Author: James Anderson

PCP: What to Know

effects of pcp

A person who witnesses a drug overdose can perform first aid while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. Doing so may save the person’s life and help increase their chance of a full recovery. Anyone who is concerned about substance use should speak to their primary care physician.

  1. You can also join a virtual or in-person support group and connect and share with others who’ve been through a similar experience.
  2. Besides angel dust, other commonly used street names for the drug include ozone, rocket fuel, amp, animal tranquilizer, hog, shermans, wack, crystal, and embalming fluid.
  3. An individual may use PCP because it produces euphoria, psychedelic effects, and a sense of calm.
  4. Interrupting these receptors allows the brain to disconnect from normal sensory experiences, or “reality.” In higher doses, however, it may also excite these receptors.

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you or someone you know is addicted to PCP and needs help stopping. Also call if you are having withdrawal symptoms that concern you. This means it acts on your brain (central nervous system) and changes your mood, behavior, and the way you relate to the world around you.

How Is PCP Used?

The effects are felt 30 to 60 minutes after oral ingestion, or a few minutes after smoking. Immediate effects last 4 to 6 hours, but a return to a normal state can take up to 24 hours. It also inhibits the action of glutamate by blocking NMDA receptors, which are responsible for pain sensation, emotions, learning, and memory functions.

Psychological effects at high doses include delusions and hallucinations. Users often refer to the experiences from hallucinogens as a “trip”, or calling an unpleasant experience a “bad trip.” Anyone who shows signs or symptoms of a drug overdose requires emergency medical treatment to help prevent serious and potentially life threatening complications. Users of PCP are often brought to emergency rooms because of the drug’s severe psychological effects and violent or suicidal behaviors. An overdose of phencyclidine (PCP) can have life threatening effects, such as kidney failure, an irregular heartbeat, and seizures.

effects of pcp

In some cases, it’s possible for PCP to cause over-the-top psychological effects that make you feel stronger than you are and engage in violent behavior. This could cause you to physically harm yourself or others. PCP is well known for its primary action on the NMDA receptor, an ionotropic glutamate receptor.[47][44] As such, PCP is a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist. In cases of drug overdose, it may be necessary to put a person into the recovery position while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. Street names for PCP include angel dust, embalming fluid, hog, killer weed, love boat, ozone, peace pill, rocket fuel, super grass, and wack. Discontinuing PCP suddenly can produce withdrawal symptoms.

Medicines may be used to treat withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may also refer you to a live-in addiction recovery center to help you through the next steps. Insurance often covers residential treatment centers. But if you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover it, speak to a health advocate at a  treatment facility about costs and payment plan options. The withdrawal symptoms can be hard to manage or cope with. If you’re unable to resist PCP, talk to your doctor about treatment options such as in-patient recovery.

People who present to the emergency department (ED) with PCP intoxication will require screening tests to measure levels of PCP and other drugs in their bloodstream. This may include blood tests and urine drug tests. Finally, it discusses what to expect at the hospital, the outlook for those who experience a PCP overdose, and how to seek help for substance use issues. If you have severe withdrawal symptoms, you may need to stay at a live-in treatment program. There, your health and safety can be monitored as you recover.

What to expect at the hospital

PCP is a psychologically and physically addictive drug. You might lose the sense of control around the substance and instead develop the need to use it more often to get through your day-to-day routine. This dependence on the drug is medically known as substance use disorder. People most often take this drug to chase the high that can make you feel detached from your body. Poor judgment and reasoning skills, psychosis, paranoia, and self-injurious or violent action may occur in those already prone to these behaviors. The person may develop a type of psychosis similar to that seen in schizophrenia.

Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 17 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 10 Mar 2024) and others. Many believe PCP to be one of the most dangerous drugs of abuse. A moderate amount of PCP often causes users to feel detached, distant, and estranged from their surroundings.

Drugs & Supplements

If the effects don’t wear off, it’s important to get medical help right away. If you can, call 911 or head to the nearest hospital. If you take more than 20 milligrams at once, it can cause you to overdose and could lead to serious problems like seizures, a coma, or even death. But it’s also sold as tablets or capsules that you can swallow. In some cases, people mix it with tobacco, various cannabis products, or even mint and oregano.

What happens when someone takes PCP?

The signs and symptoms of an overdose will vary according to the drug. If someone you know has attempted suicide, call 911 or the local emergency number right away. DO NOT leave the person alone, even after you have called for help.

You can also join a virtual or in-person support group and connect and share with others who’ve been through a similar experience. Over time, the more you use the drug, the more tolerance you’ll build. This means you’ll need to use higher doses to get the same level of high. People often dissolve the powder or liquid in alcohol or water. The behavior of a person using PCP can be dangerous to themselves and to others.