From psychoactive cacti to toad poison, here's TheSite.org's guide to the outer limits of narcotic experimentation. Don't try this at home.
In northern Nigeria, people get high from lizard dung, mainly by drying and smoking it. Some drink it mixed with water and laundry detergent. Tasty.
To get high on this spice-rack stalwart, you'll need much more than the smattering you'd put in a nice béchamel sauce. Taken in Yemen to increase sexual vigour, too much can lead to vomiting, severe tiredness and on rare occasions, death.
Hallucinogenic South American wild flower linked to several deaths in America. In 2003, an 18-year-old German student cut off his tongue and penis with a pair of garden shears after drinking tea made from the plant.
Contrary to popular belief, getting high by licking a toad's back is a myth. But the amphibian's milky white venom (you 'milk' Kermit by stroking him repeatedly under the chin) contains chemical bufotenine, which can produce a psychedelic trip when dried and smoked.
Otherwise known as angel dust, PCP (phencyclidine) was initially developed as an ape anaesthetic before becoming a street drug in 1960s' America. It keeps users awake, allows them to lift heavy objects and prevents feeling pain. But it can also create paranoia, driving some users to self-mutilate and have suicidal thoughts. In 2005, the rapper Houston gouged his left eye out with a fork under the influence of PCP.
This psychedelic high is found in mescal buttons on the peyote cactus of Mexico and southern USA. Its effects are similar to LSD, but longer-lasting. Typically, users vomit before entering a kaleidoscopic trance-like state (sometimes lasting 12 hours). Native Americans have been using it for over 3000 years, while it was the inspiration for Aldous Huxley's 1954 book The Doors of Perception. In the UK, mescaline is a Class A drug.
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre reported being chased through Paris by packs of imaginary lobsters after experimenting with mescaline.
A German student cut off his tongue and penis with a pair of garden shears after drinking tea made from the plant...
Mystical tea made by Amazonian Indians. The psychoactive brew of the 'spirit vine' causes copious vomiting (it tastes foul) and hallucinations, but users have reported feeling spiritually clean and upbeat afterwards. Recent years have seen a rise in 'ayahuasca tourism' and there are retreats where you can take it in controlled circumstances. Ayahuasca is not everyone's idea of a good night out though. It can be scary, forcing users to face up to painful psychological problems.
Prescription painkiller nicknamed 'hillbilly heroin' thanks to its popularity in poor, rural parts of America. Abusers get a euphoric hit by crushing the pills before snorting, swallowing or injecting them. Described as "more addictive than heroin", it's been linked to over 300 deaths in the US and was one of the cocktail of drugs taken by Heath Ledger before his fatal accidental overdose in 2008. In 2002, Samantha Jenkinson, an 18-year-old aspiring model, died after swallowing up to seven Oxycodone on a night out.
Hallucinogenic substance found in a Central African rainforest shrub. Used in tribal rituals, ibogaine has been described as "ten years of psychoanalysis in a single night". Ibogaine is used by private clinics to treat drug addiction, but lack of research means it's an unknown quantity medically. One website warns of a ballpark death rate of 1 in 300, while TV adventurer Bruce Parry claimed eating ibogaine was "the hardest thing I've ever done".
Also known as deadly nightshade, belladonna is a plant whose foliage and berries can be extremely toxic. Although a belladonna derivative is used in hospitals today to relax muscles, and by ophthalmologists to dilate pupils, it can be taken recreationally, normally as a tea. Producing unpleasant hallucinations, blackouts and delirium, there's also a high risk of fatal overdose, so don't go nibbling on it when you find it in the garden unless you know what you're doing.
Why do some people go so far to get high?
Since we first got up off four legs and came down from the trees, humans have enjoyed getting out of it. For most people, drug experimentation is limited to a few pints on a Friday night and the odd cheeky line. But for a minority, pushing the limitations of different highs is as natural as breathing. The reason why isn't exactly rocket science, as Dr Derek Lee, a consultant clinical psychologist, explains:
"People are motivated to take drugs because they believe it will make them feel good," he says. "Unfortunately, there's a price to pay - the comedown. If we experienced the unpleasant aspects first, it's unlikely we'd persevere."
If you're continuously seeking a bigger high, there could be several reasons for it. Drugs provide an escape from problems. You might feel pressure from your friends to experiment. Or you could be curious. Or there could be something deep down in your psychological makeup that keeps making you come back for more - and more.
"The quicker the hit, the more addictive the substance," adds Derek. "Think of gambling - the popularity of scratchcards is due to the possibility of an instant win."
By Christian Koch
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