The following are street names for PCP:
- Angel dust
- Elephant tranquilizer
- Embalming fluid
- Killer joints
- The PeaCe pill
- Rocket fuel
PCP is a white crystalline, bitter-tasting powder that quickly dissolves in water or alcohol.
It is also found in tablet or capsule form.
Users may smoke, snort, swallow, or inject PCP.
Leafy plants such as mint, parsley or marijuana are often sprayed with the chemical, or a rolled joint is dipped into a PCP solution and then smoked.
What are PCP effects on the brain?
Pharmacologically, PCP is a noncompetitive NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist and glutamate receptor antagonist,
but also interacts with other receptor sites, and may have effects with dopamine, opioid and nicotinic receptors.
PCP is a mind-altering drug. This means it acts on your brain (central nervous system) and changes your mood, behavior, and the way you relate to the world around you.
Scientists think it blocks the normal actions of certain brain chemicals.
PCP is in a class of drugs refer to as hallucinogens.
These substances cause hallucinations.
These are things that you see, hear, or feel while awake that appear to be real, but instead the mind creates them.
Phencyclidine is also refer to as a dissociative drug.
It causes you to feel like you have disconnect from your body and surroundings.
Using PCP may make you feel:
- You are floating and disconnected from reality.
- Joy (euphoria, or “rush”) and less inhibition, similar to being drunk on alcohol.
- Your sense of thinking is extremely clear, and that you have superhuman strength and aren’t afraid of anything.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMEONE TAKES PCP?
Phencyclidine affects multiple neurotransmitter systems in the brain. It inhibits the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
It also inhibits the action of glutamate by blocking NMDA receptors, which are responsible for pain sensation, emotions, learning, and memory functions.
Interrupting these receptors allows the brain to disconnect from normal sensory experiences, or “reality.”
In higher doses, however, it may also excite these receptors.
A typical dose is 5 to 10 milligrams, and 10 mg has been reported to cause stupor.
The effects are felt 30 to 60 minutes after oral ingestion, or a few minutes after smoking.
Immediate effects last 4 to 6 hours, but a return to a normal state can take up to 24 hours.
However, because the drug is made illegally in uncontrolled conditions, there is no way of knowing how much is being taken, or what the effect will be.
Harmful Effects of Phencyclidine
The effects of PCP vary, depending upon the amount of active drug you take and how you take them.
An individual may use PCP because it produces euphoria, psychedelic effects, and a sense of calm.
However, they may experience effects that they do not want.
Soon after taking a low dose, there may be a rise in blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate.
A larger dose will have the opposite effect, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.
PCP can also have unpleasant effects:
- Low to moderate doses can cause numbness throughout your body and loss of coordination.
- Large doses may cause you to be very suspicious and not trust others. You may even hear voices that are not there. As a result, you may act strangely or become aggressive and violent.
PCP’s other harmful effects include:
- It can increase heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and body temperature. At high doses, PCP can have an opposite and dangerous effect on these functions.
- Because of the pain-killing (analgesic) properties of PCP, if you get serious injury, you might not feel pain.
- Using PCP for a long time can cause memory loss, thinking problems, and problems talking clearly, such as slurring words or stuttering.
- Mood problems, such as depression or anxiety can develop. This can lead to suicide attempts.
- A very large dose, usually from taking PCP by mouth, may cause kidney failure, heart arrhythmias, muscle rigidity, seizures, or death.
Phencyclidine can cause a person to experience:
- sound, image and body distortion
- depersonalization or feelings of detachment
- loss of balance and coordination
- loss of sensation and inability to feel pain
- acute anxiety, agitation, and mood swings
- feelings of impending doom
- numbness in the arms and legs
Other people may notice that the user is showing:
- poor co-ordination and an unsteady gait
- bloodshot eyes and rapid eye movements
- slurred or garbled speech, or difficulty talking
- confusion and disorientation
- a blank stare
- stupor or lack of movement
- combativeness or aggression
- bizarre behavior
They may be drooling.
It can also lead to:
- rigid muscles
- amnesia, or memory loss
- chills and sweating
- irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure
- reduced breathing rate
- dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
High doses can lead to:
- damage to the skeletal muscles, known as rhabdomyolysis.
Poor judgment and reasoning skills, psychosis, paranoia, and self-injurious or violent action may occur in those already prone to these behaviors.
The person may develop a type of psychosis similar to that seen in schizophrenia.
Can you get addicted to PCP?
PCP is addictive and its use often leads to psychological dependence, craving, and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior. Long-time users of PCP report symptoms of:
- memory loss
- difficulties with speech and learning
- weight loss that can persist up to a year after stopping PCP use.
PCP has sedative effects, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to coma or accidental overdose.
Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP’s unpleasant psychological effects or because of overdoses.
In a hospital or detention setting, they often become violent or suicidal, and are very dangerous to themselves and to others. They should be kept in a calm setting and should not be left alone.