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Psychoactive Plants

Psychoactive Plants

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Psychoactive Plants

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  1. Psychoactive Plants Hallucinogens II: Peyote (Mescaline) and Others

  2. Peyote • Peyote is a small spineless barrel cactus (Lophophora williamsii) • Native to Mexico and southwest Texas

  3. Peyote • Long history of use as a psychoactive plant, dating back at least 3000 years in Mexico. • Early accounts from 16th century Spanish missionaries in Mexico described the plant and its use as a hallucinogen in religious rituals among many Indian tribes • Spanish initially attempted to suppress the peyote rituals, the practices continued

  4. Mescal Buttons • Cactus is sliced and dried into “mescal buttons” • Softened in the mouth and swallowed • Soaked in water and water drunk • Dried buttons retain hallucinogenic properties since alkaloids not volatile

  5. Mescaline • Peyote contain about 30 alkaloids with mescaline the major hallucinogen

  6. Hallucinations • Peyote induced hallucinations are reported to be profound, kaleidoscopic hallucinations involving a progression of vivid colors

  7. Possible mode of action • Mescaline possibly binds to serotonin reuptake transporters, allowing serotonin to stay in synapse longer • Binding by mescaline causes some conformational changes to this protein that may allow other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and glutamate, to enter the axon terminal

  8. Hallucinogens • Most serotonin agonists cause hallucinations • The relationship between the hallucinogenic drugs and serotonin has given rise to the hypothesis that schizophrenia is caused by an imbalance in the metabolism of serotonin • excitement and hallucinations result from an excess of serotonin in certain regions of the brain • depressive and catatonic states resulting from serotonin deficiency • therapy with hallucinogens outlawed in late 1960s

  9. Native American Church • Origins of Native American Church in 1870s with Kiowas and Comanche tribes of Indian Territory (Oklahoma) • Combined Christianity with peyote rituals • Church spread throughout southwest and plains states – into Canada • Native American Church formally incorporated in 1918 • Peyote rituals of Church protected by Bill of Rights however opposition to peyote continued • A 1990 Supreme Court decision upheld Oregon’s right to outlaw peyote

  10. Tropane Alkaloids

  11. Tropane Alkaloids • A group of alkaloids with similar structure and similar physiological action are found predominantly in the family Solanaceae • Known as tropane alkaloids and include • atropine • hyoscyamine • scopolamine

  12. Tropane Alkaloids • Have a variety of physiological effects • relax smooth muscles • dilate the pupils of the eye • dilate blood vessels • increase heart rate and temperature • induce sleep and lessen pain • stimulate and then depress CNS • some induce hallucinations

  13. Tropane Alkaloids • One unique property of tropane alkaloids is their ability to be absorbed through the skin, • Tropane alkaloids occur in varying levels in • Atropa belladonna - deadly nightshade or belladonna • Hyoscamus spp.-henbane • Mandragora officinarum - mandrake • Datura spp - Jimsonweed

  14. Atropa belladonna • Branching herbaceous perennial native to Europe and Asia • Long history of use as a medicinal, psychoactive, and poisonous plant - extremely toxic • One use of the plant that led to its name "belladonna" was the practice by Mediterranean women of applying the plant's juice to the eyes. • The result was dilation of the pupils to produce an alluring effect; hence "bella donna" or beautiful lady. • Response is due to atropine which is used today by ophthalmologists.

  15. Atropa belladonna

  16. Atropine Uses • As an anti-spasmodic for treating Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and stomach cramps • As a bronchodilator for treating asthma • As a heart stimulant following cardiac arrest • As an antidote for various poisons or overdoses

  17. Datura species • Datura spp. have a cosmopolitan distribution • Grows wild over much of U.S. • Have been extensively used by many indigenous peoples for both medicinal and hallucinogenic purposes • In the New World, there are several species of Datura which have an extensive history as sacred hallucinogens

  18. Datura stramonium • Probably the most widely distributed species • Today cultivated for its scopolamine content which is used today for motion sickness and for its sedative effects • The common name for this species, jimsoneed or Jamestown weed, refers to an incident of accidental poisoning of British sailors in colonial Virginia in 1676 • They mistook Datura for an edible plant and suffered the consequences

  19. Seed Capsule Flower

  20. Jimsonweed • All parts of the plant contain atropine and scopolamine but highest level in the seeds • Commonly consumed in herbal teas • Seeds, leaves, and flower nectar can also be eaten or smoked • High experienced by users often includes delirium, delusions, hallucinations, disorientation, and incoherent speech • Often users do not recall the experience

  21. Jimsonweed • High school and even college students seeking a “no-cost high” turn to jimsonweed as an alternative to costly drugs • Easy access and limited legal restrictions make jimsonweed a viable substitute for other highs, particularly in areas where the plant is prevalent and the availability of other drugs is limited

  22. Jimsonweed • Use of jimsonweed has been sporadic and is expected to remain so • However, ingestion can lead to seizures, coma, and death • Symptoms include dry mucous membranes, difficulty swallowing and speaking, blurred vision, photophobia, hyperthermia, confusion, agitation, combative behavior, and hallucinations (red as a beet, mad as a hatter, dry as bone)

  23. Jimsonweed • Jimsonweed is not scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act • Several states have passed some form of legislation to control jimsonweed • Heightened awareness of the "bad high" and potentially deadly consequences of jimsonweed use is key to curbing the appeal of this plant

  24. Morning Glory Seeds • Certain members of the morning glory family, the Convolvulaceae, used as hallucinogens in the New World • Historically these were revered as powerful medicines among the Aztecs • Morning glories continue to be used by tribes in present day Mexico

  25. Morning Glory • The seeds of Ipomoea violoaceae as well as other Ipomoea and Rivea species contain amides of D-lysergic acid similar to, but far milder than LSD • Known as ololiuqui among the Aztecs - it was used in divination as well as other religious and magical rites • The shaman would consume a drink prepared from the seeds and in the hallucinogenic state that followed would divine the cause of a person's illness

  26. Lysergic Acid Amide • Derivative of tryptamine an indole alkaloid • Has about 1/10 the potency of LSD

  27. Nutmeg • Myristica fragrans - nutmeg has a long history as a culinary spice, • Also been used for its hallucinogenic properties. • In Ayurvedic medicine in India was called the "narcotic fruit." • Also mixed with betel nut or tobacco snuff for its intoxicating effects

  28. Nutmeg • The reaction to nutmeg is unpredictable since the active principle is volatile and thus potency varies greatly • Side effects, however, are predictable and extremely unpleasant • headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, irregular heart beat • unpopular choice as a hallucinogen

  29. Myristicin • Hallucinogenic compound in nutmeg is believed to be myristicin • Not an alkaloid • One of the essential oils in nutmeg - volatile compound • In other herbs and spices as well

  30. Other Hallucinogens • Ergot • Amanita muscaria • Psilocybe mushrooms