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Backdoor Pharmacist: The Six Weirdest Drug Stories On Erowid

Erowid is a non-profit website that provides any and every resource they can get their hands on for altering your state of mind and trip balls. That includes a section for trip reports, and there are some pretty wild stories. Here are six of the craziest:

SMOKING TEA

No, seriously, this Erowid poster means smoking just plain, everyday tea. When he says, “make sure the box says 100% Camellia sinensis” — that’s the scientific name for the tea plant.

“It Works!!!..Strange to explain, tastes good though,” writes our tea smoking enthusiast, “but def. works to get a strange feeling.”

So WTF happened?

The active agent in tea is caffeine, but I doubt he got more than some stray molecules. My guess is that the sensation of smoking triggered his old memories of smoking more active substances, and his mind filled in the details.

There’s a lot to be said for the placebo effect. Those who feel it are not faking. Their symptoms are real, but they’re misattributing them to whatever the placebo was. This has a counterpart, the nocebo effect, where an inactive substance causes harmful side effects. Without trying, our minds make us sick.

A terrifying example is from Laos, where Hmong men were dying in their sleep, and doctors didn’t know why. They called it Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome or SUNDS. Their displacement to the US due to the Vietnam War meant they were unable to access traditional rituals and shamans, and thought they lost the protection of ancestor spirits against evil spirits. This fear, an arrhythmia, and the stress of having to leave your ancestral home for the US, gave them heart attacks.

VITAMIN C OVERLOAD

Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) is a first generation antihistamine. It’s very sedating, and in high doses acts as a deliriant. Our author then piles on a whopping 11 grams of Vitamin C. To get an idea of how much that is — you should be getting around 80mg of Vitamin C a day. 11 grams is more than 100 times what you should be eating daily.

“My heart was beating very fast and I thought I was going to die… I reallize [sic] I must try and throw up or I was going to die,” he writes.

“So I stick my whole hand down my throat several times and nothing. But eventually I started to spew………what I was spewing freaked the hell out of me. Blood and bits of clear thin plastic material and chunks of rubery burgendy stuff. I picked up a piece of the rubery stuff and looked at it, I could barely see, but indeed, it was stomach lineing. Pieces of stomach eaten away from the vitamin C acid overdose. [sic]”

So WTF happened?

He took that much because he heard that it would enhance his high, which is nonsense. Instead, he managed to suffer from a Vitamin C overdose, an incredibly rare syndrome. He endured nausea, heartburn, vomiting, and gut pains from the Vitamin C itself, and then, due to the acidic nature of it, it shredded his protective stomach lining.

While he attributes his out-of-body delirious trip to the “Dark-Zone” as a result of the Vitamin C, it was more likely the result of the environment he was in and the pain he was suffering:

I was actually hoping I would die because I could feal etheric white light, colored shapes in ether-dimensions, and angelic presences. I whent to a place out of my body in another dimension where I saw beautiful pastel colored shapes and architectures, their where alien type angels told me the vitamin C with the Benadryl was the reason I left my body and that without it I would have remained in the Dark-Zone of static.

I want to do the experience again, only for the 4th plateau, but I never will, the Dark-Zone and vitamin C burning is not worth it. Better off to stick with DMT or DXM.

Amen.

VAGINAL ODYSSEY

Most people find rectal administration, or “butt-chugging,” a bit off-putting. But what about vaginal administration? Eight female psychonauts got together for an unusual slumber party with a collection of drugs, either on blotters or in veggie gelatin capsules. They took LSD, MDMA, Ketamine, 2C-B, and Xanax intravaginally, and nitrous oxide and smoking acacia resin the typical way. Their unnamed scribe provided a thorough report that includes each participant’s age, weight, ovulation status, prescription history, and initials (DJ and MJ are referenced below). It also include their astrological symbols — the sun, moon, and ascendant.

Ketamine, an anesthetic, has a typical effect where it was administered, numbness: “After 25 minutes, [DL] felt a distinct sensation of cold in a ring around the labia right where the hair stops.”

Apparently MDMA and LSD has some unusual effects on taste:

MJ “checks and comments ‘cunt smells sweeter, and tastes like E.'”
DJ observes, “Next morning after waking up, ‘cunt smells sweet.'”

DJ has an even stranger effect the day afterwards when having sex with her husband:

“The most surprising datapoint for the whole experiment was when at T+18 the next day, DJ had sex with her husband and it potentiated the MDMA that she hadn’t really fully felt the night before!”

Rolling the instant you start having sex with your husband sounds amazing. Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea eh?

What makes this story come alive for me is the final note on this paragraph:

“By hour 4, all but one person are on ketamine… People are taking turns telling stories and engaging in verbal banter, exclaiming about the states of mind they’re in, stretching or rubbing tense muscles, cuddling, eating grapes, giggling, inhaling nitrous oxide. Soundtrack: Boards of Canada.”

So WTF happened?

The vagina is a mucous membrane. It’s an absorbent place like the insides of our noses, our cheeks, and the insides of our guts. It’s not surprising that drugs can be administered there.

I always appreciate careful psychonauting. Reminds me of my own notes, albeit I’ve never had a slumber party with this many other women and apparently missed out on the “gourmet” way to do whippets:

“The person inhaling sits on the floor with all the others in a circle around them. After inhalation, the circle of people make soft strange noises and whisper affirmations and nice things around the person in the middle, moving around to change the location of the sounds and create air movement, generally weaving a sonic web around them. This is a gourmet version of saying ‘wa wa wa’ to someone on nitrous.”

Have to save that for my next party.

THAT TERRIFIED NAKED MAN IN THE CORNER IS ME

Now onto psychonauts who tread into a territory they should not — deliriants. In October, Gawker discovered a plant, Datura, growing wild in Nolita. Datura is an extremely hardy plant, capable of growing in many conditions, including by idiot teenagers who think they’re capable of dealing with anything.

After eating an absurdly high dose of 600 seeds of Datura, our Erowid narrator starts to feel the onset of the toxic alkaloids working. In a terrible move, his trip-sitter also eats a handful of seeds. When the hallucinations and delusions hit him, he’s not prepared:

[T]he room had vanished. We were stranded on a couch in a burning hallway. I grabbed Chris and pulled him back onto the couch so that he wouldn’t get burned. He looked at me with his massive pupils and spoke an unrecognizable string of words… His voice echoed in slow-motion, and his pupils expanded beyond his eyes, spiraling toward me. I was intrigued at what I was seeing when Jenn grabbed my shoulder from the other couch. She was engulfed in flames and ran from the couch up into my bedroom.

The delusions are powerful enough that he believes the impossible. It’s no longer pretty pictures in a trip. There’s truly something there: “I laid on my bed trying to make sense of everything when I saw a man looking in through my window. Unable to make out his face, I was frightened. It was dark outside, and I was on the second floor. Impossible, but I believed it.”

The inability to form new memories lead him to do strange things. There’s also the first appearance of a “phantom behavior” in that he’s taken off all his clothes: “I was still lying with Jenn in my bed — only we were now both naked. Did we have sex? Why was I naked? What happened?”

Eventually, he escapes from the house he safely locked himself in, naked and bleeding, and jumps into the bed of a truck. The driver is not pleased:

“The truck stopped. I was found out. The driver got out and saw me. He had no facial features — no mouth, no nose, no eyes. I jumped from the bed and began to run, naked and scared. This is my last memory.”

Thankfully, a family found his stupid ass and took care of him until his body could finish flushing the last of the Datura alkaloids from his mind:

I was naked, bleeding and covered in my own feces. I huddled in the corner of whatever room I was in. It was a family. They found me and tried to keep me safe. I was in southern New Hampshire, after starting in Maine… The family offered me clothing and enough money to take the bus back home.

Upon his return, he finds his home and his friends have been hit just as hard:

I returned home to find my house in ruins. The sliding glass door I had ‘imagined’ was my bedroom window. Chris was lying on the ground in my yard after falling from the second floor. He had no clothing on. He was alive, but broke his right leg. I found Jenn in my bathtub, still naked and sleeping. My life was hysteria for 48 hours.

I’m not sure how all three of us survived that trip.

I don’t know either, man.

So WTF happened?

Deliriants are a type of hallucinogen known for their incredibly realistic visions. You’re stupefied, unable to think clearly, tired, yet awake, and your mind fills in details that make dreams lucid, like a story scribbled on a bar bathroom’s stall after 6 PBR and shot specials. Another unusual side effect are “phantom behaviors” — primitive, regressive, involuntary behaviors like removing all of one’s clothes, picking at lint, and pulling out one’s hair.

The drugs that cause these trips are anticholinergics that block the action of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is involved in vigilance, memory, paying attention, and the suppression of these contributes to the bizarre nature of the trip.

Unsurprisingly, because there’s no euphoria and only a demented, uncomfortable, and often frightening high, it’s not a commonly abused drug.

HIGH FUCKING FOR SCIENCE

A true psychonaut conducts his examinations in a scientific manner, and that’s the sort of experiment that Grant Stoddard tried to perform with his girlfriend Erica. Using an outline he probably found on his 5th grade science reports, he writes a hypothesis, method, observations, and discussion, in which he evaluates five drugs on his ability to fuck: Viagra (sildenafil), magic mushrooms, cannabis, MDMA, and cocaine.

There were surprising results. I’ve yet to meet a guy that did not think about Viagra as a supplement. But…:

Other than the, uh, physical changes, the main difference was mental. The inherent disconnect between my genitalia and brain widened exponentially… The experience was strangely effeminizing: for the first time, I was a passive partner during sex, able to fuck without necessarily being turned on or even having my head in the game.

There were other side effects, messy ones:

I pulled out and she jerked me off over her boobs. The orgasm was amazing and powerful. I came a lot. A whole lot. Like, something reminiscent of Peter ‘Two Quarts’ North. Erica and I looked at each other aghast as a bovine volume of come showered the general vicinity. We started cracking up before I was done.

The rest of this story doesn’t seem right to quote, click through, and read it.

RESTITUTION

This is one of the few times where a trigger warning is warranted, as this is probably the most disturbing story in the list. The tripper was triggered by something awful, giving him the worst trip of his life. If you don’t want to read a story that includes child abuse and murder, don’t proceed.

It starts with a warning that the author didn’t want to write it down: “Let me start off by saying I have been putting off writing this experience up for a long time.”

He’s a relatively experienced tripper who’s never before experienced anything this traumatic in his life. He starts out with a heavy dose of 2C-E, a hallucinogen related to 2C-I. As he reaches for some Salvia to enhance his trip when he notices his neighbors are fighting:

The husband and wife were having a very heated argument due to the husband losing his job due to layoffs earlier in the week. Soon, their 10-year-old son was awakened and obviously very alarmed and disturbed by what he was hearing. I could hear him crying at his father to leave his mother alone.

He tries to ignore it and then the trigger hits: “Suddenly, I heard his son wail in pain, as his father had struck him for getting between him and his mother to try to protect her.”

He shuts his window, tries to put it out of his mind, takes a hit of salvia, and immediately, something is wrong: “As soon as the flame hit the extract, I knew this time was going to be different. This was not just some trip to salvia land.”

He snaps into a dissociative trip, and lives someone else’s life:

Suddenly it happened. I was no longer me. I was in another person’s body.. I had the impression of waking from a bad dream. Nothing about being a 12 or 13-year-old boy seemed even odd at the time, even though I was 22 at the time.

The trip continues down a dark path:

“I could hear screaming coming from upstairs in a house I had never seen before, but knew if it was my own. It was my mother being hit by my father, they were having a very intense argument about finances. After hearing my mother scream for help, I went upstairs to the other bedroom. My mother was on the floor, bleeding from her nose.”

He does what any boy would do at that age — try to protect his mother: “I began to scream at my father, who was significantly larger than I. He was soon turning his attention from my mother to me. He hit me if=n (sic) the face for getting in his way.”

His dark journey continues to school, where he pretends he had a baseball accident to explain his injuries from his father. As he lies to his “teacher” about the black eye, his mind churns up memories of other abuses, his heart fills with “white-hot anger” and hatred. That night, he does something about it.

“A growing sense of adrenaline and apprehension began to grow. If I was discovered in the act, I would be severely beaten, and my mother would be at greater risk for more violence. I knew deep down that this was something I had to do and there was no turning back. I began to very quietly climb the stairs. I spent a few minutes selecting the largest knife. Tears began to well up in my eyes. I went into my parent’s bedroom and stared at my father. I knew it was time.”

The act:

I walked over to him and plunged the knife deep into the left side of his chest. His eyes opened in shock. Blood began to spill from his mouth. He began to try to say something, but suddenly went limp. My mother never woke up.

“I returned to my bedroom crying furiously. I was horrified at what I had just done. I had taken a life. I had committed the ultimate sin. There was no turning back now.

As suddenly as he had been quantum lept into another life, he returned:

“I fell asleep and when I came to, I was back in the real world. I was egor again. I still had tears running down my face. After A few minutes of confusion, I knew I had taken drugs, I realized it was all part of the trip.”

A few hours later he writes a poem, that he carries with him to this day:

He wakes up and hurts, and doesn’t know why
His daddy hit him in the eye
He is 12 years old and really tries
But also wishes he could die.

His teacher asks “what happened to you??
He says nothing but she knew
She called the cops but would that do?
How would you feel if it was you.

He wakes up in the middle of the night
Thinks about it and turns on the light
Goes upstairs and gets a knife
And takes his daddies fucking life

The problem had but one solution
His daddie’s soul was the restitution
He tried to take his own son’s soul
But now he is in a fucking hole.

If you’ve ever done a lot of hallucinogens, you’ve had that one life-changing experience, this was his:

“I have been far more compelled to help other people. I now regularly donate whatever I can to local battered women’s shelters. I feel I was given this experience for a reason, though to this day, I am still unsure of why.”

So WTF happened?

The 2C-I article covers the mechanism by which the 2C-E works, but it’s the Salvia that made this trip what it was. Salvia divinorum contains a trans-neoclerodane diterpenoid substance called Salvinorin A, considered the strongest psychoactive substance produced by a plant. Unlike 2C-I, 2C-E, and LSD, which act on serotonin receptors, Salvinorin A is a kappa-opioid agonist. This gives its trip a different flavor, more reminiscent of a dissociative substance like Ketamine.

These receptors are distributed all over the brain, but one of the more important places is in our brain’s claustrum. It’s a thin, irregular, sheet of neurons attached to the underside of our neocortex, where we believe lies the seat of human consciousness. The claustrum is not well studied, but is believed to help coordinate communication throughout the neocortex. This controls our sensory perception, advanced motor control, and our conscious thought.

Another kappa-opioid agonist is Ibogaine, a psychedelic root from Africa. It’s used to create intense visions and to treat addiction. During the vision, awareness of past life experiences comes to the surface, and experienced trip sitters will use the memories related to addiction to root out psychological traumas and address them in this dream like state. Kappa-opioid seems to be related to addiction, and indeed, rats given Salvinorin A have been cured of cocaine addiction.

We have a dangerous tool here. When used correctly, we can treat disorders of our “fourth-drive.” When abused, we can create powerfully disturbing visions that leave us traumatized.

Stay safe out there. Try not to die.