The opposite of stimulants, or uppers are the so called downers, that is, sedatives. If you are looking to find out more about, or buy legal, natural sedatives, check out Simon’s Guide to Natural Sedatives.
There are several types of substances with stimulating effects. Some are prescription medicines; among those that are not there are both illegal drugs and legal substances. Another categorisation is that stimulants may be natural or synthetic.
In this guide you can read about the effects, legal status and uses of various natural stimulants. All of the stimulants presented here are legal at least in some countries and forms, but please make sure to check local laws before deciding to try or buy any stimulants.
Make sure never to buy any party pills if the ingredients are not listed on the packaging or on the website! These may contain various dangerous additives and research chemicals.
- Basics of stimulants
- Effects of stimulants
- Natural stimulants
- Legal stimulants
Effects of stimulants
Substances in the category of stimulants achieve their effects in various ways. The major classes of stimulants are amphetamines and dopamine precursors.
The effects of legal and illegal, natural and synthetic stimulants are, in general, similar, though there is large variation in their strength. Natural stimulants are also generally less dangerous, though they can have side-effects as well.
The primary effect of stimulants and the reason they are most often consumed is, as the name suggests, their stimulating effect. Users feel more alert and wakeful. Cognitive effects include an increased sense of motivation and enhanced productivity. Users may also experience feelings of euphoria.
Stimulants provide not only mental, but physical energy as well. Heart rate and blood pressure is increased, and users feel a diminished need to rest or eat.
The increased endurance and energy is what akes stimulants popular. Mild, legal forms of it, such as coffee, are consumed by millions of people on a daily basis.
However, these effects pose dangers as well. While users feel more energetic after consuming stimulants, their need for rest, sleep or eat does not actually decrease. This can have adverse effects on anyone, but those with diabetes should be extremely cautious.
The increased heart rate may also lead to heart attacks in those with preexisting conditions, or when consumed in combination with another stimulant.
Natural and over the counter stimulants
There are several legally available stimulants, though laws change from country to country. there are two main kinds of legal substances: over the counter stimulants and natural stimulants, though the distinction is not definitive.
Over the counter stimulants generally come in the forms of diet pills. This is because, as mentioned previously, stimulants decrease the sense of hunger. Laws regulating over the counter stimulants have recently become stricter – for specifics, see the description and legal status of each stimulant.
Natural stimulants – often containing the same active ingredients as over the counter stimulants – are available outside of pharmacies. One may purchase the plants themselves, or various extracts and supplements made from these plants.
Natural and over the counter stimulants have side-effects and pose dangers as well, as most substances do. However, they should not be demonised (especially in a society where drinking coffee is widely accepted), as taken in moderation and with caution they have little to no adverse effects.
Ephedra sinica, also called mormon’s tea or ma huang has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for thousands of years.
Ephedra is the most well-known and popular mood-enhancer and stimulant. It has been marketed both as a weigh-loss pill and as a natural remedy.
The main active ingredients in Ephedra sinica are ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Though ephedra has been marketed as legal extasy, the effects are much milder, and ephedra is also safer to use.
Recently stricter laws regarding pills with ephedra or ephedrine content have been introduced, making the legal status of the various products rather complex.
If you’re interested, you can buy ephedra here:
Buy ephedra /shipped from the Netherlands/
Buy ephedra /shipped from the US/
Sida cordifolia, or country mallow is a small shrub native to Inida, which is why it is also called Indian ephedra.
As the effects of the two plants are rather similar, Sida cordifolia is extensively used as an ephedra substitute where the latter is illegal or out of stock.
Sida cordifolia also contains ephedrine and psudoephedrine, though in a smaller concentration than ephedra. As a result, the effects are milder, and larger doses may be used. Like ephedra, Sida cordifolia is consumed in the form of a tea made from the ground roots.
Buy Sida cordifolia
If you’re interested, you can buy country mallow here:
Buy Sida cordifolia /shipped from the US/
Buy Sida cordifolia seeds /shipped from the Netherlands/
Betel – that is, Pipe betle is a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family. It should not be confused with Areca catechu, also called betel.
With Piper betle, it is the leaves that are consumed; for betel nut see the next entry. The two types mixed together along with tobacco and lime is called paan, which is very popular in Asia.
The main active ingredient in betel leaves is arecoline, with effects similar to nicotine. The leaves are consumed by simply chewing them, 3-5 at a time.
Betel leaves are legal in most countries. However, it is generally unknown outside of Asia. As a result, I can not currently recommend any online shops selling betel leaves.
Betel nut, or areca nut is the seed of Areca catechu. It should not be confused with Piper betle, the leaves of which are also called betel.
The two types mixed together along with tobacco and lime is called paan, which is very popular in Asia.
Betel nuts are legal in most countries. However, it is generally unknown outside of Asia. As a result, I can not currently recommend any online shops selling betel leaves.
The nuts are chewed for about 5-20 minutes, after which they are not swallowed but spit out. Betel nut users chew an average of 10-50 grams per day.
Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) is an herb native to South Africa, where it has been used for ritualistic purposes by indigenous tribes for several centuries.
The main active ingredient in Kanna is mesembrine. The effects of Sceletium tortuosum can range from mild to MDMA-like, depending on the dosage and quality.
Kanna is legal in most countries, including the United States. It is, however, banned for human consumption in the state of Louisiana. Kanna is known as a marijuana synergist. If you live in a country or state where marijuana is legal, you might want to try this combination.
If you’re interested, you can buy kanna here:
Buy kanna /shipped from the Netherlands/
Buy kanna /shipped from the US/
Khat (Catha edulis) is a flowering plant native to the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
It is the leaves of khat that are consumed, traditionally by chewing. Each dose of khat is chewed for about 10-30 minutes, then spat out.
Khat is illegal in most of the Western world.Interestingly, it is legal in several countries with a Muslim majority, effectively used as a substitute for alcohol. /It should be noted that the Qu’ran prohibits not only alcohol, but all forms of intoxicants./
The main active ingredient in Catha edulis is cathinone. The effects of cathinone are similar to those of ephedrine. Khat is generally safe on the short run, but long-term use can have side-effects such as discoloration of the teeth or even oral cancer.
If you’re interested, you can buy khat here:
Buy khat seeds /shipped from the US/
Please note that khat itself is illegal in the US as well. however, the seeds of khat are available for buying.
Coca is not a single species, but actually four different plants from the Erythroxylaceae family, all native to South America.
The main active ingredient found in coca leaves is cocaine, the purified form of which is the drug by the same name.
Though their main active compound is the same, the effects of coca leaves are barely comparable to those of cocaine. Unlike the latter, coca leaves are either chewed or brewed into a tea.
Coca leaves are in the same legal category as cocaine in most countries. In several South American countries, however, there is a distinction between the two substances, and the laws affecting coca leaves are much laxer.
Buy coca leaves
Coca leaves are not legal in my country and I have no experience with them.
However I did find a South American place that sells coca leaves online and ships to the US (even though it’s illegalthere) and to Europe as well.
Keep in mind, this seems to be completely illegal and I have no idea how this online shop is not yet prosecuted. Order at your own risk!
Buy coca leaves /Shipped from Peru./
Cocoa or cacao powder is made from the dried and ground seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree.
Cocoa powder is the main ingredient in the most popular type of sweet in the world, chocolate. However, it also has mild psychoactive properties.
Cacao powder is legal in all countries, and available in grocery stores throughout the world. However, the processed cocoa powder is not used for recreational purposes, only 100% cacao powder with no sugar added.
The main active ingredients in cacao are theobromine and caffeine. In order to make an effective drink, large amounts of cocoa powder must be used (or extracted theobromine or caffeine is needed). We only included cocoa here to make this a complete list of natural legal stimulants.
If you’re interested, you can buy cocoa here:
Buy cocoa nibs /shipped from the US/
The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree – Cola is not a single species but a whole genus. The species generally harvested for kola nuts are Cola acuminata and Cola nitida.
The main active ingredients in kola nut are caffeine and theobromine. Kola is used as a flavouring in the western world, in Coca Cola for example.
In Africa, especially in Nigeria, kola nuts enjoy widespread use for both ritualistic and recreational purposes.
Both kola nut and the active ingredients caffeine and theobromine are legal worldwide. The nuts are brewed into a tea prior to consumption.
Buy kola nut
If you’re interested, you can buy kola nut here:
Buy kola nut extract /shipped from the Netherlands/
I do not advocate consumption of legal highs. They can have adverse side effects and if you are allergic, or if you overdose you might even die.
Some of them are poisonous plants – e.g.: nightshades – causing a dangerous state of delirium and should not be consumed under any circumstances.
If you are planning to consume any of the substances mentioned here consult your physician first and make sure you read about potential health effects and safe dosing.
Some of the information presented here might be outdated or incorrect (check “last updated” below). Make sure, that if you are planning to try out any of the substances to research them yourself as well.
I’m 100% committed to safe and responsible legal high consumption. If you have a few minutes to spare please read my blog post about responsible and safe legal drugs use.
Back to Simon’s legal high guide.
Last updated: 2015.12.09.