When it comes to illicit drugs, the general public tends to be well-aware of the most commonly abused substances. This includes cocaine, meth, crack, marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, opium, hash and a plethora of different types of prescription drugs that are regularly abused by large numbers of people. However, there are also a significant number of illicit drugs that few people have ever heard of – especially those people who have little to no experience with drugs or drug addiction. Recognizing that not every substance of abuse is widely known is critical because, popular or not, many of these drugs can be extremely dangerous and even deadly in some cases.
San Pedro is a cactus that is native to South America, but because of its hardiness is cultivated all over the world for ornamental, spiritual and recreational purposes. The active ingredient in this cactus – mescaline – was outlawed in the United States in 1970; however, very loose laws concerning this plant make it easy for substance abusers and drug addicts to obtain. This is because the San Pedro is not widely known, and also because the plant is legal to possess for ornamental purposes.
San Pedro causes powerful hallucinations that can last for more than 12 hours in the case of a large dose. Reports of bizarre behaviors and mild to moderate medical complications as a result of ingesting San Pedro are rare, but occur more frequently in southwestern states like New Mexico and Arizona. However, some native peoples in these and other areas have a right to use the plant for spiritual or religious purposes as they have been doing for thousands of years:
“Echinopsis pachanoi has a long history of being used in Andean traditional medicine. Archeological studies have found evidence of use going back two thousand years, to Moche culture.” (1)
But despite apparent loopholes in the laws concerning use and possession of San Pedro that might make abuse of this plant seem appealing, consequences for possession, cultivation or distribution of the cactus are severe in countries where it has been outlawed.
Finally, people who have a history of seizures should avoid this drug because it may trigger a traumatic seizure event.
In the modern sense of the word, Soma (also known as Carisoprodol) is a prescription medication designed primarily as a muscle relaxant, although it may have other applications as well.
“Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant, is used with rest, physical therapy, and other measures to relax muscles and relieve pain and discomfort caused by strains, sprains, and other muscle injuries.” (2)
This is a relatively new drug on the U.S. market, but some reports already indicate that the drug may be habit forming to some people – especially Soma with Codeine.
But while this prescription drug might be new, the fact of the matter is that Soma was a mind altering substance long before modern pharmaceutical companies even existed. Ancient Indian texts make prolific references to Soma for centuries, referring to a plant from which an intoxicating brew could be made that was said to help people achieve spiritual euphoria. However, scholars disagree on what this plant actually was – some believe that it could be the plant Ephedra, while others believe that it could be Psylocibe Cubensis – a hallucinogenic mushroom commonly occurring in cow dung.
Modern preparations of Soma based upon ancient texts cannot be recreated because as early Indian peoples migrated away from their homelands, they also apparently migrated away from Soma and left no specific mention from which a firm conclusion could be drawn. Today historians and archaeologists alike continue to search for the answer, while modern street drug abusers divert prescription Soma for its relaxant properties.
Rush was outlawed in the United States in the late nineteen eighties, although various concoctions of this drug exist today that are widely available. This is especially true on the internet, where people from all over the world can order rush from a number of different providers who may or may not be concerned with laws in other countries.
Rush, or amyl nitrite, butyl nitrate, or isobutyl nitrite, is a liquid that, when the vapors are inhaled, produces a sharp high that lasts for just a few moments but is very intense. This high is caused by the dilation of veins, vessels and arteries, which results in a rapid and significant amount of uptake of blood in major organs like the heart and brain. This has a stimulant and hallucinogenic effect that many drug users and addicts will seek to recreate repeatedly.
This is a serious issue because the drug only lasts for a short period of time. As a result, some regular users of rush have been known to inhale the substance nearly constantly. This poses a severe risk of seizures, heart attack, stroke, aneurism and in some cases pulmonary issues that – in rare cases – can lead to death. These risks are outlined by Urban75 – an organization dedicated to harm reduction:
“Anybody who suffers from circulatory problems or from low blood pressure should be particularly wary of this substance. Using poppers can be a serious health risk for those with heart trouble, breathing problems, or anaemia and glaucoma. Always wash off any amyl that spills on your skin and never drink the stuff – it is highly poisonous.” (3)
Medical professionals also warn people who use other stimulants like cocaine, ecstasy, meth and crack that, when combined with rush, there can be serious, lifelong complications and in some instances death may occur.
In the next installment of Illicit Drugs You’ve Never Heard Of, we’ll discuss several other less-common drugs including philosopher’s stones, Dextromethorphan, Ketamine, Salvia Divinorum, Khat and Cogentin.
However, if you or someone you love is suffering from a drug problem right now, you can get help this very moment simply by calling the number at the top of your screen. We have addiction professionals standing by 24 hours per day to get you the right help – so don’t wait a moment longer. Start the rest of your life today.
(1) Wikipedia San Pedro Cactus Echinopsis pachanoi
(2) National Center for Biotechnology Information Carisoprodol AHFS Consumer Medication Information
(3) Urban75 Poppers (amyl nitrite, butyl nitrate, isobutyl nitrite, TNT, liquid gold, rush etc.)