Adventurous drinkers anticipate absinthe approval

The B.C. liquor board is going to allow a very powerful drink into the province.

Absinthe, a potent green licorice-flavoured liqueur made from the extract of wormwood, has a bad reputation. It's been illegal in North America for decades.

Known as the Green Fairy, the drink has been blamed for driving Vincent Van Gogh to cut off his ear.

But that reputation is part of its allure.

As well as a high alcohol content, absinthe contains the drug thujone. Thujone is thought to cause hallucinations and seizures.

Dr. Steve Weisborg, a doctor in Pittsburgh, has studied a man whose kidneys failed after he drank absinthe he made himself from wormwood he bought on the Internet.

He says the drink is potentially toxic.

A form of absinthe is already available in Ontario, but it contains little thujone, and poses no health risks.

People in B.C., however, may soon be able to try the real thing.