3.7.1 Datura

Datura #

Binomial / Botanical Name Datura
Street Names Jimson Weed; Moonflower; Devil’s Weed; Thorn Apple; Devil’s Trumpets
Major Active Compound Scopolamine, Hyoscyamine, Atropine
Indigenous Source Temperate / Tropical Regions
Form Seeds
RoA Oral
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale ++


I wasn’t going to include datura in this book, and I didn’t include it the first edition. Having experienced delirium at the hands of nutmeg, I saw no sense whatsoever in exposing myself to it again, risking my life and my mental health in the process.

Why have I changed my mind? I would argue that I haven’t. What I have decided to do is to go through the normal routine (research, document and record), but critically, using a minimal dose.

The idea is to more fully elaborate upon the dangers of this plant, and on deliriants in general, whilst limiting the threat of self-harm as far as I can. This is, after all, a book about drug safety, and on balance, given that most readers will already have heard of it, I feel that it would be remiss not to include datura in some form.

At the outset, I think it is worth stressing again what delirium actually is. A contributor to the DMT-Nexus forum described it in these terms:

When a patient gets hallucinations from Datura alkaloids (hyoscyamine, atropine, or scopolamine), it is a medical sign of a near fatal dose.” ~ 69ron

On this basis, to experience delirium or hallucinations with this it is necessary to overdose, with risk of death. Hardly surprisingly, therefore, on sensible social media platforms the advice of experienced people is unambiguous in stating that datura should be avoided. This is usually expressed in stark and graphic terms.

Even Wikipedia joins the chorus:

Most parts of the plants are toxic, and datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death.”

Medical papers are awash with details of the adverse effects, which can include seizures, hyperthermia, wide-complex dysrhythmias, cardiovascular collapse, failure of organ systems, rhabdomyolysis, and liver, kidney and brain damage. I hope that you are painting a picture from this.

For my own cautious experiment the question of dosage is obviously of paramount importance. However, it quickly emerges that dose measurement is far from a straight forward exercise. Online comments like these are not uncommon:

There is no way to guess a reasonable dose, because potency of the plant material itself and appropriate dose for an individual appear to vary so much.” ~ Erowid

A good dosage advise on Datura is not possible, as the alkaloid content varies so extreme. The seeds are recognised as the part of the plant with the least variation, but they can have anywhere from 0.1 to 0.7% tropane alkaloids.” ~ Ginkgo, DMT-Nexus.

On the premise of the latter comment, one seed could have seven times the potency of the next seed. This is a huge disparity, and it doesn’t help to answer the fundamental question with respect to my own dose, which is: how much am I prepared to poison myself for the purpose of this experiment? The answer to this is as little as I can get away with whilst reaching a sufficient threshold to write about it in a credible way.

In view of the potential horror, and given the enormous dose variability, I decide to take a single seed. On this dose, of course, I don’t anticipate delirium. However, some form of dream potentiation during sleep is perhaps a possibility.

Regarding duration, a moderate dose is generally considered to last around 8-12 hours, with higher doses persisting for perhaps 2-3 days. Effects can apparently be felt after an hour, give or take half an hour, with peak typically being reached at around 4 to 6 hours.

Ready to proceed, I select a datura stramonium seed from the small plastic baggy: one which looks relatively wholesome and alive. Aware of the potential for impaired judgement and lost memory under its influence, I dispose of the rest.

As I prepare to take the plunge, I cannot deny that part of me is hoping that the exercise fails, and that my supply is somehow deficient. Yes, my nutmeg experience really was that terrifying.

T+0:00 I briefly chew the seed, breaking it with my teeth, and I swallow the debris with a glass of water. I have started the experiment at 5:00pm so that any effects will over-run into my sleeping hours.

T+0:45 Unexpectedly, I do feel a little something. Placebo effects can be convincing, but there does seem to be a heady strangeness present. This is not debilitating in any way, but it manifests largely through a tendency to linger on thought-patterns. I am in a calm but slightly off-key space, aware of distinct sounds and sights, but fully rational. This apparent psychoactivity could of course have been initiated via buccal absorption whilst I chewed, in which case I would expect it to dissipate relatively quickly.

T+2:00 The mild psychoactivity has stabilised, or perhaps I have come to terms with it. It is there in the background, but is not really intrusive, in that I could probably forget it if I was heavily engaged in an absorbing task. As it is not unpleasant I would in fact like it to persist, at least for a while longer.

T+3:00 I feel quite close to base, but with a touch of headiness enduring. I have had a bite to eat and will now embark upon some light exercise.

T+4:00 “The swim passed as standard. I find myself maybe a little more self-reflective than usual and possibly more neutral in mood. Apart from this I now feel normal. The self-reflection is interesting in that, given that this was induced via a single seed, it aligns with the idea that consuming many seeds would result in total withdrawal from the outside world.”

I scribbled the above paragraph on a scrap of paper at the pool, but on the way home I noticed a mild feeling of disconnection with the visible world around me, but inclusive of greater visual acuity.

I again sensed a more distinct separation of the senses. If normal sensory inputs lock together to create the 3D construct which is experienced as reality, this locking process didn’t seem to be fully occurring. I was aware that I was processing sight, sound, touch, smell and taste separately: that there was a lag in melding them all together. This was a little disturbing, not least because I instinctively felt that had I taken more seeds the lock would have occurred in a disjointed manner, creating, ultimately, delirium and a scenescape which did not reflect actuality.

T+5:00 I am now tiring and ready to retire. I retain that slightly strange heady feel, without uplift, but it is now tinged with fatigue. I head to bed hoping for easy sleep and pleasant dreams.

The night’s sleep was not what I expected, bearing in mind that I had ONE seed. It delivered fairly vivid dreams, which were a little stronger than usual and perhaps more weird, but not crazily so. However, on each wake-up, about four of them, I was so dry-mouthed that I needed water. I also needed to urinate, although not through volume (the need was simply there).

During the course of the night the headspace of the evening before also turned heavier, and in the morning I had a headache. I won’t over-egg this: it wasn’t particularly painful but it was there, I was aware of it, and to some degree it lingered for some hours. Initially there was also a minor background buzz and a slight aura of strangeness.

The message was crystal clear. The experiences I outlined earlier were solidly psychoactive and one seed isn’t the joke of a dose I thought it was. Thank goodness I only had the one. The potential for negative payload was obvious even at this level.

If you want some anecdotes to convince you further, read ‘Datura ‘Train Wrecks’’ on Erowid. Often, delirious people do not know what they are doing: they are out of control whilst their body is fighting the poison. If the datura doesn’t kill them, their real-world situation may well do so instead. Trying to run through a wall or through a window to escape the demons, digging out the burrowing ants from your flesh with a sharp knife, cutting off your penis with shears because you are demented; anything is possible in this terrain. This is what delirium is: you lose the plot and you lose rationality, and not in a nice way.

Whilst datura can be used as an admixture by experienced shamans, it is absolutely not a recreational drug. If you want to trip, or to hallucinate, use a tried and tested psychedelic.

Finally, let’s be clear: I skimmed the surface here. To some degree I have just gone through the motions, but by doing so hopefully the message is obvious. Don’t let curiosity kill you. Trust me on this: it’s just not worth it.


Alexander Sammy:

“Datura will break you, question is that what you looking for? be careful for what you wish. If you don’t find the way you will be lost forever. 2 guys I know went mentally lost.

Tim Burn:

“I freaked out for 3 days.. Didn’t think I would ever come right again.. Very vivid hallucinations.. Very dangerous.”

Anthony Stanton:

“I remember reading one story in a psychedelic book where this young guy took datura but nothing happened so he went to bed, woke up in hospital not knowing/remembering how he got there or what happened and realised his tongue and penis was missing (cut off) ”

David Scott:

“I know someone who was sent to the mental hospital after eating those seeds.”

Chad Powell:

“Don’t do it! Very dangerous! I did it in high school. Woke up in a jail cell. The trip basically makes you see and talk people who aren’t there, lots of faces that form out of the sky, ground, on my hands. You loose complete control. Be very careful, it can not only poison you but can get you killed.”

Rasheed Fsu Leonard:

“Datura is hell…”

Isaac Ray:

“Watched a dude accidentally drink enough tea for 5 people. A couple hours later he was naked, violent and screaming incomprehensibly. He had to be held down by several people who all had to wash human waste of various kinds off of them afterwards. It was not pretty.”

Aleksandar Ćulibrk:

“Know a couple of people that did this shit.. Talking to dead people, seeing objects on fire that aren’t, feeling poisoned, a lot of general “sounds like fun” trips but in reality not at all and with a lot of repercussions.

None of them live a normal life anymore, a LOT of mental health problems, big warning to anyone thinking of trying it… Just don’t!”

Michael Wayne Medlin:

“I did it one time and ended up wrecking my car into a tree going 40 mph. I had no intention on driving at all. This shit will confuse you to the point where you don’t even know where you are or what’s going on. It’s incredibly scary and yes, you see people and things that are not there, you talk gibberish and you think it means something. Much like being stuck in a nightmare.”

Jillsa Goodwitch:

“In an era with so many options to biohack and experience ecstasy and wonder and freedom, unfortunately people are going to take the skeeviest way to that path unfortunately and Darwin will claim his quota.”

Elijah James Crawley:

“I have a mate who decided to brew a tea using the flowers, no measurements on dosage. Suffered partial loss of sight for 24hrs, a disjointed sense of reality, tripped for 3 days, damage to the nervous system, ongoing mild psychosis.”