Drug library

Cannabis

Hash or weed (a.k.a. marihuana) come from the hemp plant (cannabis sativa). The active substance is tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC). Marihuana is usually smoked, but can also be eaten, for example in spacecake.

Marihuana makes you high or stoned. Smoking it works after just a few minutes and maintains its effect 2 to 4 hours. If you eat it, it takes effect after 1 to 2 hours and holds 4 to 6 hours.

Most prevalent side effects are red eyes, a dry mouth, dizziness and palpitations. You can get sick or get a headache. If it hits you the wrong way, you could feel sick or anxious.

Ecstacy (XTC)

XTC exists in (colored) pills, powders or capsules. It is mostly taken orally, but can also be sniffed after being crushed. The active substance is MDMA.

XTC stimulates the senses. You feel more energised and awake. Your experiences change. For example, you hear music differently and you want to cuddle more. XTC starts working after 20-60 minutes and remains active 4 to 6 hours.

Acute health issues caused by XTC-use are rare, although they can be serious, like overheating and water intoxication. In the long term, its use can reduce your memory capability. The more often and the higher dose you take, the more risk you take as well.

Speed

The active substance in speed is amphetamine. This is the chemical variant of ephedrine (of the ephedra plant). Speed is most common as a powder and is often cut up with caffeine.

Speed has a long-lasting stimulating effect on mind and body. When taken orally, it takes effect after 15 to 30 minutes. When sniffed, it works after a few minutes. It remains effective for 4 to 8 hours.

Speed raises the body temperature and takes a toll on your cardiovascular system, which can cause overheating. Afterwards, you can feel empty and drained.

GHB

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyric acid) used to be a drug to induce narcosis for medical operations. It takes the form of syrupy, salty liquid, and is often dosed in a plastic tube of 5 ml.

GHB is an anesthetic. It relaxes and makes you cheerful. Fears and restraints are reduced, and you can get talkative. It is also known to increase libido. GHB takes effect 5 to 30 minutes after ingestion and remains active for around 3 hours. Its effects differ greatly between each person.Dosing accurately is incredibly important with GBH as the difference between a dose that will produce a pleasant experience and an overdose can be tiny. GHB might cause you to lose consciousness. Chronically and intensive use of large amounts can lead to dependence.

Cocaine

Cocaine, or ‘coke’, is an odourless crystalline white powder. It is made from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine is mostly sniffed, but can also be smoked or injected.

Cocaine, when sniffed, ensures a higher distribution of noradrenaline and dopamine in the brain. You feel energized, cheerful, carefree and confident. You are active, alert and talkative. It can give you a feeling of bliss. The effects start after a few minutes and continue for around half an hour.

Side effects include inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, fatigue, depression, narrowing of veins and dependence.

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly used recreational drug in the world. It’s  the active substance in drinks like beer, wine and liquor. It is a product of, for example,  the fermentation of barley (beer) or grapes (wine). There is a difference between weak alcoholic beverages (beer, wine) and strong liquor like wodka, gin or liqueurs.

For most people, alcohol makes them feel relaxed and puts them in  a good mood. Alcohol suppresses fatigue, making you feel more energised.  You can be cheerful, carefree and confident. In higher dosages alcohol works like an anaesthetic.

By drinking too much alcohol, you get a hangover. You feel nauseous, feeble, tired and you get a headache. By reducing your restraints alcohol can cause aggressive behavior or other behavior that you might regret later. It can also causeblack-outs.

Nitrous Oxide

Laughing gas is a colorless, sweet-smelling and sweet-tasting gas. The active substance is nitrous oxide (N2O). It  is available in cartridges (used in whipped cream chargers ) or at parties it might come in in big cylinders. Effects are felt after breathing in and out of balloons that are filled with it.

Inhaling laughing gas gives you a strong, sudden high. It can make you experience your surroundings differently. It can make you get giggly, hence the name ‘laughing gas’. The effect is quick and holds for a few minutes.

Laughing gas can make you nauseous and dizzy. It can give you a headache and you could even pass out. Combining it with (large) quantities of alcohol is dangerous, because it hampers your breathing. When taken chronically, you get a shortage of vitamin B12.

2C-B

2C-B is a hallucinogenic drug which stimulates your senses. It’s available as powder, pills or capsules and is almost always taken orally due to how painful and intense it is to snort.

When taken orally, 2C-B takes effect within an hour. Its effects hold for 4 to 6 hours and decrease gradually. The dosage determines the strength of the trip.

2C-B can make you feel uncomfortable and cause nausea. There is always the risk of a ‘bad trip’. Tripping can be a wonderful experience, but it can also cause fear, anxiety or panic.

Ketamine

Ketamine is a medical drug that is used as an anaesthetic or to induce narcosis. As a recreational drug, it is a dissociative tripping drug. Ketamine is usually snorted but is also occasionally injected. It is generally sold as a fine white powder or in small glass-like shards.

If you sniff ketamine, the effects take hold after 5 to 15 minutes and continue for around an hour. At low dosage, ketamine has a mild, dreamy, alcohol-like effect. At high doses the dissociative effects are stronger.

Ketamine can cause fear, confusion or disorientation. Ketamine tolerance builds up fast, and you can easily get dependent on it. Because ketamine is an anaesthetic and it doesn’t let you feel pain,  it is possible to take physical damage and wait too long to get help. Combining ketamine with alcohol or GHB can make you lose  your consciousness.

Psilocybin Mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms, or ‘shrooms’, are mushrooms with a conscious-altering or hallucinating effect. Some truffles have the same effect. Shrooms are illegal, but truffles and cultivation sets with traces of shrooms are legal. The active substances are psilocybin and psilocin.

The active substance is absorbed in your blood and transported to your brain. Its effects start after 30 minutes to 1 hour. In most cases, the high maintains its effect for 3 to 4 hours, though it might take longer when a higher dose is taken .

Shrooms can have a nauseous effect or give you a headache. When you are experiencing  a ‘bad trip’, you might get fearful.

4-FA

4-FA, or 4-fluoroamphetamine, is a psycho-active substance that is mostly  available as a pill or a powder, either packed in a rolling paper or capsule or mixed in a drink.

The effect of 4-FA is somewhere between speed and MDMA. When taken it provides  a warm feeling similar to XTC, but it is less estranging and more stimulating. 4-FA takes effect about an hour after ingestion and takes 5 to 6 hours.

Little is known about the short- and long-term risks of this drug. You can get a (light) headache and (light) increase of blood pressure. However, the symptoms can worsen quickly and result in a stroke.

3-MMC

3-MMC (3-methylmethcathinone) is a fairly new substance that has become increasingly well known in recent years. The substance is closely related to mephedrone (4-MMC) and is a new psychoactive substance (NPS).

3-MMC has a stimulating effect,and slightly consciousness altering abilities. Users experience an effect that’s best described as being in between XTC and cocaine. Users feel alert, happy and do not feel fatigued. They often have a need for mental and physical contact, and also experience more self-confidence.

Because little research has been done regarding 3-MMC, little is known about its specific risks. They are probably comparable to those of amphetamines (speed), such as increased body temperature, fear / paranoia, restlessness and palpitations. It can also cause a severe hangover afterwards.

Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a tea from the Amazon region that consists of at least two components: the leaves of a plant that contains DMT, and parts of a vine that contains MAO inhibitors. The tea makes you hallucinate considerably and can lead to a strong physical reaction,leading to heavy visual effects. Blood pressure and heart rate may rise, and thoughts and emotions are experienced differently. Ayahuasca can even bring back old memories. Some people experience contact with other beings, the ability to communicate with nature, out-of-body experiences and feelings of what it is like to be dead. Some people describe the experience as therapeutic or spiritual, though others might find it scary and confusing.

Traditionally, Ayahuasca ceremonies are led by a shaman; an experienced healer who devotes their entire life to the craft. Such professional guidance is strongly recommended.

Using Ayahuasca can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Ayahuasca can be detrimental to people with psychiatric problems and trauma. Psychosis can manifest itself and psychological issues can worsen. Combined with medication for psychiatric complaints, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, it can cause serious health risks.  combining it with drugs, and especially MDMA (XTC), can lead to serotonin syndrome. It’s recommended to avoid certain foods and alcohol in advance and after use.

Nicotine

Nicotine is the substance found in the tobacco plant (Nicotiana Tabacu). After ingestion Nicotine acts on the nervous system and provides the addictive effect of tobacco. In addition, all kinds of substances are added during the production of cigarettes to ensure that nicotine is administered as efficiently as possible during smoking and that the chance of addiction is increased. Certain substances are also added to improve the taste.

Seven seconds after inhaling, nicotine reaches the brain and the effects become noticeable. These effects last for 20 minutes. After 8 hours, half of the nicotine will be out of the system. Nicotine stimulates and increases concentration.Regular smokers can experience a calming effect (i) due to a previous drop in the nicotine level.

Nicotine increases the heart rate and the blood pressure, and can cause narrowing of and damage to the blood vessels.

LSD

LSD is a tripping agent that usually comes absorbed onto a small square of paper and is sometimes available as a clear, tasteless liquid. The effects of LSD generally take around 30-90 minutes to kick in and will last 10-14 hours. The strongest peaks occur between the 2nd and 6th hour.

LSD leads to a change in sensory perception: objects seem to mov,colors appear more bright and sounds are experienced more intensely. In addition, it can change your mood and lead to new associative thought processes. Unusual connections are made, which can lead to surprising insights, but als to almost psychotic ideas. Whilst on LSD people  often feel connected to nature, and can lose track of time.

The effect of LSD is related to your physical condition. Mood and environment play an important part in this. In particular, inexperienced users  can feel  anxious and suspicious. They may also feel a sense of grandeur. A small proportion of users may experience prolonged confusion or hallucinations after a trip, which may lead to psychosis.

Poppers / nitrates

Poppers are inhaled and enter the bloodstream through the lungs. Poppers have a relaxing effect on the (smooth) muscles and vessel walls. The vessel walls dilate, resulting  in sharp drop of the blood pressure drops . This makes you feel faint and dizzy, and there is a chance that you might pass out. 30 seconds after ingestion, the blood pressure is at its lowest, and after a minute and a half it is back to normal.

Due to the drop in blood pressure the heart starts beating quickly, leading a lot of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This will give you a warm, glowing feeling in the head. You’ll feel good for a while, but negative effects  can also appear such as (throbbing) headaches and dizziness.

Methamfetamine

Methamphetamine can come as a pill, powder or crystal. Methamphetamine is a form of amphetamine / speed and the effects are therefore very similar. The main differences between methamphetamine and amphetamine arise because methamphetamine crosses the blood-brain barrier easier. This makes methamphetamine stronger than amphetamine. It is also released more slowly, which means it’s effects can last 6 to 12 hours.

Methamphetamine increases blood pressure and can lead to overheating, and it can lead to permanent brain damage. You can also become addicted to both substances.

Heroin

Heroin is an opiate, an opium product. Opiates are found in the poppy plant, the Papaver Somniferum. Crude opium is converted into heroin through a chemical process. Heroin is a granular powder. In the Netherlands mostly the brown variety is available. When inhaling vapors, the heroin ends up directly in your lungs and goes through your bloodstream directly into your brain. This takes 7 to 10 seconds. Spraying takes 15 to 30. The effects last for 4 to 6 hours.

Heroin gives a euphoric effect in the beginning, but eventually the anesthetic and analgesic effect predominates. Excessive use increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, lung problems and cancer. In addition, the risk of infections and contamination is high. Too high a dose can numb your respiratory center to such an extent that you will stop breathing, become unconscious and die.

Sleeping pills and sedatives

Sleeping pills and sedatives belong to a group of medicines that are used to combat sleeping problems, anxiety or tension. Sleeping pills and sedatives differ in the speed at which they are absorbed into the body and in the duration of the effect. Sleeping pills usually have a short effect, sedatives take longer.

Sleeping pills and sedatives have an anesthetic effect on brain activity and the central nervous system. After ingestion you become calm, calm, relaxed and sleepy. It reduce anxiety and tension. Your muscles relax. Your concentration decreases and memory loss may occur.

With regular use of sedatives, one will suffer from side effects such as: sleepiness, drowsiness, fatigue, lack of concentration, weak muscles, weight gain, double vision and a hungover feeling when waking up. Accidents can occur in traffic and when operating machines. In combination with alcohol, these risks increase sharply. You can become mentally and physically dependent on sleeping pills and sedatives. Withdrawal symptoms can also occur.

Methylon

Methylon (also called Methylone) is an NPS, which stands for New Psychoactive Substance. Chemically, Methylon belongs to the Cathinones, just like 3-MMC. Another name for Methylon is BK-MDMA. It’s also known as M1 or MDMC. Methylon was sold for a while in smart shops under the name Explosion.

The effects of Methylon are similar to those of MDMA / XTC. Methylon has a stimulating effect and gives euphoria. You have a greater need to talk, you experience music more intensely and you become more empathetic and social. The main physical effects are: increased energy, larger pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased body temperature, difficulty urinating and stiff jaws.

The side effects and risks of Methylon are comparable to those of MDMA. The difference is that with MDMA a lot of research has already been done, much less so on Methylon. It may therefore be that not all (long-term) risks are known.

Methylphenidate

Ritalin is the brand name of a drug that is prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy (lethargy). The active substance in Ritalin is methylphenidate. This is a substance closely related to amphetamine. The effect of Ritalin is comparable to amphetamine, but is much less powerful. The effects also don’t last as long.

Ritalin releases dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. The drug also blocks the reabsorption of these substances. It is used as a drug without a prescription from a doctor. Effects are an increase in heart rate and a lack of fatigue. In higher doses, the effects resemble amphetamine.

With chronic use, habituation or psychological dependence can occur. There is a risk of overdose without medical supervision. Overdose may have unpleasant consequences, including vomiting, muscle twitching, convulsions (possibly followed by coma), euphoria, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, headache, overheating, cardiac arrhythmias, increased blood pressure, etc.

4-MTA

4-MTA (4-methylthioamphetamine) was developed in the United States in 1969 as an antidepressant. In the Netherlands it has been sold in smart shops for a short time. It is chemically related to amphetamine. However, the effects are described more akin to ecstasy. 4-MTA improves mood and prevents you from getting sleepy. Users feel peaceful and calm.

Probably the same applies to 4-MTA as to ecstasy: it is not so much physical but can be mentally addictive. Users may also feel nauseous, confused, or overheat. It probably also affects perception and coordination, making participation in traffic risky. It only starts to work after one and a half to three hours. When the user does not know this it can become risky: when a user does not feel anything, he or she tends to take extra, which can lead to overdose. The effects can last for up to 15 hours.

Mescaline

Mescaline is a hallucinogen and is a natural tripping agent. The effects of Mescaline are comparable to LSD. Hallucinogens change your perspective: you see, hear and / or feel things differently than they really are. Mescaline starts to work after about 60 minutes.

The first hour to an hour and a half is usually quite tedious. You are nauseous, you might vomit and / or get a headache. The hallucinogenic peak effects last for 2 to 4 hours. Colors become more intense, you see constantly changing, colorful patterns and all kinds of geometric figures. Sometimes objects get bigger, then smaller again. Thinking and judgment skills decrease. The user is reasonably sober again 8 to 12 hours after intake.

Just like other tripping agents, there are also risks with regards to Mescaline. The risks arise especially when you use it when you’re not feeling well, are in a bad condition or are in the wrong environment. Or when taking too much. The trip can then go wrong: you can then become anxious, confused or suspicious. The hallucinatory effects can also be so strong that you risk losing the distinction between trip and reality.

People who have a psychotic predisposition, are unstable, depressed or anxious should not use tripping agents. Their use strengthens moods, which can make them even more anxious or depressed.

DMT

DMT is naturally produced by a wide variety of organisms, including humans. DMT – in the form of Ayahuasca, for example – has been used for thousands of years by Native American tribes in South America. Eventhough it is available in nature, DMT is generally synthetic.

N-N-dimethyltryptamine / DMT has psychoactive properties and can be smoked, injected or administered orally (combined with substances that allow oral absorption). If you smoke it, DMT leads to a strong but short trip. The effects start almost immediately after inhalation and last for 5-10 minutes. So it comes on quickly and doesn’t last very long. Because you are back to normal after 30 minutes, it is sometimes referred to as “the businessman’s lunch trip”.

The user undergoes a changed in visual perception, hallucinations, euphoria and a change in thought flow and perception of time. DMT can cause dizziness, nausea, and increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

5-MeO-DMT

Chemically closely related to DMT, 5-MeO-DMT (5-Methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) is also seen as its somewhat “more serious” cousin. It has probably been used as an entheogenic drug by South American shamans for thousands of years. Yopo is an example of a plant that contains this substance. Within shamanic traditions, Yopo is used ceremonially, with participants undergoing a strong psychedelic experience. Certain toads also contain 5-Meo-DMT in the mucus on their skin.

5-MeO-DMT is active in lower doses than DMT and is known for its more intense effect. Like DMT, it has psychoactive properties. The 5-MeO-DMT experience lasts slightly longer than DMT, about twice as long. When 5-MeO-DMT is smoked, the user can undergo an experience in which the ego seems to dissolve and one feels at one with the environment. It is less colorful and visually stimulating, and is more geared towards an emotionally intense experience. Users indicate that they feel like they are in a different dimension. On the other hand: users also report near-death experiences, or experiencing strong (emotional) discomfort due to its overwhelming effect.

5-MeO-DMT is generally considered to be about five times as strong as “normal” DMT, and is considered one of the most powerful entheogenic agents in the world by experts. Therefore, if in doubt, always consult your doctor and avoid this drug if you have psychological issues or suffer from psychoses.

Mephedrone

Mephedrone (4-Methylmethcathinone, also known as 4 MMC, Meow Meow, Meow Meow, Mcat, and Bubble) is available in a crystal, powder, and/or pill. It is an amphetamine-related substance, similar to MDMA and speed. Mephedrone is mainly taken orally, sniffing is not recommended as it damages the mucous membranes. After oral intake it starts to work within 15 to 45 minutes. The duration is 1.5 to 3 hours. When sniffing it works after a few minutes and the duration is 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.

The effects of Mephedrone have been described as a cross between cocaine and 4-FMP or MDMA. Users experience more energy, feelings of euphoria, a slight change in consciousness, the need to chat and an extra appreciation for music. Some users feel the need to connect whilst others indicate that they experience this less than for example with MDMA.

Researchers expect that the health risks are in part comparable to those of XTC and speed, but since it’s a relatively new substance the long and short term health risks are not yet well researched or known. It can cause nausea, palpitations, restlessness, high blood pressure, nosebleeds (when ingested nasally), hallucinations, paranoid thoughts, jaw tension, restlessness and cold or blue fingers. You build up tolerance fairly quickly, so many users describe feeling a strong desire for more, especially when taken nasally.

TMAS

TMAs (trimethoxyamphetamines) are a family of psychedelic hallucinogenic drugs. They come in six different TMAs: TMA, TMA-2, TMA-3, TMA-4, TMA-5, and TMA-6. These amphetamines are structurally related to mescaline. Members in this family have been observed to produce a complex mixture of hallucinogenic, stimulant, psychedelic and entactogenic effects.

TMAs are known for their lack of classic psychedelic visual effects, instead of that they mostly create a stimulating body-high and altered headspace that ranges from euphoric to dysphoric experiences. Anecdotal reports suggest that the TMA’s are highly unpredictable and dose-sensitive substances that can produce uncomfortable amounts of body load, nausea, overstimulation, and inconsistencies between experiences.

Nowadays, TMA-2 is the most well-known of these six research chemicals. TMA-1 and TMA-6 are also somewhat in usage. Since they are an hallucinogenic drug, they have consequently been placed onto the illegal drug list in some countries, the Netherlands being one of them.