Phencyclidine or phenylcyclohexyl piperidine, also known as angel dust, is a drug used for its mind-altering effects. Phencyclidine can cause hallucinations, distorted perceptions of sound, and violent behaviour. As a recreation drug, it is typically smoked, but may be taken by mouth, snorted or injected. It may also be mixed with cannabis or tobacco. Adverse effects may include seizures, coma, addictions, and increased risk of suicide. Flashbacks can occur after cessation ofuse. Chemically, Phencyclidine is a member of the class of arylcyclohexylamine, and pharmacologically, it is a dissociative anesthetic. PCP acts mainly as an antagonist to the NMDA receptor.
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At low to moderate doses, phencyclidine (PCP) can cause distinct changes in body awareness, similar to those associated with alcohol intoxication, as well as generalized numbness of the hands and feet and poor muscular coordination.
At high doses, PCP can cause hallucinations as well as seizures, coma, and death (though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). High doses can also cause effects similar to symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, paranoia, disordered thinking, a sensation of distance from one’s environment, and catatonia. Speech is often sparse and garbled.
PCP has sedative effects, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to coma or accidental overdose.
Many people who use phencyclidine (pcp) are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP’s unpleasant psychological effects or because of overdoses. In a hospital or detention setting, they often become violent or suicidal, and are very dangerous to themselves and to others. They should be kept in a calm setting and should not be left alone.