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TEN LEGAL WAYS TO GET HIGH
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Lettuce, despite its limp reputation, seems to have a shady narcotic history. Medieval dieticians, according to their theories of diet and personality, recommended the leaf as an antidote to fever and choleric dispositions. In such times, wild lettuce such as Lactuca virosa contained narcotic compounds such as lactucupicrin, structurally similar to opium.

Continuous singing, as pioneered by LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela involves, in their case, at least six hours of "aaahhh" a day. The trick is not to worry about the aesthetics, but to sing melodiously with just a few notes. It takes at least 20 minutes to turn you on.

Complex carbohydrates found in bread, pasta and potatoes can aid stimulation of seratonin in the brain, creating a good mood, say researchers at the Institute of Food Research. Some doctors suggest frequent but small carbohydrate meals to lift sufferers of PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Justification for a chip-butty.

Laughing has a list of physical and chemical effects that reads like a panacea. Psychotherapist Robert Holden has been running NHS laughter clinics since 1991. Adults, he claims, laugh only six times a day, whereas children get through at least 150 sniggers in the same time. Benefits include the release of endorphins ("happy chemicals"), a decrease in stress, help with the reduction of high blood pressure, upper body exercise and a dissipation of muscle tension. No joke.

Meta is a Sheffield-based shop which claims to provide psychoactivity on the right side of nature and the law. Perhaps the first shop to specialise in "natural highs", it provides a menu of Smokes, Stimulants, Pills and Hallucinogens. Products include Wild Opium Lettuce, Meta Buzz and the Ecstasy alternative, Up Yer Gas. Mail order enquiries: 0114-281 2041.

The Zen Power Yell: first, sit on your knees with your heels on your buttocks; with your arms at your sides, count out five deep breaths. After the fifth, clench your fists and cross your arms over your chest. Continue counting, but after the eighth breath spring up with everything you've got and roar ferociously, throwing your arms out. Then brush your teeth.

Soft drinks claim to have all kinds of mystic properties to "revitalise body and mind" or "enliven the spirit". Many contain either caffeine or natural alternatives such as ginseng or guarana. Purdey's Elixir Vitae contains ginseng. Ame contains three different ginsengs and schizandra, an "ancient Chinese herb". Gusto and Rio Amazon both contain guarana, which has caffeine in it.

Trepanning: in the Sixties, the Dutch doctor Bart Huges put forward the theory that as a result of evolving to walk on two legs, parts of our brains suffered through lack of blood caused by gravity. His solution, and route to a continuous high, was to drill holes in his head and call it trepanning, which still has its followers today.

Orgasms: the peak of sexual excitement releases hormonal brain chemicals such as prolactin and oxytocin, as well as endorphins. Other ways to get endorphins pumping around the body include vigorous exercise, acupuncture and, according to some, eating chocolate.

Red Letter Days, Melville House, 8/12 Woodhouse Rd, London N12 ORG (0181-343 8822). For a dose of adrenaline you can try bungee jumping, gliding, sky diving, land yachting, white water rafting and parascending at various sites accross the UK.

Compiled by Pascal Wyse

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