Fredericton — There’s a new drug in town. The pusher? Your local swimming hole.
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are bacterial organisms naturally found in rivers, lakes and wetlands. The substance can also prove quite dangerous, producing toxins that can cause skin, eye and throat irritation in humans. For pets, it can even be deadly.
Nevertheless, many young people in the province have taken to smoking the bacteria as a cheap, alternative way of getting high. Users describe the experience as “euphoric,” “sublime” and “the shit.”
“Before I started smoking blue-green algae, I used snort cocaine literally every night,” user Fred Hooper told The Manatee. “Now, I do both.”
The question is, why are New Brunswickers turning toward such a potentially dangerous substance to get high in an era when marijuana is both legal and readily accessible?
“Bro, have you seen the price of weed at Cannabis NB?” said Hooper, running a hairdryer over a pile of wet algae. “Fuck that, dude. This stuff is all-natural and it’s free.”
Still, despite this ringing endorsement from the local junkies, the province’s health officials warn that smoking the substance could come with some serious risks.
“Will it get you high? Absolutely. Is it dank? Incredibly,” said Health Minister Ted Flemming. “But does that mean it is safe to smoke it? We don’t know, frankly. Probably not, though.”
Algae enthusiasts beg to differ.
“Mark my words — algae is going to be the next big thing in consumer products,” said Daniel Anderson, editor-in-chief of Cultured, a hip new website devoted to exploring issues related to responsible algae smoking. “We’re going to see algae quickly becoming a safe, healthy alternative to sugar, ranch dressing, anal sex, omega-3 supplements and god knows what else. Let me tell you, it is going to revolutionize how we look at our health.”
After a moment, he stopped, scratched his beard and shrugged.
“Well, once we figure out how to deal with the whole ‘seizure’ thing, anyway.”