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PCP (A complete guide)

What is PCP?

Phencyclidine (PCP) is an illegal and dangerous street drug that is also sometimes called by the following names:

·  angel dust

·  Killer Weed

·  Love Boat

·  Rocket Fuel

·  Supergrass

·  Ozone

·  Superweed

·  PeaCe pill

·  Hog

·  Dust

·  Wack

·  embalming fluid

What does PCP look like?

In its purest form, PCP is a white crystalline powder that readily dissolves in water or alcohol and has a distinctive bitter chemical taste.

As a result, it can appear in a liquid form.

Since PCP can easily be mixed with dyes, it can also appear in a variety of colors in powder, tablet, and capsule form. It is sometimes sold on the street as a powder wrapped in metallic foil.

What is the history of PCP?

PCP was created in 1926 and was originally used as an anesthetic.

It was approved as an anesthetic drug in the 1950s, but because of its long half-life and dangerous side effects it was taken off the market and limited to only veterinary use.

The dangerous side effects that led to its retraction from the market include hallucinations, mania, delirium, and disorientation.

What are the effects of PCP on the brain?

PCP is a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, which means that it blocks the effects of glutamate in the brain, which is the brain’s major excitatory neurotransmitter.

PCP also interacts with other receptors in the brain including dopamine, opioid, and nicotinic receptors.

Because PCP has affinity for a wide range of receptors in the brain, it can exert a variety of psychological and physical effects.

THC is another substance, similar to cannabis and marijuana, used for drug abuse.

How is PCP used?

·  taken orally (Swallowed)

·  Smoked

·  Injected into a vein (shooting up)

·  Inhaled through the nose (snorted)

Smoking is the most common way that people use PCP, especially those who use it as a recreational drug.

The liquid form is made up of a PCP base dissolved in ether, which is a highly flammable solvent.

When users smoke PCP, they sometimes spray it onto leafy materials like marijuana, mint, parsley, or oregano.

PCP can also be injected into the veins.

What class of drugs does PCP belong to?

Phencyclidine (PCP) is a mind-altering drug that may lead to hallucinations (a profound distortion in a person’s perception of reality).

PCP belongs to the class of drugs known as hallucinogens and shares qualities with other dissociative drugs.      

PCP is also known as a dissociative drug.

Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders include significant memory loss of specific times, people and events,out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself, mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

Dissociation can cause forgetfulness or leave gaps in your memory. Some people feel that the physical world is not real, or they are not real themselves. Other symptoms can include:

· 

    out of body experience

· 

    Feeling like a different person

· 

    Pounding heart or light headed

· 

    Emotionally numb or detached

· 

    Feeling little or no pain.

Other more severe signs and symptoms can include:

·   an altered sense of time 

·   forgetting how you reached somewhere 

·   tunnel vision

·   hearing voices in your head

·   becoming unable to move 

·   getting absorbed in a fantasy world that seems real

What are the effects of PCP?

Depending on how PCP is taken, the effects can be felt in as little as two minutes and last anywhere from 6-24 hours.

PCP affects the body in many different ways and influences the user both physically and psychologically.

Physical effects of PCP include the following:

·  Blurred vision

·  Increased heart rate

·  Numbness

·  Fever

·  Dizziness

·  Drooling

·  Slurred speech

·  Loss of muscle coordination and balance

·  Excessive sweating

·  Rapid, involuntary eye movements or a blank stare

·  Nausea or vomiting

Psychological effects of PCP include the following:

·      Anxiety

·      Euphoria (intense happiness)

·      Confusion

·      Amnesia (inability to remember things)

·      Dissociation (disconnection from reality)

·      Extremely clear sense of thinking—you feel like you are superhuman and are not afraid of anything

·      Change your perception of sight, sound and reality

·      Hallucinations (delusions, paranoia, trouble forming coherent thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and bizarre behavior).

PCP can be dangerous because it can cause a person to become violent.

It is usually illegally produced, so users may be unaware of the dose they are actually taking.

How has the media portrayed PCP?

The Drug Abuse Warning Network in the 1970s stated that media exposure of PCP is often exaggerated.

Scenes of PCP-induced violence are often unusual and limited to people with reputations of aggression even without drug use.

Big Lurch was a former rapper with a history of committing violent crimes. He was convicted of murdering his roommate while under the influence of PCP.

Is PCP an addictive substance?

Yes, PCP is extremely psychologically addictive.

When people become addicted to PCP, they cannot control their intake and need it to get through day-to-day activities.

If you are addicted to PCP and suddenly stop taking it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms from PCP include:

·      Anxiety (feelings of fear, unease, or worry)

·      Agitation, irritability, hallucinations, confusions, tense muscles

·      Muscle twitching or breakdown, weight loss, increased body temperature, or seizures

What is some other information I should know about PCP?

Long-term use of PCP can lead to dangerous and even fatal effects.

If PCP is mixed with alcohol or other sedatives, it can put the user in a coma, which is a life-threatening condition.

There is no approved pharmacological treatment for PCP addiction. People who are addicted usually get hospitalized and are treated for the behavioral effects of PCP.

 A 2019 study found that the rate of diagnosis from hallucinogen-induced psychosis to schizophrenia is 26%.

Drugs like cannabis can also induce psychosis, but the overall effects of cannabis on the body are significantly less dangerous than those of PCP.

PCP use is most common in the United States, and peaks in usage occurred in the 1970s and also between 2005 and 2011.

In 2017, it was reported that about 1% of twelfth graders used PCP in the prior year while 2.9% of adults over the age of 25 reported using it at some point in their life.

The number of high school students that admitted to trying PCP decreased from 13% in 1979 to 3% in 1990.

Overall, PCP use has declined in the last several decades.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about PCP:

1.    What is angel dust (PCP) made from?

PCP is made from 11 different chemicals and was originally manufactured in the 1950s as an anesthetic drug.

It was taken off the market in 1965 due to bad side effects

2.    How does PCP affect the body?

PCP is a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist, which means that it blocks the effects of glutamate in the brain, which is the brain’s major excitatory neurotransmitter.

PCP also interacts with other receptors in the brain including dopamine, opioid, and nicotinic receptors.

Because PCP has affinity for a wide range of receptors in the brain, it can exert a variety of psychological and physical effects.

PCP affects the body in many different ways and influences the user both physically and psychologically.

Physical effects of PCP include the following:

·  Blurred vision

·  Increased heart rate

·  Numbness

·  Fever

·  Dizziness

·  Drooling

·  Slurred speech

·  Loss of muscle coordination and balance

·  Excessive sweating

·  Rapid, involuntary eye movements or a blank stare

·  Nausea or vomiting

Psychological effects of PCP include the following:

·      Anxiety

·      Euphoria (intense happiness)

·      Confusion

·      Amnesia (inability to remember things)

·      Dissociation (disconnection from reality)

·      Extremely clear sense of thinking—you feel like you are superhuman and are not afraid of anything

·      Change your perception of sight, sound and reality

·      Hallucinations (delusions, paranoia, trouble forming coherent thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and bizarre behavior).

3.    Is PCP a stimulant or a depressant?

PCP is classified as a hallucinogen but also sometimes as a depressant, stimulant, or analgesic.

The appropriate categorization for PCP is a dissociative anesthetic because it causes detachment from reality.

4.    What is angel dust slang for?

PCP is also known as angel dust. It is an illegal psychedelic drug that causes hallucinations and feelings of detachment from oneself.

In this article, we discussed how PCP is used, the psychological and physical effects, and characteristics of addiction.

Want to learn more about PCP? Try these recommended readings!

PCP: Drug Abuse Briefs for Kids & Teens (Drug Addiction & Drug Prevention Book 28)

This book is ideal for students who are writing term papers and book reports, or just want to learn about PCP.

It answers the following questions in an easy-to-understand format:  

•What Is PCP?

•What Does PCP Look Like?

•How Does One Take PCP?

•Who Uses PCP?

•Is PCP Addicting?

•Is PCP A Dangerous Drug?

•Why Is The Purity Of PCP A Danger?

•What Is Behavioral Toxicity?

•What Are The Delusional And Anesthetic Effects Of Using PCP?

•What Are The Mental Effects Of Using PCP?

•What Are The Physical Effects Of Using PCP?

•Who Can Help PCP Abusers Quit?

Hallucinogens: The Truth About Hallucinogenic Plants: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, And PCP (Hallucinations, Hallucinogenic Herbs, Psychedelics)

In this book by Collin Wills, you will learn all about different hallucinogens and their history.

It details the positive and negative effects of using hallucinogens as well as the dangers involved.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook

This helpful workbook gives step-by-step techniques for calming the mind and body in this overstimulated world.

People who are dealing with drug withdrawal or addiction should incorporate stress reduction techniques to help them work through this difficult time.

It gives tips to help integrate healthy relaxation habits into everyday life no matter how busy you are.

This book also helps you explore what your stress triggers are how to create a personal action plan to manage them.  

The Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing

Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present Moment

As described above, journaling is a great way to give yourself a stress release. Whether you are dealing with drug addiction, mental health issues, heartbreak, a problem at work, or any other life stressor, this journal is for you.

This Mindfulness Journal can easily be added into your daily routine and can serve as an outlet for stress-reduction that will help you appreciate every single day and moment.

It includes 365 daily writing prompts divided into 52 weekly mindfulness topics.

The prompts are extremely unique, fun, and engaging, so you will never get bored while journaling.

Additionally, each prompt is on its own separate page so you will have more than enough room for reflection and to write down all of your thoughts, big or small.

Although it is suggested to journal once a day, you can spend as much or as little time as you want on each prompt.

Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research since the Decade of the Brain

This book examines the revival of psychedelic research in the 90s decades after the “generation of the hallucinogens”.

References

Substance use – phencyclidine (PCP). Medlineplus.gov. May 5th, 2018.

PCP (Phencyclidine). Drugs.com. 2020

Phencyclidine. Wikipedia. 2020

PCP (Phencyclidine). Drugfree.org. 2020  

PCP. Kidshealth.org. May 2018.

What to know about PCP Use. Very Well Mind. March 24th, 2020.

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