Absinthe (Artemisia absinthium & Thujone)

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Absinthe is an alcoholic drink that contains substances from Artemisia absinthium (wormwood). The drink has a long history of use and is often said to differ from ethanol in terms of its effects. However, there is little evidence for those differences.

The drink, like wormwood, usually contains alpha-Thujone. That drug could be psychoactive, but it’s primarily known as a convulsant. Under current regulations in the EU and US, thujone isn’t present at concentrations that would be dangerous. Research suggests old Absinthe preparations also lacked significant concentrations of the substance.


Absinthe = Green Fairy; La Fée Verte

Artemisia absinthium = Absinthium; Absinthe wormwood; Wormwood; Absinthe

alpha-Thujone = Thujone; (-)-alpha-thujone; Alpha-(-)-Thujone; Thujon; L-Thujone; a-Thujone

PubChem: 261491

Molecular formula: C10H16O

Molecular weight: 152.237 g/mol

IUPAC: (1S,4R,5R)-4-methyl-1-propan-2-ylbicyclo[3.1.0]hexan-3-one


Dose

Absinthe

Oral

Light: 1 – 2 drinks

Common: 2 – 5 drinks

Strong: 6+ drinks

Note: The dose will vary by sex, time drinking, body weight, and other factors. Women and those with a low body weight generally have to use less.


Timeline

Oral

Total: 1.5 – 3 hours

Onset: 00:15 – 00:30


Experience Reports

Erowid (Absinthe)

Erowid (A. absinthium)



References

(2013) Thujone and thujone-containing herbal medicinal and botanical products: toxicological assessment.

(2010) Absinthe and suicidality

(2010) Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) suppresses tumour necrosis factor alpha and accelerates healing in patients with Crohn’s disease – A controlled clinical trial.

(2010) In vivo hepatoprotective activity of the aqueous extract of Artemisia absinthium L. against chemically and immunologically induced liver injuries in mice.

(2010) Aromatic plants in alcoholic beverages. A review

(2010) Neuroprotective effect of Artemisia absinthium L. on focal ischemia and reperfusion-induced cerebral injury.

(2010) Absinthe, Absinthism and Thujone – New Insight into the Spirit’s Impact on Public Health

(2009) Antidepressant and antioxidant activities of Artemisia absinthium L. at flowering stage

(2009) Absinthe, epileptic seizures and Valentin Magnan.

(2008) Chemical Composition of Vintage Preban Absinthe with Special Reference to Thujone, Fenchone, Pinocamphone, Methanol, Copper, and Antimony Concentrations

(2007) Absinthe—is its history relevant for current public health?

(2006) Absinthe, the nervous system and painting.

(2006) Absinthism: a fictitious 19th century syndrome with present impact

(2006) Absinthe–a review.

(2006) Thujone–cause of absinthism?

(2006) Neurology and art – Absinthe attacks

(2004) Free-radical scavenging activity of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L) extracts

(2004) Alpha-thujone reduces 5-HT3 receptor activity by an effect on the agonist-reduced desensitization.

(2004) α-Thujone, the Major Component of the Essential Oil from Artemisia vulgaris Growing Wild in Nilgiri Hills

(2003) Pharmacology and toxicology of absinthe

(2002) Myth, reality, and absinthe     

(2002) Absinthe: return of the Green Fairy.

(2002) Absinthe: enjoying a new popularity among young people?

(2000) Absinthe and gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors.

(2000) α-Thujone (the active component of absinthe): γ-Aminobutyric acid type A receptor modulation and metabolic detoxification

(1999) Thujone exhibits low affinity for cannabinoid receptors but fails to evoke cannabimimetic responses.

(1999) Absinthe: what’s your poison? Though absinthe is intriguing, it is alcohol in general we should worry about.

(1997) Poison on Line — Acute Renal Failure Caused by Oil of Wormwood Purchased through the Internet

(1995) Preventive and curative effects of Artemisia absinthium on acetaminophen and CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity.

(1992) Study of Analgesic and Anti Inflammatory Activity from Plant Extracts of Lactuca Scariola and Artemisia Absinthium

(1982) Absinthe: behind the emerald mask.

(1981) Absinthium: a nineteenth-century drug of abuse.

(1975) Marijuana, absinthe and the central nervous system

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