Author: John Carter

PCP Phencyclidine: Facts, effects and health risks

effects of pcp

This means you’ll need to use higher doses to get the same level of high. People often dissolve the powder or liquid in alcohol or water. Poor judgment and reasoning skills, psychosis, paranoia, and self-injurious or violent action may occur in those already prone to these behaviors. The person may develop a type of psychosis similar to that seen in schizophrenia.

effects of pcp

The effects of PCP vary, depending upon the amount of active drug taken and how it is taken. However, because the drug is made illegally in uncontrolled conditions, there is no way of knowing how much is being taken, or what the effect will be. It also inhibits the action of glutamate by blocking NMDA receptors, which are responsible for pain sensation, emotions, learning, and memory functions. PCP affects multiple neurotransmitter systems in the brain. It inhibits the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Treatment with a drug rehabilitation center or addiction professional is recommended. The first step toward withdrawing from PCP is to seek supportive therapy. The effects can be hard to predict, because production and sale are illegal and therefore not controlled. Severe PCP poisoning can also occur if an individual, when attempting to conceal the drug from authorities, mistakenly ingests large amounts due to body stuffing or packing.

Ingesting PCP with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as alcohol or prescription tranquilizers, can lead to coma. An individual may use PCP because it produces euphoria, psychedelic effects, and a sense of calm. However, they may experience effects that they do not want. If you do decide to use PCP, there are several steps you can take to keep yourself safe. There are also many options available for support if you are concerned about your substance use. The reason for the time difference is how fast the substance enters your bloodstream.


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. PCP is a synthetic drug made from a combination of chemicals, including potassium cyanide, bromobenzene, ether, and hydrochloric acid. Outpatient therapy may also be an option for those who require more flexibility. These programs involve participating in individual or group therapy sessions during the day and returning home after each session. Taking PCP (even in low doses) can take a toll on your memory.

  1. Experts have found that programs like cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy can be effective for substance addiction.
  2. PCP is well known for its primary action on the NMDA receptor, an ionotropic glutamate receptor.[47][44] As such, PCP is a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist.
  3. Users often refer to the experiences from hallucinogens as a “trip”, or calling an unpleasant experience a “bad trip.”
  4. You have plenty of options for support, which we’ll get to later.
  5. When you take a higher dose, it might cause you to have strange behaviors and postures, such as spasms that cause you to arch your back, head, and neck.

Psychological effects at high doses include delusions and hallucinations. Users often refer to the experiences from hallucinogens as a “trip”, or calling an unpleasant experience a “bad trip.” Phencyclidine (PCP) is a mind-altering drug that may lead to hallucinations (a profound distortion in a person’s perception of reality). It is considered a dissociative drug, leading to a distortion of sights, colors, sounds, self, and one’s environment. PCP was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic, but due to the serious neurotoxic side effects, its development for human medical use was discontinued. Ketamine (Ketalar), an anesthetic used for surgery and painful procedures was developed instead and is structurally similar to PCP.

It belongs to a class of drugs called hallucinogens that can cause such mind-altering effects as confusion, mood changes, and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. At high doses, it can cause a range of serious health issues like seizures, a coma, and possibly death. All studies of Olney’s lesions have only been performed on non-human animals and may not apply to humans. Besides angel dust, other commonly used street names for the drug include ozone, rocket fuel, amp, animal tranquilizer, hog, shermans, wack, crystal, and embalming fluid. If it’s mixed with cannabis, you might hear it called killer joints, fry, lovelies, wets, or waters.

Is there a risk of addiction?

This means it acts on your brain (central nervous system) and changes your mood, behavior, and the way you relate to the world around you. Scientists think it blocks the normal actions of certain brain chemicals. If the effects don’t wear off, it’s important to get medical help right away. But it’s also sold as tablets or capsules that you can swallow. In some cases, people mix it with tobacco, various cannabis products, or even mint and oregano. People most often take this drug to chase the high that can make you feel detached from your body.

effects of pcp

They can help you stick to your goals, avoid triggers, and keep you accountable during recovery. Currently, there’s no medication available to reduce or block PCP’s effects on your body and overall health. If you take more than 20 milligrams at once, it can cause you to overdose and could lead to serious problems like seizures, a coma, or even death. The behavior of a person using PCP can be dangerous to themselves and to others. It is important for the person to seek help, or for their loved ones to intervene, if possible. Toxic psychosis can also develop, causing hostility, paranoia, and delusions in users.

Anyone seeking recovery from PCP use will need medical supervision and possibly hospitalization. It is now a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S., because it carries a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. A person may be imprisoned for making, distributing, possessing, and using it.

Toxic psychosis

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts while using PCP, call or text 988 (the national suicide hotline). You can also join a virtual or in-person support group and connect and share with others who’ve been through a similar experience. It’s good to reach out to a support group of close family and friends, if you can.

What Is PCP?

Though it’s no longer approved for use in humans, it’s still sometimes used as a tranquilizer for animals. Angel dust was originally developed in 1926 and introduced as a general anesthetic in the 1950s. However, it was discontinued in 1967 and limited to veterinary use due to its adverse side effects. PCP is a drug that can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, which often increase in intensity with higher dosages.

What Are the Side Effects of PCP?

Smoking is the most common route when used recreationally. The liquid form of PCP is actually PCP base often dissolved in ether, a highly flammable solvent. For smoking, PCP is typically sprayed onto leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana. If you or someone you know overdoses, call poison control at 800‑222‑1222 to speak to an expert. Call 911 or head to the nearest hospital to get medical help right away.

In some cases, it’s possible for PCP to cause over-the-top psychological effects that make you feel stronger than you are and engage in violent behavior. This could cause you to physically harm yourself or others. Those with persistent behavioral problems or distressing psychological effects may need psychiatric evaluation and treatment for mental health problems.