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Thursday
Dec092010

Nutmeg Treated as Drug for Hallucinogenic High

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MIAMI) -- A sprinkle of nutmeg in eggnog or a pinch in apple pie can add the perfect punch to a holiday dessert.  But the spice has also made headlines as an unconventional way of getting high -- it's called a nutmeg high.

Nutmeg contains myristicin, a natural compound that has mind-altering effects if ingested in large doses.  The buzz can last one-to-two days and can be hallucinogenic, much like LSD.

According to reports this week from the ABC affiliate WPLG in Miami, the Florida Poison Information Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital has recently seen a small spike in phone calls reporting people who snorted, smoked or ate the spice.

About 30 minutes to an hour after taking large doses of nutmeg, people usually have severe gastrointestinal reactions, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  But that's just the beginning.  Hours into the high, people can suffer from heart and nerve problems, as well.

Visual, auditory or sensory hallucinations do not set in until hours after ingesting the spice, so there is also the worry that someone could overdose, thinking they haven't taken enough to feel anything.

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ABC News Radio