Citation: Perpetua. "Awesome, Yet Unpredictable: An Experience with Lactuca serriola (exp115208)". Erowid.org. Feb 23, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115208
Roughly a year ago, my brother introduced me to a plant that he called ďwild lettuceĒ. I thought he was joking, but being short on cash at the time, I started using this terribly acrid bitter herb as a substitute for greens in salads.
I noticed no effects from it, but considering that I was regularly consuming copious amounts, I decided it would be a good idea to look it up and find out what it really is. I was a little bit surprised to find out that ďwild lettuceĒ was indeed its real name, or rather, prickly lettuce-lactuca serriola, a related variant, and that some people smoke it for a recreational high.
Now Iíve never been a big drug user, in fact I had never even smoked pot before in my life, but seeing as it was literally growing everywhere in my yard, I decided I might as well try it.
The first attempt, I took some leaves and let it dry for a day and smoked it. I felt nothing. I did some more research, and found that most of the active chemical, lactucarium, is in the stems.
Second time, I cut up some stems, let them dry out a couple days, and smoked this in a tin foil pipe. I took a few hits. It didnít take much. After 10 minutes I started feeling a choking sensation like my throat was closing up, 5 minutes after this, I felt the high kick in. At first I just felt very relaxed, laid down to take a nap. Then euphoria starting coming over me. Everything felt brighter, clearer, more colorful. Sensation was altered, touch seemed more pleasurable, everything seemed like I was experiencing it for the first time. A childlike playfulness and curiosity came over me, and I suddenly felt an urge to go outside and play on the swings.
Went and did that for awhile. 45 minutes in I started coming down. The euphoria subsided, and the choking sensation intensified along with some nasty after effects I did not enjoy. Some anxiety, feeling lightheaded, etc. This lasted about 15 minutes. The whole experience lasted one hour.
I tried it again several times after that, with similar results. Spacing the hits 15 minutes apart from each other seemed to make the comedown more bearable. I started noticing some effects from taking it regularly that didnít wear off, like I found that it was causing slight speech impediment. I also found it was taking less and less to notice the effects--Iím wondering if itís similar to kava in that the more you take it, the more sensitive you become?
In any case, although the first few trips were awesome, the last few times I tried it were disastrous, and Iíve been afraid to take it since. The trip started out nice. I just took one hit, hoping to just relax so I could calm down and study, but it hit me harder than I thought it would. I couldnít focus and felt the urge to go outside. I did, and once there felt like I needed to lie down. I laid down, oddly, on the sidewalk, completely oblivious to all the bird poop that was on it. Then I felt I needed to take a walk; started walking down the road only to feel like I needed to lie down again... so I laid down in the middle of the street, and then I started feeling the gravel and noticing how nice the hot gravel felt against my skin. So I started vigorously rubbing my hands into the gravel, and burying myself in the dirt. At which point I thought, ďwhat am I doing?Ē Began to panic, and ran inside to ask my brother to take me to the doctor.
I could not explain what was wrong, instead I kept pointing to the wild lettuce and saying, ďsee this plant? See this plant?Ē Halfway to the doctor the effects wore off, and feeling rather foolish, I told him there was nothing wrong with me, that I was just high.
I tried it one more time after that. That time, I skipped the euphoria altogether and went straight to the panic attack. My friend took me to the hospital, and I have not tried it again since. But I miss it!
The problem, Iíve found, is that itís so wildly unpredictable. It reminds me of a really unhealthy relationship. You canít separate the good from the bad, you never know what youíre going to get, but you just canít get the same intensity elsewhere that makes it so addictive.
Since then, Iíve been experimenting with various other drugs to try to get the same effect, but nothing has been comparable. Iíve tried blue lily, kava, kratom, Mexican dream herb, and various combos, things that Iíve heard are similar to wild lettuce, but theyíve all been rather disappointing. Very subtle effects if any at all, definitely not the same euphoria I got with prickly lettuce. The only thing that comes close is absinthe. I would love to find something that will give me a similar high, or be able to find a way to smoke it thatís not so intense.
I never noticed any effect from consuming it orally.
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