While there are many illegal drugs much worse than marijuana or alcohol, what many don’t realize is just how many drugs are perfectly legal and obtainable over the counter, that are far stronger and more dangerous than the illegal ones.
10. Diethyl Ether
Diethyl Ether, more commonly just called Ether, is mainly used medically, as an anesthetic. However, it also has a long history of recreational use. In the late nineteenth century, it was used regularly in Ireland, Russia, France, Norway, the United States and elsewhere. The effect of ether was similar to alcohol, but it was cheaper, and allowed someone to sober up quicker, making it popular among those who didn’t have much money.
9. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin)
Codeine was originally the main active ingredient used for suppressing coughs; however, Codeine is a powerfully addictive substance. Dextromethorpan, more commonly known as DXM, was created to be a non-addictive replacement to Codeine. While DXM is not addictive, most cough syrups contain other ingredients, such as Acetaminophen or Guaifenesin, which are extremely dangerous when taken in large amounts.
Recreationally, DXM can have very powerful effects, ranging from euphoria, elevated mood, dissociation, dream-like states, and increased awareness.Some other effects which may or may not be considered good, depending on the person, include disorientation, confusion, altered perception of time, decreased sexual functioning, and hallucinations. Many people consider the state to being drunk and stoned at the same time, and higher doses can greatly impair memory, language and judgment. Using this drug is often referred to as “robo-tripping”.
8. Doxylamine (Unisom)
Doxylamine, which often goes under the trade name Unisom, is an antihistamine. Normally, Doxylamine is used to treat allergies, and in some cases for its sedative effects, as a means to treat insomnia. It is sometimes mixed with Acetaminophen or Codeine, to be used as an analgesic. While it has perfectly valid uses and can be bought at any grocery store, it is abused occasionally by teens looking for a cheap legal high. Teenagers will abuse Doxylamine for its hallucinogenic properties, but it also makes them agitated and confused. It actually doesn’t sound exactly like a very fun high, but people try all kinds of stupid things. In large doses, it can be quite dangerous, resulting in prolonged agitation, seizures, and the occasional coma.
Tramadol is not an opioid; however, it affects the brain in a very similar way. It acts as an analgesic, and has opiate agonist activity, which gives people a feeling similar to opioids, though it is not as strong. It is often abused by recovering addicts, or people looking for a more easily-obtainable high similar to heroin, or other synthetic opioids such as Vicodin.
Kava is an herb that comes from the Pacific Islands, where the islanders have been using it medicinally for a very long time. They crush the herb and use it to make a tea-like beverage, which is supposed to be relaxing, but also consumed as part of tradition among the islanders. Apart from its relaxing effects, or its use in tribal medicine, it has recently developed some popularity in the Western world, where it is still very legal to buy and use. While low-to-moderate doses of Kava give one a sense of euphoria, relaxation, or general well-being, higher doses can cause hallucinations. It is also believed by scientists that chronic use can cause yellow skin discoloration, drowsiness, ataxia, liver damage, and malnutrition, none of which sound very fun at all.
Kratom, referred to in scientific literature as Mitragyna Speciosa, is a plant native to Southeast Asia. This plant is from the same family as coffee, and is often used medicinally to relieve pain. However, it has gained recent popularity in the United States for its psychoactive properties. It is currently unregulated, and can easily be bought at online or at certain “herbal supplement” stores. The powder or leaves are usually ingested in a tea-like preparation, or smoked; sometimes it is also ingested orally.
4. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Diphenhydramine usually goes by the trade name Benadryl; it is marketed to deal mainly with allergies, but is also often used as a sedative when people are having trouble sleeping. It has some popularity among recreational drug users, due to its affect as a deliriant. When recreational users take a high dose, they can expect such symptoms as drowsiness, fatigue, disturbed coordination, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, and hallucinations, which are somehow considered positive things by recreational users.
The drug is quite dangerous in very high doses, especially if done regularly. There are many, much worse, side effects, such as fever, hypotension, seizures, convulsions, atheotosis, gastrointestinal symptoms, deep coma, and death. If you are just taking one occasionally for its intended use you should be fine, but regular abuse of this drug is very bad for your heart.
3. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
Dimenhydrinate is a drug that most of you probably know as Dramamine, and is mainly used to combat motion sickness. It is also a deliriant, and is popular among recreational drug users for the audio and visual hallucinations that it provides in high doses. Setting it apart from its cousin Diphenhydramine, it is reported to also have a euphoric effect, along with the hallucinations. It is not only abused by recreational users, but also by psychiatric patients, though in their case it is for self-treating anxiety and the like, not for recreation. Like Diphenhydramine, this drug is not good for you in large doses, and can be very bad for the long-term health of your GI tract and heart.
2. Propylhexedrine (Benzedrex)
Propylhexedrine is the active drug in a nasal spray called Benzedrex, and it originally replaced amphetamine sulfate as the active ingredient years back due to abuse. Unfortunately, Propylhexedrine is also capable of abuse. Recreational users have been known to use some sort of extraction process to gain crystals from it, and it has hence earned the nickname “stove top speed,” due to the effect that it has on people.
The drug is contained in a cotton rod inside the nasal inhaler, and some users simply eat the cotton rod instead of bothering with extraction. It then gives them a high similar to weak amphetamines. It is important to note, however, that this is very much a situation of “don’t try this at home.” This drug can be very dangerous; many cases of reported use involved psychosis, myocardial infarction, pulmonary, vascular disease, pulmonary hypertension, and sudden death. Many of these dangerous side effects are likely caused by the fact that the drug is a vasoconstrictor, and greatly raises your blood pressure.