What is a deliriant?
Legal, natural deliriants are plants, or other naturally occurring substances that have very strong psychoactive effects – they cause delirium. In fact, they are the very plants that confute the popular belief that holds “what’s natural is always safe”. The plants in this category cannot be considered safe by any possible standards – in fact, most of them are poisonous and potentially deadly.
Deliriants, induce hallucinations – however, they constitute a different category from psychedelic and hallucinogenic plants as their effects differ greatly from the effects of herbs in the latter two categories.
Deliriant intoxications usually bear the following traits that distinguish them from the effects of other psychoactive substances:
- extremely vivid, realistic and in most cases, dreadful hallucinations
- the user does not know that he is hallucinating, instead perceives the hallucinations as perfectly normal reality
- a state of total delirium – the user completely loses touch with reality and control over his own actions
- a complete loss of memories from the period spent intoxicated
- 24+ hour long trips and unpleasant after effects felt for several additional days (in the case of toxic nightshades, for instance, severely impaired vision)
- the psychoactive effects of deliriants are often accompanied by rather unpleasant bodily symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, inability to perspire and more
As you could probably figure out by now, these are not your everyday recreational herbal highs. Their use as recreational drugs is limited to a very narrow niche of die-hard psychonauts and unsuspecting, experimentally minded teens who often end up in a hospital after experiences with deliriants.
Be careful because, most of the plants that contain these extremely toxic compounds are widely cultivated for ornamental purposes. Moreover, nutmeg, which is also in this category, but is arguably much less potent than the nightshades, is a staple food item in most countries.
It probably won’t come as a surprise that I don’t advise anyone to try any of the plants that I will present in this article.
They are not fun, they are not recreational and some of them are potentially deadly. Be careful.
- The nightshades
- Nutmeg, Myristica fragrans
The nightshades is the common name of the botanical family Solanaceae. The family contains over 98 genera of plants and over 2700 species. However, in this article I will only mention a few of the nightshades, the ones that contain the toxic tropane alkaloids that are responsible for their deliriant effects – scopolamine, hyoscyamine and atropine. Scopolamine is said to be the strongest of these compounds and also the one that’s found in the toxic nightshades in the highest concentration.
Nightshades with tropane alkaloid concentration include:
- All plants in the Datura genus (Datura stramonium, Datura inoxia, Datura metel etc.)
- All plants in the Brugmansia genus (Brugmansia suaveolens, Brugmansia sanguinea, Brugmansia arborea etc.)
- All plants in the Mandragora genus (like Mandragora officinarum or mandrake) (more info coming soon)
- The henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) plant (more info coming soon)
- The belladonna, or deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) plant
Interesting fact about the nightshades: the so-called flying ointments of medieval witches reportedly contained a combination of Datura, Brugmansia and belladonna. The witches reportedly did not drink the potion but rubbed it on their skin (a portion of the tropane alkaloids are absorbed through the skin). These witches then disappeared for days (trip lasting for days is not unheard of using deliriants) and when they returned they talked about dancing with the devil, unholy rituals, flying brooms and speaking black cats. Our modern myth of the witches probably has roots in medieval deliriant trip reports.
My first advice is very simple: avoid deliriants, especially the nightshades.
However, if you feel really devoted to the idea of trying datura, or some other similar “scopolamine plant”, here are some precautions that you must take:
Concerning the dosage:
Two very big problems come up, when calculating the requisite dosage of any nightshade:
- they are almost only sold for ornamental purposes – there are no available extracts, or products meant for human consumption with pre-measured alkaloid content,
- the effective dose is not much bigger, than the lethal dose.
These two factors make experimenting with nightshades potentially a game of Russian roulette. If you really want to try any of these herbs, always make sure to use the ladder method – carefully administer and gradually increase the dosage until you start feeling the effects.
The importance of having a trusted sober sitter:
Having a sober sitter is an absolute must, when taking nightshades. It has to be someone, who:
- does not get scared easily, as you’ll probably do and say some scary stuff,
- possibly has some experience with altered states of consciousness herself,
- whom you completely trust and tell before head what you’re gonna take and what can he expect,
- the person needs to be able to stay up with you for 24+ hours, because at times, the trip can be quite long.
These precautions do not guarantee that you’ll be safe, only significantly decrease the chances of something horrible happening.
You should also check out my separate, detailed guides about Datura, Brugmansia and belladonna for more info on the dosage and precautions, as well as the legal status, effects and danger of these plants.
Deliriant plants in the Solanaceae family
Datura is usually mentioned in singular form. However, it actually refers to a genus of several species of poisonous vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae, nightshades.
There is much confusion circling the Datura family of plants. There are many different species in the Datura genus. Probably the two most well-known are:
- Datura inoxia (devil’s weed)
- Datura stramonium (jimson weed or thorn apple)
One thing is for certain, though: all members of the Datura genus contain the highly toxic tropane alkaloids scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine.
Datura is banned for human consumption in many countries around the world as well as some US states.
Datura trip report video
The following is a Youtube datura trip report video. This will show you what to expect from datura.
Belladonna is a perennial herb native to Europe, North Africa, Western Asia, some parts of Canada and the United States. It is also known as Atropa belladonna and deadly nightshade.
The plant’s less popular, somewhat folkloristic names are: devil’s berries, naughty man’s cherries, death cherries, beautiful death, and devil’s herb.
As you could probably guess from it’s denominations, it is a quite dangerous plant. In fact, Atropa belladonna is one of the most toxic plants of the Eastern Hemisphere and a deliriant. While it was widely embraced as a medicine in small amounts (nowadays only used in homeopathy), it is very dangerous and should always, no matter the intent of use, handled with extreme caution.
Like other nightshades, I do not recommend Atropa belladonna for recreational purposes.
Buy belladonna from the US here:
Buy live belladonna plants /only shipped inside the US, credit cards accepted – might be out of stock/
Brugmansia (angel’s trumpet)
Brugmansia is a genus of seven species of flowering plants in the family Solanaceae, or nightshades. Their large, fragrant flowers gave them their common name: angel’s trumpet.
As many other species in the Solanaceae family, Brugmansia plants contain extremely toxic tropane alkaloids, such as scopolamine, hyoscyamine and atropine.
One of the most horrid of drug stories I’ve heard in my life is connected to Brugmansia abuse. A 2006 article published in the European Archives of Psychiatry and Neuroscience gave an account of an 18 year old German boy, who amputated his own penis and tongue under the influence of merely one cup of tea prepared from two angel’s trumpet blossoms.
Consumption of brugmansia is not advised.
Brugmansia is banned for human consumption in several countries and US states.
Nutmeg, Myristica fragrans
In large doses, raw nutmeg has psychoactive effects, which are associated with one of its chemical components, myristicin – a recognised deliriant. This causes the so-called nutmeg high.
Even though it is one of the most readily available household highs in the world, it’s not widely used for recreational purposes. This is because to most people, the effects of nutmeg resemble poisoning more than an actual high.
On some occasions, nutmeg highs were said to have been at least partly positive experiences. However, in the vast majority of reported cases its effects are rather disturbing and very few people give nutmeg a second try.
Reported nutmeg poisonings are not great in numbers, but in some rare cases it can lead to hospitalisation, and in even more rare cases (one or two reported, in total) to death.
Still, if you want to try it, this is safer than the nightshades.
/credit cards accepted/
If you’re crazy enough to want to experience its unpleasant psychoactive effects, you need to obtain whole, organic (not ground) nutmeg (like what you can buy on the link above) and ground it yourself – as opposed to buying pre-packaged, ground nutmeg (very little to no effects).
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: 2015.12.16.