Teens Chase "Nightmarish" High From Datura Flowers

By Bryan Le 05/13/13

The common household plant creates vivid hallucinations. Users warn against it.

Don't be fooled by its beauty. Photo

Endlessly in search of a legal buzz, teenagers are reportedly getting high off a common flower that can cause vivid and "nightmarish" hallucinations. Datura flowers (also known as "angel's trumpets") grow wild across the globe and in many household gardens, and the seeds can be purchased easily online for intended botanical use. But when smoked, the plant (also known as "Jimson Weed") can have potentially lethal side effects, and the Internet abounds with cautionary tales from those who have experienced bad trips. “I heard about it from a friend; it was growing in his mom’s garden,” an anonymous user tells CBS. “[The high] was just really, really intense—seeing people that weren't there, talking to people that weren't there. It was horrible, and it lasted two days. The after-effects were terrible. We got blurry vision; we actually thought we were going blind.” Another user says her trip “lasted over 30 hours. You really can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s a dream.” A user on ReddIt describes the high as "basically dreaming while you're awake, mixed with assloads of confusion."

William Hlubik, a Rutgers University professor of agriculture says Datura plants contain toxic compounds that can be harmful if ingested. “Anyone who tries to experiment with these plants is in danger if they don’t have a lot of knowledge of the concentration or potency,” he says. The plant can reportedly cause heart palpitations, severe paranoia and vomiting. Its use lands thousands of young people in the hospital each year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, and "hundreds more chase it to the grave." “My fear is that more and more people are going to die from taking this,” says drug counselor John Corbett. He points out that the unpredictability of the plant's high makes it especially dangerous. Says Corbett: “How do we know that somebody is not going to react in a negative way and be caught in a trip that they can’t be brought out of?”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter