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What Is PCP (Phencyclidine)?
Phencyclidine, more commonly referred to as PCP, is a popular hallucinogen. Originally developed as an anesthetic in the 1950s, it was discontinued and replaced by Ketamine, (another anesthetic that is similar in structure to PCP) after its neurotoxic effects were discovered. Its purest form is a white powder that can be dissolved in water or alcohol. PCP can be taken in multiple ways, including tablets, capsules, or powders. While it can be snorted as a powder or taken intravenously in liquid, it is most common for PCP to be smoked. This is done by spraying PCP’s liquid form over some kind of plant matter (similar to how Synthetic Marijuana is made) like tobacco, oregano, or even Marijuana. Other names for PCP include:
- Angel dust
- Love boat
- PeaCe pill
- Embalming fluid
- Rocket fuel
When PCP is laced over Marijuana, it can go by several other names:
- Whacko tobacco
- Killer joints
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Effects of PCP
Like other hallucinogens, PCP causes feelings of detachment. People who use it feel distant and estranged from their surroundings. While PCP does not trigger full visual hallucinations, like DMT or Salvia, the user can feel like they are in a new place and suffer from image distortions. This makes everything they are seeing seem like something new and potentially terrifying. On top of that, moderate amounts of PCP can also trigger auditory hallucinations. It’s possible for the person experiencing these effects to become disassociated and erratic. It may even be dangerous for those around the user depending on how bad of a trip they are experiencing.
Of course, someone can’t tell if a person who used PCP, or some other hallucinogen, is experiencing any kind of visual or auditory hallucinations. Luckily, there are physical signs that a person may manifest after using a hallucinogen. Symptoms of moderate amounts of PCP can include:
- Numbness of extremities
- Slurred Speech
- A sense of strength and/or invulnerability
- Blank stare or rapid eye movements
- An exaggerated gait or loss of coordination
- Paranoia or a sense of impending doom
- Violent, hostile, and erratic behavior
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Raised blood pressure and pulse
When someone takes a larger dose of PCP, not only could their hallucinations become more intense, but their physiological symptoms may also change. Someone taking high doses of it may experience:
- Drop in blood pressure and pulse
- Slowed breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Violence and self-harm
Given the nature of hallucinogens, any amount could trigger amnesia. This is not necessarily due to brain damage, but that the person is experiencing hallucinations that are not actually happening. Because of that, they may not remember what was actually going on around them, or even what they hallucinated.
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While there can be other cases, like some kind of addictive substance mixed in, there is little evidence to prove that hallucinogens are addictive. While this may sound like a positive, it actually has the opposite effect on many users. The train of thought being that “if it isn’t addictive, it can’t be harmful,” but that is far from the truth. People who have experimented with hallucinogens have not only committed erratic, violent acts against themselves and others, but have also made radical life changes after going through the experience.
More and more today, people are flaunting the power of hallucinogenics as a magical treatment for the deeper issues that people are dealing with. However, all of this evidence is anecdotal. There is no quantifiable data that anyone’s life improves after going through a hallucinogenic experience. There have, however, been reports of people leaving their spouses, quitting their jobs, and making radical changes to their lives. No one can say whether those decisions are good or bad, and they definitely can’t be lauded as something that the person had to do to improve their life. Always be cautious with these claims. While one person could have had a “positive” experience, that does not mean it will be great for everyone.
Treatment for PCP Addiction
Remember, just because something doesn’t have an addictive quality to it, does not mean that it isn’t addictive. New studies are demonstrating the existence of behavioral addictions, and the evidence is now more accepted among people in the field. Just because a substance isn’t biologically addictive, doesn’t mean someone can’t become addicted to the process or effects of these substances.
If you believe that you or a loved one are addicted to PCP, then reach out to a dedicated treatment provider today. There has been a large push for people to use more hallucinogenics for therapeutic reasons, but that does not mean they are safe. People are still able to overdose and, potentially, die from the effects.
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