Numerous psychoactive products are sold in smart shops. They roughly fall into five categories: hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives, aphrodisiacs and health-promoting agents. Some products are combinations of these categories.
Hallucinogens are the best-known products available at smart shops. Some examples are salvia divinorum, truffles (similar to magic mushrooms) and LSA seeds. In the past (before 2007), magic mushrooms were also sold in smart shops in the Netherlands.
The sedatives include kratom, melatonin, blue lotus and skullcap.
Aphrodisiacs such as damiana and maca are readily available, and often different products that have similar effects to Viagra are sold as well.
Health-promoting products are typically vitamins, minerals and various other products such as l-tryptophan, 5-HTP and ginseng.
The quality of smart shops varies considerably. Some smart shops target tourists specifically, while others employ staff who really have a lot of knowledge about the products they carry. Preferably go to the latter and let the staff inform you.
The effect of a substance is determined by the properties of the substance itself, but also by the users’ set and setting.
Each product from the smartshop has its own effects; some will be mild, others can be very intense. Be well informed about the effects of the drug you are interested in before you buy it.
Due to the wide variety of products sold in a smart shop, there are also various ways to use them. You can eat some products (for example truffles), but others you have to make tea from (some aphrodisiacs). Many stimulants are sold in capsules or tablets (herbal ecstasy). There are also substances that can be snorted (such as kanna).
The dosage differs per drug and method of use. If you buy a product at a smartshop, be well informed about the dosage. You cannot have products from the smartshop tested at Dutch test centres.
Duration of the effects
The duration of the effects differ per product. So make sure you are well informed before you take something.
Products from smart shops also have risks. These differ per drug. For example, there is just as much chance of a bad trip with truffles as with LSD.
Most products from the smartshop aren’t addictive, but there are exceptions. Kratom, for example, is addictive both physically and mentally.
So be well informed by the smartshop about the product you are interested in.
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.
The effects and risks of combining vary enormously per drug. Therefore, be well informed by the store. It is especially important to pay close attention to the following drugs if you plan to combine:
- MAO inhibitors such as blue lotus, Banisteriopsis caapi, Peganum harmala, Passionflower
- St John’s wort
There is no real safe use. With these Unity tips you can limit the risks as much as possible:
- Go to a good smart shop and get elaborate information. If an employee cannot tell you much about a product, go to another smartshop.
- Use sparingly.
- Start with a small dose to see how you react to a drug.
- Prepare yourself well; use in a trusted environment with familiar people. Most people don’t like tripping at a crowded party! If you take a hallucinogen for the first time, do it in outside or at home, not at a party.
- Make sure there is someone nearby who is not intoxicated.
- Use only when you are in good physical and mental condition.
- Make sure you have the day off afterwards to process the experience.
- Do not participate in traffic if you are tripping or still drowsy and unfocused.
- Do you feel, or does one of your friends, feel unwell? Keep an eye on each other, take care of each other and visit the emergency room (if there is one).
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.
Unity tips for using stimulants
- Do not combine high stimulant doses with other stimulants
- Do not use stimulants if you suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, epilepsy or psychological afflictions. Also, do not use stimulants if you are pregnant, or in combination with medications (especially MAO inhibitors and asthma medication).
- Make sure you don’t get too warm while using stimulants: rest every now and then, don’t wear (too) warm clothes or headgear and drink water/soft drinks occasionally.
- Get enough rest before using stimulants. If you are very tired or suffer from insomnia, do not use stimulants!
- Moderate use is key. Keep track of how much you take.
- Drink enough to keep yourself hydrated, but no more than 2 glasses of water per hour. Exceeding this increases the risk of water intoxication.
- Stimulants can give you a dry mouth, which, combined with teeth grinding, increases the risk of damage to your teeth. It is important to stimulate your saliva production. You can do this by chewing sugar-free gum. Saliva substitutes or artificial saliva (such as Saliva Orthana, Xialine and Oral Balance) can also be used and can be purchased without a prescription.
Unity tips for using sedatives
- Do not use sedatives (downers) in combination with other sedatives (alcohol, GHB, sleeping pills, opiates) or ketamine. This is dangerous because you can fall unconscious and suffocate on your vomit.
- Write down the time of intake and your dose, text the dose and time to each other or put it in your phone to keep track of it yourself.
- If you feel that you are getting falling asleep, you can try to keep moving to avoid falling asleep. But beware; if moving takes a lot of effort, there is a chance that you may fall or trip, so be careful.
- An overdose is more likely on an empty stomach, a full stomach increases the chance of vomiting.
- Less is more; taking a small, extra dose later because you did not feel anything after your first dose is better than taking too much and having an overdose.
- Ensure that the people around you are aware of what you are going to use and have been using.
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.
What is the history of smartshops?
Smartshops have a fairly short history. The first smart shop was opened in Amsterdam in 1994. The idea was to mainly sell products that made your brain work better, that made you smarter (smarter). It soon became clear that other products sold better, such as the magic mushrooms and truffles. The range of smartshops has expanded considerably since the 1990s. Many more smartshops have also been added and it has become a world-famous phenomenon.
In contrast to most dealers, the better smartshops also give you a good explanation about the product you are interested in.
What if I have medical complaints after the use of partydrugs?
Some complaints after using drugs can last longer, A medical explanation or even treatment may then be necessary. The Brijder has set up a national consultancy for party drugs related medical complaints. If you have medical complaints after the use of party drugs, you can call the consultancy: 088 – 358 29 40. This service is only available in the Netherlands.
Someone close to me uses this substance almost every weekend. Should I worry?
When someone close to you uses a substance often it is normal to worry. There are risks: to physical health; that he/she will gradually use more and more and become dependent. When only using it on weekends, there is the possibility that he/she is able anymore to go out without using. It can then be useful to have a conversation with each other in an open, non-judgmental way. Mention the impact the use has on you as a person, for example that you are worried. If you would like tips or advice for this, please contact the addiction care institution in your region.
I am planning to combine smartshopproducts with other drugs. What are the consequences?
Combining different drugs is extra risky and unpredictable. If you combine, you are more likely to have problems with your health.
The products from the smartshop differ enormously in their effect and risks. It is therefore difficult to say what the consequences will be. Some products give you energy, others make you relax and still others make you trip. So be well informed in the store.
Some products from the smart shop contain MAO inhibitors. These can be very dangerous when combined with other agents or medications.
What about the law and smartshop products?
The products sold in a smartshop must comply with a number of laws. They may not appear on list I or II of the Opium Act, such as XTC, speed and cannabis. Magic mushrooms may no longer be sold in smartshops since 2007. A smartshop is also not allowed to sell medicines. The products must also comply with the Commodities Act. They must therefore meet the same requirements as the products in the supermarket.
Many clubs and festivals do not allow smart drugs to be taken. This may be because it is impossible for them to check whether it is a legal or illegal product. This is often difficult to see from the product itself (powder, capsules, tablets, etc).
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