It can be difficult to deal with a teen who has been abusing drugs – both legal and illegal – especially if he has reached a point of dependency. Many parents and teens seek help to address this dependency, and help is not always easy to find. The first real step to getting help is to identify the problem.
Many teenagers turn to drugs out of boredom, rebelliousness, or just a need to escape. The reasons for using are as numerous as the teens who use. Access to illegal drugs, however, is often limited, keeping many would-be addicts from using. Cigarettes, alcohol, and, increasingly, marijuana, are legal options, but only for those of age. However, there are other options for teenagers looking to get high – many are legal, and many are easily found.
Legal but Dangerous
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These signs can sometimes be tricky since some may be present simply because one is a teenager. If you notice these signs in your teen, keep a closer eye out for potential drug use. You may discover evidence of these plants – such as crushed leaves or little plastic baggies – in their room or in the pockets of their clothes.
Here are six plants – legal and available to any teenager – that are sometimes used to get high.
We’re getting into the gardening season. If you’re into that sort of thing, one of the prettiest and most popular seeds to sow around this time is that of the Morning Glory flower, with its bright hues and soft shape. But, if you start to get bored turning the soil, don’t chew on their seeds, because they contain a powerful hallucinogenic compound. Chewing them unlocks the drug inside and you’re likely to puke.
Unlike it’s more refined cousin, LSA can trigger a high degree of discomfort in the user. That discomfort can come in the form of cramping, extreme nausea, other stomach pains, and even vomiting. It’s an unpleasant slew of experiences to be confronted with when all you’re looking for is a good trip.
Morning Glory Seeds Get You High Because They Contain LSA
Another reported that they took LSA with alcohol and had to be sent to the hospital. In May of 2016, a Boston teen was hospitalized after consuming morning glory seeds.
For the science community — as well as the community of those who practice native Central American religions — this isn’t exactly news.
The LSA chemical was discovered by Albert Hoffman, who also discovered LSD, when he — you guessed it — chewed the seeds. It’s classed as a Schedule III substance by the DEA, with a “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” Other drugs in the same classification family are codeine and ketamine, although the Morning Glory flower is much easier and much less sketchy to obtain.
In their quest for survival, plants have evolved to produce an amazing variety of chemical compounds known as secondary metabolites. These chemicals often serve to deter herbivores, protect against pathogens and neighbors, or mitigate the effects of radiation, among numerous other uses. Interestingly, many of these chemicals react with human bodies in specific ways, ranging from organ failure and death to reactions that inspire lifesaving pharmaceuticals. The following is a list of plants that, amazingly, affect the brains and mental states of the humans who ingest them.
Grown all over the world, cannabis (marijuana) is probably the most-widespread plant with psychoactive properties. Known for its characteristic leaves, the plant is used in religious practices in India and Africa (and probably elsewhere) and is sometimes used illicitly in the United States and Europe, though its legal status is changing in many places. The active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is present in all parts of both the male and female plants but is most concentrated in the flowering tops of the female. These buds are usually dried and crushed and put into pipes or formed into cigarettes (joints) for smoking but can also be added to foods and beverages. Psychological effects tend to predominate, with the user commonly experiencing a mild euphoria and alterations in vision and judgment that result in distortions of time and space. Acute intoxication may occasionally induce visual hallucinations, anxiety, depression, paranoid reactions, and psychoses lasting four to six hours. Marijuana’s physical effects include reddening of the eyes, dryness of the mouth and throat, moderate increase in rapidity of the heartbeat, tightness of the chest (if the drug is smoked), drowsiness, unsteadiness, and muscular incoordination. Hashish, a more-powerful form of the drug, is made by collecting and drying the plant’s resin and is about eight times as strong as the marijuana typically smoked in the United States.
Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)
Although not well known in the West, betel chewing is a habit of an estimated one-tenth of the world’s population, and betel is considered to be the fourth most-common psychoactive drug in the world (following nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine). Betel nuts grow on the areca palm and are cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. For chewing, a betel quid is formed by wrapping a small piece of the areca palm seed (the betel nut) in a leaf of the unrelated betel pepper plant, along with a pellet of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide). Betel chewing releases a number of addictive alkaloids that cause sensations of mild euphoria, and regular users often have red-stained teeth and lips. Although it is important in many cultural traditions of southern Asia, betel chewing is linked to a number of serious health problems, including oral and esophageal cancer, and is of growing concern for health officials.
The beautiful opium poppy is native to Turkey and is a common garden plant in the United States. When the unripe seed capsules are cut, they exude a milky latex that is the source of raw opium and can be processed into morphine, codeine, and heroin. Known as opiates, these drugs exert their main effects on the brain and spinal cord. While their principal action is to relieve or suppress pain, the drugs also alleviate anxiety, induce relaxation and sedation, and may impart a state of euphoria or another enhanced mood. Heroin is especially known for generating an intense ecstatic reaction that spreads throughout the body as a warm glowing sensation. Opiates also have important physiological effects: they slow the heartbeat and respiration, suppress the cough reflex, and relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic users develop a tolerance and require progressively larger doses to achieve the same effect. Heroin and morphine overdoses often result in death.
An unassuming member of the mint family, the herb salvia has made headlines for its growing popularity, including its use by American singer Miley Cyrus. Native to Mexico, the plant is hallucinogenic and has historically been used by shamans to achieve altered states of consciousness. Currently legal in both the U.K. and the U.S., the leaves can be eaten or smoked and feature an active ingredient known as salvinorin A, which activates specific nerve cell receptors. The effects are intense but short-lived and include changes in mood and body sensations, visions, feelings of detachment, and altered perceptions of self. Advocates of the plant emphasize that the effects are spiritual and claim that those who try to use it as a “party drug” will be disappointed by its effects.