III. Psychoactive Plants • a) Stimulants • b) Hallucinogens • c) Depressants
a) StimulantsCoca (Erythroxylum coca) • Source of cocaine • Main ingredient in original Coca Cola
Khat (Catha edulis) • Leaves are chewed • Known as “Flower of Paradise” in Native Africa • Active ingredient is the alkaloid, cathione, a natural amphetamine
Coffee (Coffea spp)Tea (Camellia sinensis) caffeine theobromine • Coffee made from roasted seeds • Tea made from leaves • Caffeine main stimulant • See Table 17.1 for other plants
Cacao (Theobroma cacao) • Seeds source of powdered chocolate • Contains caffeine and theobromine • Name means food of the gods
Tobacco (Nicotiana spp) • Nicotine, an alkaloid is main stimulant in leaves, may also act as a depressant or tranquilizer
b) HallucinogensPeyote (Lophora williamsii) • Eaten as mescal buttons or dried portion of plant • Active compounds are mescaline and other alkaloids • Causes nausea, visual disorientation, mental clarity, visualizations, and paralysis of the central nervous system
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) • Seeds are source of myristicin, an aromatic volatile (amphetamine-like substance) • Causes powerful hallucinations, hypnotic trances and euphoric bliss (Ecstasy) • Side effects are headaches, dizziness, nausea and sickening hangovers, can be toxic
Morning Glory ( Ipomoea violacea) • Seed contain an alkaloid, D-lysergic acid (LSD is a synthetic form) • Causes hallucinations similar to peyote
Belladonna (Atropa belladona)Part of the very dangerous Solanaceae family which have the Tropane Alkaloids • Contains an alkaloid called scopolamine. • Highly hallucinogenic and toxic • Used by witches in Europe • Stimulates and depresses medulla and higher cerebral centers • Relaxes smooth muscles and alters heart rate
Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium) • Contains Tropane alkaloids • Causes hallucinations, headaches, delirium, convulsions and coma
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) formed when plant is dried • Common form here is an escapee used for hemp with 0.2 to 1% THC • Asian forms contain 3.4 to 6% THC • Treatment for nausea and glaucoma
c) Depressants • Alcoholic beverages
Kava (Piper methysticum) • Drink made from root or rhizomes • Active ingredients are kavapyrones • Causes relaxation, sleep and pain relief • Used in South Pacific Islands
Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) • More than 25 alkaloids including morphine and codeine • Effects central nervous system and intestines • Acts as painkiller, depresses respiration, decreases digestive juices and intestinal peristaltic contractions • Highly addictive!
Take Home Message • Plants contain many secondary compounds used for defense, but have medicinal, toxic and psychoactive properties to us; sometimes all within the same plant • BE CAREFUL what you eat or drink!