Datura is uncontrolled in the United States, although some states prohibit the purchase, sale, or cultivation of Datura plants.
Addictive Potential: None
Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unkown
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: Unknown
Mechanism of Action: blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, muscarinic receptor (M1) antagonist
Datura is a genus of nine species of vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. Datura are woody-stalked, leafy annuals and short-lived perennials which can reach up to 2 meters in height. The leaves are alternate, 10–20 cm long and 5–18 cm broad, with a lobed or toothed margin. The flowers are erect or spreading (not pendulous like Brugmansia), trumpet-shaped, 5–20 cm long and 4–12 cm broad at the mouth; colors vary from white to yellow, pink, and pale purple. The fruit is a spiny capsule 4–10 cm long and 2–6 cm broad, splitting open when ripe to release the numerous seeds. The seeds disperse freely over pastures, fields and even wasteland locations.
Datura belongs to the classic “witches’ weeds,” along with deadly nightshade, henbane, and mandrake. Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and Datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches’ brews.
Due to the potent combination of anticholinergic substances it contains, Datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an anticholinergic delirium: a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy (frank delirium, as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.
Full List of Datura Plants:
Datura discolor – Desert Thorn-apple
Datura ferox – Long Spined Thorn-apple
Datura inoxia or Datura innoxia – Thorn-apple, downy thorn-apple, Indian-apple, moonflower, sacred datura, toloatzin, or toloache
Datura leichhardtii (syn. D. pruinosa) – Leichhardt’s Datura
Datura quercifolia – Oak-leaf Thorn-apple
Datura stramonium (syn. D. inermis) – Jimsonweed, Thorn-apple
Datura wrightii – Sacred datura, Sacred Thorn-apple
Side Effects and Adverse Reactions:
All Datura plants contain tropane alkaloids such as scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine, primarily in their seeds and flowers. Because of the presence of these substances, Datura has been used for centuries in some cultures as a poison and hallucinogen.There can easily be a 5:1 variation in toxins from plant to plant, and a given plant’s toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and local weather conditions. These wide variations make Datura exceptionally hazardous to use as a drug. In traditional cultures, users needed to have a great deal of experience and detailed plant knowledge so that no harm resulted from using it. Such knowledge is not available in modern cultures, so many unfortunate incidents result from ingesting Datura.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the United States media contained stories of adolescents and young adults dying or becoming seriously ill from intentionally ingesting Datura. There are also several reports in the medical literature of deaths from Datura stramonium and Datura ferox intoxication. Children are especially vulnerable to atropine poisoning and they are more likely to have a fatal prognosis. In some parts of Europe and India, Datura has been a popular poison for suicide and murder. From 1950–1965, the State Chemical Laboratories in Agra investigated 2,778 deaths that were caused by ingesting Datura.