Fifth Estate # 75, March 20-April 2, 1969

photo, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969
Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969 at a benefit for Open City. Photo: Alan Gotkin.

QUESTION: An old lover of mine was fond of a certain trick taught to her by an old lover of hers—which involved the placement of an ice cube in her vagina and then copulation.

Certainly an exciting experience, but I have two questions: 1) Could this harm her? 2) Could this be used as an effective means of contraception as well as groovy orgasms?

Ice is Nice

ANSWER: Depending on ice cubes for contraception is uncool. If you’re not more careful now your old lady will be with child when the frost is on the pumpkin, but I don’t know of any other harm that could result from this practice unless you empty a whole ice tray. If I didn’t have to mail this column out tonight I could, after reflection go into an entire ice trip. “Ice box” is only one possibility.

QUESTION: I am pregnant and do not intend to take any trips during the first three months. My friends say after that organic psilocybin would not be harmful. Is this so?

How are trips on a natural substance different from synthetics?

ANSWER: Your friends may mean well but they are not basing their advice on any known facts. It’s true that the first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy is the most critical time in the development of the fetus. But some substances can cause changes even late in pregnancy. Tetracycline, for example, taken by the expectant mother can cause changes in the bones and teeth of her unborn child.

In the absence of information about psilocybin in pregnancy you should not take this drug or any other while you are carrying your child.

I assume that by “organic” psilocybin you refer to an extract from Mexican “magic” mushrooms rather than the compound synthesized in a laboratory (incidentally, psilocybin was synthesized by the Swiss chemist Hoffman, who also first reported the psychedelic properties of LSD).

Reports of “organic” mescaline have reached me, i.e. mescaline extracted from peyote rather than produced wholly in a laboratory. Unless you have actually seen these chemicals being produced you have no way of knowing whether they are “organic” or synthetic or even the drug they are said to be. Moreover, there is no evidence that extracted chemicals cause different trips from those entirely synthesized.

Some people whose judgment I respect state there are subtle differences between peyote and mescaline and between psilocybin and magic mushrooms. But the “organic” vs. synthetic question may be just a shuck used to sell drugs comparable to Madison Avenue gimmicks.

Phocomelia or “seal limbs” was a birth defect rarely seen until the recent thalidomide disaster. Because it usually occurs only once in 100,000 live births, six recent cases in young mothers who took black market drugs early in pregnancy have prompted an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Justice Department’s Division of Drug Abuse.

Three of the mothers took green and white capsules while three others took yellow and white tablets. The contents of the tablets and capsules are still unknown.

QUESTION: She said it made gaps in her mind—”the way grass does.” smoking thyme with a pinch of oregano. Will such smoking produce permanent gaps?

ANSWER: Well it might affect her basil metabolism…

Dear Dr. Hippocrates is a collection of letters and answers published by Grove Press. $5.00.

Dr. Schoenfeld welcomes your questions. Write to him c/o P.O. Box 9002, Berkeley Calif. 94709.