Where there’s a law, there’s always someone finding a way around it. For people who like to experiment with drugs, that law is probably the Controlled Substance Act, which keeps most drugs that can get you high strictly illegal, black-market items. Because of the U.S. war on drugs, getting caught with a prohibited substance like weed, LSD or magic mushrooms can lead to more than a minute in jail. But people who like to experiment with drugs—whether to expand their minds or just escape—know they don’t always have to go to a disheveled pot dealer on a skateboard or a 45-year-old coke dealer in a tinted-window vehicle for a recreational drug experience. Some of these drug explorers have sifted through various items that are legally available in drug stores, your kitchen or your own backyard, played with the dosages and combinations, and written down their experiences for the Internet to see.
For those who don’t spend time Googling drug stories, they almost always appear on Erowid.org. Erowid is an online resource dedicated to drugs, both legal and illegal. It is self-described as “an online library containing tens of thousands of pages of information about psychoactive drugs, plants, and chemicals.” In addition to clinical information about every drug you can (and can’t) imagine, the site’s “Experience Vaults” contain stories from drug explorers, ranging from a first-time shroom voyage to a horrendous meth comedown.
Here are 6 mind-altering experiences induced by some funky legal drugs, as described by the Erowid community. [Editor’s Note: Please note that some or all of the substances listed below can be dangerous or toxic. AlterNet does not endorse their use.]
When it comes to surprising legal highs, nutmeg definitely threw me in for a loop. Turns out it’s proven that around 4 to 8 tablespoons of the household spice will give you mild hallucinations. A bodybuilder on Erowid gave this a try, first feeling drunk and then reaching a state of euphoria. From Erowid:
“The only thing I remember before I went to sleep were some interesting hallucinations. I was laying down (my wife was asleep at this point), and was looking at a pile of dirty clothes on the floor. The pile of clothes suddenly started morph into a more jagged structure. It was then that the white clothes overpowered most of the other colors, and I realized I was looking at a snow covered mountain scape. It looked really interesting, and extremely realistic. The closest hallucinations I have had to this before, were some psilocybin induced hallucinations I had in Europe.”
2. Cough Syrup
Whether you’re sick or just trying to get messed up, cough syrup is another way to use legal meds to alter your mind. While ‘misuse or abuse’ is still technically against the law, it’s pretty unlikely this popular over-the-counter item will land you in jail. Dextromethorphan or DXM, is one of many active ingredients in some cough syrups, acting as a dissociative hallucinogen. One Erowid user drank an entire bottle and experienced plenty of wandering thoughts. From Erowid:
“Then, there were fleshed out scenarios running in my mind whenever I had a thought. When I thought of the legal system of the United States, I would imagine the court room, the judge, the years of training, the piles of legal books, law reviews, and stuff like this. I imagined buying some LSD in prison and immediately I was buying some LSD in prison with the money I had (in my imagination) won a few weeks ago with the other inmates playing poker. I was planning when would be the best time to take it. I’d need about 12 hours.”
If cannabis and psilocybin have taught us anything, it’s that plants can produce some serious feelings of euphoria—and then some. This security guard Erowid user took a combination of Kava root and the shrub Damiana (a plant only prohibited in Louisiana because of increased synthetic cannabis overdoses that sometimes contained Damiana).
“After about 5 minutes, I started to feel a euphoria coming on. I did not feel mentally impaired, in fact I felt more energized, alert and euphoric than I would without the Damiana in the mix.
I felt much more confident, patient, blissful, and in control. This was a mild, pleasantly euphoric, and healthy feeling. My sense of ‘well being’ was significantly increased. The effect seemed to peak at about 20 or 30 minutes, and gradually diminished for about 4 or 5 hours. ”
When it comes to mushrooms, most seasoned drug users would immediately think of Psylocibin mushrooms. However, Amanita Muscaria also known as the fly algaric, is another legal alternative for some. The mushroom itself resembles a typical cartoon toadstool, red with white spots, but the high that comes with ingesting it is what makes it the most interesting. This Erowid user consumed a few caps and found themselves high but nauseous throughout their trip.
“I noticed a gradual onset of blurred and incoherent thinking. As when sober, I was aware that I was thinking about doing a certain action, i.e. getting out of a chair or getting something to drink, but when I actually began doing the action, it was almost like I forgot what I was doing. I suddenly found myself in a new position or physical location without remembering the transition from my initial position. The best way I can describe this is that I was constantly finding myself in new mental and physical frames of reference, without really being aware of how I came to be in them.”
While this substance is not completely legal in the U.S. it does have its loopholes. Morning Glory itself is a legal, popular flower in the United States, but it’s active ingredient, LSA, is illegal in some areas. Morning Glory seeds have been used as a hallucinogen for centuries. This Erowid user made a drink out of the seeds and ventured into the woods with no one but The Beatles and Lou Reed for company.
“The Beauty has been unveiled. There was shimmering of light all over the trees, the grass, the leaves, the skies, everywhere. … Trees seemed ancient, timeless, curvy, gracious, mysterious. Tree bark that seemed dry and old just a minute ago, now seemed alive, like skin, every single thing around me was living and breathing some kind of energy that seemed to emanate from everywhere and everything, a hidden aura of magic. Patterns in the trees intensified – I could clearly see faces, eyes, hundreds of eyes, anywhere I looked. They were all smiling. The whole ancient forest was smiling at me. My fingers were trembling from awe.”
While its legality in the United States is questionable at this time, Salvia divinorum is one of the most mind-altering drugs out there. Even a tiny hit of the psychoactive plant from the mint family can send a seasoned tripper to another dimension or time period. This particular tripper took a couple of hits of 35x extract Salvia divornum in the woods only to be transported to a reality where the end of the universe was now. This sounds purely horrific to me, but hey, to each his own.
“I responded to the higher consciousness ‘You’re shitting me!? You’re shitting me?!’ As I began to recognize consensus reality I realized I was now on my knees facing the chair in which I had previously been sitting. I was still saying ‘You’re shitting me, you’re shitting me…’ but the meaning gradually shifted from incredulity that the universe was ending right in front of me to amazement at the unexpected and profound mystical experience I just had.”