Herbal Drugs of Abuse

Jochen Beyer, Olaf H. Drummer and H.C. Hans H. Maurer

Abstract Substances taken for nonmedical reasons, usually for their mind-altering effects, are called drugs of abuse. The use of psychoactive plants as drugs of abuse has had a long tradition. Most commonly abused drugs extracted from or based on natural products are illicit substances, such as cannabis products, morphine, or cocaine, but other herbal products used to produce a "high" are becoming increasingly popular drugs of abuse. Unfortunately, these "new herbal drugs" are falsely labeled as safe and legal. This chapter gives a brief historical background of herbal drugs of abuse, a description of the classical herbal drugs of abuse, and their current trends of use. The monographs of the different herbal drugs of abuse contain descriptions of the plants, their pharmacologically active compounds, and the current knowledge of their pharmacological properties.

Keywords Herbal drugs • Abuse

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