v 1.10 - 1998
minor update May 2002, by Erowid
Erowid Note: This FAQ was not authored by Erowid. It may include out-of-date and/or incorrect information. Please check the version date to see when it was most recently revised. It appears on Erowid as part of our historical archives. For current information, see Erowid's summary pages in the substance's main vault.
- The Plant
- Historical Usage of Datura
- Datura Historical Usage Timeline
- General Overview of Historical Usage of Datura
- Medicinal Uses
- Folk Uses
- Shamanical Uses
- Bioactive Chemicals Present in Datura
- Growing Datura
- Author's Warning
- Effects of Recreational and Shamanistic Datura Usage
- The Recreational Experience
- The Shamanistic Experience
- An Introduction To Your Body
- The Nervous System
- The Brain
- Drug Interaction
- Drugs That Interact Harmfully With Anticholinergens
- Conditions That Should Discourage Datura Usage
- How to Stop a "Trip"
- Treatment of a Datura Overdose
- Addiction Possibilities
- Other Effects of Datura Usage
- Revision History
A great deal of work went into this, and has occupied most of my time since its conception. I hope it keeps people alive. Datura is a useable drug, but if people dont know about it, it could very easily turn deadly.
Datura users: Stay alive. Please.
1) THE PLANT
1a) General Description & Physical Appearance
There is much confusion circling the Datura family of plants. There are many different species in the Datura genus. Probably the two most well-known species are:
|Datura inoxia||(Devil's Weed)|
|Datura strammonium||(Jimson Weed or Thornapple)|
Datura brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet) is another well known plant which has recently been reclassified to the genus Brugmansia (Tree Datura).
Other species may include:
- Datura arborea
- Datura aurea
- Datura candida
- Datura discolor
- Datura dolichocarpa
- Datura fatuosa
- Datura ferox
- Datura indica
- Datura metel
- Datura meteloides
- Datura sanguinea
- Datura suaveolens
- Datura tatula
- Datura vulcanicola
- Datura willemsi
In southern California, there appear to be two different species of Datura growing. However, Ive been a bit perplexed by this. First, since strammonium is not supposed to grow in southern california at all, it doesnt make sense that it grows here. However, a plant that looks VERY MUCH like strammonium is growing here. When it is not fully developed, the leaves look like depictions of inoxia, yet when it is fully developed, it looks like depictions of strammonium. Definitely something worth looking in to. However, I doubt that the two are misnamed (thus implying that they are instead one species).
So until I actually resolve this, whenever I referr to "inoxia" in the FAQ, I may actually be mistakenly referring to strammonium. Keep that in mind.
1 a1) Fruit
Upon bisection, the fruit apear to have a structure similar to that of a bell pepper. Many many seeds grow inside, and eventually the fruit breaks open and dries up, releasing the seeds on the ground (I have not heard of any animal that eats the plant, thus distributing the seeds through scat). The fruit is normally within .5" - 2" in diameter, and basically a sphere. There are spines covering the entire fruit, which are about .25" long. They do not appear to have toxins in them, and they are not sharp enough to pierce skin under normal conditions. Minus the seeds, there really isnt a whole lot of substance to the fruit.
1 a1a) Seeds
When examing the seeds, one will notice that, they are fairly small as seeds go. They range in size, depending on maturity, from the miniscule to .25"x.25"x.05". When the seeds are still young (the fruit is still green, and the shell is intact) they are yellow or off-white. They have an unpleasant taste, midly bitter and somewhat spicy. It may be that the growth of the seeds causes the fruit to crack, but I doubt it.
1 a2) Leaves
The leaves of the Datura Species vary a bit, and I havent ever had the priveledge of looking at a Tree Datura up close. I do know, however, how the strammonium and meteloides plants (which may in fact be inoxia!) look like.
D. inoxia has small green ovoid leaves. The surface is not waxy or sticky. There is no fluid in them when broken. They are fairly plastic, and don't break unless one is trying to break them. They dry into a brownish color, and curl up.
1 a3) Stems & Stalk
The stems and stalk of both D. Inoxia and D. Strammonium are fairly thing, but brittle. They break easily, and when broken, secrete a sticky milky white substance that is bitter in taste. They are covered with small bristles. I don't know what the bristles are for as I havent ever seen any animals eat any part of this plant.
1 a4) Root
I have not yet examined the roots of this plant.
1 a5) Flowers
The flowers are, when closed, cylindrical, but twisted. They outer ends are vividly colored, from a light pink to a deep purple color. They bloom at night, usually around 4 or 5 pm. The rest of the flower is off-white to light yellow in color.
The aroma of the flowers, it appears, in all species of the plant, is difficult to describe. The plant has a definite 'presence' in a room. >From reports, I have found that people have become intoxicated from the very aroma of the plants. Again, we are faced with two possibilities. Either this is a psychosomatic effect or the aroma is actually scopolamine-based (scopolaminic?).
1b) General Location(s)
Datura seems to have a "strain" for every place in the world. Sufficed to say that wherever you are, you can look for the plant providing the following conditions are met.
It seems to grow in a humid to somewhat dry environment (not very dry, i.e., you wouldnt find it in the desert, I don't think). It grows well in landfills. For this reason, the Native American Indians gave it the name "White Mans Weed." It also grows well in rainforests, with several species growing in south american jungles (the validity of each specie is unknown; there is a lot of confusion circling this plant). In the United States, it grows from Florida to California, almost everwhere. It can grow in very poor soil, and is generally regarded as a pest.
2) HISTORICAL USAGE OF DATURA
- a group of soldiers go insane in jamestown upon ingestion of cooked Datura plants.
- Datura over-the-counter remedies for athsmatic difficulties are banned after people begin using them recreationally.
Datura has been used for a very long time. Originally, it seems it was used as a shamanistic tool, one that could help a shaman gain entrance to "other worlds of existance." It also contains several chemicals that are helpful to the body in certain conditions. Atropine, a chemical derived from plants in the Solanaceae, is used in hospitals and generally a trusted drug. As such, one can imagine that it is fairly safe when used within the suggested dosages.
It would seem that people discovered its medicinal properties through shamans, or "Medicine Men." Often shamanism is used to cure ilness, and certainly Datura would be a very good cure for some diseases.
2c) Medicinal Uses
2 c1) Introduction
Atropine, Scopolamine, Hyoscine, and Hyosciamine have all been used mainly two ways: Opthamologically and Systemically. I will not cover opthalmic use very much for two reasons. One, it is fairly well documented, and I'm sure your optometrist would be happy to explain how the yellow drops they put in your eyes actually work. Two, it has no psychedelic effect whatsoever.
Systemic use is also well-documented, but there is very little information at all on anticholinergenic poisoning (i.e., delirium-inducing doses). Thats mainly what the FAQ is for.
2 c2) Atropine Brand Names
For what it's worth, the name "Atropine" comes from the greek goddess, Atropis, "she who cuts the thread of life." Also, Atropine was used by "dark age assassins and sorcerors to poison their enemies." Atropine has been sold in the United States and Canada with the following brand names (the names are the trademarks of their respective owners, of course):
Atropine Sulfate S.O.D. Opthalmic Atropisol Opthalmic Atrosept Systemic Barophen Systemic Dolsed Systemic Donna-Sed Systemic Donnamor Systemic Donnatal Systemic Hexalol Systemic Hyosophen Systemic Kinesed Systemic Malatal Systemic Relaxadon Systemic Spasmolin Systemic Spasmophen Systemic Spasquid Systemic Susano Systemic Trac Tabs Systemic Urised Systemic Urisep Systemic Uritisin Systemic
2 c2a) Common Doses & Methods
Dosette (c) Vials and AmpulesComments: It would seem that when tropane alkaloids are used in a medicinal preparation, something like belladonna extract is used in the preparation of it instead of just isolating the relevant chemicals. I have difficulty believing that atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine all have the same effect. I have been unable to find a boiling point for any of the alkaloids, so it may just be that they are difficult to separate from belladonna extracts. I cant imagine .0065 mg of scopolamine doing anyone any harm.
Atropine Sulfate, 400 ug/ml 1ml Dosette Vial Atropine Sulfate, 400 ug/ml 1ml Dosette Ampule Atropine Sulfate, 400 ug/ml 20 ml Dosette Multiple Dosage Vial Atropine Sulfate, 1 mg/ml 1ml Dosette Vial Injected either IM or IV. Donnatal (c) Various Tablets Mild Sedative, relief of PMS Phenobarbital 16.2 mg Hyoscyamine Sulfate 0.1037 mg Atropine Sulfate 0.0194 mg Scopolamine Hydrobromide 0.0065 mg Donnatal (c) Elixir Mild Sedative, relief of PMS Phenobarbital 16.2 mg Hyoscyamine Sulfate 0.1037 mg Atropine Sulfate 0.0194 mg Scopolamine Hydrobromide 0.0065 mg (Per 5ml) Suspended in a 29% alcohol solution. Transderm Scop (c) Transdermal Patch Relief of motion sickness with scopolamine as an antiemetic Scopolamine Hydrobromide 1.5 mg Dispensed regularly through the epidermis over three-day period. Atrohist Plus (c) Tablets Relief of Sinus & Brachial irritation Phenylpropanolamine Hydrochloride 50 mg Phenylephrine Hydrochloride 25 mg Chlorpheniramine Maleate 8 mg Hyoscyamine Sulfate 0.19 mg Atropine Sulfate 0.04 mg Scopolamine Hydrobromide 0.01 mg Ru-Tuss Tablets (c) Tablets Relief of Sinus & Brachial irritation Phenylpropanolamine Hydrochloride 50 mg Phenylephrine Hydrochloride 25 mg Chlorpheniramine Maleate 8 mg Hyoscyamine Sulfate 0.19 mg Atropine Sulfate 0.04 mg Scopolamine Hydrobromide 0.01 mg Rexatal Tablets (c) Tablets Mild sedative effects, relief of PMS Phenobarbital 16.2 mg Hyoscyamine Sulfate 0.1037 mg Atropine Sulfate 0.0194 mg Scopolamine Hydrobromide 0.0065 mg
2 c3) Treatment of the Urinary Tract
Atropine is not used to treat the urinary tract, per se, but to treat the discomfort associated with urinary infections and the like. It is often prescribed in one of the above brand names, with a relatively low dosage to prevent delirium, cyclopegia, hyperpyrexia, and other effects associated with high (recreational) doses.
2 c4) Treatment of Heart Ailments
Its ironic that modern medicine often uses atropine for treatment of heart problems when in fact, at higer doses, atropine actually CAUSES heart problems.
For the most part, atropine is used to stimulate the heart rate in patients who have an abnormally slow beat.
2 c5) Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome
The sedative effects of phenobarbital and scopolamine are well known, and are thus often prescribed for many conditions. PMS is one of these conditions, but surely not the only one.
Treatment of PMS is sometimes carried out with a regular dosage of several tropane alkaloids including atropine and scopolamine, in combination with phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is a CNS depressant. Usually, the dose of the tropanes is VERY MUCH smaller than that of the phenobarbital.
I am unaware as to why one would prescribe two depressants and a stimulant in the same medication.
WARNING: The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University in Bloomington conducted a recent study on the intelligence of children (all male for some reason) that seems to indicate that children exposed to phenobarbital in the womb are likely to have an average 7 points lower intelligence than those not exposed.
2 c6) Treatment of Cholinergenic Overdose
Much like physostigmine is used to treat anticholinergenic syndrome, atropine is used to treat the opposite effect. If there is a high concentration of acetylcholine in the brain and the neuromuscular junction (causing seizures) atropine and other tropanes are prescribed. As of yet, I do not know anything that would cause this condition.
2 c6a) Treatment of Insecticide poisonings
Some insecticide (diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP), ParathionTM, SavinTM, tri-o-cresyl phosphate and maybe other) poisoning require an injection of atropine. WHO Pesticide Datasheets.
2 c7) Side Effects
Usually the worst part of any drug. Datura is no exception.
Datura is a vasodilator. This means that your veins enlarge and have heightened bloodflow. This alone can cause dizziness (and may contribute to the delirient effects).
Datura dries up the mucous memranes tremendously. The eyes, mouth, anus, and other mucous surfaces (presumably, also, the vagina) in the body become uncomfortably dry. The best cures for a dry mouth include chewing sugarless gum, hard candy (not "rock candy"), or sucking on an ice cube. It is especially unpleasant.
Datura can cause hyperpyrexia. Hyperpyrexia is an uncomfortable heating of the body which can be treated either by lying in a cold water-filled bathtub, or a cold shower. Also, a cool cloth on the forehead seems to work as well.
Datura also causes an increased heart rate (tachycardia). It is reasonable to assume that a heart attack or irregular heartbeat could result if someone who had a weak heart (or previous heart attacks) used the drug.
Datura is said to cause the following conditions in the elderly:
- Confusion and/or Memory loss
Datura causes eye pain in glaucoma sufferers.
Dizziness results from low-dose atropine use, and is usually gone either after the body adjusts to frequent doses, or the full effects set in (the full effects being total delirium). To reduce dizziness, one should try to increase circulation (temporarily or otherwise). This can be done by flexing the muscles in the leg repeatedly for a minute or so. Take caution with this step, however, as recreational atropine use causes a heightened pulse, thus making excersize possibly dangerous.
Datura also makes you sensitive to light in the days after a recreational dose because of the pupil dilation. Unlike "redeye," simple eye drops wont work. Sunglasses are recommended.
2d) Folk Uses
Folk uses of Datura is a tricky subject. First, since Datura grows all over the world, every culture has its own opinion of the plant's best use. Second, almost every field guide you will ever encounter will tell you of the dangers of Datura. A few will even tell you of "thrillseekers" that become ill looking for hallucinations. Only a very rare guide will actually tell you of non-poisonous doses, and use of Datura as a dietary supplement. The rest I have procured from various sources.
Here are a few Folk Uses I unearthed:
- Powdered Herb Topical Salve:
- Dry herb Tincture 1:10, 60% Alcohol
- 3-12 drops up to 5x daily
- Smoking Preparation for Lung Ailments (especially bronchial spasms)
- Crushed leaves mixed with Western Coltsfoot
- Topical poultice for a local analgesic
"Almost no other plant has such a history of crime. In the Middle Ages, especially in Italy, professional poisoners woulc concoct a brew of Datura that would be almost painlessly fatal. That Quality of deadening the senses before death, or during the perpetration of a crime, made it of the greatest value to criminals.
So well known was this ability that Christoval Acosta, who was in India in 1578, wrote that Hindu whores gave it to their patrons because 'these mundane ladies are such mistresses and adepts in the use of the seed that they gave it in doses corresponding to as many hours as they wish their poor victims to be unconscious or transported.'
Still worse was the use of Datura Strammonium by the nefarious white slavers. Virgins who may not have wanted to become prostitutes were given a pleasant-tasting but diabolical brew containing an aphrodisiac and Datura. Under the combined influence of these drugs, the actively contributed to the loss of their virginity, but upon subsequent awakening had no memory of their actions." (Plant Drugs That Changed The World)
Dammerschlaf - translated almost literally to "twilight sleep." A mixture of morphine and scopolamine (from henbane, most likely) was used during childbirth to both prevent pain and to suppress memory of the incident. It is a sound assumption that it could serve as a mild pain-reliever (even without morphine) were one in serious need of one. Opiates, such as the California Poppy, could be combined with henbane or Scopola in small amounts to lower the pain from a hiking accident.
Ive also heard that the FBI (bless their hearts) had experimented with scopolamine as a suggestive drug in interrogations. I suppose this would have a chance of achieving the desired effect, but I also think there would be better chemicals to use. Scopolamine is still an anticholinergenic and could cause delirium (thus making it somewhat useless as an interrogation drug).
Notes: Western coltsfoot has been used as an antispasmodic for the lungs. Why someone would mix Datura with something that works is beyond me. It would seem that Datura would elevate the heart rate, and do more harm than good. As for analgesic properties: well that's one that is _very_ questionable. The author of the above uses also went as far to add the following comment, "Nasty stuff!" I wouldn't recommend any of the salve, smoking mix, or analgesic.
Regarding the "whore story" and deflowering virgins: it seems unlikely that a small amount of the drug could have such a drastic effect, and a large amount would either be fatal or extremely delirient (thus making sexual intercourse and/or favors near impossible). Poisons would be extremely deadly with Datura, but would have to be mixed with a sleep ingredient; without that, the unfortunate victim would have full knowledge they were under the influence of _something_.
Of the above, I think the only sound use would be as a pain reliever. The trouble in that would of course be making sure that only scopolamine was present. Although hyosciamine is less potent than atropine, its tachycardial effects could be dangerous (especially in a less-than-ideal situation).
2e) Shamanic Uses
Datura has been used shamanical for centuries, if not longer. It is used very widely as a psychotropic drug for shamanistic rituals, and more recently as as recreational hallucinogen.
3) BIOACTIVE CHEMICALS PRESENT
3a) Merck Manual Descriptions of Chemicals
Atropine (dl-hyosciamine) a plant alkaloid, is the prototype drug of the group, and when used systematically in adequate doses, it provides all of the affects described above for the group as a whole. In most cases, it produces and initial transitory central vagal stimulant action before the blocking effect is manifested.
The CNS is stimulated by atropine; restlessness, mental excitement, mania, delirium, and hallucinations occurr with large doses. Large doses also cause hyperpyrexia because of a combination of central and peripheral effects (decreased sweating).
Atropine is well absorbed when given orally, and is rapidly eliminated from the body. About equal amounts of unchanged atropine and inactive metabolites are excreted in the urine; excretion is nearly complete in 24 h. Usually, 3 or 4 doses/day are needed to sustain pharmacologic effects, but cycloplegia and mydriasis may persist for days after a single dose, especially if given topically. The usual dose of atropine sulfate is 0.4 to 3 mg/day orally or parentally (s.c., IM, or IV). Above 3 mg, mental status and behavior usually change. The dose and maximum tolerated daily dose is usually given orally in 3 or 4 divided doses. Its use in the treatment of sinus bradycardia and incomplete atrioventricular block is described under CARDIAC ARRYTHMIAS in Ch. 25. In opthamology, it is used topically as a mydriatic and cycloplegic drug (for cycloplegia, 1 drop t.i.d. for 3 days prior to examination and 1 drop on day of examination; for iritis, solution or ointment b.i.d. or t.i.d.). Atropine can also be given orally as tincture of belladonna (0.03% solution, 0.3 to 3ml daily) or belladonna extract (15 to 60 mg daily).
Poisoning with atropine is best treated with physostigmine salicylate (see above), which antagonizes atropine effects both in the CNS and the priphery.
Scopolamine (hyoscine) differs from atropine chiefly in being a CNS depressant instead of a stimulant. It is used mainly in obstetrics (where its sedative and amnesic properties are useful), as an antiemetic, and to prevent motion sickness. The usual dose is 0.3 to 3 mg. Many hypnotics sold without a prescription contain scopolamine in combinations with a mildly sedative antihistamine; the hypnotic efficacy of these preparations is minimal.
Note: hysocyamine, a chemical in Datura species, does not seem to be in the merck manual. Also, doses indicated are not given in mg/kg ratios. Doses almost certainly may be different for someone who weighs 120 kg than for someone who weighs 60 kg.
3 a1) Author Summary of Above
I do not know, chemically, what the difference is, or how they actually affect the body differently. It would appear that scopolamine would be more the delirient (actually referred to as a "hypnotic" more than seditive and/or delirient, however) than atropine. Maybe the increased bloodflow cause by atropine has an effect with the scopolamine which increases the effects of the scopolamine. (I will consult with a doctor about this)
VERY IMPORTANT: Know what is needed to cure you if you get too high a dosage. Physostigmine salicylate. Those should stop the effects of the delirium, and also decrease the effects of the atropine. I recommend you have a pre-prepared piece of paper indicating what you are using, (see section nine in addendum) how much you used, what chemicals are in the plant, and what the suggested chemicals are for treatment. It is my guess that it works fairly quickly.
Both chemicals are available in various preparations to the public.
3b) Psychoactive Chemicals
_Psychedelic Shamanism_ states that
"It has been proved that the smoke from a strammonium cigarette, containing 0.25 grams of strammonium leaves contains as much as 0.5 milligrams of atropine. The leaves may be made up into cigarettes or smoked in a pipe, either alone, or with a mixture of cubebs, sage, belladonna and other drugs. Dryness of the throat and mouth are indications that too large a quantity is being taken."
I have learned to take everything said about this plant "with a grain of salt." If we are to believe that the above is true, then the leaves of the plant contain .2% atropine.
The plant, as well as other plants in this family, contain tropane alkaloids. Some of these alkaloids are (as far as they pertain to the FAQ, inoxia, and strammonium):
(See 8 b3a)
Both atropine and scopolamine interface directly with the CNS. The effects don't seem to vary between recreational dosages. All the effects of atropine are evident at recreational levels (though I don't know if anyone with heart problems has used Datura recreationally).
3c) Other Chemicals
Currently I don't know of any other bioactive chemicals in Datura. I continue to research, but there simply may not be.
4) GROWING DATURA
4a) General Information
So many species of Datura exist it would be foolish to try to give a set of information for all of them. However, information will be given for north american species. (hopefully in a later version I will be able to include information for the various other species of Datura that grow around the world)
4b) Specific Species Requirements
North american species of Datura seem to be:
- Datura Inoxia
- Datura Strammonium
- Datura brugmansia (Now Brugmansia spp)
D. strammonium and D. inoxia (again, these may or may not be the same) will thrive in any environment in which the temperature stays between 60 and 90 degrees farenheit. Soil quality does not seem to matter, and in fact, both species have been known to grow up through asphalt (in highways, playgrounds, et cetera) where the soil is not only not very good, but exceedingly poor. Humidity is not an issue either, as both can grow in very humid regions (South Florida and Louisiana) as well as very dry regions (Southern California and Northwestern Mexico). I assume a nitrogen supplement would be a bit redundant for the plants as they can thrive in any soil.
Brugmansia species will be very easy to obtain growing information on. That should be in the FAQ asap; nurseries arent selling the plant (and thus arent giving me any information about it) here currently.
4c) Personal Experiences
In my attempts to grow Datura, I used Datura Inoxia seeds. The first seeds I used were a bit premature, I think, so it was not surprising when they did not sprout. I used normal potting soil, and a plant food solution of 15-15-15.
The second attempt was with mature seeds. They were reddish brown in color. The same potting soil and same plant food was used, with regular watering (as before). No sprouts emerged, and within a few weeks, it rained. Even after the rain, no plants grew.
I tried again, recently, with mature seeds (from the same place as the first and second time), to germinate them. I had no success. This time I tried germinating indoors, with my gro-bulbs, and moderate warmth. I consulted the manager of Nurseryland (a plant retailer near my house) about this and he told me there could be two possibilities (I was also trying to germinate Salvia farinacea with no success). First, the seeds could be bad from shelf time or heat or chemicals -- you get the idea. Second, some seeds apparently will not germinate in the light. He suggested that I put the seeds right below the surface. I will try that at a later date (perhaps during the spring of 96).
I think perhaps I will mail-order some seeds. The seeds I obtained were from a wild plant, and maybe they just weren't the best specimens. However, I have had great success growing plants from seeds when they are germinated BEFORE planting, instead of relying on them to grow.
5) AUTHOR'S WARNING
Never believe everything you read. I have tried my absolute hardest to make this the most accurate piece of information on recreational anticholinergenics. I took information from literally dozens of sources, some less credible than others. Nobody can know everything about something, and to think that after reading this, you are safe, is sheer folly. I recommend you read all of this, and think VERY HARD about the decisions floating about in your head. Take everything with a grain of salt. You have been warned.
The centers for disease and poison control state that 89% of all Datura usage results in poisoning. Whether they meant that the person hallucinated or became ill, I don't know. It would seem, however, that Datura is a VERY dangerous plant.
Plants vary. It is important to understand that. Just as there are more potent varieties of marijuana, some Datura plants may contain more atropine than others. don't ever take a heroic dose all at once (or at all!).
I specifically discourage anyone from using Datura recreationally. It may or may not be illegal (there are plenty of laws regarding use of psychotropic plants, and probably more will be passed -- hopefully I will be able to cover this in a future version), and it is definitely unhealthy.
I recommend, also, a complete psychiatric evaluation BEFORE embarking on anything as complex as atropine. People who are mentally unstable (emotionally or otherwise) may not even know it. Hallucinogens often bring those effects out (especially DMT and LSD/LAA!). Im not sure of a way to do that, some health insurance companies would welcome the oppurtunity were you to ask, and some employers routinely test their employees.
NEVER DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ANY DRUG. Datura's pupil-dilating effect lasts for weeks. This impairs vision somewhat, and I would recommend not driving for at least TWO DAYS after ingestion (thats 48 hours, not two lighted intervals).
I cannot place enough stress on being careful.
6) EFFECTS OF RECREATIONAL AND SHAMANISTIC USAGE
6 a1) Smoking
My experience with smoking the leaves of Datura was, at best, "inconclusive."
On two occasions, I smoked Datura leaves. On one occasion, I smoked a flower.
The first time, I smoked three leaves. The leaves were about two inches long, and one inch wide. Datura Inoxia was used in this case. They produced no effects, including no pupil dilation. The second time I smoked no more than the first, although I got a stomache ache. This may or may not have been because of the nervousness. The third time I smoked three leaves, the same size as the previous ones, and I smoked an entire flower. The flower was about 6 inches long. No effects whatsoever resulted. _Psychedelic Shamanism_ states that "no more than 2 grams should be smoked per week" Im pretty sure I smoked more than that, (in two days) with no effects.
The taste of Datura smoke is unpleasant. It has a vague "dirty" taste to it. It was smoked out of a water pipe about 8 inches long (the actual chamber was around 5-5.5").
6 a2) Tea
My experience with tea is also inconclusive. The first time I made a tea with boiling water, and seeds in a coffee filter. I used about 45 seeds, that were not quite mature (still rather small and somewhat yellow). The tea was very bright yellow and was not particularly pleasant tasting, with a mild spicy taste (like jalapeno) to it. The effects came on in about half an hour, with a mild stupor. Basically it was difficult to walk (I felt almost drunk) and thought was somehwat impaired. This didn't last very long at all, probably about 3 hours.
Note: This stuporous effect could have come from the blocking of anticholinergenic receptors. Drugs that produce acetylcholine have long been called "smart drugs" (Nootropics) for the way they make a user feel intelligent (and they actually perform better intellectually) and stimulated. Some have even been dubbed healthy coffee substitutes. Perhaps atropine is a "dumb drug?"
My second experience was with more seeds, perhaps 60, but this time I ran the tea through the seeds 5 times. I added a very big (proportionally) amount of Grenadine and I also put a bag of Celestial Seasoning's 'Red Zinger' into the mix. The taste was mainly sugary, and the taste of the Datura was almost non-existant. The effects lasted about as long. The second dose was taken 2 days after the first, so it is important to note that they may have had a combined effect. After the second dose, I went to sleep, and had incredibly vivid dreams. I remember being in a room talking to friends of mine. It seemed proper to speak out loud (I was aware that I was speaking out loud as well as in the dream), and was overall a very pleasant experience (the dream). This is probably delirium, along with interference in the brain stem.
My third experience was just the same as the first, and dreaming was no different than "normal."
6 a3) Uncooked Ingestion
I have only one report of this method. However, I did read in a field guide that uncooked ingestion can kill you. I would recommend against this.
I also doubt that it is in fact all that much more potent that cooked Datura or tea. Atropine does not break down in simple hot water, and it is reasonable to assume that with extensive boiling, much of the chemicals do in fact leave the plant and remain in the water. As always, excercise caution.
The "one report" [anonymous 1] consisted of ingestion of 4g of uncooked Datura seeds in a beverage containing Cough syrup, grapefruit juice, and Coca-Cola. No unpleasant taste was noted.
6 a4) Cooked Ingestion
Its reasonable to assume one could make a soup out of this, with the leaves and seeds, or perhaps the flowers. The flowers have a very pleasant aroma (at least strammonium and inoxia do, as far as the others, I do not know), and this may carry into the soup. CAUTION: the reason uncooked Datura is reported to be more dangerous may lie in the cellulose (as well as all the other tissues) being ingested. With soup, if you left the plant parts in, im sure your atropine content would rise to higher than "normal" dosage levels that occur when simply ingesting the fluids.
The reason Jimson Weed is named so is this: A group of soldiers in Jamestown (indicated in 2 [a]) ingested the cooked leaves and other parts of what was apparently d. strammonium. They reportedly went insane for days. This seems improbable as the Merck Manual states that atropine is out of your system in 24 hours. However, with a large dose, this may be true. Also, acute anxiety may result if one notices that their vision is not the same days after dosage. This may also have been a cause of their "insanity." One more thing: people in that time period are notorious for exagerration (i.e., quakers becoming witches and warloks during the salem witch trials).
6b) The Recreational Experience
6 b1) Entering the Experience
Entering the experience is not really noticeable. That is one of the strange (albeit powerful) effects of the drug. One never really knows they are hallucinating. Everything actually seems real. The transition from reality to Datura-reality is an easy one, providing not too much of the plant is taken. Taking too much of the plant could cause nausea, and I suggest you have Pepto Bismol around for that. However, due to the antiemetic properties of scopolamine, it shouldnt be a problem.
6 b2) Peak of Experience
A stuporous, hazey high is felt, and everything seems almost normal. After a while, either you get used to the feeling and don't notice it any more, or it fades (again, I cant tell, and I don't know anyone who can tell either), and it seems you are sober (between 6 and 8 hours in). After that, things either get scary or very interesting. Auditory hallucinations abound, although I don't know whether the brain comes up with an image, also, of someone talking to you, or a source for the noise. Visual hallucinations are less common, and equally as real.
Keep in mind, these are full-blown hallucinations, with no way to tell whether they are real or not. Also, these may actually be DREAMS.
6 b3) Comedown
As far as I can tell, there was no comedown. I did not feel sick the next day (a bit tired, but not sick), nor did I feel sick during the experience. I was asleep during the "comedown" phase of my most noticeable experience, so I would not likely know if I felt ill. Other users reported no comedown, either.
There is one nagging aspect of Datura use. I was "weird" for about a week. I was prone to rambling on about things that werent really relevant, and I was basically more relaxed and open to suggestion than normal. Its difficult to describe, but the effects lasted about a week, with an almost perceptible change after that period (a few others noticed this in the messages I was leaving on newsgroups, et cetera). Upon re-examination of this, I would probably guess this was the suggestive effects of the scopolamine.
6 b4) Physical Effects of Datura on the Body
Atropine has long been a chemical known to dilate the pupils, with effects lasting from as little as 6 hours to 3 weeks. I personally experienced it for three. Tropicamide, a chemical probably used by your opthamalogist, has effects that last around 12 hours but may be more pronounced than what would result from systemic use. I suggest wearing sunglasses or staying out of bright areas for at least a week after Datura consumption.
This effect may also impair driving. Wearing sunglasses is usually a good idea when driving, provided they arent too dark, and with dilated pupils, it almost becomes a must.
Delirium/Delirium in Sleep
This is not well documented, so all I can do is hypothesize.
When one dreams, most of the images, sounds, et cetera, one hears, originate from the brain stem. Atropine interferes directly with much of the activity in the brain stem, ranging from motor impairment and tachycardia to the basal ganglionic blockage.
Acetylcholine, a chemical that atropine blocks, has been known to stop one from dreaming. As a result of this, a person might be more difficult to rouse from REM sleep, and their dreams may be more intense.
Delirium in general may result from the body entering a pseudo-dream-state even when awake. This would explain not only the hallucinations, but some of the effects that occur when one is asleep.
"So how does overheating kill someone? Our body temperature (like that of other mammals) has to be controlled very precisely for us to function, which is why we use a thermometer to indicate when we are ill. If we get too hot, above 42 degrees C (108 degrees F), our blood starts to form tiny clots that stick to the artery walls. This is not usually a problem in itself, but the process uses up the clotting agent in the blood, so that there is nothing to prevent bleeding. There are always tiny cuts and scratches inside the body and brain which are due to the body constantly replacing worn out tissue with new cells, and normally these leaks are blocked by the clotting of blood so that you don't even notice them. But above 42 degrees bleeding is unfettered, and this is made worse by high blood pressure due to the speedy effect of MDMA and exercise. People can bleed to death in this way, and if bleeding occurs in the brain it can cause a stroke. When someone is bleeding internally, blood may run out of their mouth or anus." (E is for Ecstasy, Ch 6)
When hyperpyrexia results from atropine usage, it is usually a compound effect. The main reason is most likely the stoppage of secretion from the body. One simply doesnt sweat. Circulation is increased, thus warming the extremities uncomfortably, especially with the lack of sweat. One, as a result of the hyperpyrexia, becomes dehydrated which also adds to the effect. This is not dangerous unless the person is outside, or away from water, or unable to cool off in any way. It could lead to a heat stroke, which requires IMMEDIATE medical attention.
See Figure 5 & Figure 3 in addendum.
Motor impairment almost surely results from the blockage of acetylcholine in the neuromuscular junction. It is obviously not a complete blockage, as if it were, one would be completely paralyzed. It creates difficulty moving about, and gives one an intoxicated, "drunken" feeling. This could last up to two days, and should be regarded as serious if one is unable to walk.
6 b5) Quotes From Datura Users
Anonymous 1, 4g of D. Inoxia Seeds, on events that occurred more than 4 hours after ingestion:
"I didn't feel [intoxicated].. so I didn't think it'd be hard to talk to my mom, but I was wrong. I heard her say things which I later found out she hadn't said. So, I answered logically and intelligently to questions which were really something else...she convinced me that I was extremely out of it and hallucinating and I should go to the hospital. There, they made me drink this godforsaken Liquid Charcoal to remove the toxins, stuck an IV in me and hooked me up to an EKG. They made me stay over night, because me resting heartrate was 160bpm, and they said that was dangerous. By the next morning (I couldn't sleep, mostly cos of the 10-15 wires and IVs sticking from me and the damn Blood pressure cup which would go off every 5 minutes.) my heartrate was down to about 85bpm (which is more or less normal for a man my size) [130 kg] and they let me go."
"I remember meeting someone.. and thinking he looked a lot like me.. but it never occuring to me that it was my reflection in the mirror. It wasn't until like a day or 2 ago that I realized I was in [a friend's] bathroom. The guy looked almost exactly like me.. and I thought he was [expletive] with me.. cos like a split second after I would move or do something.. he did the same thing."
email@example.com (Gordon Kelley), on friend's experience
"He drove off and doesn't know where he was heading, but ended up running his mom's brand new audi into a tree at some appartment complex. He was still functional enough to realize that he knew someone who lived in the area and went to her house... When she opened the door he was babbling about nothing at all and just running off at the mouth. Girl was a friend and loaded him into her car and took him to his house and dropped him off in the street.
He walked inside his house (maybe 1.5 1.75 hours after eating) and goes into his room, gets his boombox and goes to the bathroom to take a shower. Strips down naked, gets in shower, no water.. gets out takes radio downstairs (still stark naked) and starts cleaning.. moving furniture and dusting etc... While his mom is sitting in the room trying to watch TV.
She asks him what the hell he thinks he's doing...
He replies, 'Goddammit Mom! Leave me alone, can't you see i'm trying to take a shower!! DAMN!' then starts babbling again..."
firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Marshall) on friend's experience
"One guy, who dealt drugs and wasn't particularily centered and/or able to connect with anyone else in the group decided to take off. Another guy and I understood that it was dangerous for anybody to become separated so we pursued him down to a busy boulevard where after a couple of blocks we became freaked and ceased trying to talk him into returning with us. We went back to the house. He went on his way, went to his house, got a suitcase full of drugs, walked to a strange neighborhood and into some old people's house. Whereupon, he began to behave as if he was in his own house. What occurred next I'm sure is obvious."
6 b6) Common Hallucinations Experienced on Datura
Auditory hallucinations involving speaking to people who arent there.
Auditory hallucinations involving speaking to objects that may or may not be there.
Minor color differences in the sky and or ocean (blue to green but nothing drastic).
One does not recognize a mirror, and often winds up speaking to the person in the mirror (often getting agitated at the "other person's" repetition of their body movements).
Plants gain a higher intelligence level - people seem to think plants are sentient and will speak with them, associate a personality with them, et cetera.
Forgetting where one is going, yet continuing to go "there."
Animation of inanimate objects - statues, walls, fences, all seem to take on a life of their own and will in fact speak with the user.
"He who partakes of it is deprived of his reason; for a long time lauughing or weeping, or sleeping and oftentimes talking and replying, so that at times he appears to be in his right mind, but really being out of it and not knowing to whom he is speaking, nor remembering what has happenend after his alienation has passed." (Plant Drugs That Changed The World, regarding Datura in general)
_The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeon's Complete Home Guide To Mental Health_ had this to say about delirium in general:
"Visual hallucinations, usually including the appearance of animals, may precede delirium; this is particularly common during withdrawal from the use of alcohol and illicit drugs."
6 b7) What To Do For 3 Days
Since the user (the recreational user, mind you) will be in a delirium for as much as three days, it's important to plan out things to do during that time period.
Interacting with people who would not approve of your datura usage is a bad idea for the following reason:
They would know you were "tripping," even if you didnt. see 6 (b ). It is impossible for the user to determine whether or not they are sober, and its probably not a good idea to let anyone except your companions know that you're hallucinating willingly.
Activities that require more than a modicum of physical stress are to be avoided entirely. Sexual activity could (and almost always does) raise the heart rate, and is an aerobic workout. This causes problems with the already elevated heart rate of datura users, and could be fatal. Climbing stairs, jumping on beds, taking a long walk, arguing, all those things should be avoided.
Im sure that since the user really isnt feeling much of the drug except for impaired motor skills, he or she may want to use another drug. I would suggest, at this point (because I probably couldnt convince them not to use other drugs), NOT to use a drug they have not used before, NOT to use a stimulant (i.e., speed, ecstasy), and not to use something that is a powerful hallucinogen (I would not call LSD a powerful hallucinogen, or psilocybin; DMT would definitely fall into that category, as would ritalin). Again, use drugs at your own risk.
Try to go outside, I think, but stay away from people. If you pay attention to plants and statues, and other objects, you may wind up speaking with them, and who knows where that could go. Take your sober observer with you in the event you do this, and make sure they know not to interrupt you if you begin to speak to something that is "inanimate."
Try also, to make a trip to the bathroom. You wouldnt necessarily have to urinate (or whatever other activities you perform in your bathroom), but take a look at the mirror.
Smoking. If the user is a smoker, try to restrain them from smoking more than 1 cigarette an hour. Nicotine is a well known stimulant, and an appetite depressant, so caution is needed. The same precautions apply to clove cigarettes. See 6 (b [7 (a)]).
Smoking marijuana has the same precautions that smoking cigarettes do, as inhaling smoke (and therefore cutting oxygen and elevating heart rate), could be dangerous. I would suggest using a water pipe, and not smoking more than a gram or two a day. See 8 (b ).
Make this section either available to the sober person, or print it out and put it on a wall. Just make it visible and easy to get to. I suggest you perform this procedure no less than every 45 minutes.
Because most people value their lives, it's important to make sure the user is within a rigid set of parameters. The following procedure should help the user (and sober guide) to know if they are still within "okay" levels, or when it is necessary to go to a hospital.
- Check the pulse.
There are watches that do this, and I would very much recommend getting
one, but I believe the price starts at US$50. Any way you do it, make
sure they are within 50-180 beats per minute. More than that, it's
probably time to head to the hospital.
- Administer fluids.
Some people (myself included) forget to drink fluids when they are
under the influence of psychoactive chemicals. I would suggest using
the "checkup" as a good time to give the user a glass of water. DO NOT
give them an alcoholic beverage (this will further dehydrate them).
Cold fluids are most definitely a good idea, and will most likely
sooth the user's high temperature.
- Check for wounds and/or bleeding.
Bleeding from the mouth or anus with no visible signs of laceration
may mean internal bleeding. This is definitely a sign to go straight to
the hospital. It is important to check for wounds, even bruises,
because the user is not quite fully aware of their body. Use your own
judgement on the severity of the wound. Obviously, if someone has a 1"
deep cut in the arm, its time to go to the hospital. On the same note,
don't panic if they have a paper cut.
- Check Temperature.
Many of those neat watches take the temperature, as well. Again, theyre
out of some peoples' price range, buy they are nonetheless a great
idea. If the temperature goes above 104F, I would suggest putting cool
washcloths on them, perhaps a cool bath, and taking the temperature
every 3 minutes afterwards until the temperature drops below 100F. If
the temperature goes above 106F, its time to go to the hospital.
Remember to eat when in a delirium. If you don't, make sure the sober
person has a copy of this paper, and can remind you that you need to
eat. Don't eat anything salty, don't eat more datura, don't eat
anything hot (a heaping plate of lasagna would be a bad idea). I would
suggest a starchy food, with water, and perhaps some green vegetables.
- Attempt to write down what has happened so far.
If you keep a log of what happened to you, you could compare it to what
"actually" happened after the experience. Many users of psychoactives
have troubles remembering what happened during their experiences. This
is also a source of much frustration. If it is difficult to write, and
it may be, see if you can get your sober companion to write for you.
Sensation | Comments ----------------------------------------------------- Vision | Blurry, Flashes in peripheral | vision. Prescription lenses | become somewhat inaccurate. | Motor | Slight motor impairment. Not | particularly noticeable. | Sexual | DANGEROUS. Elevated heart | rate could be fatal. Nothing | particularly unusual, but I | don't have any reports of | sexual activity. | Tactile | No difference in tactile | sensation. | Emotional | No emotional difference was | noted, with the exception of | increased suggestability. | Increased body temperature | and dehydration may lead to | irritability. | Logical | No impaired logic was noted | with the exception of hall- | ucinations (talking statues, | et cetera). | Mood | Hyperpyrexia and dehydration | will probably cause irrit- | ability, but provided with | proper set/setting and liquid, | effects should not be severe.6c) The Shamanic Experience
6 c1) My Take on Datura Shamanism
At the start of this section, I want to indicate that I have NOT spoken with a shaman and I have NOT used Datura in a shamanic way, nor have I had "strange" hallucinations on Datura. I plan on doing this in the future, but as of yet, everything here I have extrapolated from reading and what I know of the brain.
Where Everything Comes From
"That ugly crumpled upper surface of yours, that cerebral cortex, is almost nonexistent in lower animals, but once you got the hang of evolutionary growth and a taste of the inflated cabstract thoughts you could make with that cortex, you enlarged it and enlarged it until it became eighty percent of your volume. Then you started cranking out rarefied ideas as fast as you could crank them, and issuing commands to helpless appendages like me, forcing us to act on those ideas, to give them form. Out of that came civilization. You willed it into being because, with your cortex so oversized and all, you lost your common ground with other animals, and especially with plants; lost contact, became alienated and ordered civilization built in compensation. And there was nothing the rest of us could do about it. You were holed up there in your solid bone fortress, a cerebrospinal moat around you, using up twenty percent of the body's oxygen supply and hogging a disproportionate share of nutrients, you greedy bastard; you had hold of the muscle motor switches and there was no way any of us could get at you and stop you from spoiling the delight of the world." (_Even Cowgirls Get The Blues_)
The above conversation took place between the thumb and brain in _Even Cowgirls Get The Blues_, and gives the reader a good idea of what I am referring to in this section. The cerebrum and cerebral cortex are what separates us from the rest of life on earth, and rules almost all we see. The brain stem, however, has remained unchanged throughout time, and is perhaps our only link to our environment. That is why Datura shamanism is such an interesting concept.
All hallucinations on Datura are a result of changes in the brain stem. The brain stem controls dreaming. "Reason" is not something the brain stem understands, and hallucinations reflect that. Hallucinating with that part of the brain "in charge" has the possibility of leading in many different places, all of which have SERIOUS implications.
The basic commands "flee," "eat," "save the organism," and other, very _primal_ urges all emenate from this part of the brain. Much respect for ones body, and things encountered is needed AT ALL TIMES.
Now, as to where things come from. If one looks at shamanism scientifically, (scientifically, that is, with the incorporation of huxlean/mckennian philosophy) it is reasonable to assume everything someone sees comes from _themselves_. Humans have been around for a long time, and seen many things. You as a human (or more correctly, your body as a human) have some possible recollection of these events, this is what causes evolution (sudden or otherwise). The brain stem houses these things, along with the rest of the brain to a lesser extent. When one sees someone in the mirror when hallucinating, it is an entity that the brain has conjured up, and should be dealt with as a separate being. Speaking with that entity is VERY MUCH speaking with yourself. This is where shamanism comes in. It is the belief of shamans (from what I know) that either they know or other creatures (not necessarily even earth-living creatures) know things we cannot consciously access. When you speak to an entity in the mirror, you are speaking with your brain.
How Datura hallucinations work, I do not know. When one dreams, the brain stem works as a filter for the rest of the world, only sending the cerebrum information it deems necessary (thus creating urges that are very clear emotionally and physically but not so much logically). It is possible that Datura iduces a dream-like (or simply dream) state in which the "dreamer" is in fact conscious.
I mentioned earlier that the brain stem is the part of the brain that controls primal urges (and/or knowledge that translate into urges). Speaking with that part of the brain can help you better understand yourself. Shamanism indicates that not only can you better understand yourself, but you can better understand your world through the body (which is essentially the product of hundreds of thousands of years of learning). All in all, it's a reasonable conclusion.
The personality of the user probably doesnt come into play because it resides, for the most part, in the cerebrum. Since the cerebrum really isn't involved the hallucinations experienced on Datura, I wouldnt really worry. However, see 6 (c [1 (b)]) for respect and entities.
When one encounters an entity, it is important to discern just what that entity is. If it is a plant, and it is speaking to you, it is a very good idea to try and learn from it. Whether it is, in fact the plant, or your brain telling you what it knows of the plant in a different way, is completely irrelevant. There is a good deal to learn from yourself.
Always treat an entity you encounter with respect (if this means thinking constantly that you would not wish to disrespect yourself, so be it). Not doing so can cause problems (and quite possibly, a "bad trip"). This includes not telling anyone the name of an entity you encounter; consider it your secret. Do not laugh at something an entity says unless it was meant as something to be laughed at. Remember this: the entity has CHOSEN to speak with you; it is not your place to be disrespectful or impudent.
If you, in fact, voyage (be it astral or physical), be sure to return in the same matter you left. Getting lost is a definite problem, and according to shamans, can be a cause of death.
If the brain is actually consciously dreaming, the implications of this for research are, quite frankly, staggering. There is much research done on dreaming, yet there are many problems with remembering ones dreams, and having trouble dreaming lucidly. If someone (sober, of course) was there to record things done by the dreamer (user), then we as a race could stand to learn a lot from that person (if we choose to view it with an open mind).
(See 7 c)
I have noticed, after speaking with Datura users, that at higher levels, it is impossible to discern between sleeping and wakefulness. This is said to happen to insomniacs, who actually dream they are awake (and thus arent really insomniacs). Things happen that users label as hallucinations when in fact they may be only dreaming.
Someone posted the following message to the alt.drugs newsgroup regarding atropine and dreaming:
" If the purpose is to get high, try drinking a tea made from a 1/3 of teabag worth of leaf. Of course nightshade, belladonna, and jamestown weed are unpredictable, having a lot to do with growing conditions. If you are planning on tripping, start within the lower half of a teabag. If your intention is to kill someone, or yourself:) EAT A PLANT, or three. You can expect a very drythroat, lucid reality dreams, and a loss of balance. Effects last at least 12 hrs. Lock yourself in your house, and explore the inner realms of the ancient plant. Think of flying! Thats it. Now float.
I think atropines would be quite useful in small amounts to help invent artistic admixtures. The amount would have to be very small, and it is important to remember that.
Due to the availability of the plants, they can be quite useful for the dreamer. All you need to do is take caution. If you jump, remember> YOU CAN FLY."
The above was in reference to Atropa belladonna, so the effects are the same, the doses surely vary.
I would very much suggest AGAINST eating a plant. Not only do the sizes of the various Datura plants vary, but ANY plant would contain a great deal of atropine. That could be a horrendous, and likely _fatal_ experience.
7) AN INTRODUCTION TO YOUR BODY
7a) The Nervous System
7 a1) The Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous sytem regulates things like breathing, the beating of your heart, and other involuntary actions. It is housed in the lower parts of the brain and in the spinal cord, specifically the cerebellum (equilibrium, et cetera) and brain stem (heart, lungs).
Sympathetic Nervous System
"The sympathetic nervous system governs the body's response to pain, anger, and fear." (The Nervous System) Usually works together with the parasympathetic nervous system to control the body's reaction to normal bodily functions (such as exertion or secretion).
Parasympathetic Nervous System
"...The parasympathetic nervous system controls involuntary actions inside the body such as the secretion of substances and the dilation of blood vessels." (The Nervous System)
7 a2) The Central Nervous System
The central nervous system (CNS) controls all thought and organizes activity. These are movements or activity controlled by your own effort. It is housed in the hindbrain and spinal cord.
7 a3) The Prehispheral Nervous System
The prehipheral nervous system connects the CNS with the other parts of the body. It makes you aware of what is around you. This system mainly controls the senses.
7b) The Brain
7 b1) Introduction To The Brain
The brain is a pinkish grey color, resembling broccoli or cauliflower. It is composed of about three pounds of nervous tissue. It is located in the upper part of the head, and contains more than 12 billion cells.
On "Killing Brain Cells"
After about age 18, the brain begins to lose cells at a rate of near1,000 cells a day (the cause for this is still unknown). In order for a loss of that rate to completely destroy your brain, you would have to be alive more than 12,000,000 days, or close to 33,000 years. I suppose logic indicates that no human has ever lived 33,000 years, and as such, "killing brain cells" shouldnt be too much of a problem. There has been talk that smoking marijuana (and in fact other smoked "drugs" -- curiously not tobacco) causes increased loss of brain cells. It is important to know that even a loss of a million cells (which could never happen from smoking anything once or twice) would not even do serious damage to your brain.
Damaging specific areas of the brain through trauma (car wrecks, et cetera) is much more dangerous, however.
It is said that the brain uses 10% of its mass. That means that roughly 120,000,000 cells are used. The brain's approximate mass of 12,000,000,000 cells, minus 120,000,000 is still 11,880,000,000. Now, its not true that brain damage (from various activities: contact sports among them) occurrs exclusively to the part of the brain you don't use, but you still have over _eleven BILLION_ cells to kill. Interpret that as you see fit.
Rest assured that infrequent smoking of anything does not cause your brain significant harm.
7 b2) The Cerebrum
See Figures 1 and 2 in addendum. The cerebrum is the upper part of your brain. The Homo sapien cerebrum separates it from the rest of the animal kingdom because of its striking complexity. It starts in front, mainly a litle below eye level, and continues back to the back of your head at about the same level. It is divided into two halves of nerve tissue, called the "right" and "left" brains. It is responsible for all voluntary muscles. It also controls thinking, memory, sensations, and emotions.
Several parts of the cerebrum have been implicated in the following processes:
- Hot/Cold touch sensations
- Sensory analysis
- Visual analysis
See Figures 1 and 2 in addendum.
The cerebellum is under the cerebrum, in the back of your head. It is significantly smaller than the cerebrum. It is divided, as well, into two halves. The cerebellum allows you to learn habits and develop motor skills. It also causes the voluntary muscles used in activities to work properly. It also controls your sense of balance. Brain damage to the cerebellum causes dizziness and general inability to perform activities that require balance.
7 b4) The Brain Stem
See Figures 1 and 2 in addendum.
The brain stem, like the name implies, is below the brain, between the cerebellum, cerebrum, and spinal cord. It controls involuntary actions (i.e., the autonomic nervous system). It regulates your heart, lungs, and other involuntary muscles. Damage to the brain stem can cause death (via impaired heart, lungs, et cetera).
7 c1) The Basic Ideas of Sleep
(See 6b1 and 6b2)
Sleep was, until recently (ca. 1900), regarded as a time when the body did fairly little. In fact, sleep is much the opposite. Much activity occurrs during sleep. The brain changes dramatically, the heart rate drops, and the chemical composition of the brain (and in fact body) changes.
Dreaming as a Chemical State
All chemical states can be considered electrical states as well, so keep that in mind. I will not have two sections with an "electrical state" and a "chemical state."
Chemicals which cause one to fall asleep (or otherwise are implicated in the process of sleep itself) exist in both the spine (which is in turn connected to the brain stem, and full of cerebrospinal fluid), and upper parts of the brain. Several chemicals (or compounds therein) have been isolated as related to the sleep process.
- DSIP (Delta-Sleep-Inducing-Peptide)
- SPS (Sleep Promoting Substance)
- A combination of 4 different chemicals.
- Muramyl Peptide
- A chemical similar to chemicals found in cell walls of bacteria.
- MDP (Muramyl Dipeptide)
- A chemical that causes up to 6 hours of deep non-rem sleep in animals in which it was injected into.
- Factor S
- A chemical originally extracted from sleep-deprived goats, injected into other animals, causing them to become sleepy.
- Brain levels of l-tryptophan affect serotonin levels in the brain. Lecithin contains a high level of l-tryptophan. Caution: Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (symptomized by aching muscles and decreased levels of eosinophils) has been linked to l-tryptophan.
Dreaming as a Shamanistic State
It is hard to tell where hallucinating ends and dreaming ends. Some shaman-drinks contain chemicals that cause one to sleep, and when dealing with delirients it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether or not one is sleeping.
However, dreaming is well established as a shamanistic state, and in the book _The Teachings Of Don Juan_, Carlos Castaneda describes, in fairly good detail, at least the possibility of shaman dreaming. The authenticity of the Castaneda books is questionable, but the ideas are sound.
Just as a psychologist can learn about a person by analyzing dreams, one can learn about themselves with proper training. One can also travel on fantastic voyages and do things that would not otherwise be possible, even with ingestion of hallucinogenic compounds.
Lucid dreaming is defined as a dream in which the dreamer is aware they are dreaming. It often opens up doors for the person, enabling them to control various (if not all) aspects of the dream.
Lucid dreaming starts as a slow process, beginning with (in castanedian dreaming) looking at one's hands. Other sources will tell you to, throughout the day, look periodically at written text, and then look back again in a second or two. Eventually, you become trained to do this and you should find yourself doing it in your sleep. The brain stem is not really able to understand written text, so if you find you are doing this and the text is distorted or missing or different, it is a good indication you are dreaming.
From that point, there are various things you can do. Some include meeting with entities in your surroundings, some include simply recreation such as flying, and other activities. Basically, like hallucinations, dreaming can be treated as a recreational state or a shamanistic state.
Dr. Stephen LaBerge, of the Sleep Research Center at Stanford University, came up with a process he dubbed MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming). It includes the following steps:
- When awakening from a dream, review it several times until it is memorized.
- While still in bed, say "The next time I dream, I want to remember to recognize I'm dreaming."
- Picture being back in the dream, yet realizing that it is a dream.
- Repeat the second and third steps until falling back to sleep.
Dreaming follows a set of steps, very distinct from one another. Usually, when a step is changed or left out (such as REM sleep), problems arise.
Your body has a "biological clock," and it is controlled by what scientists call circadian rythms. The body adjusts itself to its environment, and sleeps at the times it feels are appropriate. Researchers have learned how to "set" the clock, so to speak, with therapy involving large flourescent lights, among other things.
When someone first falls asleep, brain wave patterns change very clearly. Theta waves emerge from the brain, and characterize stage one of sleep.
Stage two is distinct from stage one, having different patterns on an EEG, as well. It is the first "true" sleep in the sleep process.
Stage three is simply a deeper sleep than stage two, and is mainly a transition to stage 4, the deepest sleep.
Usually, the time it takes one to reach stage 4 from stage 1 is only about an hour. Curiously, the brain then reverses its course, going back to stage 1 sleep (from stage 4) in about 30 minutes.
This is when REM sleep occurs. REM sleep takes place in a pseudo-stage 1 sleep state, and although it is in fact a light sleep, the sleeper is difficult to awaken (this has led to REM sleep being called "paradoxical sleep").
The body goes to sleep through the following steps:
- Stage 1
- Light sleep, beginning of theta waves
- Stage 2
- Different than stage 1 on an EEG, a "true" sleep state.
- Stage 3
- Different as well, from the other stages, on an EEG, and a sort of transitional state between stage 4 and 2.
- Stage 4
- Deep sleep. Upone reaching stage 4, the body goes back through the stages, sequentially, and reaches REM sleep.
- REM Sleep
- Like stage 1 sleep, but includes rapid eye movements, increase of bloodflow to the genital regions (in men and women), quick sudden muscle movements, and activation of the brain centers that control both vision and hearing (presumably specific regions of the cerebrum).
8) DRUG INTERACTIONS
This subsection is just a summary of the below sections. I know people dont like to read big long documents so maybe this will save a life or two. Please, however, read the entire FAQ.
If you are taking ANY medicine on ANY basis, DO NOT take any form of Datura.
Do not use Datura if you have a heart problem or have had a heart attack.
Do not use Datura if you have never used a psychedelic drug.
Do not use Datura if you are on antidepressants.
Do not use Datura if you have not read the rest of the FAQ.
Do not use Datura if you are suffering from glaucoma.
8 a1) A Datura Overdose
A friend of mine was taken to the hospital by his mother after smoking about a quarter ounce of marijuana, ingestion of 400 mg of DXM HBr, (he weighs 130 kg), and ingestion of 4g of (uncooked) Datura inoxia seeds (at once). While I was with him, he was fine. He had great trouble speaking, and was slurring his words together. When he concentrated, he was able to speak. His mother found that he was VERY intoxicated and rushed him to the hospital. I spoke with paramedics, and the doctor responsible for him. NONE of them knew much about any of the chemicals he had ingested. I told them the chemicals they needed to treat an overdose of both the DXM and the Anticholinergens (they didn't even seem to know what the word "anticholinergen" meant -- my faith in doctors is severely shaken by this incident). His heart rate was higher than normal (180bpm, which is to be expected), and his speech abnormally slurred. The doctors on the scene told me he was "very sick." His mother told me "[anonymous 1] could die." I never got to see him in the hospital so I don't know the extent of his condition (he could have simply been delirient, and that may have caused the panic -- I don't know if he was physically ill). The doctor mentioned something about headache medicine he was taking. It was not an MAO inhibitor, and I cannot think of any chemical that could have caused ill effects with those three other than aspirin.
Aspirin is a likely candidate for headache medicine. However, the medicine he was taking was for migraine headaches. One might think that he was not prescribed something as simple as aspirin. Also, I cannot imagine why aspirin would cause an ill effect with the receptor blockage.
Another possibility here is that the DXM and the anticholinergens conflicted. Both cause a raised heartbeat. It could be the mild depressant effects of the DXM and the Scopolamine together, but I doubt it.
Yet another possibility is the THC. The THC is a mild depressant, and that would add up to three depressants in his body (yet he _did_ have an elevated heart rate). This causing "sickness" is improbable.
My assumption is that he was not "sick" at all. He could have simply been delirient (with of course, the NORMAL aspects of Datura poisoning). Delirium like he was experiencing when he was with us is common with Datura use, but may have seemed very terrifying to others. This, so far, seems the most likely prospect to me. Still, it leaves me wondering why the doctors did not know of the delirient effects of the anticholinergens, or what "DXM" was, or what the effects of THC on the body are (one of them went as far as to tell me he could have "overdosed" on marijuana after smoking 1/4oz!).
My advice to them was to let him sleep it off, keeping close attention on him. They decided to pump him full of "cleansers." I don't know which was worse -- the "treatment" or the actual Datura usage.
Anonymous 1 is, of course, just fine now.
8 a2) Anticholinergenic Syndrome
I have read, in researching Antilirium, about a condition referred to as "anticholinergenic syndrome." Its interesting that I have not encountered this term anywhere else other than the PDR, but it is definitely something I should look in to. There is a definite possibility that it is simply the term applied to tropane-induced delirium. Drugs that are known to induce anticholinergenic syndrome include:
Anticholinergenic syndrome should be treated with Physostigmine Salicylate.
8b) Drugs That Interact Harmfully With Datura
See Section 8 in addendum.
A word to the wise: Most shamans think that fasting purifies the body for a psychedelic experience. It is definitely good practice. This will guarantee not only the absorbtion of the drug, but also that you do not have any other chemicals in your body. Two days is a good length to fast for, with simply water to sustain you. Even bread can be harmful at times (yeast). Two weeks is a good time to have been clear of other drugs. Take care, though. Claritin (tm) stayed in my bloodstream up to 8 weeks after I had taken it.
Generally, antidepressants are to be avoided when using psychedelics. I do not have any concrete evidence that atropine would disagree with something like prozac. However, when one has multiple chemicals in the brain doing verious things to different receptors, things can get hectic. Caution is advised.
If you are using drugs to regulate your urinary tract, or to relieve pain from your urinary tract, do not use Datura. Atropine has been prescribed to relieve pain in the urinary tract, and you may actually be taking atropine. This could cause a drastic increase in your dosage, without you even knowing.
See Section 8 in addendum.
Do not use Datura if you are using a MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor). These drugs may have the brand names:
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking sulfon amides.
Do not use Datura if you are currently taking a drug for diarrhea such as Kaolin or Attapulgite.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking antacids.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking Amantadine.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking antihistamines.
Do not use nicotine products under the influence of Datura.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking haloperidol.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking phenothiazine.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking tranquilizers.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking procainamide.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking quinidine.
Do not use Datura if you are also currently taking tricyclic antidepressants.
Do not use Datura if you are taking Thiazide Diuretics (water pills).
Do not use Datura if you are taking stimulants of any kind, including MDMA (ecstasy, "e," "x") and Crystal Methamphetamine ("tweek," "speed").
Do not use Datura if you are taking urinary alkalizers. Some of the brand names for urinary alkalizers are:
Baking soda is supposed to lessen the effect of atropine on the urinary tract through urinary alkalinization.
8 b2) Drug Interactions
More information to come
8 b3) Mixing Recreational Drugs with Datura
Since its likely that the datura user will be experiencing the effects of the delirium for two or more days, Im sure people will be using other drugs in that period of time. Let me say first that it is unwise to combine ANY drugs, especially recreational drugs, as not much is known about them.
In that time period, another drug which increases the heart rate might not be dangerous unless something strenuous, even walking up a flight of stairs, happened. Keep that in mind.
- Datura has been used with marijuana causing no ill effects. THC and Scopolamine may cause a problem together due to the depressant effects of both.
- Elevated heart rate was present, so Datura usage with DXM should not be more than a minimal dose. "[tachycardia] seems to be fairly common but not particularly serious; generally, a heart rate in the range of 90 to 120 can occur. This is probably a side effect of the stimulant qualities of DXM. Substantially higher heart rate may indicate a panic attack." (from DXM FAQ)
- I have no reports of mescaline use with Datura. However, it is interesting to find that some indian cultures actually use peyote to treat Datura poisoning!
- MDMA & Other Amphetamines
- I have no reports of amphetamine use with Datura. The resulting stimulation from an amphetamine could be deadly. Atropine causes the heart rate to go up, blood pressure to rise, and temperature to rise. To use an amphetamine with those effects already in place would most likely be fatal.
People with the following conditions should NOT use any anticholinergenic drug under any circumstances:
- narrow angle glaucoma
- pyloric obstruction
- paralytic ileus
- bladder neck obstruction
- prostatic hypertrophy
- Low Sodium Diet
- Low Sugar Diet
Although I shouldn't have to tell anyone, SMALL CHILDREN SHOULD NOT USE Datura. Even 4 or 5 grams of seeds can be fatal to children.
8d) How To Stop A Trip
8 d1) A Note on "Bad Trips"
Almost all psychedelic users I know have had a bad trip. One notable bad trip was at Woodstock '95, with a good deal of LSD-25 ingested, and nine inch nails playing. Almost all bad trips can be avoided, or calmed.
The first thing you should do is make sure you are in a comfortable setting. This can be your house, your friends house, whatever, but a place you are familliar with, and comfortable in sober.
Second, make sure that nothing will occurr that could cause discomfort (physically or otherwise), anxiety, or other conditions which could lead to panic. One way to facilitate this is to make sure you have a sober companion with you who can be a sort of liasion to "reality."
Third. Although some people will swear up and down that music does not affect people on an emotional or unconscious level, hallucinogens make one very subjective, and music can cause great variance in ones condition. Don't listen to anything you don't listen to normally. I personally preferr something calm (like pink floyd), but others listen to what they like (even something as drastic as slayer or sepultura).
The key here is not to listen to something that will make you uncomfortable.
Interestingly enough, steady, regular drumming (as mentioned in the DXM faq, among other places) is supposed to aid in the acheivement of out-of-body-experiences. Some techno (referred to as "trance") appears to be engineered with this in mind. I would recommend AGAINST attending a rave (or other club-like, loud-music, loud-bass scene) under the datura delirium. Not only would the public be a bad idea (remember, this is a drug that needs stimulus to cause hallucinations, and the public is a good place to find that), but its also completely illegal to be "publicly intoxicated" (at least in the states). Now, playing such music in ones home, perhaps with a friend (and of course, your sober companion), might be a good idea.
Fourth, a sober companion can help avoid the onset of a bad trip by removing the offending condition (be it music, providing stomach ache medicine...) from the set/setting, and calming the user. It is a VERY good idea to have a sober companion when using hallucinogens, especially Datura.
People often referr to "set" and "setting." Both are covered above, but again, remember that where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing have GREAT influence on you while under the influence of psychedelics.
8 d2) General Theory Behind This Section
The general idea behind this section is this:
- If atropine and scopolamine cause a delirium, then what causes that delirium, physically?
- If the effects in the brain are physical in nature, then a reversal of the physical effects should cause the delirium to end.
Note, also, that I am not including the two chemicals used in treating overdosage on atropine (physostigmine and slicylate). I am unsure not only of dosages required, but I also do not know of their physical effects on the brain. When I fully understand the chemistry of all the drugs involved in this document, I'm sure there will be a section on the two of them. Also, they may not be available to the public at all. It would be better to create a "remedy" that was easy to acquire.
8 d3) Overview of Chemicals Involved
A good place to obtain some of the chemicals mentioned here is:
Puritan's Pride Top Quality Natural Vitamins, Health & Beauty Aids (800) - 645 - 1030
200x 420 mg Phosphatidyl Choline: US$25.40
The first chemicals we have involved are those in the Datura plant itself. As mentioned earlier, Datura has varied levels of atropine and scopolamine. Also mentioned earlier, scopolamine is a direct depressant of the CNS. Atropine is a more powerful drug that instead works on receptors in the brain, blocking certain chemicals. Both, not only one of these drugs, have a different effect that has to be neutralized before the "trip" can end.
Second, we have acetylcholine. The effects of acetylcholine in the brain are blocked by atropine (both at the neuromuscular junction and in the basal ganglion), and that effect (of atropine), too, has to be neutralized.
Third, we have the chemicals being used to stop the trip. So far, only lecithin, choline, and vitamin B5 are being used. Choline and lecithin are combined in the body to produce acetylcholine. That isnt enough, however, especially if someone is panicking. Vitamin B5 is added to facillitate the process of combining the lecithin and choline. Whether it is combined fast enough, I do not know, but it is a good start. Niacin is probably also a good idea but I do not currently know the actions of niacin upon the brain. Niacin (coupled with a cold shower) is often used to stop an LSD or psilocybin trip.
Fourth, we are going to need a chemical to stop the blockage, or to make sure at least some of the acetylcholine gets through. I do not know yet that chemical could do that.
There are two possibilities for chemical #4. I doubt very much that there is a chemical that removes the blockage. It's much more likely that simply increasing the acetylcholine levels would work. Physostigmine works in this manner, by increasing the acetylcholine levels at the neuromuscular junction. With that in mind, it makes sense that the choline/lecithin/b5/DMAE stuff could work (although much more slowly).
8 d4) A Process for Stopping a Trip
"Anticholinergenics primarily oppose the actions of acetylcholine at postganglionic cholinergenic nerve endings. They also block direct acetylcholine action on blood vessels and in the CNS; the muscarinic actions of other cholinergenic drugs are also opposed. In high doses these drugs also block the autonomic ganglia; none block the neuromuscular junction."
So it seems that the acetylcholine is not used by the affected areas. More correctly, the acetylcholine is BLOCKED in the affected areas by the atropine. It seems the solution would be allowing those parts of the brain access to the acetylcholine.
The first part of this procedure should probably involve putting some more acetylcholine in the body. This can be done the following way:
One could take a sizeable dose (more than normal due to the fact that we are dealing with a situation that is full of excesses) of choline and lecithin. Choline and Lecithin are mainly harmless, and a dose of between 3 and 12 grams of choline and a slightly larger dose of lecithin could be taken easily. To facilitate the conversion of the two into acetylcholine, 1 or 2 grams of vitamin B5 should be taken (but I suppose it is optional). If diarrhea results, the dosage is too high. Both of these chemicals can be bought at your average health-food store (I found choline at the store down the street for $7.50/35g -- DMAE goes for 50x110 mg/$6.50).
This may only solve part of the problem. The problem at the heart of this may be in fact just the blocking of the receptors. Im not sure how to stop that, but there *has* to be a way to do it.
Thus there is a second problem we have to deal with. That is the actual blockage of the "postganglionic cholinergenic nerve endings." I assume this can be done, but right now I don't have the information to come up with a way. Soon, I should have that.
There may be yet another problem. The direct depression of the CNS by scopolamine. It might not require a stimulant, and since stimulants as a group are fairly harsh on the body, I would like to avoid that angle. However, CNS depression can make you miserable.
9) TREATMENT OF A DATURA OVERDOSE
See Section Nine in Addendum for pre-written warning to submit to physicians upon admittance to hospital facilities.
Be aware that the intense symptoms of Datura use may abate after 12-48 hours. "Vision disturbances may last up to a week." I personally had them for 3.
Please tell your physician, in the event you are at a hospital following usage, that the following procedures are most likely the best route to a cure, AND that you have ingested high doses of anticholinergenic ("an-ty-kol-in-er-jen-ik") drugs. Remember, it is their job to make you well. They probably won't give you any trouble at the time. Afterwords may be a different matter. Again, I don't know the legality of Datura usage.
I assume that you are going to be taking the patient to a hospital since an overdose is a very serious condition (even with the proper care).
Do not give the victim aspirin under any circumstances.
Induce vomiting. [If possible. Scopolamine is an antiemetic, and thus it partially inhibits vomit reflexes.]
Propranolol can be used to regulate the heartbeat in the following doses:
2 mg every 1/2 hour as needed up to 6 mg/day for adults
.5 mg every 1/2 hour as needed up to 2 mg/day for children
Dexamethasone 1 mg/kg i.v. may be used for hyperpyrexia.
Physostigmine Salicylate should be used IMMEDIATELY, in a 2 mg INTRAMUSCULAR injection, and should be continually used if the patient does not improve (more specific directions are in the packaging, and the PDR). Physostigmine is often referred to as "Antilirium."
Physostigmine may cause a state of shock if too much is administered (resulting from buildup of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, characterized by seizures and delirium). Ironically, it is best treated with tropane alkaloids.
10) ADDICTION POSSIBILITIES
I am under the impression that _anything_ can be psychologically addicting. However, the effects of Datura are somewhat unpleasant. Among Datura users, there is a general concensus that it is something that should only be used once, if at all. I dont see addiction happening. Atropine has no physical addiction properties. Scopolamine has no physical addiction properties. Regular usage of choline (for that matter, most nootropics) can result in a stimulant effect, and stopping that usage "cold turkey" can result in a bout of depression.
11) OTHER EFFECTS OF DATURA USAGE
Some drugs that are used recreationally (Dextromethorphan being one of them) deplete receptors in your brain for several days afterwards. Atropine/Scopolamine is very active in the brain in places that control very important things to everyday life. Chronic usage (though I dont know why anyone would want to use this drug chronically) could result in either damage to those areas (the effects last a long time at high dosage, its reasonable to assume this could last a *very* long time at chronic levels) or a generally unhappy life for a long time. I would say never to use atropine/scopolamine more than 2 or 3 times a MONTH and never more than once a week.
The pupil dilation is awful, and persists for actually about 3 weeks. People will remark about this as it is so pronounced.
I do not know of any other effects.
Jonathon Michael Doe
Maintainer of many things including a green car and two green plants.
- 1.11 : May 2002 : Erowid : Added insecticide poisoning to use section.