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Psychoactive Plants. Hallucinogens II: Peyote (Mescaline) and Others. Peyote - Lophophora williamsii. Small spineless barrel cactus Native to Mexico and southwest Texas. Peyote. Early history Peyote contain about 30 alkaloids with mescaline the major hallucinogen Mescal buttons .

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Psychoactive Plants

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psychoactive plants

Psychoactive Plants

Hallucinogens II: Peyote (Mescaline) and Others

peyote lophophora williamsii
Peyote - Lophophora williamsii
  • Small spineless barrel cactus
  • Native to Mexico and southwest Texas
  • Early history
  • Peyote contain about 30 alkaloids with mescaline the major hallucinogen
  • Mescal buttons
possible mode of action
Possible mode of action
  • Sympathomimetic – enhance nor-epinephrine
  • OR 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
  • Serotonin agonists may 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
nutmeg myristica fragrans
Nutmeg - Myristica fragrans
  • History as a spice and hallucinogen
  • In Ayurvedic medicine in India was called the "narcotic fruit."
  • 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 – a few fatalities in literature
    • unpopular choice as a hallucinogen
  • Hallucinogenic compound in nutmeg is myristicin (and maybe also elemicine)
  • Myristicin a phenolic essential oil (volatile)
  • Myristicin an MAO inhibitor – so enhances monoamine levels in synapse
  • Also found in other herbs and spices
salvia divinorum
Salvia divinorum
  • Herbal hallucinogen – newest herbal highs
  • Street names: Sally D, magic mint
  • As of the present time – legal hallucinogen
  • Long history of use by the Mazatec people of Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Recent story on NPR
salvia divinorum1
Salvia divinorum

Member of the Mint Family in the same genus as sage, the cooking herb

salvinarin a
Salvinarin A
  • Active compound is a diterpene called Salvinarin A
  • Structurally distinct from all other known hallucinogens
  • Reported to be the most potent known naturally occurring hallucinogen – active at levels of 200 to 1000 mg when smoked – potency similar to LSD
mode of action of salvinarin a
Mode of action of Salvinarin A
  • Work of Bryan Roth and colleagues
  • Binds to k opioid receptors
  • The only non-alkaloid found to bind an opioid receptors
  • No action at all at serotonin receptors which is the principal target for many other hallucinogens
  • Suggests k opioid receptors play major role in human perception and may be important in diseases like schizophrenia where hallucinations are common – in conflict with serotonin hypothesis\
tropane alkaloids1
Tropane Alkaloids
  • A group of alkaloids with similar structure and similar physiological action
  • Found predominantly in the family Solanaceae
  • Tropane alkaloids include
    • atropine
    • hyoscyamine
    • scopolamine
  • Primarily act as antagonists at the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor sites
tropane alkaloids2
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
tropane alkaloids3
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
    • Datura spp - Jimsonweed
    • Hyoscamus spp.-henbane
    • Mandragora officinarum - mandrake
atropa belladonna
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 plants 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
other medical uses of atropine
Other medical uses of atropine
  • 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
datura species
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
  • Datura stramonium – Jimson weed most widely distributed species
  • 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
  • Red as a beet, mad as a hatter, dry as bone
  • Often users do not recall the experience
morning glory seeds
Morning Glory Seeds
  • 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
lysergic acid amide
Lysergic Acid Amide
  • Derivative of tryptamine, an indole alkaloid
  • Act as serotonin enhancers in upper brain stem
  • Has about 1/10 the potency of LSD