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Morning Glory Seeds From Home Depot Are a Good Proxy for LSD (Until You Vomit)

Teenagers are tripping on the natural LSD in plant seeds available at most nurseries. Teenagers are idiots.

Last week, a Boston teenager was hospitalized after getting too high off plant seeds from a local Home Depot, prompting the store to pull the product from their shelves. One could argue that the kid deserves at least a little credit for his botanical acumen: Morning Glory, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, and Sleepy Grass seeds contain a hallucinogenic compound that’s been getting humans lit for thousands of years. The desperate masshole was simply following in the footsteps of chemists past, including LSD discoverer Albert Hofmann, a seed-eater himself.

But even budding chemists have to be careful. While it’s true the drug can induce acid-like hallucinations, it can also trigger serious nausea, stomach pains, and vomiting. It’s especially dangerous, researchers at Ohio University note, if you’re on MAOI-containing antidepressants, which — teenagers being teenagers — makes it very dangerous indeed.

When Hofmann analyzed a packet of Mexican morning glory seeds given to him by a colleague in 1959, he noted that they contained a compound known as LSA (D-lysergic acid amide), a precursor chemical to the better-known hallucinogen LSD — hence, the seeds’ psychoactive effects. Hoffman’s colleague had sent him the seeds after seeing them used by in a shamanistic ceremony, a practice that has persisted in certain native Central American cultures for generations.

As police officials in the Boston incident pointed out, “this is not a new phenomenon.” The Drug Enforcement Administration formally recognizes ergine — another name for LSA — as a Schedule III drug, having “moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” This classification puts LSA in the same class as codeine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids. For unknown reasons, it’s just much easier acquire.

This is especially odd, considering how potent the compound’s effects can be. The drug gurus at Erowid note that although LSA is legally considered a depressant, it’s notably also “a very active hallucinogen/psychedelic.” It’s thought to be somewhere between one-tenth and one-twentieth as powerful as LSD, but because the dose of the compound present in plant seeds varies, it’s easy to overdo it. Erowid notes that a “starting dose” is typically 4-5 Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds or 20-25 morning glory seeds (seasoned recreational users take anywhere from 100-400 of the latter). Some users distill LSA out of the seeds using solvents such as methanol, ether, and dicholoromethane — potentially dangerous chemicals that can compound the drug’s effects.

On BlueLight, a web forum dedicated to discussing controlled drugs, one user recounted eating eight Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds with alcohol, an experience that landed him in the hospital. Other users, praising the compound’s “dreamy” and “euphoric” psychedelic effects, note that it’s often not worth it to take because the LSA hangover is so terrible. While LSD is known to put users in a psychedelic headspace and induce a visual trip, LSA, it seems, triggers the same mental state but tends to make users nauseous.

But when did the prospect of vomiting ever stop teenagers from trying to get fucked up? Morning glory seeds can be purchased from Home Depot for a dollar a packet and widespread media coverage is only popularizing the phenomenon. In response to the Boston incident, nurseries in Virginia are pulling the seeds from their shelves. Still, it’s unlikely American gardeners are going to give up the freedom to adorn their yards in resplendent baby blue, just because a bunch of high-seekers can’t buy acid tabs in back alleys like normal kids. LSA, for better or worse, is probably here to stay.

Teenagers are tripping on the natural LSD in plant seeds available at most nurseries. Teenagers are idiots.

Morning glory seeds legal

The issue raised by the Honourable Member is much in the spotlight of Commission and Member State activity in the field of drugs at the moment. As the 2009 Annual report on the implementation of Council Decision 2005/387/JHA on the information exchange, risk assessment and control of new psychoactive substances (1) indicates, the number of new psychoactive substances that are notified by Member States is continuously increasing.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) indicates that hallucinogenic plant-seeds like Ipomoea tricolour (morning glory) and Argyreia nervosa (hawaiian baby woodrose) are marketed over the Internet under the name ‘Dream flowers’. The seeds are used in the flower-production trade, but are also marketed on the Internet as ‘smart drugs’ or ‘bio-drugs’. The seeds contain the naturally occurring psychedelic D-lysergic acid amine (LSA), which is closely related to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which is an internationally controlled psychotropic substance under Schedule I of the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

The regulation and control of new psychoactive substances, including those sold in so called ‘smart shops’ is primarily the competence of the Member States, in accordance with national legislation. New substances that emerge in several European countries are notified to the European Union’s Early Warning System (EWS) on new psychoactive substances, which is operated by the EMCDDA. The EWS provides a quick-response mechanism to the emergence of new psychoactive substances on the drugs market in European countries. Substances notified in the EWS can be made subject of a formal risk assessment process if deemed necessary and as adopted in the abovementioned Council Decision. On the basis of the Risk Assessment Report from the Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA, the Commission decides whether it is deemed necessary to present an initiative to the Council to make the substance subject to control measures. Such a Decision is subsequently implemented by all Member States.

The specific use of the plant seeds sold as ‘dream flowers’ has so far not been reported to the Early Warning System. However, the psychoactive substance LSA has been formally reported to the EWS by Bulgaria, Sweden and Finland and is controlled in the United Kingdom by the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The increasing emergence of new psychoactive substances, either synthetic or plant based, poses an increasing challenge for public health authorities in the Member States as the acute and/ or longer term health risks of many of these substances are often unknown, while some of these emerging substances are simply not meant to be used for human consumption.

In order to address the most recent developments in the market for new psychoactive substances, the Commission has started with an assessment of Council Decision 2005/387/JHA which is foreseen to be finalised by the end of 2010. The assessment will not only look at the implementation of the legal instrument, but also analyse the new challenges posed by the volatile market and assess which other legal measures can be undertaken to better regulate the emergence and sale of new synthetic and/ or plant-based psychoactive substances.

Morning glory seeds legal The issue raised by the Honourable Member is much in the spotlight of Commission and Member State activity in the field of drugs at the moment. As the 2009 Annual report