Newsgroups: alt.psychoactives,alt.drugs From: email@example.com (William E. White ) Subject: Tropane alkaloids (was Re: jimson) Message-ID:
Date: Sat, 1 Oct 1994 18:28:47 GMT [quoted text deleted -cak] "Datura" is a genus, not a chemical. The Datura genus includes species such as D. stramonium (jimsonweed), D. inoxia, D. metel, ... all of which are similarly toxic. The active alkaloids in the Datura species are the same as those in Hyoscyanimus niger (sp?) and Atropa belladonna, namely the tropane alkaloids. The tropanes include, primarily, atropine and scopolamine. They are antimuscarinics, which means they block acetylcholine receptors of the muscarinic subtype (the other subtype, nicotinic, is not affected by tropanes). There is some evidence that scopolamine is more psychoactive, possibly because it crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily. The muscarinic receptors (of which there are three identified subtypes, M1, M2, and M3) are the receptors of parasympathetic activity, which when stimulated cause: - decreased cardiac (heart) contraction rate - decreased cardiac contraction force - vasodilation - increased exocrine secretion - reduction of intraocular pressure - constriction of the pupil (and others) Being antimuscarinics, tropanes tend to produce the exact opposite effects. Tropanes are used medically to dilate the pupils, decrease acid secretion in the stomach, reduce nausea (especially that caused by motion sickness), and such. One commercial tropane drug is "Donnatal" (sp?) which is really nothing more than belladonna extract. Another is "TransDerm/Scop", a scopolamine patch for motion sickness. When used at higher than normal doses, tropanes produce some rather extreme psychoactive effects -- disorientation, confusion, hallucinations, delusions, panic, etc. The interesting thing about this class of hallucinogens is that the person taking the drug is often absolutely convinced that the hallucinations/delusions are, in every sense, real; furthermore, he or she may attempt to interact with them (and perceive normal response). This can range from amusing to dangerous. There is often a severe distortion of position/kinetic sense leading many to say they feel like they were in free-fall or flying. The really dangerous thing about tropanes is that they have rather strong peripheral effects in comparison to their psychoactive effects. The lethal dose / effective dose ratio is dangerously low; furthermore, the strength of tropanes in wild plants ranges considerably. The Datura genus may contain alkaloids which have neurotoxic effects, in addition to the tropane alkaloids. Interesting trivia bit #1: QNB (quinuclidinyl benzilate), a potent antimuscarinic with a somewhat larger lethal/effective dose window (possibly due to less activity at the M2 receptor, which is the cardiac receptor), was stockpiled by the army for use as a chemical weapon. The movie "Jacob's Ladder" was (very loosely) based on this. Interesting trivia bit #2: tropanes were (and still are, in some places) popular "folk" hallucinogens; typically the people preparing them had considerable experience with plants and were able to get the dosage right. In Europe during the inquisition and burning times, the Church (which prior to this had pretty much left folk culture to itself) became aware of these and lumped them in with the rest of low magic, i.e., as heresy (which it really wasn't, but that's another story); furthermore, the hallucinatory images (such as flying) may have contributed to the image of the "gothic" (Christian heretic) witch. It is hypothesized (support for this view is somewhat lacking) that the preparations, being topical, were often applied to a mucous membrane, in particular to the vagina and vaginal walls, using a broomstick as an applicator, thus the "witch riding the broomstick" image. Whether this is factual or complete bunk is up for debate. In any case, stay away from tropanes; they are far too dangerous.