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Recreational use of D-lysergamide from the seeds of Argyreia Nervosa, Ipomoea Tricolor, Ipomoea Violacea, and Ipomoea Purpurea in Poland.

Recently, there has been increasing scientific interest in Internet web sites that provide information on recreational drugs and enable information sharing among drug users. These web sites are an important source of information about new trends in recreational drug use and they offer data that runs constantly ahead of that available in medical literature. Therefore, their potential for revealing toxicological information should not be overlooked, especially if the data can be supported by information obtained from other sources (Schifano et al. 2006; Wax 2002; Halpern & Pope 2001; Schechter 1998). Although it cannot be guaranteed that all the data published on the recreational drug web sites are true, at least part of these reports describe genuine drug experiences and, therefore, they can be used for the preliminary assessment of toxicological risks of new drugs (Kjellgren & Soussan 2011). It can be expected that data obtained from different sources will accumulate over time allowing for a more reliable assessment of the pharmacological effects induced by new drugs.

The aim of the present study was to analyse reports published on a recreational web site by Polish drug users who ingested seeds of plants belonging to the Convolvulaceae family (Argyreia nervosa and various Ipomoea species) and to compare them with available medical case reports. The seeds of A. nervosa (Hawaiian baby woodrose) contain d-lysergic acid amide (d-lysergamide, LSA), a psychotropic alkaloid, and are marketed on the Internet as "legal highs" both in the UK and in the USA (Schmidt et al. 2011; Dennehy, Tsourounis & Miller 2005). On the other hand, I. tricolor and I. violacea (known as morning glory, tlitliltzin) were abused in the 1960s (Whelan, Bennett & Moeller 1968; Flach 1967; Cohen 1964; Ingram 1964) but current recreational use of these plants is not known. We have also included reports describing the effects induced by "druids fantasy," which is a new drug marketed online that allegedly containing the same alkaloid as the seeds of A. nervosa (Schmidt et al. 2011; Dennehy, Tsourounis & Miller 2005). Because ingestion of Ipomoea and Argyreia seeds was frequently associated with smoking cannabis, we have also analysed reports describing effects induced only by marijuana.



Reports posted on the website (; see Appendices A and B) were transferred to a text editor (MS Word) file and saved for the analysis. Reports were numbered consecutively and read to gain preliminary information about available data. Based on the initial reading, we prepared an Excel file containing different categories of information about the participants (sex, age), ingested seeds (species, dose, processing of the seeds), co-administered drugs, latency and duration of the psychoactive effects, and reported symptoms. Next, each report was carefully read, relevant passages containing descriptions of distinctive experiences were marked within the text and information entered into the Excel file. Determination of sex of the authors (of the reports) was possible in all reports because in the Polish language the verbs take different form depending on the sex of the author. Because some reports posted on the Internet contain slang words and expressions, we decided to focus on reports published only in our native language (Polish), thus ensuring proper understanding of the studied material.


Argyreia nervosa (Hawaiian Baby Woodrose)

There were seven reports of the effects induced by A. nervosa, all written by different authors. The first report had been posted in December 2003 (Figure 1). All the authors were males; two reported their age (18 and 23 years old). Seeds were eaten (five cases) or swallowed after suspending the ground seeds in nonalcoholic drinks (two cases). In two cases, the seeds were ground before eating; one person reported that before eating the seeds he kept them in his mouth until they became soft and easy to chew. In two cases, the subjects mentioned that they removed or attempted to remove the outer shells from seeds. The doses ranged from three to eight seeds (Figure 2). In six cases, the subjects also smoked cannabis and in one case the subject smoked Leonotis nepetifolia (Klip Dagga, Lion's Ear). The gastrointestinal side effects included nausea (four cases), along with abdominal pain (two cases) and vomiting (one case). Persecutory delusions were reported by two subjects. One of them complained that he had a feeling that everybody was looking at him and that he was ridiculed for being a drug addict. The second subject reported that he had a feeling that people were looking at him with disdain, being hostile toward him, and lying to him. Two subjects reported an increased insight (for example, sudden understanding of nature and philosophy). The positive emotional states experienced in five cases were euphoria (three cases), happiness (two cases), experience of beauty (one case), delight (one case), and great mood (one case). Negative emotional states reported by four people were feelings of disdain for other people (one case), feelings of loneliness (one case), feeling of being trapped (one case), depressive mood combined with suicidal thoughts (one case), fear and panic (one case). The visual effects included increased sensitivity to colors (seemed to be more intense than usual; three cases), visual distortions (four cases) and images seen with closed (five cases) or open (two cases) eyes. Visual distortions were described as melting and merging of objects, shape distortions, movement of objects and waving of the visual field. Images seen with eyes closed included phosphenes, geometric patterns (waves, stars, DNA-like structures, fractals), afterimages and, in one case, an image of a person. Images seen with eyes open were less common and, in one case, included fractals, growing trees of cannabis covering walls, and small lizards creating contours of the seen objects. Auditory effects were less common and included hallucinations (the subject was not able to describe them), increased auditory sensitivity (ability to hear clearly distant sounds) and altered sound perception (common sounds perceived in a different way). Information about all cases and distribution of all acute effects are presented in Figure 2.



Ipomoea tricolor

There were five reports of effects induced by I. tricolor, all written by different authors. The first report had been posted in December 1999 (Figure 1). Four authors were males and one female; two reported their age (17 and 19 years old). Seeds were eaten (three cases) or ground up and swallowed with nonalcoholic drinks (two cases). The doses ranged from 170 to 700 seeds (Figure 3). In three cases, the subjects reported concurrent use of other drugs such as cannabis, dextromethorphan and peganum (Peganum harmala) (Figure 3). One subject mentioned also that he had been taking deprim (an extract from Hypericum perforatum) for some period of time and considered the possibility of an unintended interaction between this drug and ingested seeds. The gastrointestinal side effects included nausea (four cases), along with vomiting (one case) and abdominal pain (one case). Persecutory delusions were reported by one subject, who complained that he had a feeling that he was persecuted and chased by somebody, and that he was also persecuted by police. Two subjects reported grandiose delusions such as being a superhero having a special role in history, not being constricted by any boundaries, being infallible, and being the first person ever who had drawn some conclusions. Frequently, the subjects also reported an increased insight into various topics. The positive emotional states were euphoria and happiness (one case), experience of beauty and delight (one case), increased mood and enjoying everything (one case). Negative emotional states were fear of one's mother (one case), unpleasant thoughts and feeling that nothing is a certainty (one case), emotional exhaustion, loneliness, being deserted, feeling of uncertainty and anxiety (one case) and inability to endure with oneself (one case). The visual effects included increased sensitivity to colors, visual distortions and images seen with closed or open eyes. Visual distortions were described as popping out contours, movement of objects and waving of the visual field, shape distortions, melting of objects, and transformation of one object into another. Images seen with the eyes closed included cosmic space, afterimage of the room and fractals. Images seen with eyes opened included faces of the shamans and folk or tribal patterns, an image of the sky on the ceiling and fractals. One subject mentioned seeing nonexistent objects, such as trees, but only in the visual periphery. One subject mentioned numerous somatic side effects and feeling so bad that he considered calling an ambulance. Another subject considered calling an ambulance because of bad psychic experiences. Information about all cases and distribution of all acute effects are presented in Figure 3. All the subjects reported delayed effects occurring the day after seed ingestion. These effects were variable and subject specific (Table 1). In one case, the delayed effects were similar to acute effects.


Ipomoea violacea

There were five reports of the effects induced by I. violacea written by different authors. The first report had been posted in May 2005 (Figure 1). Three authors were males and two were females (three reported their ages as 18, 18 and 27 years old). Seeds were eaten in four cases or ground up and swallowed with nonalcoholic drinks (one subject). In one case, the subject mentioned removing the outer shells from the seeds. The dose was six to seven seeds or 5-10 grams (Figure 3). In four cases, the subjects reported also taking other drugs such as cannabis and hashish. The gastrointestinal side effects included nausea (four subjects), abdominal pain (one subject) and vomiting (one subject). The positive emotional states described by five subjects were: happiness (one subject), feeling of being relaxed and being in heaven (one subject), feeling of divinity and mental orgasm (one subject), serenity and being in harmony with oneself (one subject), a blissful state (two subjects), and experience of beauty (three subjects). Negative emotional states were described by two subjects (panic and decreased mood). The visual effects included increased sensitivity to colors, visual distortions, images seen with closed eyes and images seen with open eyes. Visual distortions were described as melting and merging of objects, waving and movement of visual field, popping out contours, increased visual acuity and double vision. Images seen with closed eyes included the solar systems, constellations of stars and spacecrafts. Images seen with open eyes included geometric patterns, contours of a house and fractals. In case of two reports, it was not clear whether the images were seen with open or closed eyes (aurora-like phosphenes, geometric shapes, fractals). Subject and distribution of all acute effects are presented in Figure 3. Delayed effects were reported by two subjects. One of them mentioned some changes in thinking (consideration of strange topics) and another mentioned flashback of geometric patterns after smoking (probably cannabis).

Ipomoea purpurea

There were four reports of the effects induced by I. purpurea written by different authors. The first report describing effects induced by I. purpurea had been posted in September 2003 (Figure 1). One of these reports briefly mentioned two unsuccessful trials with increasing dose of seeds which had not induced any significant psychedelic effects. All the authors were males and one of them reported his age as 18. Seeds were eaten or drunk after mixing ground seeds in nonalcoholic drink. The doses ranged from 2 to 25 g. One subject did not provide dosage but he mentioned that he had previously tried6g(two packages) and 9 g (three packages) of seeds and that the lower dose induced noticeable but not very strong effects, whereas the higher dose induced strong effects. Therefore, it can be assumed that during the third attempt he ingested a dose not significantly lower than 9 g. Three subjects reported nausea and one reported that he did not feel well. Positive emotional effects were described as happiness and the experience of beauty in one case, and feeling of the harmony of the world in the second case. Negative emotional states were described as bad and unpleasant thoughts (two subjects), unpleasant emotions and mental suffering (one subject). Visual effects were mentioned by two subjects. One subject reported increased sensitivity to colors whereas another mentioned visual distortions (decreased visual acuity, increased sensitivity to light) and hallucinations (fractals). One subject also described grandiose delusions of being close to the ideal human being. Other acute effects are presented in Figure 4. The authors did not mention any delayed effects.

Not Precisely Defined Species of Convolvulaceae Plant Family

Authors of seven reports provided names such as "morning glory," "Heavenly Blue" and "Mexican bindweed," which do not allow for unequivocal identification of the ingested Ipomoea species (reports 5, 9, 11, 23, 26, 29 and 30 in Appendix A). Morning glory is a common name for over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae, whereas Heavenly Blue is the name of a cultivar (the term cultivar means an assemblage of plants selected for a particular character; Brickell et al. 2009). The Google search of the shops that sell seeds revealed, for example, that the name "Heavenly Blue" is used for all three species of Ipomoea considered in our study. Additionally, in only one case do we know that the subject ingested seed of A. nervosa or one of the Ipomoea species (report 23 in Appendix A). One female and six male subjects wrote the reports. Four of them reported their age (18, 19, 19, and 23 years old). In four cases, the subjects also smoked cannabis or hashish. In one case, the subject reported ingestion of the morning glory seeds together with dextromethorphan. Reports of effects induced by unknown Ipomoea species have not been subject to detailed phenomenological analysis. Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that one of these reports contained a description of suicidal ideation associated with ingestion of 9 g of heavenly blue seed followed by smoking hashish.


Druids Fantasy

Four subjects (three males and one female) mentioned ingestion of a drug named "druids fantasy." The drug has been marketed in the form of capsules allegedly containing LSA. The first report had been posted in August 2009 (Figure 1). All subjects provided age (19, 19, 21, 25). One of the subjects published a report containing a description of two attempts with an increasing dose of druids fantasy. The doses and effects induced by ingestion of druids fantasy are presented in Figure 4. No subject mentioned taking other drugs but the possibility cannot be excluded that the capsules contained more than one ingredient. Such a possibility is supported by the information that druids fantasy may contain morning glory/Ipomoea convolvulaceae, Argyreia nervosa, Acorus calamus ("sweet flag", "calamus"), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), and Piper methysticum ("kava", kava-kava") (Dennehy, Tsourounis & Miller 2005; shopping/store.php/products/druids-fantasy).

All subjects reported gastrointestinal effects such as nausea (four subjects), abdominal pain (one subject) and vomiting (one subject). The positive emotional states were described as happiness (one subject), feeling of love (one subject), euphoria (two subjects), experience of beauty (two subjects) and mental orgasm (one subject). Negative emotional states were described by one subject (feeling that nothing is a certainty, feeling of futility and helplessness). One subject mentioned also auditory hallucinations of voices and sensing the presence of somebody or something. The visual effects included increased sensitivity to colors, visual distortions (waving of visual field and shape distortions), images seen with closed eyes (a line) and not exactly defined images seen with open eyes. One subject mentioned seeing patterns and oriental paintings although it is not clear whether these effects occurred with open or with closed eyes. Subject and dose dependent distribution of all acute effects is presented in Figure 4. Two subjects mentioned delayed effects (mild headache and tiredness in one case and diarrhea and impaired movements in another).

Factors Affecting Drug Ingestions and General Rating of the Experience

Some reports contained information about incentives for taking drugs (Figure 5). On the one hand, the ingestion was frequently motivated by thrill seeking and curiosity. On the other, some subjects mentioned that they hoped that the drug would help them to find answers related to their lives (Figure 5). An important factor was also availability and low price of seed compared with LSD. In general, 50% of the subjects rated their experiences positively and 13% reported that the experiences helped them to improve themselves (Figure 5). Twenty-five percent of subjects rated their experiences negatively. Only in one case did the negative opinion result from the lack of expected effects. In six cases the subjects considered the experience as a bad trip because of mental side effects. Finally, in one case the subject experienced both serious physical and psychological side effects. In some cases, the subjects expressed both negative and positive attitudes towards the experience. The gastrointestinal side effects occurring with short latency did not discourage the subjects from taking the drugs. About half (47%) of the subjects expected nausea and abdominal pain, 44% had previous experiences with the same or a similar herbal drug containing LSA and 31% of the users reported that they wanted to try the same drug again (Figure 5).

Most subjects who ingested seeds of A. nervosa or I. violacea also smoked cannabis, mainly to protect themselvees from the adverse effects of ingested seeds. Antiemetic properties of cannabis were mentioned in 75% of reports describing concurrent use of cannabis and seeds of Convolvulaceaes. Other incentives for concurrent use of these drugs was whiling away the waiting period for the occurrence of the seed-induced effects and relieving the stress associated with ingestion of seeds for the first time. Some subjects mentioned also that cannabis might boost the effects induced by seeds. Only one subject wrote that the concurrent use of cannabis and seeds of Convolvulaceaes was accidental.


Because numerous subjects mentioned that they also smoked cannabis, we have collected 15 reports of effects induced exclusively by smoking cannabis (see Appendix B and Figure 6). Because of the difficulty of identifying the dose and the latency of the effects precisely, this information was omitted. Eight subjects provided ages that ranged from 16 to 21 (mean age: 18.5); two of the subjects were females. Gastrointestinal side effects were reported by 20% of subjects (three cases of nausea and one case of vomiting). One subject mentioned the altered appearance of his eyes after smoking cannabis. Nobody explicitly stated increased pupil diameter. Positive emotions (happiness, euphoria, excitement, and rapture about the music) were reported by 47% of subjects and 33% of the subjects reported negative emotions (fear, anxiety, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, loneliness). Persecutory delusions were reported by 13% of subjects. The visual effects included increased sensitivity to colors (13%), visual distortions (27%) and images seen with closed and open eyes. Visual distortions were described as decreased visual acuity, movement of visual field and shape distortions. Visuals with closed eyes were reported by 20% and included an image of a spaceship and an arctic landscape. Visuals with open eyes were reported by 13%. One subject mentioned seeing himself from a distance. It resembled the out-of-body experience but the subject did not report any sensation of floating outside of the body and therefore it has been classified as a visual hallucination. No subjects mentioned seeing geometric patterns or fractals. A subject-dependent distribution of all symptoms is presented in Figure 6.


Our study suggests that the incidence of recreational use of seeds of A. nervosa, I. tricolor, I. violacea, and I. purpurea is rather low compared with other drugs. In our previous study of the website we found 72 reports describing effects induced by LSD (published from December 1999 to October 2005) and 72 reports describing effects induced by Salvia divinorum (published before September 2010; Juszczak 2012). It is possible that gastrointestinal side effects discourage most of the potential drug users from ingestion of these seeds. It is important to note, however, that the reports of seed ingestion have continued to appear since 1999. One of the reasons for ingestion of Ipomoea seeds is their low price and easy access in gardener's shops. Therefore, it can be expected that in future people will also use Ipomoea seeds recreationally. It is also interesting that people who decided to ingest seeds of Ipomoea or A. nervosa were not discouraged by the gastrointestinal side effects occurring with short latency.

Argyreia nervosa (Hawaiian Baby Woodrose)

Symptoms and doses reported by Polish drug users were comparable with previous medical reports. Most subjects ingested six to eight seeds, whereas in previous case reports subjects ingested six, 12 and 15 seeds (Klinke et al. 2010; Gertsch & Wood 2003; Al-Assmar 1999). In a recent controlled study performed on four subjects, serious adverse effects were reported with an even lower dose of about four seeds (Kremer et al. 2012). More than half of subjects reported gastrointestinal effects occurring within 30 minutes after ingestion and this is consistent with the latency reported recently by Kremer and colleagues (2012). Dilated pupils were reported by two subjects, consistent with the case report published by Al-Assmar (1999). One subject reported auditory hallucinations, confirming a previous report (Al-Assmar 1999) and, additionally, two subjects reported visual hallucinations. More frequently, subjects reported visual distortions and seeing images with closed eyes. Two subjects reported persecutory delusions and one subject reported suicidal ideation, supporting a previous case report of suspected suicide associated with ingestion of A. nervosa seeds (Klinke et al. 2010). Single subjects from our study reported time slowing, excessive laughter and feeling of heaviness on the shoulders consistently with earlier reports (Kremer et al. 2012; Klinke et al. 2010). Also, some other effects have been found in our study (Figure 2) that were not previously reported in case reports of A. nervosa intoxication, although some of them (fear of losing mind, increased awareness of colors) were previously associated with ingestion of Ipomoea tricolor and/or violacea (Table 2). Generally, the study shows that the effects induced by A. nervosa are variable and subject-specific, consistent with the report published by Kremer and colleagues (2012). Most subjects also smoked cannabis, consistent with a recent case report (Klinke et al. 2010).

Ipomoea tricolor, violacea and purpurea

Both I. tricolor and I. violacea were reported as psychoactive plants used for recreational purposes (Brady 1968; Cohen 1964; Ingram 1964). Nonetheless, medical reports describing effects induced by these plants are extremely rare and only four single case reports published in the 1960s are available, including one paper published in Dutch (Whelan, Bennett & Moeller 1968; Flach 1967; Cohen 1964; Ingram 1964). Additional confusion comes from the fact that in some cases only a gardener's name of a cultivar, such as Heavenly Blue, has been provided and it is not clear which species of morning glory had been ingested (Cohen 1964). Our study reveals that although the last medical reports were published more than 40 years ago, information about the psychoactive properties of these plants is readily available to Polish drug users. Our analysis of reports published on the Internet shows that both plants induce comparable effects confirming previous case reports published in the 1960s (Cohen 1964; Ingram 1964). Most subjects reported gastrointestinal adverse effects and dilated pupils. Also visual effects, such as different distortions and images of geometric patterns and fractals seen both with closed and open eyes, were reported frequently. Most subjects reported positive emotional states but some of them also reported negative experiences such as unpleasant thoughts, feeling of loneliness, inability to endure oneself, feeling of going insane and persecutory thoughts. In general, the effects were variable and subject-specific, similarly to effects induced by ingestion of the A. nervosa. The current study also shows that drug users are experimenting with other species such as Ipomoea purpurea that were not previously reported in the scientific literature as a psychoactive drug. It is worth mentioning that the ingested doses of I. purpurea seeds gradually increase over time.

Druids Fantasy

We have also found several reports of effects induced by a new drug called druids fantasy, which was claimed to contain LSA. Currently, there is no available literature data on the effects induced by ingestion of druids fantasy, although this drug has been listed as one of the products marketed as a legal high both in the UK and in the USA (Schmidt et al. 2011; Dennehy, Tsourounis & Miller 2005). Our research shows that the ingestion of druids fantasy is a new phenomenon among drug users in Poland because the first report had been posted in 2009, whereas the first report describing effects induced by I. tricolor had been published in 1999. The analysis of the trip reports showed that the effects induced by ingestion of druids fantasy is comparable with the effects induced by A. nervosa and various Ipomoea species, and both morning glory and A. nervosa have been listed as a ingredients of druid fantasy (Dennehy, Tsourounis & Miller 2005). It is also possible that druids fantasy contain other ingredients such as Acorus calamus ("Sweet flag", "Calamus"), Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng), and Piper methysticum (kava, kava-kava) (Dennehy, Tsourounis & Miller 2005; php/products/druids-fantasy). A. calamus is believed to have hallucinogenic properties and is marketed on the Internet for recreational use but its psychoactive properties have been recently questioned (Bjornstad et al. 2009). According to the Swedish Poisons Information Centre, the most frequent symptoms induced by preparations of A. calamus were vomiting, nausea and tachycardia, whereas hallucinations and other psychoactive effects were not reported (Bjornstad et al. 2009). Siberian ginseng is a popular herbal dietary supplement used as a medication for protection from the adverse effects of stress (Donovan et al. 2003). Clinical studies have not revealed side effects with the exception of nausea reported by one subject (Cicero et al. 2004; Donovan et al. 2003). P. methysticum has anxiolytic properties and is traditionally used in the tropical islands of Polynesia (Perez & Holmes 2005). Excessive ingestion induces intoxication characterized by ataxia, tremors, sedation, nausea, and blepharospasm without the presence of hallucinations (Rychetnik & Madronio 2011; Perez & Holmes 2005; Cairney et al. 2003). Therefore, among the listed ingredients only A. nervosa and Ipomoea species have hallucinogenic properties.

Effects Induced by Cannabis

We have found that the most commonly reported effects induced by smoking cannabis were laughter, positive emotional states/increased mood, dizziness, and hunger. Less frequently reported were locomotor impairments, increased pulse/heart rate and time slowing. All these symptoms agree with the literature data (Green, Kavanagh & Young 2003; Fant et al. 1998). Also important are paradoxical symptoms occurring with low prevalence such as increased anxiety, feeling of being depressed, and nausea (Green, Kavanagh & Young 2003) and typical but infrequent symptoms such as fainting, paranoia, and hallucinations (Green, Kavanagh & Young 2003; Ashton et al. 1981; Carlini et al. 1974). In our sample such symptoms were present but at low frequency. For example, negative emotional states or decreased mood were reported by 33% of cannabis users, whereas feeling of fainting and gastrointestinal effects were reported by 13% and 20%, respectively. Visual hallucinations and persecutory delusions were reported by 13% of users, consistent with literature data estimating the occurrence of paranoia to be between 6% and 15% and hallucinations between 2% and 14% (Green, Kavanagh & Young 2003). Finally, symptoms such as mydriasis (dilation of the pupil), which are not induced by smoking cannabis (Fant et al. 1998), can be also used for the assessment of the reliability of published reports. In the collected reports, only one person mentioned change in the appearance of his eyes but the dilation was not explicitly stated. Therefore, the comparison of reported symptoms with literature data shows that the trip reports posted on recreational web sites may contain reliable descriptions of drug-induced effects.

Effects of Cannabis Versus Seeds Containing LSA

Subjects ingesting seeds of the A. nervosa, I. tricolor and I. violacea frequently reported smoking cannabis as an antiemetic medication and therefore it is possible that some reported effects were induced by smoking cannabis or resulted from the interaction between co-ingested drugs. An overlap of symptoms is highly possible, for example, in cases of excessive laughter and positive emotional states (described as happiness, euphoria), which are frequently reported by subjects smoking cannabis. These symptoms were also described by some subjects from our study who did not smoke cannabis, and fits of laughter occurring without any apparent reason were reported in recent controlled study investigating effects of Argyreia nervosa (Kremer et al. 2012). On the other hand, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting followed by visual effects, such as fractals and geometric patterns, are common among subjects ingesting seeds containing LSA. Nausea has also been frequently reported in cases of concomitant use of Convolvulaceaes and cannabis despite the antiemetic properties of marijuana. Available data suggest that an important symptom differentiating effects induced by cannabis and seeds containing LSA may be dilation of the pupils.

Other Co-Administered Drugs

Some subjects mentioned concurrent use of seeds and other drugs such as Leonotis nepetifolia (Klip Dagga, Lion's Ear), dextromethorphan and Peganum harmala. We could not find any scientific data about recreational use of L. nepetifolia and currently the exclusive source of information is the Internet. There is also lack of published data about the psychoactive properties of its close relative, L. leonurus, although this plant has been mentioned as an herbal drug, which is used as a substitute of cannabis (Rosenbaum, Carreiro & Babu 2012). L. nepetifolia is marketed on the Internet as an herbal drug possessing calming, sedating and slightly euphoric properties, which are very similar to those induced by Leonotis leonurus (Lion's Tail/wild dagga). The effects are also claimed to be comparable to those induced by cannabis, although L. nepetifolia is less potent. ( herbs/dried_herbs/leonotis_nepetifolia_-_klip_dagga/; -ogolny-t25842-60.html). Dextromethorphan is an over-the-counter cough suppressant that is also used as a recreational drug, especially by adolescents (Banken & Foster 2008). Ingestion of high doses of the drug induce perceptual distortions and hallucinations (Reissig et al. 2012; Banken & Foster 2008). The effect on mood is variable and both positive (euphoria, joy) and negative (grief and anxiety) changes were reported (Reissig et al. 2012; Banken & Foster 2008). Physical signs of dextromethorphan intoxication include ataxia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting and variations in pupillary responses (Reissig et al. 2012; Banken & Foster 2008). Peganum harmala is traditionally used as an abortifacient agent in the Middle East and North Africa. Intoxication is characterized by the presence of visual hallucinations, tremors, nausea, and vomiting (Frison et al. 2008; Mahmoudian, Jalilpour & Salehian 2002). Finally, one subject mentioned taking deprim and considered that the drug could interact with ingested seeds. Deprim is a herbal antidepressant containing extract from Hypericum perforatum (St John s wort). Ingestion of this drug may suggest presence of depressive symptoms. Such a possibility should not be surprising because there is strong relationship between depression and drug abuse, including use of hallucinogens (Grant 1995). Although St John's wort neither induces hallucinations nor other psychiatric symptoms, it is known to alter the pharmacokinetics of many drugs (Di et al. 2008; Zhou & Lai 2008) and therefore it could affect the effects induced by ingested seeds.


Our study shows that ingestion of Ipomoea seeds poses an unrecognized toxicological risk. Although seeds purchased in garden shops are not the most popular recreational drugs, they are cheap and easy to purchase and can be used as a substitute of LSD. An additional problem is combining different drugs, including dextromethorphan, which is frequently abused because of its easy availability. Such a possibility is supported by our study and by a case report describing intoxication induced by combined ingestion of A. nervosa, dextromethorphan and other drugs (Gertsch & Wood 2003).

DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2013.763570

Reports Used for the Analysis of Effects Induced by A. nervosa, I.
tricolor, I. violacea, I. purpurea, and Druids Fantasy

Report Number              URL

































Reports Used for the Analysis of Effects Induced by Smoking Cannabis

Report Number   URL

















Al-Assmar, S.E. 1999. The seeds of the Hawaiian baby woodrose are a powerful hallucinogen. Archives of Internal Medicine 159 (17): 2090.

Ashton, H.; Golding, J.; Marsh, V.R.; Millman, J.E. & Thompson, J.W. 1981. The seed and the soil: Effect of dosage, personality and starting state on the response to delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol in man. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 12 (5): 705-20.

Banken, J.A. & Foster, H. 2008. Dextromethorphan, an emerging drug of abuse. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1139: 402-11.

Bjornstad, K.; Helander, A.; Hulten, P. & Beck, O. 2009. Bioanalytical investigation of asarone in connection with acorus calamus oil intoxications. Journal ofAnalytical Toxicology 33 (9): 604-09.

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Carlini, E.A.; Karniol, I.G.; Renault, P.F. & Schuster, C.R. 1974. Effects of marihuana in laboratory animals and in man. British Journal of Pharmacology 50 (2): 299-309.

Cicero, A.F.; Derosa, G.; Brillante, R.; Bernardi, R.; Nascetti, S. & Gaddi, A. 2004. Effects of Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus maxim.) on elderly quality of life: A randomized clinical trial. Archives ofGerontology and Geriatrics Supplement (9): 69-73.

Cohen, S. 1964. Suicide following morning glory seed ingestion. American Journal ofPsychiatry 120: 1024-5.

Dennehy, C.E.; Tsourounis, C. & Miller, A.E. 2005. Evaluation of herbal dietary supplements marketed on the Internet for recreational use. Annals ofPharmacotherapy 39 (10): 1634-39.

Di, Y.M.; Li, C.G.; Xue, C.C. & Zhou, S.F. 2008. Clinical drugs that interact with St. John's wort and implication in drug development. Current Pharmaceutical Design 14 (17): 1723-42.

Donovan, J.L.; DeVane, C.L.; Chavin, K.D.; Taylor, R.M. & Markowitz, J.S. 2003. Siberian ginseng (eleutheroccus senticosus) effects on cyp2d6 and cyp3a4 activity in normal volunteers. Drug Metabolism and Disposition 31 (5): 519-22.

Fant, R.V.; Heishman, S.J.; Bunker, E.B. & Pickworth, W.B. 1998. Acute and residual effects of marijuana in humans. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 60 (4): 777-84.

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Grzegorz R. Juszczak, Ph.D.a & Artur H. Swiergiel, Ph.D.a,b

The authors declare no conflict of interest. We are grateful to Malgorzata Kilanowska for bibliographic assistance and to Katarzyna Swiergiel-Shorey for editorial assistance.

aAssistant Professor, Department of Animal Behavior, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Jastrzebiec, Poland.

bProfessor, Department of Human and Animal Physiology, Institute of Biology, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland.

Please address correspondence to Grzegorz R. Juszczak, Department of Animal Behaviour, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Jastrzebiec, ul. Postepu 105-552 Magdalenka, Poland; phone: +48 (22) 756 17 11; fax: +48 (22) 756 14 17; email:;
Delayed Effects Occurring on the Next Day After
Ingestion of I. Tricolor Seeds

Number                   Delayed Effects

7        Euphoria
25       Tiredness, hyperacusis and rumbling in the head
10       Abdominal pain, dilated pupils, photophobia and
           decreased visual acuity
12       Hallucinations, seeing room with closed eyes,
           sound distortions, altered color perception,
           emotional liability, depression and time
13       Head ache and apathy

Previously Reported Effects Induced by Seeds of Plants
Belonging to the Convolvulaceae Family

I. tricolor                   I. tricolor   glory     A. nervosa,

Dilated pupils                case 1                  case 3
Tension, anxiety              case 1
Fear of loosing mind          case 1        case 2
Increased awareness           case 1
  of colors
Anxiety                       case 1
Nausea                                      case 2    case 3,7,8,9
Vomiting                                              case 3, 8
Dizziness / vertigo                                   case 3, 9
Depersonalization                           case 2
Visual pseudohallucinations                 case 2
Blurred Vision                                        case 3
Auditory                                    case 2    case 3
  or hallucinations
Feeling of wonderment                       case 2
Feeling of                                  case 2
Grandiose fantasies                         case 2
Persecutory delusions                                 case 9
Increased insight
Ringing in the ears                         case 2
Disrupted thought control                   case 2
Diaphoresis                                           case 3
Tachycardia                                           case 3
Hypertension                                          case 3,
                                                      6, 7, 8, 9
Nystagmus                                             case 3
Losing track of time
Sense of wellbeing
Suicide / suicidal ideation                 case 2
Homicidal ideation
Laughter                                              case 9
Tremor                                                case 7
Heaviness in the legs                                 case 9

                              A. nervosa,   A. nervosa, eth,
I. tricolor                   cnb           cnb, dxm, pxt

Dilated pupils
Tension, anxiety
Fear of loosing mind
Increased awareness
  of colors
Dizziness / vertigo
Visual pseudohallucinations                 case 10
Blurred Vision
  or hallucinations
Feeling of wonderment
Feeling of
Grandiose fantasies
Persecutory delusions
Increased insight                           case 10
Ringing in the ears
Disrupted thought control
Tachycardia                                 case 10
Hypertension                                case 10

Losing track of time          case 4
Sense of wellbeing            case 4
Agitation                     case 5        case 10
Suicide / suicidal ideation   case 5        case 10
Homicidal ideation                          case 10
Heaviness in the legs

Case 1--ingested 250 seeds (Ingram 1964); case 2--ingested 300 seeds
(Cohen 1964); case 3--ingested 12 seeds (Al-Assmar 1999); case
4--ingested 6 seeds and smoked cannabis (Klinke et al. 2010); case
5--ingested unknown amount of seeds and smoked cannabis (cnb) (Klinke
et al. 2010); cases 6-9--ingested about 4 seeds (Kremer et al. 2012),
case 10--ingested 15 seeds, inhaled ether (eth), smoked cannabis,
ingested dextromethorphan (dxm) and took a maintenance dose of
paroxetine (pxt) (Gertsch & Wood 2003).
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Author:Juszczak, Grzegorz R.; Swiergiel, Artur H.
Publication:Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXPO
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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