Spice withdrawal

Native inhabitants of Arrakis, decendants of the Zensunni Wanderers

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Spice withdrawal

Postby othaderak » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:02 pm

I don't think it's ever been mentioned how people die from withdrawal or how long it takes, but I'd imagine it would be rather prolonged and unbelievably painful.

Spice is likely received by pertinent bodily structures in the same way the brain receives nicotine or serotonin. To quit smoking, you can use either nicotine patches or take drugs that specifically block the nicotine receptors, but with melange, that'd be impossible with a similar substance. Measured doses used to quit would also be out of the question since more consumption would just build up tolerance and make quitting even more difficult.

How would your body react to withdrawal? One idea I had (physically impossible as it might be) is that to compensate for a lack of spice, your body would start start metabolizing structures to build something similar on a molecular level. This wouldn't work, of course, but the body wouldn't be able to figure this out. The process would start in the skin, where
the dermis would try to replicate spice instead of skin cells. Then it would move to the circulatory system, then to long bones and bone marrow, until finally, internal organs would convert to melange synthesis. After going too long like this, you'd die. Reeeeeeeally painfully. Plus, any damage done would likely be permanent. Ouch.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby Freakzilla » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:53 pm

In my experiences with drugs, withdrawl is usually opposite of the drugs effect. Since spice prolongs life and expands consciousness I would think witdrawl would make you stupid and just suck the life out of you.

Like marriage.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:57 am

Subtle. :wink:
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby lotek » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:19 am

wow some people made a real drug called spice gold...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 072911.htm
He had already been forced to be abstinent for a time, because of a bottleneck in supplies, and this had triggered typical withdrawal symptoms, such as internal unrest, tremor, palpitations, headache, nausea, vomiting, depression and desperation. These symptoms had abruptly disappeared when he started consuming spice once again. He suffered similar symptoms during drug withdrawal in hospital.

see also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spice_%28drug%29


As for Dune Spice, I would have thought that despite all its benefits, it was very clearly marked by FH as being (ultra ;))addictive, with no comparison possible to any known drugs.
So it would seem logical that death by spice withdrawal would be long and very very painful.

FH wrote Dune in at the same time (more or less) that Timothy Leary(my parents called me Timothy too I still don't know if there is a link)was tuning in America, amphetamines were sold as weight loss pills...

Did Frank deliberately leave that detail out?
I mean it would have emphasized the power of spice on humanity in general to show the result of withdrawal, wouldn't it?
Spice is the worm's gonads.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby Freakzilla » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:26 am

MELANGE: the "spice of spices," the crop for which Arrakis is the unique source.
The spice, chiefly noted for its geriatric qualities, is mildly addictive when
taken in small quantities, severely addictive when imbibed in quantities above
two grams daily per seventy kilos of body weight.
(See Ibad, Water of Life, and
Pre-spice Mass.) Muad'Dib claimed the spice as a key to his prophetic powers.
Guild navigators make similar claims. Its price on the Imperial market has
ranged as high as 620,000 Solaris the decagram.

~Dune, Terminology of the Imperium
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby lotek » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:47 am

interesting precision
thanks!
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby othaderak » Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:32 pm

It appears the consensus is prolonged, painful and definitely no bueno :shock:
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby loremaster » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:29 pm

your body couldnt just spontaneously start catabolising itself trying to replicate spice.

Producing a compound, ANY compound in the body requires dozens of enzymes, specific to only one target (or a tight range of targets). There's millions of post translational processes plus targettting, chaperone proteins for any lipids etc.

It's like saying if you eat kevlar, your body could become addicted, and start killing itself to make you bulletproof? WTF?

More likely, Spice is nothing special, and has a short half life, hence needing it to be replenished. I prefer the theory (MY theory, admittedly) that spice produces some sort of instabililty in the body. Maybe it displaces some key molecules in the body, and in doing so prevents disease and slows oxidative stress, or whatever. Of course like most compounds introduced in the body, spice would eventually degrade through reactions, free radicals within cells etc. If this loss could not be repaired following spice degradation, the entire metabolic pathway could be disrupted, producing unwanted side effects.

To explain prescience via spice, you need to start getting clever. My only quasi-plausible suggestion at this stage is that if spice were unstable on the subatomic level (quantum level), then it might react differently to any quantum superpositions, and thus make an individual susceptible to prescience.

Of course this is only valid if you accept that prescience is caused by collapsing the quantum superpositions of the universe. Thus fixing us on only one path.

For those that dont know, a superposition is (i think) a way of saying that an event which has not been observed (which i equate to "not happened yet" when discussing prescience) has not yet been decided and therefore can be thought of as existing in all possible states. Think Schroedinger.

OF course, all this is only my speculation, my theories. Probably not even scientifically valid. And i'm certain Frank didnt think about these things to this level.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby Freakzilla » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:00 pm

I think the prescience is in the mind, not in the spice. Spice is just a consciousness expanding drug that allows you to tune into it.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby TheDukester » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:07 pm

othaderak wrote:It appears the consensus is prolonged, painful and definitely no bueno :shock:

I don't have annotated copies like some of these guys, but that's definitely how I remember it. I remember a couple of passages that implied that spice withdrawal made heroin withdrawal seem like getting licked by kittens.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby SadisticCynic » Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:04 pm

loremaster wrote:your body couldnt just spontaneously start catabolising itself trying to replicate spice.

Producing a compound, ANY compound in the body requires dozens of enzymes, specific to only one target (or a tight range of targets). There's millions of post translational processes plus targettting, chaperone proteins for any lipids etc.

It's like saying if you eat kevlar, your body could become addicted, and start killing itself to make you bulletproof? WTF?

More likely, Spice is nothing special, and has a short half life, hence needing it to be replenished. I prefer the theory (MY theory, admittedly) that spice produces some sort of instabililty in the body. Maybe it displaces some key molecules in the body, and in doing so prevents disease and slows oxidative stress, or whatever. Of course like most compounds introduced in the body, spice would eventually degrade through reactions, free radicals within cells etc. If this loss could not be repaired following spice degradation, the entire metabolic pathway could be disrupted, producing unwanted side effects.

To explain prescience via spice, you need to start getting clever. My only quasi-plausible suggestion at this stage is that if spice were unstable on the subatomic level (quantum level), then it might react differently to any quantum superpositions, and thus make an individual susceptible to prescience.

Of course this is only valid if you accept that prescience is caused by collapsing the quantum superpositions of the universe. Thus fixing us on only one path.

For those that dont know, a superposition is (i think) a way of saying that an event which has not been observed (which i equate to "not happened yet" when discussing prescience) has not yet been decided and therefore can be thought of as existing in all possible states. Think Schroedinger.

OF course, all this is only my speculation, my theories. Probably not even scientifically valid. And i'm certain Frank didnt think about these things to this level.


Frank did mention quantum physics and relativity in his books quite a few times when discussing prescience. When you talk of superposition I think you mean what I have seen called the collapse of the waveform (I think Frank calls it this as well) which, according to my understanding, means that when an object has not been observed yet it has a probability of being in several positions or states and when observed the 'waveform' collapses so that the position observed has 100% probability and all the others have collapsed to 0%. Spice allows one to 'see' the waveform (oracular vision, superimposed over reality - I think Frank calls it trinocular vision) but by observing it it is forced to collapse, thus locking in a path. One of my theories anyway. :)

Also, according to Google, a definition of superposition is:

when an object simultaneously possesses two or more values of a specified quantity.


Which fits with the waveform idea.

I like your ideas about the biological effects of spice by the way. :)
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby Freakzilla » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:28 pm

Trinocular vision refered to seeing past, present and future as one.

The vision absorbed him. It evolved into a stereologic memory which
separated past and present, future and present, future and past. Each separation
mingled into a trinocular focus which he sensed as the multidimensional relief
map of his own future existence.
He thought: Time is a measure of space, just as a range finder is a measure
of space, but measuring locks us into the place we measure.


Paul and Leto saw all possible futures and chose the actions that would make those futures come about.


We've really gotten off topic here, if I had more energy I'd merge the latest post into a prescience topic that I'm sure exists.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby Slugger » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:20 pm

loremaster wrote:More likely, Spice is nothing special, and has a short half life, hence needing it to be replenished. I prefer the theory (MY theory, admittedly) that spice produces some sort of instabililty in the body. Maybe it displaces some key molecules in the body, and in doing so prevents disease and slows oxidative stress, or whatever. Of course like most compounds introduced in the body, spice would eventually degrade through reactions, free radicals within cells etc. If this loss could not be repaired following spice degradation, the entire metabolic pathway could be disrupted, producing unwanted side effects.


I didn't get the impression that melange was radioactive?
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby inhuien » Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:02 am

Practically everything is radioactive to a degree.
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Re: Spice withdrawal

Postby SadisticCynic » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:56 am

There might be the occasional radioactive atom in there, probably a carbon-14 or two; but what I think loremaster means is that the spice is metabolised quickly.
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