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Hallucinogens and Dissociative Agents Naturally Growing in the United States. Psychoactive Botanical Products Workshop September 9, 2003 John H. Halpern, M.D. Associate Director, Substance Abuse Research Biological Psychiatry Laboratory Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center

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Hallucinogens and Dissociative Agents Naturally Growing in the United States

Psychoactive Botanical Products Workshop

September 9, 2003

John H. Halpern, M.D.

Associate Director, Substance Abuse Research

Biological Psychiatry Laboratory

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center

McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA

Harvard Medical School NIDA K23-DA00494


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From the forest to the front lawn? the United States

  • This lecture reviews basic information on most of the hallucinogen and dissociative intoxicants growing throughout the U.S.

  • Psychoactive composition, geographic distribution, and brief overview on preparation and/or intoxication will be reviewed



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The Ephedra Equation the United States

  • Most “dietary supplements” marketed as psychoactive intoxicants contain ephedrine and/or caffeine from a variety of botanical sources.

  • In China, Ma Huang is used directly as a tea or compounded with other herbs.

  • Historically in the U.S., it was used as a stimulant tea: Mormon Tea, Brigham Tea, and other names.

  • Contains: ephedrine, pseudo-ephedrine, nor-ephedrine, methyl-ephedrine, tannins, saponin, and flavone



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Ephedra of the US the United StatesE. trifurca, E. viridis, E. torreyana,E. nevadensis and E. californica

  • 100 gm dried ephedra could contain anywhere from 0 to 2.6 gm of ephedrine

  • Herbalists do offer pure extract preparations



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Psilocybe Mushrooms the United States

  • Psilocybin: 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-DMT

  • Psilocin: 4-hydroxy-N,N-DMT

  • Psilocybe cubensis typically contains 1.6 mg psilocybin per gram of dried mushroom

  • 40 mcg/kg intoxicates

  • 3 to 4 hour duration


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Psilocybe Mushrooms the United States

  • Small brown mushrooms that stain blue to the touch

  • Illicit cultivation but also foraged from temperate climates


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Psilocybe Mushrooms: the United StatesReligious Use

Religious use continues in Oaxaca, Mexico


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Psilocybin content the United States



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DMT the United States

  • N,N-Dimethyltryptamine

  • 10 to 20 mg smoked : 15 minute intoxication

  • Approximately 100mg oral ingestion in presence of an MAOI: 3-4 hour intoxication

  • Many sources

  • Religious use of ayahuasca continues in Brazil; indigenous and “modern” religions: Santo Daime and Uniao do Vegetal. Both seek permission to use in the U.S.


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DMT…it’s as common as crabgrass… the United States

  • “Canary” grass; Phalaris aquatica, P. arundinacea, P. canariensis, P. tuberosa

  • Desmanthus illinoensis; Prairie Bundleflower

  • Many other sources; mostly S. America.


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DMT content the United States

  • Alkaloids reported as mg/100g raw dried plant +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • P. tuberosa: DMT 100 mg+; 5-Me-DMT 22 mg+; 5-OH-DMT 5 mg

  • P. arundinacea DMT 60+ mg

  • Desmanthus illinoesis (root bark) DMT 340 mg

  • Psychotria viridis: DMT 200 mg


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Phalaris spp. the United States


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Desmanthus illinoesis the United States


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Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors the United States

Sedative-hypnotic properties and possibly hallucinogenic/dissociative properties

Sources: Peganum harmala, Passiflora spp.,

USED TO MAKE DMT ORALLY ACTIVE


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Peganum harmala the United States


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Peganum harmala the United States

  • Commonly called Syrian rue

  • Contains reversible MAOIs that may also be psychoactive (2 to 4% beta-carboline content).

  • Ayahuasca’s MAOI source only has 0.5% beta-carboline content.

  • Passiflora: approx. 1%


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Passiflora incarnata the United States

  • Passion flower; fruit used in drinks; some herbal preparations as a “sedative”


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Peyote – Potent Hallucinogen the United States

Lophophoria williamsii

Contains mescaline


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Natural Range of Peyote the United States


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Harvesting Peyote the United States


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Peyote the United States

  • Lophophoria williamsii contains 1.5% mescaline (b-3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine)

  • 3mg/kg potent intoxication

  • Up to 8 to 10 hour duration

  • Continued religious use in North America

  • Other cacti used in South America and also…


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Trichocereus the United Statesspp.

  • Most popular source of non-sacramental mescaline in the U.S. isn’t peyote…

  • These ornamental cacti can be found almost everywhere


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The Peyote Ceremony the United States

Stewart OC. Peyote Religion. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.

Aberle DF. The Peyote Religion Among the Navaho. Chicago, IL: Aldine Publishing Co., 1966.


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The Peyote Ceremony the United States

  • Reasons for a meeting

  • The Road Chief and…

  • Tobacco prayers

  • Ingestion of Peyote

  • Power of song

  • Water ceremony

  • The morning after


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LSD? the United States


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Lysergic Acid Amide the United States

Ipomoea spp. (esp. I. purpurea)

Morning Glory

5-10 grams of seeds

Aztec: Oliliuqui

Argyria nervosa

Hawaiian Baby Woodrose

4-8 seeds ingested


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Salvia divinorum the United Statespotent hallucinogen

  • Many other Salvia spp. may also contain psychoactive diterpenes. “Salvinorin A”

  • Related to Sage plants/Mint family

  • Does not grow in the United States naturally, but can readily be cultivated. Mexican origin

  • First reported in 1962 but popularity increased via Internet…


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Salvia divinorum the United States


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Coleus? the United States


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Datura the United States – Potent Dissociative


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Datura stramonium the United States


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Datura the United States

  • Leaves typically cut and smoked

  • Contains atropine, scopalomine, and…

  • Ancient ceremonial use in the U.S.

  • Occasional report of death by ingestion of root

  • Many other sources for atropine and scopalomine…mandrake, henbane…


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Amanita muscaria the United States

Found throughout the U.S.

Muscimol is the primary psychoactive alkaloid

Dissociative


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Bufo Frogs… the United States

  • Contains bufontinin but intoxication primarily from 5-Meo-DMT

  • The toad is NOT licked but glands are milked for poison


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Botanical intoxicants…future mayhem? the United States

  • None of these plants are addictive, other than cultivation of the opium poppy in the U.S., which is not common. Illicit cultivation of Cannabis spp., of course, continues.

  • Eradication of the illicit drug market of hallucinogens may drive the “resourceful” to these botanicals more than today.

  • It is not feasible to eradicate these botanicals from U.S. territory

  • The Internet will drive an ever wider dissemination of information on these botanicals to those seeking this information


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Further information or for reprints: the United States


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