Citation: Metafractal. "A Stupid Mistake: An Experience with Caffeine (extract) (exp43308)". Erowid.org. Sep 4, 2007. erowid.org/exp/43308
No-Doz tablets had spread through my prestigious college like wildfire. First someone brought a packet to school, then everyone followed. Soon kids were taking three or four at a time. I'd taken a few and was amazed by how fast they acted, how imporved my concentration became, and how euphoric simple caffeine could be. Soon, however, taking the tablets was not enough. I talked with a friend and marveled about how fast the caffeine would hit me if I insnufflated a tablet, but we were both worried about the damage that the binders and other impurities would do to one's nostrils. 'No problem,' I said, 'Give me a few tablets and I'll extract the caffeine from them.' And so I did.
The extraction procedure was simple, and I was happy with how scotch-free it went. I didn't want to use toxic solvents for something going up my nose, so decided to stick with simple water. I took four tablets and grinded them thoroughly in a mortar and pestle. I then boiled a small quantity (~50mL) of water. I poured the boiling hot water into the mortar and pestle, just enough to cover the volume of the powder about two times, stirring vigorously. Quickly, whilst the water was still boiling hot, I decanted the solution onto a glass plate, leaving the binder in the mortar and pestle.
Immediately, the caffeine crystals began to fall out of the solution. Beautiful, white-glass crystals. The small amount of wax binder which had made it to the plate floated to the top. It was pippetted off and discarded. The plate was then placed on the hot plate on very low heat, with a halogen lamp above it. The crystals took deceptively long to dry. They appeared dry after about 20 minutes but, under these conditions, required about four hours to dry fully. I crushed the white crystals and put them into a little plastic vial where they stayed for a few days, until I decided to use them.
I had a physics test, which, in retrospect, I was actually well prepared for. I was feeling lethargic an hour before it, though, and I'd read an experience report in which one user gleamed about how snorted no-doz tablets (unpurified) had allowed him to study and concentrate. I hoped that caffeine would pick me up, make me feel focused and well rested for the duration of the exam. How wrong I would be. I ventured to the toilets with a friend who guarded the door. Though he said that he'd try some, he backed away when he saw the subsance. I tapped out a large pile of fluffy white powder onto my flat thumb. Unfortunately, I had no better method of measuring the substance. Using my other hand to cover my right nostril, I lowered my head to the powdered thumb and inhaled deeply through my nose.
It took about five minutes to come on fully, and was very different from taking a no-doz tablet. I felt a rush of energy, a tensing up of my muscles and body, rather than the desire to laugh and run around like the tablets had given me. I paced around a lot, losing my friend and briskly walking up and down the corridoor. I then ventured outside and found myself pestering my classmates every five minutes to go to physics, for twenty minutes before the we had to go there. I was tense, but only mildly worried.
I came to the class, set up, and began the exam. I started out strongly, and got through the first half of the test in about twenty minutes. Soon, however, I faltered. I proceeded recklessly, not checking my answers. About half way through the hour-and-a-half long test, the positive effects of the caffeine seemed to be wearing off. I was getting lost, unable to think clearly, and too shaky to draw a proper diagram let alone think about what was going on in the question. I asked to go to the bathroom, where, parched and flustered, I sucked water from the grimy tap and poured it on my face. I tried to calm myself, to focus myself. I tried, but to no avail. I was tense; muddled.
On the topic which I was instructing the others in just a day before, I got the second-lowest score in the class. The errors that set me back were the stupidest errors that I have ever made. I got vertical and horizontal mixed up in my mind. I used 2.4 for the value of half of 5.4. I couldn't count squares, for christ's sake! It was so foolish of me to use this drug for the first time before an exam. If I had just had faith in my natural ability to know what to do, if I had been calm and centered and able to stand back, examine, and visualise the probem, I may have gotten a near perfect score - there was nothing that I didn't understand. I tried to comfort myself, telling myself that it was just an exam, but I felt seriously down about it for the next couple of days.
Caffeine, taken like this, does not heighten concentration. Whilst no-doz tablets can be useful to this end, pure snorted caffeine is far too 'jagged' an experience. It brings me up hard, and throws me down hard. This experience made me realize just how valuable thinking calmly is. Too much caffeine will make me tense and volatile.
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