JIMSON WEED

COMMON NAMES: devil's apple, devil's trumpet, devil's weed, locoweed, stinkweed, thorn apple, white man's plant, yerba del diablo

Datura stramonium, Jimson weed, is the best known species of datura found in the United States. Crowing profusely in fields, vacant lots, and along the nation's road-sides, it can also be found in the wilds of Mexico and parts of India.

With its large, thin, dark-green leaves and bell-shaped white or light purple flowers, this rank-smelling plant is a member of the potato family and a close relative of belladonna, mandrake, and henbane. It is loaded with several alkaloids: atropine, hyoscyamine, mandragorine, and scopolamine, and when smoked or eaten, can produce a truly hallucinogenic experience. For most people, however, the trip will prove to be a bummer.

First effects begin in about twenty minutes. Along with some periods of euphoria, chills and fever accompanied by a bit of nausea and diarrhea may be experienced. Soon, if the user is not too confused to tell what is happening, he. will note some loss of coordination, a dry burning sensation in the mouth, difficulty talking or swallowing, dry hot skin, rash, scaling, vomiting, and loss of memory, along with dizziness, pressure in the head, agitation, and severe visual blurring stag,, distortion. If a high enough dose is taken, hallucinations will fallow. These hallucinations can, often be more intense than those experienced while on LSD, lasting up to several days, and, in rare cases, followed by convulsions or coma. Other side effects include mental disorientation and feelings of extreme panic. The whole business is pretty much a downer:

Jimson weed, legal in the United States, is not physically addictive, although it can make the user psychologically dependent. After prolonged regular use, larger and larger doses become necessary to achieve the same desired effects.

While the body builds a tolerance to the drug the heart does not and will ultimately suffer severe damage. The alkaloids in Jimson weed are extremely potent and dangerous, easily capable of causing death from respiratory failure.