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by Erowid
Datura leaves, seeds, flowers, and roots contain psychoactive chemicals (scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine) that not only cause delirium, extreme disorientation, and realistic hallucinations but also potentially dangerous anticholinergic physical effects. Datura ingestion has caused numerous hospitalizations and deaths around the world.

Physical symptoms of datura intoxication include: blurred vision, pupil dilation, skin flushing, fever, severe dry mouth, dry mucous membranes (in some cases leading to nose bleeds), decreased bowel movement, reduced urination, hyperthermia, hypertension, and tachycardia. The combination of delirium and dangerous overheating and cardiovascular stimulation can result in patients who are in physical danger but who are unaware of the symptoms they are experiencing and unable to seek help.

An older mnemonic for anticholinergic toxicity taught in medical schools was "Blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, red as a beet, hot as hell (or 'hot as a hare'), dry as a bone, the bowel and bladder lose their tone, and the heart runs alone."

Many users report periods of several hours in which they have no memory of what they were doing. Behavior is often irrational and accidental injury is a serious risk.

Deaths following datura use are sometimes the result of accidental injury from delirious intoxication and in other cases are a direct result of the anticholinergic physical effects of the drugs in the plant.
  • Dramatic Changes in Thinking. Changes to thought processes, while among the primary reasons why people choose to use datura, can also significantly impair judgement. A sober sitter who assumes responsibility for the welfare of a person under the influence can reduce the chances of problems caused by impaired judgement.
  • Hyperthermia/Overheating. Hyperthermia is a common problem with high-dose datura. Dangerous overheating combined with lack of awareness of one's physical state can lead to possibly life-threatening emergencies.
  • No Potential for Physical Dependence (Addiction). Physical dependence is unknown with datura use. Very few people enjoy the effects enough to repeat the experience frequently.
  • Medical Uses. Although datura plant materials have no approved medical uses, the component substances have a variety of medical uses including drying mucous membranes, protection against nerve gas, slowing bowel movements, reducing bladder spasms, reducing motion sickness, pupil dilation and slowing down of pupil reaction, among others.

Revision History #
  • v1.0 - Jun 15, 2003 - Erowid - Brief note about dangers of datura.
  • v1.1 - Sep 10, 2011 - Erowid - Expanded to include description of risks, deaths, cautions, and medical uses.