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Mydriasis for the Masses
Hyoscyamus niger & Atropa belladonna
by hortophilus
Citation:   hortophilus. "Mydriasis for the Masses: An Experience with Hyoscyamus niger & Atropa belladonna (exp56529)". Erowid.org. Mar 19, 2007. erowid.org/exp/56529

 
DOSE:
T+ 0:00
20 mg oral Pharms - Escitalopram (daily)
  T+ 0:00     Pharms - Quetiapine (daily)
  T+ 0:00 0.17 bowls smoked Cannabis (plant material)
  T+ 0:00 0.33 bowls smoked Lactuca - L. virosa (plant material)
  T+ 0:00 5.0 ml oral Belladonna (extract)
  T+ 0:10 2 bowls smoked Hyoscyamus niger (plant material)
  T+ 0:40 10 ml oral Belladonna (extract)
  T+ 1:00 1 bowl smoked Belladonna (plant material)
  T+ 3:00 2 bowls smoked Cannabis (plant material)

BODY WEIGHT: 160 lb


Current medications: 20mg Lexapro, 25-50mg Seroquel (for insomnia)

All the legal herbals were obtained from an online vendor.

My goal in this experiment was two-fold. First, it is known that A. belladonna was once used by women to induce mydriasis (dilation of the pupils). I wanted to find the minimum effective dose to achieve this. Second, I wanted to find out my body's tolerance to tropane alkaloids in preparation of a full-blown hallucinogenic dose. This goal includes exploration of side-effects at a manageable dose.

T0: Smoked half a bowl of L. virosa (wild lettuce)/C. sativa (marijuana) 2:1 w/w mixture. I was finishing off the bowl left over from the previous day. This is expected to have no noticeable impacts since the amount of C. sativa present was probably on the order of 15mg or less. Consumed 5mL (1 teaspoon) of A. belladonna extract prepared as follows.

To 15 grams (ca. 1/2 cup) of dry A. belladonna foliage enough 80-proof rum was added to just cover the leaves. This mixture was allowed to steep for two days, occasionally agitating the mixture. The liquid was strained from the mixture and the leaves saved for further extraction. A drop of this extract was confirmed by tasting to contain tropane alkaloids. A sweet taste followed by a bitter taste above the taste of the rum was observed, which is characteristic of belladonna. The literature indicates the total alkaloid content of the dry foliage ranges from 0.2 to 2.0%, with 0.3 to 0.5% being average. Of the alkaloid content, 87.6% on average is atropine (the balance being atropamine, scopolamine, and related compounds). Calculating the dosage as atropine (since this has the strongest parasympathetic effect, to the best of my knowledge), the dry matter contains 0.18 to 1.8% atropine, but a more realistic upper limit of 0.5% will be used. Hence, the total atropine content of the extract assuming complete extraction is 75 mg, and 15 mL (1 tablespoon) of extract contains 9.4 mg atropine (not more than 37.5 mg in the highest upper limit).

T+10min: Smoked two bowls (ca. 200 mg) of dry H. niger (Henbane) foliage.

T+40min: Very slight mydriasis (perhaps only subjective), but contraction of pupils and accommodation reflex still working in bright light. I am still able to read at this point. An increased dose was administered in the form of a cup of hot tea spiked with 10 mL of A. belladonna extract (2 teaspoons).

T+1hr: Still very few noticeable effects. 1 bowl of A. belladonna foliage was smoked.

T+1hr 10min: First symptom of reaction to atropine is observed as greater pupillary dilation and a burning sensation in the back of my throat, becoming quite troublesome as I tried to eat a candy bar. Effects are OK and not uncomfortable at this point.

T+2hr: I observe very great mydriasis and cycloplegia (paralysis of the ciliary muscle, resulting in inability to focus), to the point of being unable to see the exact extent in a mirror due to loss of vision. At this point, I feel uncoordinated and intoxicated, in a state of trance. Also, I start feeling the 'prickles' over my entire body described in another account found on the internet. While the author who mentions this effect describes them as not unpleasant, I would say it is rather annoying. It made me want to escape from my body. This is the only part of this experience that really bothered me. I also had brief visual hallucinations where I would see someone out of the corner of my eye, but when I actually tried to look at them they weren't there. Much more noticeable were the auditory hallucinations. At one point, I was in the bathroom and thought my fiancÚ had let himself in and was talking to me. I also believe I experienced some sort of 'tactile hallucinations,' which consisted of suddenly feeling textures. It's hard to explain, and it may in fact be due to the parasympathetic effects of atropine (i.e., a form of the prickles).

T+3hr: Smoked 2 bowls of C. sativa to dull the unbearable prickly sensation that washes over my body in waves. This seems to be an effective remedy. At this point, my hands and face are flushed but my body temperature is normal, as confirmed by a thermometer. Around this time, I had a brief conversation with myself in the bathroom mirror. That was trippy. I didn't talk too long, but with a larger dose I am sure I would not have realized I was talking to my own reflection.

T+17hrs: Pupils still dilated, though not nearly as much as earlier. It is possible to read, with some difficulty.

To summarize, my experience was mixed. Even though it was trying, I will definitely do this again. Now that I know what to expect, I also want to attempt to separate the effects of H. niger from A. belladonna. When dabbling with tropane alkaloids I find it best to (1) have a sitter who will monitor me to make sure I do not OD, (2) before I trip, make a list of the substances I wish to consume and the intended dosage if possible, (3) have some MJ on hand. The list is to inform medical personnel what I have consumed should I need medical assistance, and should indicate the active principles (e.g., atropine, scopolamine, etc.), not just the botanical names. I also want to warn you that tropane intoxication sneaks up on you! I tend to dose up slowly because it is easy to overdose on these drugs. Smoking Cannabis will deaden the prickles, but it is best not to get too stoned because the tropanes have already stressed the entire body. The plasma half-life of atropine is 2-3 hours, so you can estimate how long it will take to come down.

My future work in this area is to produce a synergistic blend of C. sativa, A. belladonna, and H. niger (possibly cut with L. virosa as filler) that will produce the trance state, and potentially hallucinations, but without the annoying prickles. Of course, I also want to take a larger dose of tropanes to actually achieve delirium, but I suspect I will need at least a full day to recover before returning to work.

Another good idea is to procure an antidote to atropine to have ready for the sitter to administer if things are getting out of hand but not serious enough to go to the hospital. Physostygmine, pilocarpine, and reserpine are antidotes to atropine poisoning. I don't know if these drugs are available over-the-counter at a veterinary supply outlet, but physostygmine can be extracted from Calabar beans, pilocarpine from various Pilocarpus (Jaborandi) species, and reserpine from Indian snakeroot. The use of morphine to control some of the anticholinergic effects has also been described, though it and other opiates should be used with great caution because they provide only symptomatic relief. That is, it is possible to overdose on atropine and opiates simultaneously. If one become's comatose or excessively violent, it's time to go to the hospital immediately! Tropane alkaloids are not illegal in the USA, so there's no need to worry about legal issues. Morphine (and analogues) and apparently THC can mitigate the negative effects of atropine, though neither is a true full antidote since they do not restore acetylcholine response levels.

One should also be aware of the action of atropine, which is the harshest representative of the tropane alkaloids. Atropine is an anticholinergic (competitively binds cholinesterase at the muscarinic receptors), and this causes muscles that respond to acetylcholine to relax. The most visually obvious is pupillary dilation, but one that is not so obvious is bladder control. I have read reports of incontinence in those tripping on tropanes. While I did not piss myself, I certainly felt like I constantly had to pee. A larger dose than I took would probably induce incontinence.

As a brief follow-up, one of my friends smoked two bowls (ca. 300 mg, in my estimation) of A. belladonna with no apparent effect. Roughly 45 minutes after administration of 15 mL of the extract outlined above, mydriatic and cycloplegic effects were observed. At this point, he decided to go home, so I do not have data on his experience except that it appears the observed effects are due primarily to the extract. 15 mL of extract is equivalent to roughly 6.3 bowls, assuming the degradation of alkaloids from being smoked is roughly equivalent to the loss from incomplete extraction. During this time, I smoked two bowls of H. niger and one bowl of A. belladonna, with very little, if any, mydriasis. The only effect I noticed was a gentle calming, not a 'high' by any means.

One should be very careful with Belladonna and her solanaceous sisters. They are fun to play with, but they could stab you in the back if you do not show them respect.

Exp Year: 2006ExpID: 56529
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Mar 19, 2007Views: 36,259
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Hyoscyamus niger (278), Belladonna (9) : Alone (16), Combinations (3), General (1)

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