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Effects of Nutmeg & Myristicine
by Scott Dorsey

{\it Myristica fragrans}, a tropical evergreen tree found in East and West Indes. Contains a number of methylenedioxy-substituted compounds, including myristicin (3-methoxy,4,5-methylendioxy-allylbenzene, and a non-amine precursor of 3-methoxy-4,5-methylenedioxyamphetamine), elemicin, and safrole (specifically 3,4-methylene-dioxyallylbenzene, and a non-amine precursor of 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine). It also contains elemycin, eugenol, and methyleugenol \footnote{Weil, Andrew. Nutmeg as a Narcotic. 1965. 19(3), 194-217.}.

Myristicin constitutes about two thirds of the aromatic ether fraction, but it cannot account entirely for the psychoactivity of nutmeg. A 400-mg dose of myristicin, almost twice the amount present in 20 gm of nutmeg (20 gm being assumed to be the quantity required to produce psychotropic effects) produces only mild effects\footnote {Schultes and Hofmann. The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens. p. 121}. The author is am not aware of any trial involving an accurate mix of all of the known aromatic ethers. Those occurring at more than 10 mg per 20 g are myristicin (210 mg), elemicin (70 mg), safrole (39 mg), methyleugenol (18 mg), and methylisoeugenol (11 mg). Safrole is probably not psychoactive, so elemicin might be worth investigating, thought it is doubtful that it alone can account for the activity.

The only known mechanism of metabolization of these compounds is the detoxification of safrole to piperonylic acid, a reaction which also shows the capability of oxidizing olefinic side chains. If this same degenerative process will act on myristicin, or elemicin, then a possible intermediate (a vinyl alcohol) could undergo transamination producing 3,4,5-trimethoxyamphetamine, which is known to have similar effects.

Whatever it is that causes the psychotropic effect, it is known that various terpenes enhance the absorption. 5-20 grams of the ground nutmeg may be ingested for mild intoxication lasting about twelve hours and followed by deep sleep. The achieve the equivalent experience of 1-marijuana cigarette, one would have to imbibe 10 grams of nutmeg. May cause dizziness, flushes, dry mouth, accelerated heartbeat, temporary constipation and difficulty in urination, nausea, and panic. Beneficial as a spice but not recommended in large amounts as a hallucinogen. Safrole may be carcinogenic, and is definitely a hepatotoxin in larger amounts. Due to the severe side-effects, nutmeg is not a popular street drug. It is used most by underage students who are looking for a legal means of altering their consciousness as well as by prisoners who can acquire it more easily than illegal substances.