Lazy Cakes – waiting for a new non-prescription drug disaster (2/18/11)
Lazy Cakes is two ounces of sleeping medication masquerading as a chocolate brownie – an attempt at a “natural pot” brownie, as it’s advertising implies. It contains a warning on the back, four separate lines within a bracket of one quarter of an inch, lines small enough that children will not see them and presbyopic adults won’t be able to read them. The manufacturers declare their industrial brownie “is not designed to diagnose, cure or prevent any illness”; is recommended for adults only; should not be eaten without ‘consulting a physician’ by anyone on prescription medication or who is pregnant or nursing; and should not be mixed with alcohol.
So I decided to take the Lazy Cakes Challenge and try a few morsels of the special stuff myself. First I plunked down $3.99 plus tax at the local convenience store in downtown Sarasota, Fl. Here are a few particulars:
Size – 3.5 by 2.6 inches; the cake inside a bit smaller.
Ingredients – sugar, salt, fat, vitamins, and drugs. There are trans fats made from soybean and cottonseed oil, the sort of things that keep foods “moist” but are considered among the most dangerous fats for human consumption; some nutritionists want trans fats be banned. Total calories of the 2 ounces – 110 – 880 calories a pound. Plus melatonin 3.9 mg; valerian root; passion flower; rose hips; acai and goji berry abstracts, amounts unknown.
Trying hard to make this look like a “pot” brownie, with Gumby figures and peace signs, longwinded refrains about making you relax and:
Despite the warning that it is an adult product, targeted primarily at the young; one image comments “How do you stop a Raging Bull” complete with Red Bull, containing the implication young people can “come down” with Lazy Cakes from highly caffeinated energy “beverages.” Other parts of the marketing appear to encourage the idea children can “relax” with the cakes.
Sugar, artificial flavor – stale, with a furtive chocolate aroma, though the fresh date mark still had two weeks to go. You can taste the sugar, bits of egg and artificial flavor far longer than any taste of chocolate. They claim that the cakes will “melt your troubles away” has merit. Forty five percent of the calories come from fats, from the packaging mainly trans fats, which do indeed feel like they are melting in your mouth before they go down to help clog your arteries.
Personal Effects of the Drug
Time of day – Evening
First tried at 8:20 PM, walking in an urban downtown. Ingested approximately an eighth of a package. Coming back from friend’s house 30 minutes later felt sleepy, weak in the thighs, slightly dizzy – not a comfortable result. Overall effects lasted perhaps 45 minutes.
Time of Day – Afternoon
Tried after lunch, ingested perhaps further 3/8ths of cake at 1:20 P.M. Felt sleepy about 40 minutes later, slight queasiness, no other effects.
Time of Day – 40 minutes prior to sleep
Had half of cake before going to bed (bedtime – 10 PM,) then did brief yoga immediately followed by reading before sleep, as part of normal sleep ritual. No change from sleep of other nights.
On the Net – people have fallen asleep suddenly in about 30-45 minutes then slept up to 12 hours; so far several kids brought to ERs unable to wake up.
Local vendor’s experience “One guy came in here and said “I really sleep good with two beers and one of those lazy cakes.”
Lazy Cakes are a combination OTC sleeping pill with a high dose of melatonin and unknown amounts of sleep inducing substances like valerian root and passion flower. Though the warning is that the combination drug is for adults only, the marketing its to adolescents, children, and ex-hippies, with the promise of “stopping a raging bull.” Other marketing extols the life-enhancing effects of melatonin.
From a public health standpoint, Lazy Cakes will be eaten by children and adolescents, probably regarded as something potentially “cool”; will be used by all age groups as a sleeping pill, sometimes unwittingly; will be utilized to “come down” from high caffeine/amino acid content energy beverages, which a newly published article in the Journal of Pediatrics declares can cause arrhythmias, major mood swings, and death in young kids (see my take on Energy Beverages at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-edlund-md/coffee-versus-energy-drin_b_698532.html); and will likely be mixed with other medications.
In adults, “uppers” are balanced with “downers”; caffeine slows the effect of alcohol, as in the now banned drug Four Loko. Many addicts go up with cocaine and and down with alcohol.
Lazy Cakes will be used alone, but also in a similar configuration with “upper” types of energy beverages.
Are the authorities worried about the potential for future addiction? Kids falling asleep at the wheel as they drive home from their friends or their mall?
Let’s hope so. It took a while to ban Four Loko, but that drug’s particular risk – caffeine plus a high booze content – was obvious.
Lazy Cakes is far more insidious – a sleeping pill masquerading as a chocolate brownie. Now we’ll find out how many individual disasters it will take before regulators notice.
Rest, sleep, Sarasota Sleep Doctor, well-being, regeneration, longevity, body clocks, insomnia, sleep disorders, the rest doctor, matthew edlund, the power of rest, the body clock, psychology today, huffington post, redbook, longboat key news