Cannabis is by far the world’s most popular ‘illicit’ drug. The fact that a naturally growing plant shouldn’t be illegal is another story entirely. The United Nations released a report stating that over 158 million people use weed; a number that may even be lower than the real figure!
One of the main reasons why we enjoy marijuana is the psychoactive ‘high’ we experience. Depending on the strain, the user, and the amount consumed, this high can range from euphoric and energetic to mellow and relaxed. Weed’s THC content is the primary reason why we get high, and is also the main reason for its prohibition.
The bizarre thing is that there are dozens of legal ways to achieve a high. It is normal, especially for teenagers, to experiment with weird, wonderful, and downright dumb methods of achieving a high akin to what one gets when stoned. To show how ridiculously easy it is to attain a psychoactive state, we have compiled a list of 10 things that offer a high, and the ingredients can be easily purchased at just about any store or pharmacy.
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1 – Cough Syrup
A huge percentage of American households have cough syrup in their medicine cabinet, and you can purchase it from a pharmacy no questions asked. This is even though taking huge doses of it can cause you to ‘trip balls.’ Dextromethorphan, better known as DXM, is a common ingredient in cough syrup, and an estimated 10% of American teenagers have abused a product containing DXM to get high.
In fact, DXM is found in many over-the-counter drugs in America. You could achieve a high by taking between 10 and 50 times the recommended dose of cough syrup. In most cases, consuming an entire bottle at once will do the trick. However, it is a risky business, because too much of it slows your heartbeat and breathing. If you mix it with alcohol, the effects could be fatal.
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2 – Inhalants
This is a broad category and includes aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids, glue, and even gas from a can of whipped cream! Once again, these substances are not illegal, which means children can easily get their hands on them. Inhalants slow down your body’s functions and provide a sense of intoxication lasting anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes. After the chemicals reach the lungs, they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
However, these chemicals remain in our brains for a very long time. The list of adverse side effects is a long one. You can damage part of your brain, or die from asphyxiation. Even if you don’t die, prolonged abuse can damage your respiratory system and organs such as your liver and kidneys.
3 – Nitrites
Better known as ‘poppers,’ nitrites are a special form of inhalant that provides a different form of high. As they dilate blood vessels, nitrites potentially boost sexual pleasure. Poppers typically contain chemicals such as cyclohexyl nitrate, butyl nitrate, and amyl nitrate. You can find nitrites in air fresheners or in sealed capsules you ‘pop’ open.
As is the case with all inhalants, nitrites can cause brain damage or even death, and it can easily happen to a first-time user. They are even linked with the spread of sexual diseases such as HIV, since users are too high to focus on having safe sex. Other damaging effects include bone marrow damage, liver and kidney damage, weight loss, and rashes on the face.
4 – Nutmeg
You will find this ingredient in most kitchen cupboards, but some people use it to attain a high. According to some experts, high doses of nutmeg form amphetamine derivatives from volatile oils such as safrole and elemicin that are contained in the spice. All it takes is a tablespoon to produce symptoms akin to an anticholinergic toxic episode.
Those who write on the subject say that people who get high off nutmeg seldom try to do so again! Symptoms of nutmeg intoxication include difficulty breathing, chest pain, agitation, abdominal pain, fear of death, hyperactivity, and rapid pulse. Once again, it is possible to die after consuming too much nutmeg.
5 – Toads
You may have seen episodes of cartoons where the characters got high from licking a toad. In actual fact, it is entirely possible! The Colorado River toad contains a chemical called 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine. Once this gets into the body, it acts as a serotonin agonist which means it releases a lot of the feel-good substance and you feel high.
However, licking the psychoactive substance directly off the toad can cause illness and potentially kill you. Effects include a racing heart, vomiting, and ensuring the muscles are so weak that you can’t move. The hallucinogens in question must be extracted from the toad and smoked for humans to achieve a safer high.
6 – Bath Salts
For the record, this is the name given to packets of synthetic cathinones and is not the same as the salts you put in a bath. You can snort, swallow, or inject it, and it reportedly makes you feel happy and boosts your sex drive. However, it can also cause you to become intoxicated and violent and is very addictive.
Those who use it will probably experience horrible withdrawal symptoms, and thousands of Americans end up in the ER annually as symptoms such as panic attacks, hallucinations, and chest pain takes hold. Using these bath salts is occasionally fatal. Apparently, you need 50mg to get high, and it costs anywhere between $25 and $50.
7 – Motion Sickness Pills
The motion sickness pills you purchase over the counter are antihistamines. When you use them correctly, they can prevent the sickness you may feel when on a boat or a plane. The most common active ingredients in these pills are dimenhydrinate and diphenhydramine. You can guess by now that some people take high doses of the pills to achieve euphoric effects.
By doing so, you risk a series of adverse side effects including delirium, amnesia, irregular heartbeat, and hallucinations. In severe cases, you could experience a heart attack, suffer brain damage, or die.
8 – Hand Sanitizer
At first glance, it seems remarkable that anyone would use hand sanitizer to get high. Then you realize that it can contain up to 65% alcohol – almost double the strength of vodka – and it makes sense. Hand sanitizer contains ethyl alcohol, which is the chemical that provides a buzz when drinking a glass of wine.
If you add salt to the sanitizer, you can separate the alcohol from the gel. Hand sanitizer also contains isopropyl alcohol which is toxic to the central nervous system. It also contains several other harmful chemicals. Side effects include vision problems, alcohol poisoning, and diarrhea. In severe instances, a hand sanitizer abuser could slip into a coma and die.
9 – Anti-Diarrhea Pills
You may be shocked to learn that opioid addicts are turning to anti-diarrhea pills such as Imodium as a substitute. Ordinarily, you are supposed to take two x 2mg capsules followed by a single capsule until symptoms disappear. However, some opioid addicts use 50-100 pills to either get high or cope with withdrawal symptoms.
It turns out that Imodium, and similar medicines, are also opioids – up to 50 times more potent than morphine. At such a high dose, anti-diarrhea medicine could result in cardiac arrest or seizures.
10 – Krokodil
Thankfully, this homemade drug seemingly hasn’t made its way to North America, but it is available in Russia and a few other countries. It is injected to provide a high similar to what one would get from heroin. Krokodil has been nicknamed ‘the Zombie Drug’ and has also been referred to as the ‘world’s worst drug.’ It is created by crushing up codeine tablets and mixing them with red phosphorus, petrol, or hydrochloric acid.
According to doctors, the average Krokodil user’s life expectancy is two years from the point when they first use the drug. The main reason it is used is because it provides a heroin-like high for 10% of the price. It is also widely available in South Africa for R50 a gram for example.
The effects are absolutely horrific. It is basically a flesh-eating drug, because wherever you inject it on the body, blood vessels burst and the surrounding tissue dies. We have seen pictures of people where their flesh literally fell off their bones in chunks.
Final Thoughts on Alternative Ways to Get High
Given the potentially fatal side effects of the methods of getting high mentioned in this article, it seems remarkable that all the ingredients are legally and easily available. Marijuana provides a psychoactive high without side effects such as heart palpitations and chunks of flesh falling away from the body.
It goes without saying that we do not recommend any of the ways to get high mentioned above. The ingredients may be legal, but the effects of these homemade drugs are potentially fatal. While people would still use terrible drugs such as Krokodil if marijuana were made legal worldwide, we are willing to bet that the number would be far fewer.