Tuesday October 21st 2014

Can you get high off nutmeg?

Nutmeg can intoxicate

Yes, you might be able to get high off nutmeg. But nutmeg intoxication is dangerous. If you are seeking the euphoric and hallucinogenic properties of nutmeg, you are warned to do so at risk of your mental health and even your life.

Although nutmeg may seem a low cost alternative to other drugs, it comes with high risks of psychosis and death, and can signal thrill seeking drug abuse behavior.  Learn how to help a drug addict if you’re reading this for someone else. Below, we review what happens to the body when you use nutmeg voluntarily to try to get high, how long symptoms last, and how medical professionals treat nutmeg intoxication.

What happens when you take nutmeg?

Experts have not yet methodically studied the effects of nutmeg on the body, in part, because of the infrequency of reported cases of intoxication and, in part, because of the danger associated with recreational doses of nutmeg. However, cases of nutmeg intoxication do exist and medical literature has tracked similar symptoms of nutmeg intoxication since the early 20th century (1908) and documented the toxic effect of the seed.

Some experts think that during metabolism, high doses of nutmeg form amphetamine derivatives from the volatile oils contained in nutmeg: elemicin (EL), myristicin (MY), and safrole (SA). Of particular interest is the compound called myristicin, which is metabolised to 3-methoxy-4,5 methylenedioxy-amphetamine (MMDA), a psychoactive sympathomimetic. Therefore, experts theorize that myristicin accounts for most of nutmeg’s toxic effects.

Not all of these effects are pleasant, either.

Symptoms of nutmeg intoxication

Ingestion of less than one tablespoon of nutmeg can produce symptoms similar to those of an anticholinergic toxic episode. Central nervous system operations are interrupted, affecting the function of neurotransmitters in the brain. In addition to the central nervous system, nutmeg also affects the cardiovascular system. So, high doses of nutmeg intake result in symptoms such as:

  • abdominal pain
  • agitation
  • chest pain
  • coldness of extremities
  • deliriousness
  • delirium
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • fear of death
  • hyperactivity
  • increased body temperature
  • rapid pulse
  • restlessness

One of the most concerning and frightening symptoms of taking high doses of nutmeg are psychotic episodes such as delusions and hallucinations. Anxiety, fear, and a feeling of impending doom are all common during a nutmeg high. As are feelings of detachment from reality or visual hallucinations, taking the form of time, color, or space distortions. Nutmeg can also make you act hostile, combative, and agitated. Chronic psychosis has been reported in cases of prolonged use of nutmeg.

Duration of nutmeg intoxication

People who take nutmeg to get high usually experience symptoms of intoxication for at least 24 hours after taking nutmeg. Symptoms usually appear three to eight hours after ingestion and resolve within a day or two. But many of these symptoms can last longer, up to four days in one case.

Nutmeg intoxication treatment

The clinical course of treatment for taking high doses of nutmeg is mainly supportive, with regular assurance that acute psychotic symptoms will ease. Furthermore, doctors use sedation with benzodiazepines to calm these symptoms and to help reverse the amphetamine-like effects. Charcoal may also help decrease systemic absorption of nutmeg in the body. However, complications such as hypotension (low blood pressure), cyanosis (bluish skin coloration), acidosis (excessive acid in body fluids or tissues), and coma can be life threatening. This is why experts recommend cardio-respiratory monitoring for at least eight hours after ingestion.

Should you take nutmeg to get high?

Nutmeg may seem like a cheap thrill. But abusing nutmeg seeds for their psychotropic effects is clearly not safe or pleasant. Ultimately, high doses of most anything may produce an effect. But at what cost?  Furthermore, if you’re looking into nutmeg to get high, you may have certain personality traits typical of some drug addicts.  Drug addiction and personality traits such as risk taking, impulsiveness, and novelty seeking have been correlated in studies, and your interest in nutmeg may well signal an addictive nature.   In short, doctors suggest NOT taking nutmeg for euphoric effect, and we would like to concur.

Please leave your questions and comments about getting high on nutmeg below.

Reference sources: The Use of Nutmeg as a Psychotropic Drug
Studies on the metabolism and the toxicologic detection of nutmeg
Low cost, high risk: Accidental nutmeg intoxication
Nutmeg intoxication

Photo credit: Nikita Avvakumov

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7 Responses to “Can you get high off nutmeg?
Curtis
2:47 am October 2nd, 2011

Does pre ground supermarket bought nut still give you the same effects of a nutmeg seed

9:03 am October 3rd, 2011

Hi Curtis. We strongly urge you against taking any type of nutmeg, whether pre-ground or in a nut form. The powder from nutmeg is TOXIC.

J-M
3:39 am October 14th, 2011

I have a friend who wants to try getting high off nutmeg. I told him its not a good idea after reading this but he doesn’t want to listen to me so I was wondering what is a safe dose of nutmeg to get a high without afterwrad effects. I’m talking about crushing the spice in a coffee grinder like would a tablespoon be safe? or 1/2 tablespoon?
thanks a lot.

Experimenter
8:06 am December 16th, 2011

I have some ground nutmeg right here and i read this article. it sounds pretty sketchy. I want to hallucinate, but I kinda really don’t want to die. or go to the hospital. Can i still get high off 1/2 a tablespoon? I’ll wait to decide until I read more articles.
Also I was wondering about poppy seeds. Is using those to get high a worse idea?
What kind of damage will my liver go under? Will my liver recover?
I’m an uneducated Ex-Stoner. I’ve tried marijuana and it was great besides the coughing, but I don’t know how much more extreme Nutmeg or Poppy seeds are… Let me know…

10:56 am December 16th, 2011

Hi J-M and Experimenter. Thanks for your questions.

We cannot recommend nutmeg dosage because we are of the opinion that using nutmeg to get high is dangerous.

Steven
7:49 pm July 18th, 2012

Hi, I use nutmeg regularly as a psychoactive and would like to offer my experience and knowledge. Different studies have different results as to whether nutmeg is toxic or protective to the liver; simply asserting that it is hepatotoxic doesn’t foster good discussion. Saying nutmeg is toxic doesn’t mean much. All psychoactive substances are toxic, that’s what “intoxication” means. There’s no substance that’s not toxic in high doses. Water is toxic. Only two fatal overdoses from nutmeg have ever been recorded, though, one in a child and one in an older person on other potentially harmful drugs.

Myristicin does not break down to MMDA, that’s been refuted. Myristicin alone has no psychoactive effects. It’s probably the interaction of myristicin and elemicin (which is psychoactive on its own) that causes the nutmeg high..

Those looking to experiment with it should be encouraged because they may find a cheap, legal, fun drug like I did. The only negative side effects listed in this article I’ve ever experienced were dizziness and dry mouth (also side effects of marijuana). Everything else about the nutmeg high I love. For me it’s euphoric, it makes food better and music more powerful, it enhances social interaction and my feelings of love for all beings including myself. My favorite effect is that I feel a profound spiritual connection with the outdoors and the earth; I was not a spiritual person before nutmeg.

For those curious, I only use whole nuts (I’ve never used preground in any significant volume, although I know it’s easier to swallow). I have had next to no negative side effects or health problems to date besides diarrhea from all the fluids I take in while high.

Mike
3:39 pm December 11th, 2012

It’s all B.S. I just tried this last night. I took four table spoons of spartan ground nutmeg and nothing happed at all. I waited four hours before getting to tired and went to bed. I dosed at 10:00 PM.

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