This article appeared originally on THUMP Germany.
Jenke von Wilmsdorf, a reporter for Germany's RTL television network, is known for his extreme, gonzo self-studies—including a stunt that involved consuming alcohol everyday for a month straight. Earlier in September he embarked on his most recent—and ambitious—experiment: taking hard drugs like LSD, speed, GHB, Ritalin, and MDMA over the course of a few days. The entire processed was documented via a camera crew, and Wilmsdorf also consulted with a variety of professors, toxicologists, and doctors, who provided further insight into his intense experiment. After being rather amazed by the program, we evaluated how Wilmsdorf reacted, both physically and emotionally, to the various substances he consumed.
The quarter gram of MDMA that Jenke von Wilmsdorff took was "no beginner dose," according to the toxicologist he was with. Rather, the expert explains it was more representative of how much someone ready to embark on a intense, drug-fueled night out, might consume. Many people who take ecstasy have a misguided relationship with the drug's proper dosage. So by taking up to 250mg of MDMA, the RTL reporter and Dr. Auwärter are ignoring usual-warnings from experts like UK-based pharmacologist Dr. David Nutt, who suggests taking a maximum of 150mg in a night. Other websites for safer use regularly warn about taking doses higher than that.
For his part, von Wilmsdoff not only handles the dose well, but also tops it off after a few hours with some MDMI—a "legal high" that has similar effects to MDMA, including the body's release of serotonin. The reporter cheerfully parties on throughout the segment, accompanied the whole time by three anonymous guys wearing animal masks—who refer to themselves as Horse, Owl, and Rabbit. They're the ones who reportedley scored all the stuff for Wilmsdoff for the segment.
Jenke's "animal collective" also picked up some speed for him that they snort together before their MDMA trip, which lasts more than a day. That night he goes to an after-hours spot, where he takes some more speed and smokes a joint "to come down." The reporter seems visibly disgusted by his own attempts to one-up himself with more drugs. He leaves the after-hours shortly thereafter. Walking the street, he blurts out, "They're all totally fucked up." The comedown the next day is obviously tough on the RTL daredevil.
Jenke von Wilmsdorff flies his camera team all the way to Portugal for his first acid trip, which they plan to experience inside a big house with an adjoining forest. Before the reporter takes the tabs, Dr. Henrik Jungaberle, a social scientist with a PHD in health sciences and medical psychology, explains the risks of LSD to him. Jungaberle's focus was drug research and prevention, and he created Rebound, one of the most well-known prevention programs.
According to Jungaberle, the main risk of taking acid is a psychotic episode, though it mainly exists in the cases of people predisposed to psychosis. Even in those cases it's still very improbable, and usually subsides after 24 hours. "Any drug-induced psychosis can turn into schizophrenia that you'll have for the rest of your life," Jungaberle said. "But there's treatment for it and it's very rarely cause by LSD. It's more caused by ecstasy, and a lot by cannabis."
Jenke von Wilmsdorff's mood during the trip proceeds quite erratically. In the beginning he's happy and silly—once Dr. Jungeberle and Dr. Auwärter convince him to go outside, his mood changes. A "thicket of melancholy and suspicion" follows, von Wilmsdorff says off camera. He then thinks Dr. Jungeberle is his son and bursts into tears. Later, in the forest, the reporter thinks that he can't trust the experts present, since he doesn't even know them. He's subsequently brought back into the house and remains calm for the next few hours.
In the aftermath, von Wilmsdorff emphasizes that he now knows more about himself after taking the LSD. "But it almost turned into a bad trip under perfect conditions, which shows how dangerous this drug is," he admits.
Throughout the rest of the wild episode, Von Wilmsdorff takes Ritalin and tries to learn Arabic in a week before attempting to copy a Van Gogh painting. He speaks to a mother who's addicted to heroin and visits a girl in rehab for meth. He tries some rohypnol (also known as roofies) and talks to a woman who was raped by three men after they put the drug in her drink. Last but not least, he participates in a trance breathing workshop by Dr. Jungaberle, where the point is to try and get high by breathing in different ways. Von Wilmsdorff says this is the best "drug." Watching the show itself is like being intoxicated on a multi-day bender, as the episode swiftly presents notable facts of each drug taken, and then quickly speeds on to the next substance. The entire spectrum of drugs is treated superficially in most cases, whether it's substances themselves, safer use methods, or the motives of users. While it's an interesting study presented in ambitious form, one has to wonder in the end what they point of it all was.