10 Natural Plants That Can Get You High
The majority of us think that Cannabis is the only natural growing plant that people use around the world to get high. Most people don’t realize other plants can have the same effects when consumed. Here’s our list of 10 naturally cultivated plants that can get you high.
Note: We suggest you take our word for it! Experimenting with the below plants is not recommended.
1) Salvia divinorum
Salvia divinorum is a plant that many know as “sage”. But this sage is not the spices you use to cook with. Salvia, as many have shortened it, is a natural plant that has long since been known to create visions in the users mind. This plant is just over a meter high and has incredibly large leaves as well. Sometimes, you can find white or purple flowers growing on the stems as well.
Damiana is a small shrub style plant that has numerous flowers that give off very aromatic smells. This plant is usually mixed into a tea form, but it can also be made into a sugary form as well. It is said that the aromatic smells caused by the plants give a “relaxed” feeling almost immediately. Another form that this plant can be made into is incense. The incense gives off the smell causing the calming effect as well. Damiana is also be used more and more as a spice blend.
3) Blue Lotus
This plant is also known as “Sacred Blue Lily”. Its origins come from the Nile River and many other locations in East Africa. Many refer to this plant as the “spiked plant”; not just because of its blue and white spiked petals, but because it is said to give the same type of effects as a sedative, yet also increase your conscious awareness. It is said that your sense will be heightened and at the same time you feel a sense of peace and tranquility. These days, the effects of blue lotus can be felt through many teas, wines, and martinis.
4) Wild Dagga
This particular plant also has the distinction of being called “Lion’s Tail”. This name definitely comes from the fact that the tips of this plant look exactly like lion’s tails. Drying the leave and smoking them can cause effects that are very calming and soothing. There are a number of things that can result from smoking Wild Dagga like irritation of the lungs and throat, dizziness, euphoria, and changes in your vision. It is not known just how many side effects can actually come from smoking this plant, but the list seems to keep growing rapidly.
Also known as “Kanna”, this plant originates from South Africa. This is a plant that has been around for literally thousands of years. As far back as records show, this plant was used a mood changing substance. There are many ways in which this plant has been consumed. In earlier times the plant was crush and then chewed, like chewing tobacco, and the saliva was then swallowed. These days you can find many forms of this plant with teas and certain gel caps that are predominantly made. This plant like many others, gives you a very calmed effect and is said that any presence of stress is eliminated quickly. In higher doses, it is believed that this plant can cause a state of euphoria.
Nutmeg has been a plant that has been around for quite a number of years. This plant is not just used in making foods, but it also has many hallucinogenic qualities when in different forms. The seeds that are produced by this plant are actually the cause of these qualities. Just eating a few of these seeds can almost instantly give you a state of euphoria. While this feeling may seem good at the time, there are some side effects to this that not many people have been able to stand. Severe cases of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea have all been linked to the eating of nutmeg seeds, in large quantities. After trying to sleep this one off, you may still feel some effects like extreme tiredness, even if you just woke up from a great nights sleep. In some people, insomnia has formed.
7) Morning Glory
Morning glories, or rather their seeds, have long since been known as hallucinogenic substances. Generally the effects come from simply chewing the seeds, but there are more ways in which they can be ingested. They can be soaked in water for extended periods of time, crushed into a paste and eaten. Soaking them for a few days will cause them to sprout. Many people have said that once they sprout they seem to be more potent.
8) Hawaiian Baby Woodrose
This is another plant in which the seeds are the ones that give the effects. The seeds are actually contained within pods with thick coatings. There are about five seeds to each pod. Pods from this plant usually require a lot of work to get into them, but once you have opened them, you can chew the seeds found inside. There have been many reports of nausea from this seed, but that is pretty much the only side effect that has been brought to anyone’s attention.
9) Passion Flower
Passion flowers have, in recent years, been found to create certain mind-altering effects. It is not actually the flower part of the plant that creates these illusions, but the stem and roots. The calming effects by this plant can also come from eating large amounts of the fruit it creates. Passion flowers can have many different color pets like reds and purples and each plant can look completely different from the next. The dried leaves of the plant have been known to have calming effects that often result in sleeping states.
10) Wild Lettuce
Wild lettuce is very different from your everyday garden lettuce variety. Wild lettuce has long and thing stems. The stems, themselves, have been said to have effects that are much like poppies, but not as strong. There may be a calm and slight euphoric state, but the effects do not go much further than this. The chambers in the stem are what actually hold the calming substance.
The majority of us think that Cannabis is the only natural growing plant that people use around the world to get high. Most people don’t realize other plants
9 Mind-Altering Plants
In their quest for survival, plants have evolved to produce an amazing variety of chemical compounds known as secondary metabolites. These chemicals often serve to deter herbivores, protect against pathogens and neighbors, or mitigate the effects of radiation, among numerous other uses. Interestingly, many of these chemicals react with human bodies in specific ways, ranging from organ failure and death to reactions that inspire lifesaving pharmaceuticals. The following is a list of plants that, amazingly, affect the brains and mental states of the humans who ingest them.
Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)
The beautiful opium poppy is native to Turkey and is a common garden plant in the United States. When the unripe seed capsules are cut, they exude a milky latex that is the source of raw opium and can be processed into morphine, codeine, and heroin. Known as opiates, these drugs exert their main effects on the brain and spinal cord. While their principal action is to relieve or suppress pain, the drugs also alleviate anxiety, induce relaxation and sedation, and may impart a state of euphoria or another enhanced mood. Heroin is especially known for generating an intense ecstatic reaction that spreads throughout the body as a warm glowing sensation. Opiates also have important physiological effects: they slow the heartbeat and respiration, suppress the cough reflex, and relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic users develop a tolerance and require progressively larger doses to achieve the same effect. Heroin and morphine overdoses often result in death.
Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)
Peyote is a small cactus found only in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern Texas and northern Mexico. The tops of the cactus can be dried to form “mescal buttons,” which are well known for their hallucinogenic effects and contain the alkaloid mescaline, among others. The hallucinatory effects vary greatly among individuals and even for a particular individual from one drug experience to the next. The variations seem to reflect such factors as the mood and personality of the individual and the setting in which the drug is administered. Hallucinations are usually visual, less often auditory. Side effects include nausea and vomiting. Peyote, like most other hallucinogenic drugs, is not considered to be addictive and is reputed by cultists and some observers to promote morality and ethical behavior among the Native Americans who use it ritually.
Salvia (Salvia divinorum)
An unassuming member of the mint family, the herb salvia has made headlines for its growing popularity, including its use by American singer Miley Cyrus. Native to Mexico, the plant is hallucinogenic and has historically been used by shamans to achieve altered states of consciousness. Currently legal in both the U.K. and the U.S., the leaves can be eaten or smoked and feature an active ingredient known as salvinorin A, which activates specific nerve cell receptors. The effects are intense but short-lived and include changes in mood and body sensations, visions, feelings of detachment, and altered perceptions of self. Advocates of the plant emphasize that the effects are spiritual and claim that those who try to use it as a “party drug” will be disappointed by its effects.
Cannabis (Cannabis sativa)
Grown all over the world, cannabis (marijuana) is probably the most-widespread plant with psychoactive properties. Known for its characteristic leaves, the plant is used in religious practices in India and Africa (and probably elsewhere) and is sometimes used illicitly in the United States and Europe, though its legal status is changing in many places. The active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is present in all parts of both the male and female plants but is most concentrated in the flowering tops of the female. These buds are usually dried and crushed and put into pipes or formed into cigarettes (joints) for smoking but can also be added to foods and beverages. Psychological effects tend to predominate, with the user commonly experiencing a mild euphoria and alterations in vision and judgment that result in distortions of time and space. Acute intoxication may occasionally induce visual hallucinations, anxiety, depression, paranoid reactions, and psychoses lasting four to six hours. Marijuana’s physical effects include reddening of the eyes, dryness of the mouth and throat, moderate increase in rapidity of the heartbeat, tightness of the chest (if the drug is smoked), drowsiness, unsteadiness, and muscular incoordination. Hashish, a more-powerful form of the drug, is made by collecting and drying the plant’s resin and is about eight times as strong as the marijuana typically smoked in the United States.
Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi)
Ayahuasca is a South American vine used as the primary ingredient for a psychoactive drink of the same name. Culturally important to a number of Amazonian peoples, the brew has grown in popularity among tourists seeking a spiritual awakening, particularly in Peru. Ayahuasca is said to generate intense spiritual revelations, with users often reporting a sensation of “rebirth” and a deeper understanding of themselves and the universe. However, some users experience significant psychological distress under the influence of the drug, and a number of deaths have been reported. Ingestion is commonly followed by vomiting or diarrhea, which shamans deem to be the purging of negative energies.
Betel nut (Areca catechu)
Although not well known in the West, betel chewing is a habit of an estimated one-tenth of the world’s population, and betel is considered to be the fourth most-common psychoactive drug in the world (following nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine). Betel nuts grow on the areca palm and are cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. For chewing, a betel quid is formed by wrapping a small piece of the areca palm seed (the betel nut) in a leaf of the unrelated betel pepper plant, along with a pellet of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide). Betel chewing releases a number of addictive alkaloids that cause sensations of mild euphoria, and regular users often have red-stained teeth and lips. Although it is important in many cultural traditions of southern Asia, betel chewing is linked to a number of serious health problems, including oral and esophageal cancer, and is of growing concern for health officials.
Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)
Native to the Americas, the tobacco plant bears distinctive large leaves that are a particularly concentrated source of nicotine. Nicotine is the chief active ingredient in the tobacco used in cigarettes, cigars, and snuff and is an addictive drug. The drug has a unique biphasic psychoactive effect: when inhaled in short puffs it acts as a stimulant, but when smoked in deep drags it can have a tranquilizing effect. This is why smoking can feel invigorating at some times and can seem to block stressful stimuli at others. When ingested in larger doses, nicotine is a highly toxic poison that causes vomiting and nausea, headaches, stomach pains, and, in severe cases, convulsions, paralysis, and death. Tobacco use causes a number of health problems, including cancer and emphysema, and is responsible for more than five million deaths per year.
Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)
Jimsonweed grows throughout much of North and South America. It is a weedy annual plant with striking white tubular flowers and spiky seed pods. The leaves and seeds contain potent alkaloids (hyoscamine and hyoscine) that cause hallucinations. Used ceremonially by a number of indigenous peoples, jimsonweed acts as a deliriant and can produce intense spiritual visions. However, it is highly dangerous, and careless use can easily result in fatalities. Users often report terrifying hallucinations and paranoid delusions under its influence and may experience prolonged side effects such as blurred vision after its use. Many do not try it a second time.
Coca (Erythroxylum coca)
Coca is a tropical shrub native to certain regions of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Its leaves contain the alkaloid cocaine and have been chewed for centuries by the Indians of Peru and Bolivia for pleasure or in order to withstand strenuous working conditions, hunger, and thirst. However, the leaves can also be processed into a potent white crystalline powder that is injected, smoked, or otherwise consumed. When ingested in small amounts, cocaine produces feelings of well-being and euphoria along with decreased appetite, relief from fatigue, and increased mental alertness. Cocaine is habit-forming, and, when taken in larger amounts and upon prolonged and repeated use, cocaine produces depression, anxiety, irritability, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, mental confusion, and convulsions. A toxic psychosis can develop involving paranoid delusions and disturbing tactile hallucinations in which users feel insects crawling under their skin. Cocaine abuse, which had been a marginal drug problem throughout much of the 20th century, grew alarmingly in the late 20th century in several countries, and cocaine became responsible for a markedly increased proportion of drug-induced deaths.
This Encyclopedia Britannica science list explores 9 plants that affect human mental states and cause hallucinations or other effects.