tried it before.

  9. Andrew said:

    This article plagiarizes an article from Science. That leads me to believe you’ve never actually had Absinthe and you’re full of shit.

  10. Flip said:

    Absinthe is extremely high in alcohol content , that’s why people get tore out the frame on it, when drunk u might think anything is possible. I enjoy hallucinogens, I made a stil and condensed wormwood I grew 5 Times the amount called for from the pharmico poea recipe , with star anise found in pernot, it was strong and almost intolerable however passed out after a couple shots and did have strange dreams. Kind of dmt after affects. Anyone wants a Trippy drunk , shoot ever clear while peaking on blotter and take a rip if DMT send u to the alpha-jerk

  11. Jay said:

    Are there special glasses to drink out of? If so what do they look like? Do you mix it with anything? My niece wants to try this and wants me to drink it with her

  12. Morty said:

    If you hallucinate off absinthe no matter where it comes from does not make you hallucinate I’ve had it from all over the world and every different kind makes you feel kind of hard like year little of your mind but it does not make you hallucinate and if it did they probably spiked it was some mescaline or something and laughed at the dumb Americans… I wish I wasn’t make you hallucinate

  13. Morty said:

    I’ve drink quite a bit of absence from all over the world and I wouldn’t say it does not makes you hallucinate but it does give you a mind Buzz kind of trippy feeling on top of being drunk and it’s a completely different type of alcohol intoxication with absinthe from my experience which no Pro I saw a question above yes they do have absent the glasses and absinthe spoons and you melt sugar and do the absinthe or something that was the real stuff that I did I did a lot of people that weren’t from the US and it was awesome but it wasn’t like I too it’s acid

  14. Cheri said:

    I’ve drank it one time and the only way to stop the burn in the back of the throat was to take a spoonful of yogurt directly after taking the shot… Worked perfectly

  15. Guy said:

    I suspect that the same people who believe that Absinthe will induces hallucinations after a few drinks, are the same people who believe that Jagermeister contains Opium.

    Just your average run of the mill representative of a placebo effect, who will believe anything that anyone tells them.

  16. Anonymous said:

    My first legal purchase of alcohol here in the states was a bottle of absinthe the day I turned 21. I had always wanted to try it when I was younger so when I saw that van Gogh edition of Absente 55 in the store that day I thought to myself it would be a memorable purchase. Now I was never much of a heavy drinker before I was 21 but I did experiment with psychoactive substances on a scale that most people couldn’t even imagine. I’ve experimented with all kinds of “test chemicals” and even became well versed in ethnobotany. I could identify a multitude of plant life in this part of the country that could be used to achieve psychoactive effects. And did. I even got my hands on some Taiwanese alchohol that had opioids in it (which I found out after the fact). My guess is that they used poppies as a key ingredient. Suffice to say, I was not ignorant to the would a hallucinogens. And so, when I downed that first drink of absinthe I definitely noticed effects unlike those offered by other traditional alcoholic beverages. Colors had a strange hue to them and figures seemed to have a sharper form. I understand that this product does have certain regulations here in the states but I also know what a mild psychoactive experience looks like. So I submit to those who do not believe absinthe has hallucinogenic properties that perhaps it is not the lack of these properties but rather your perception of a hallucinagenic experience or even the degree in which these experiences are possible.

    • Clauds said:

      It’s most likely because they assume hallucinogenic experiences include seeing things that aren’t actually there. For those who’ve never done psychedelics (yes the illegal ones…) you would understand that a psychedelic experience would be that of colour enhancement, touch enhancement and ‘shaky’ vision. So they assume drinking absinthe will make them see spooky stuff like images floating and visions.

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