Jimson Weed

hallucinations from recreational jimson weed usage. A few years earlier a survey of drug users in the South African military found about 3% to be using jimson weed. U.S. military personnel have been known to "accidentally" inject themselves with the jimson weed component atropine, on hand as a nerve gas antidote but also able to create hallucinations.

Some jimson weed users describe sensations of flying, instant travel between one city and another, and communication with plants and inanimate objects. Although insects are a commonly reported visual hallucination from jimson weed, one uncommon sensation is a feeling of crawling insects, reminiscent of the "coke bugs" hallucination associated with cocaine. Jimson weed experiences have sometimes been likened to those from LSD, but reasons for that comparison are unapparent from accounts given by users of those substances. Both may be hallucinogens, but users relate very different observations. Descriptions of jimson weed experiences often have an ominous tone and lack LSD qualities such as striking down barriers between senses (hearing colors, seeing sounds). In keeping with an old but largely abandoned tradition of medicine, an articulate medical journal author engaged in Datura self-experimentation and produced a graphic account of interactions with charms of nineteenth-century Paris and with horrors of twentieth-century monsters. A witness later "told me that I fought the restraining devices so violently that he thought every blood vessel in my face and neck would explode."2 The researcher did not repeat the experiment.

Drug interactions. Not enough scientific information to report.

Cancer. The Ames test, a standard laboratory procedure that screens substances for carcinogenicity, indicates jimson weed seeds have potential for causing cancer.

Pregnancy. Datura plants are suspected of causing birth defects in farm animals. Birth defects did not become more common in children of 450 pregnant women who received the atropine component of jimson weed. The same lack of effect on congenital abnormalities was observed in a similar number of pregnancies after the women used the scopolamine component of jimson weed, a finding consistent with a rodent study.

Additional information. Jimson weed is botanically classified as the stramonium species of the Datura genus. Other Datura genus plants around the world are used for similar effects, but they are not jimson weed.

Additional scientific information may be found in:

DiGiacomo, J.N. "Toxic Effect of Stramonium Simulating LSD Trip." Journal of the American Medical Association 204 (1968): 265-66. Gowdy, J.M. "Stramonium Intoxication: Review of Symptomatology in 212 Cases." Journal of the American Medical Association 221 (1972): 585-87. Jacobs, K.W. "Asthmador: Legal Hallucinogen." International Journal of the Addictions 9 (1974): 503-12.

Johnson, C.E. "Mystical Force of the Nightshade." International Journal of Neuropsychi-atry 3 (1967): 268-75.

Keeler, M.H., and Kane, F.J., Jr. "The Use of Hyoscyamine as a Hallucinogen and Intoxicant." American Journal of Psychiatry 124 (1967): 852-54.

Thabet, H., et al. "Datura Stramonium Poisonings in Humans." Veterinary and Human

Toxicology 41 (1999): 320-21. Tiongson, J. "Mass Ingestion of Jimson Weed by Eleven Teenagers." Delaware Medical Journal 70 (1998): 471-76.

Notes

1. [R. Beverley], The History of Virginia, in Four Parts, 2nd ed. (London: F. Fayram and J. Clarke and T. Bickerton, 1772), 121.

2. C.E. Johnson, "Mystical Force of the Nightshade," International Journal of Neuropsychiatry 3 (1967): 272.

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