Most people are aware of some of the most commonly abused drugs, like cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and alcohol. However, there are countless mind-altering substances in the world, and some substances that the average person would never expect to function as a drug can have surprising effects.
We have compiled a list of some of the weirdest drugs and substances abused in the world. Some of the drug names may appear strange or even humorous, but it’s vital to know their common handles to avoid them in the future.
When Conventional Drugs Aren’t Enough Or Are Too Hard To Buy
Some of the following drugs gained popularity as alternatives to more conventional drugs in areas where purchasing drugs is difficult or impossible, either due to strict local law enforcement or simple availability.
However, people who wish to get high typically find any and all means to accomplish this goal, leading to some very surprising and disturbing substance abuse trends.
While some of the following drugs and other substances do not have chemically addictive properties, it is possible to develop an addiction to any type of mind-altering substance.
Never assume, that just because a drug is not on a list of known dangerous drugs, it is automatically safe.
1. Gray Death
One of the most dangerous drugs on this list, is also one of the most difficult to define.
Grey Death is a common name for many different combinations of drugs, usually containing mixtures of heroin, carfentanil, and U-47700.
The unknown nature of these drug combinations, and its greyish color, gave rise to its ominous name; since there is no real way to determine the ingredients, a user has no way to predict the resulting effects or the potential for life-threatening complications from an overdose.
This fentanyl analog is a powerful synthetic opioid.
While fentanyl is about 50 times the strength of heroin and 100 times the strength of medical-grade morphine, carfentanil is roughly 100 times as powerful as fentanyl, contributing to the ongoing crisis of opioid-related overdose deaths in the U.S.
Although only used in very specific clinical circumstances, in most cases, carfentanil isn’t exactly sought after as an abusable drug; drug manufacturers add it to other drugs to intensify their effects.
Huffing is the act of inhaling a vapor or gaseous substance to achieve a high.
Some of the most commonly huffed substances include:
rags soaked in gasoline
some types of permanent markers
Huffing is also possible with some common items found in a grocery store, like spray-cans of liquid cheese or whipped cream.
Prisoners find many ways to get high that do not involve smuggling illicit drugs from outside. Pruno is a common prison concoction made of sugary substances like ketchup, candy, and fruit.
Prisoners add bread for the yeast content and allow it to ferment, resulting in a potent alcoholic beverage with up to a 14% alcohol concentration.
Although generally known as a simple cooking spice common in autumn seasonal dishes, nutmeg actually contains trace amounts of myristicin when reduced to an essential oil form.
It takes quite a large dose to produce any noticeable effects, but those effects can include powerful hallucinations, similar to taking LSD, and can last several days.
6. Snake Venom
This is not a silly name for some type of designer drug; actual snake venom is often abused as a drug in some areas of the world.
In areas plagued by venomous snakes, some individuals inject themselves with small doses of snake venom to build up immunity in case of a future bite.
7. Licking Toads
Yes, it’s true: you can get high from licking certain species of toads.
Amphibians of the Bufonidae family secrete poison through their skin that coats their necks and backs, protecting them from predators.
When humans lick this poison, it can cause psychoactive effects like hallucinations.
Licking wild animals is inherently unsanitary and may also lead to medical complications, like infections.
The Russian word for “crocodile” is also the name of a powerful codeine derivative.
Using codeine as a base, Krokodil manufacturers also add substances like gasoline, paint thinner and hydrochloric acid, that create powerful psychoactive effects. However, the dangerous substances in this drug cause hard, scaly sores around injection sites that appear like crocodile scales, hence the name.
Many people who abuse Krokodil also experience
Perhaps the most nauseating entry on this list is Jenkem, a hallucinogen made in Zambia using fermented human feces.
Although Jenkem never gained popularity in the U.S., internet pranksters discovered the Zambian practice and led to many news headlines.
Zambians attempting to get high, typically gather human waste from sewers and then bottle it for several weeks. Upon opening, they attach a balloon to the top and allow the fermented gas to fill it.
They detach the balloon once full, inhale the fermented gas, and reportedly experience intense hallucinations.
10. Reindeer Urine
Another entry that is not just a clever name, actual reindeer urine contains psychoactive properties due to Fly Agaric mushrooms, a common diet staple of wild reindeer.
These mushrooms have psychoactive effects when eaten raw but also cause nausea and vomiting. Koryak peoples of Siberia discovered that passing through a reindeer’s urinary system removed these negative side effects while retaining the psychoactive effects.
While sound-based drugs may be relatively safe, marijuana laced with PCP is certainly not.
Although marijuana generally produces calming effects and mild euphoria, combining it with PCP creates the opposite effect.
Wet users generally report intense feelings of energy, aggression, and heightened sensory awareness.
Wet can also cause unpredictable violent outbursts.
12. Stilton Cheese
Although this special cheese does not have direct psychoactive effects, it does cause intense dreams after consuming it a half hour before bedtime.
Stilton cheese only comes from three small areas in England and smells similar to feet.
About 75% of women and 85% of men who try Stilton cheese before bed report having strange, vivid dreams.
This designer drug currently exists in legal limbo as the manufacturer takes advantage of several legal loopholes to keep it in circulation.
Users generally report effects similar to those felt with a dose of ecstasy.
Diisopropyltryptamine, or simply “Dipt,” is unique in that it specifically causes auditory hallucinations.
Users often report changes in their hearing, including changes in pitch and overall sound perception.
Often called one of the worst drugs in the world, Scopolamine is a staple ingredient of a common date rape cocktail in Colombia.
Anyone who ingests Scopolamine displays “zombie-like” symptoms, including unresponsiveness and incoherence.
As odd as it may sound, some people have learned to get high using sound.
Commonly called iDosing, hearing some sound patterns at specific frequencies can have mind-altering effects.
Generally speaking, this may be the safest form of substance abuse included on this list.
Also known as Meduna’s Mixture, carbogen is a simple concoction of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
However, it produces an intense and worrisome effect similar to the sensation of drowning.
The drug essentially tricks the body into thinking it is suffocating, but users typically report calming effects and pleasant visual sensations.
The effects of drugs on this list range from mild to life-threatening, but none are as powerful as those caused by ayahuasca.
Amazonian tribal shamans have used this vine to contact their spirit world for hundreds of years and it is a very popular choice among drug tourists visiting South America. The reason this plant is so incredibly potent is due to the fact that it contains Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, one of the most powerful hallucinogenic substances known to man.
People who have taken DMT reported vivid and realistic hallucinations. Some report seeing god-like beings while others claim to see enormous insects and robots. Others report turning into vividly colored geometric shapes or bright light.
Ayahuasca is a flowering vine found in the Amazon.
When combined with other plant-based substances and brewed into a tea, users can experience some of the most profound hallucinations possible from any drug. Ayahuasca is so powerful that many “tourists” visit South America to sample it, often reporting that it causes intense, spiritual hallucinations that can invigorate and calm the mind. Some even claim it can effectively treat depression, but there have also been many reports of drug tourists dying after experimenting with ayahuasca.
Seeking Treatment For Substance Abuse
While some of the drugs on this list do not seem like they would create patterns of dependency and abuse, it is essential to remember that any substance can potentially become habit-forming.
A substance that creates any type of hallucinogenic or euphoric effect will often make users crave that feeling again, eventually turning into a full-blown addiction.
Anyone struggling with substance abuse, even with an unconventional drug or strange natural substance, needs to recognize the need for treatment before a habit has life-altering consequences.
As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.
With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Our Intervention Counselors are available to help you understand our Intervention Process.
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