A powerfully psychoactive genus of plants, including jimson weed, also known as loco weed. Active ingredients include scopolamine, atropine, hyoscyamine and other tropanes. It can theoretically be smoked, eaten, boiled into a tea, or crushed and made into a salve and smeared on bare skin, though it is probably easiest to simply consume it as a tea. However, dosage is very tricky, for a couple reasons. First, as it is a naturally occuring plant, the potency can vary greatly from plant to plant and species to species, as much as five or ten times from one plant to another. Secondly, as has been stated before, it is not a safe substance; little more than double the active dose could be enough to cause heart attacks, heat stroke or seizures, all of which could be fatal. With such a variation in potency, the only truly safe way to approach Datura is to not take it at all. If you're set on taking it, make a tea of two leaves or about 3/4 teaspoon of seeds, and drink it slowly, over the space of an hour. Onset is usually fifteen to thirty minutes, so you can decide to stop drinking it (or have someone take it away from you) if it turns out to be a powerful sample. Again, SAFE DOSAGE IS VERY DIFFICULT.

Warning: Do NOT take this without a sober sitter. "Yeah, yeah," you think, "That's what everyone says about everything from mushrooms to nitrous, and I've been fine." This is not safe to do alone. You could overdose, or you could kill yourself for no reason. The sober sitter should be aware of what you are taking and have the number to the local poison control at the ready.

The high is anywhere from a six hour buzz with mild auditory hallucinations to a full three or four days of total delerium. During this time, you may experience total hallucinations that are nothing like those experienced on acid or mushrooms. You will have no idea you are hallucinating. Even when the UFO flies overhead and starts zapping people on the street, it will seem fully real. This sounds fun, but this also means you can hurt yourself easily. Erowid (www.erowid.org, where I did some of this research) has trip reports where people have blacked out or hallucinated things so terrible that when they woke up, they discovered that they had smashed windows, tore off their clothes in public, tried to kill themselves with everything from knives to shards of broken glass or put themselves into comas by repeatedly hitting their heads against walls, thinking they were soft.

I overdosed on Datura. I'm going to tell this story as I remember it, which, due to the nature of the drug, is probably not how it happened. When I know the differences between what I think happened and what the truth is, I'll mention it.

So this was 2001, my sophomore year of high school. A friend of mine, Adam (not real for privacy's sake), and I had smoked a lot of weed together, and were curious about other drugs. Stereotypical gateway drug type situation. So we browsed the Internet, and found www.erowid.org, and more specifically, their section on Datura. We knew of several places in the neighborhood that had some growing, and we decided to give it a shot.

The night we decided to try it, my mother was out at work, and my father was asleep. Adam and I went out to get the flowers. We got about eight flowers pretty quickly, and came back home to make the tea. I stewed the flowers with Raspberry Zinger for flavor.

Several minutes later, when it was a dark brown, we called it done. It tasted foul, so I added table sugar to mine. Adam had one mug full, and I had two. This was the mistake, we had no concept of dosing.

For about half an hour, we didn't feel anything. After that, we started to feel sick, and Adam suggested going to sleep, sleeping it off. I was in no state to argue, so we went downstairs, and I somehow made it up into my upper bunk. He crashed on the lower bunk.

Here's where my memory stops holding true, and where I'll start interpolating other people's accounts.

I got up, sometime in the night, when my mom was back, but not asleep yet, probably around 11 PM. I was attempting to go down the ladder from my bunk bed, but completely failing, and fell heavily on the ground. I weighed about 170 pounds at the time, so this was felt around the house. I got up and went to the bathroom, where my mother accosted me. She says my pupils were dilated, my face was red, and that I couldn't speak to answer her questions. This would scare any mother, so she woke up Adam, who was coherent enough to tell her what happened, and she called the ambulance.

The ambulance was good enough to go to Kaiser Oakland, not Alta Bates, because we have insurance at Kaiser (they are supposed to go to the nearest hospital). We arrived at the hospital, and were put under the care of a really nice, large, jolly resident. He gave us the antidote, which is apparently extracted from an African vine of some sort. I got most of the antidote, being much worse off, but Adam got some. He made us drink activated charcoal slurry, to absorb what was left in our digestive tracts. Thick, black, sweet, chunky... It was strange stuff. We were in chairs like dentist's chairs, and I could see Adam through a Plexiglas shelf on the right, we were in separate cubby areas.

By this time, both of us had pissed ourselves. This is a side effect.

There is a discontinuity here, the next thing I remember, we're both in a ward room. Two beds, and some privacy. Adam's naked, and I'm wearing a hospital gown. He's naked because he's violent. Any time someone gets near him, he lashes out. He's restrained to the bed with white Velcro straps, which only work because he can't figure them out in his state.

Once or twice, I imagine he's broken free, and they have to tackle him and strap him back down. This is not true.

My right arm was strapped to a board with transparent tape, and there was a complicated IV going into my hand. I also had one of those blood oxygen meters on my finger that glows red. There was a TV in front of me. So naturally I thought I was sitting at my computer, with my optical mouse in my right hand, and was really quite frustrated that I couldn't move the mouse, or browse the Internet. I kept asking my parents to go downstairs and get my book (my computer is upstairs from my room (I was reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace at the time)), even though we were in the hospital.

After about ten hours in the ward, I was coherent. We left around noon on Saturday. Adam stayed for another day, he was still thrashing and attacking nurses (also still naked).

The charcoal slurry turned my BMs black for a week. I was disoriented and out of it for about that long. I didn't go to school. My parents didn't really say anything about it.

Da*tu"ra (?), n. [NL.; cf. Skr. dhattra, Per. & Ar. tatra, Tatla.] Bot.

A genus of solanaceous plants, with large funnel-shaped flowers and a four-celled, capsular fruit.

⇒ The commonest species are the thorn apple (D. stramonium), with a prickly capsule (see Illust. of capsule), white flowers and green stem, and D. tatula, with a purplish tinge of the stem and flowers. Both are narcotic and dangerously poisonous.


© Webster 1913.

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