Jimson weed users chase high all the way to hospital

USA TODAY reports on a seasonal naturally occurring hallucinogen:

Fall is prime time for jimson weed, a legal plant that can grow nearly anywhere. Police and hospitals have reported scattered outbreaks of jimson weed poisonings in California, Colorado, Indiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Poison centers last year recorded 975 incidents involving anticholinergic plants such as jimson weed, down from 1,058 in 2004, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ annual report.

Poisonings typically increase in late summer and fall when jimson weed plants are at their peak, says Steven Marcus, director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System in Newark. New Jersey has had three reports of poisonings since July, he says.

Jimson weed also is known as stinkweed, locoweed and moonflower. Its pods contain seeds that when eaten or brewed in a tea can cause severe hallucinations and other reactions, including dry mouth, overheating, agitation, urinary retention and hallucinations, Marcus says. Overdoses can lead to seizures, comas or death. It can take up to an hour for someone to feel the effects, so people often consume excessive amounts, thinking the seeds aren’t working, he says.