Atropine has perception altering effects. Because of the many unpleasant side effects and risks there is no recreational use. Atropine blocks the action of the substance acetylcholine (a messenger substance between cells) throughout the body. This reduces saliva and sweat production. And the gastrointestinal tract becomes less active. The pupils enlarge. As a result, you no longer see depth. Blood pressure and heart rate increase. You also see restlessness, aggressive behavior, panic and confusion. Finally, depending on the dose, perceptual changes and real hallucinations can occur.
Atropine usually starts working after 15-30 minutes. It has a half-life of 2 to 4 hours. This means that after that period half of the substance has disappeared from the blood.
Ophthalmologists use atropine to make a diagnosis. Because atropine makes the pupils larger, an ophthalmologist can see the retina better.
It is also given as medication before an anaesthetic. The goal is then to reduce the patient’s saliva production. It can also be used for a very low heart rate in the acute phase of a heart attack. Finally, it is used as an antidote for certain poisonings, for example with insecticides and war gases.
In the past, atropine-containing plants (such as Atropa belladonna) were already used for their medicinal effect, later also as poison and even as sacrament in certain occult rituals.
Atropine is not consciously used as a recreational drug because it hardly has any desirable effects. So we have no information on the recommended dose.
People with cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal diseases are not advised to use atropine (and other products from datura and other atropine-containing plants). In rare cases, there has been a fatal outcome due to respiratory or cardiac arrhythmias.
Atropine in combination with cocaine
In 2007, cocaine samples containing atropine were found for the first time in the Netherlands, but also in the rest of Europe. It has not been seen for a while since then. In January 2018, it was found again in North Brabant and the Rotterdam region. This time in cocaine and ketamine samples.
With cocaine, atropine becomes even more dangerous. Blood pressure and heart rate are then increased even more (source: pharmacology volume 248, issue 1 pp 57-61). Also, both substances can raise the body temperature.
At very small doses, unpleasant effects are already experienced.
In children, 1.6 milligrams has been shown to be fatal. Orally (taken by mouth) serious side effects can already occur at 5 milligrams and at 10 mg coma (source: pharmacist from the Jellinek).
When eating plants or berries that contain belladonna alkaloids, you will see the following effects:
More than 0.5 milligrams of belladonna alkaloid:
- dry mouth
- reduced sweat production
More than 1 milligram:
- dilated pupils
- acceleration of the heart rate
More than 5 milligrams:
- dry/warm skin
- difficulty urinating
- fast/weak pulse
- excitement, hallucinations, fever
More than 10 milligrams:
- serious respiratory and heart rhythm disorders (source: RIVM)
The Handbook of Acute Poisons lists the following symptoms: pupil dilation, dry mucous membranes and skin, fever, rapid heart rate, headache, confusion, agitation and hallucinations. In severe poisonings, coma, breathing problems, seizures, high blood pressure and later also low blood pressure can occur.
Source: Treatment of acute poisonings, practical guidelines
Combining different types of drugs can be risky and unpredictable. When you combine drugs you can have a higher risk of health problems. In the following paragraphs you can read about the effects and the risks of a number of combinations that occur frequently and also a about few that are extra hazardous. Also check our theme combining drugs.
All psychedelics can be risky because of the chance of amplifying psychological problems. Especially with atropine there are many unpleasant side effects and few desirable effects. We strongly advise against the non-medical use of atropine.
Although atropine has trip-like effects, it is a drug that has extremely few positive trip reports. If you would like to experiment with psychedelics, we strongly advise against using atropine. It is really wiser to look for another, less dangerous drug.
Unity tips for using psychedelics
- When taking a psychedelic for the first time, try to have your experience in nature or at home
- Do you want to trip at a party or festival? Adjust your dose to be smaller than what you are used to.
- Prevent nausea by eating something easily digestible at least 2 hours before taking your drugs
- Make sure to always have a sober person (a trip sitter) around when tripping.
- Pay close attention to the effects you experience: if you feel that they are too strong or unpleasant, ingesting vitamin C, dextrose or sweet drinks may help to alleviate this.
- Do not fight any unpleasant feelings during the trip, but let yourself float on the flow of the trip
- Do not combine psychedelics with other drugs (including alcohol) and medications. Cannabis in particular can greatly intensify and prolong the effect of psychedelics.
- Make sure you are free from responsibilities the day after using, take some time to process the experience
- Do not use psychedelics if you suffer from epilepsy or have a cardiovascular disease.
Unity tips for using drugs
- When using a drug for the first time, take only a small dose to see how your body reacts to the substance
- Only use drugs when you are feeling well
- Use drugs recreationally, not to combat psychological issues like fatigue
- Avoid using drugs if you have (had) psychological afflictions or if you have a family history of psychological diseases (such as depression) in your family
- Test your drugs before use at a drugs-testing service
- Make sure to prepare a good set and setting for drug use
- Only use drugs sparingly. Keep track of your use over time.
- Decide in advance how much you are planning to use over the evening, and stick to that.
- Do not combine drugs with other substances or medicines
- Do not participate in traffic after drug use
- Prevent infectious diseases; Use your own snorter/sniffer and do not share paraphernalia with others
- After insufflating, rinse your nose well with lukewarm saline water (for example, by using a nasal spray or nasal douche)
- Are you, or one of your friends not feeling well? Keep an eye out for one another, take care of each other and visit the first aid (if one is available)
- Call 112 in a life-threatening situation
- Eat healthy before and after drug use. In particular, foods with lots of antioxidants and vitamins (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, raisins, oranges, kiwi, broccoli). This is perhaps the most important tip! It can be difficult to eat during and after drug use, but make sure to try to eat something anyway. Eating well is a great way to reduce the hangover! If you can’t hold in solid foods, try juices, breakfast drinks, and smoothies.
Read more on atropine on Wikipedia.