Phencyclidine (PCP), also known as angel dust, is a widely used recreational drug known for its potent mind-altering effects.
Used primarily as a dissociative anesthetic, PCP can induce hallucinations, distort perceptions of sounds, and trigger violent behavior. Its popularity stems from the significant impact it has on the user’s state of mind.
The Origins and Usage
PCP, initially developed in 1956 as an anesthetic medication, found its way to market but faced restrictions due to high side effect rates in humans. By 1965, the U.S. disallowed its human use, followed by a ban on its veterinary application in 1978. The emergence of ketamine, offering better tolerance as an anesthetic, further overshadowed PCP’s role.
Despite its decline in the 1980s, PCP meaning recreational use persisted, with an increase in emergency department visits related to the drug observed between 2005 and 2011. In the United States, as of 2017, approximately 1% of 12th graders and 2.9% of individuals over 25 reported using Phencyclidine in the previous year or at some point in their lives.
Decoding the Pharmacology of PCP
NMDA Receptor Antagonism
PCP’s claim to fame lies in its primary action as a noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist. Alongside agents like ketamine and dizocilpine, PCP influences neurotransmitter receptors and inhibits nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), impacting synaptic development in the brain. Phencyclidine (PCP abbreviation) also acts as a dopamine D2High receptor partial agonist and affects dopamine neurotransmission.
PCP’s intricate interactions extend to inhibiting dopamine reuptake, indirectly influencing opioid receptors, and binding selectively to the NMDAR and σ2 receptor.
Its mechanism involves blocking the NMDA receptor’s ion channel, causing anesthesia and analgesia without cardiorespiratory depression.
Neurotoxicity and Schizophrenia
Studies suggest potential neurotoxicity, with PCP causing brain damage similar to Olney’s lesions in rats. Additionally, PCP induces schizophrenia-like changes in the rat brain and produces symptoms resembling schizophrenia in humans.
Behavioral and Psychological Impact
PCP effects vary with dosage. Low doses induce numbness and intoxication, while moderate doses lead to analgesia and anesthesia. High doses may result in convulsions.
Psychological PCP side effects include severe changes in body image, paranoia, and depersonalization. Recreational users occasionally report inducing a psychotic state with feelings of detachment from reality.
Excessive PCP medicine use can also lead to addiction, with rewarding effects mediated by blocking NMDA receptors. A review suggests a 26% transition rate from hallucinogen-induced psychosis to schizophrenia.
Administration and Management
PCP’s accessibility stems from various administration routes. It can be snorted, ingested orally, injected subcutaneously or intravenously, or smoked, often combined with marijuana or tobacco. Street terms like “angel dust,” “fry,” and “sherm” highlight the many consumption methods.
Additionally, managing PCP angel dust effects primarily involves supportive care, focusing on breathing, circulation, and body temperature control.
Early-stage psychiatric symptoms may be treated with benzodiazepines, while forced acid diuresis, once controversially recommended, is now considered of little consequence.
PCP in Society
PCP holds a Schedule II status in the United States, with stringent regulations governing its manufacturing quota. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug in Canada, a List I drug in the Netherlands, and a Class A substance in the United Kingdom.
In conclusion, the negative effects of Phencyclidine (PCP) are substantial and cannot be ignored. From its harmful impact on physical health, such as respiratory failure and long-term brain damage, to its detrimental effects on mental well-being, including psychosis and aggressive behavior, smoking dust poses a serious threat to individuals and society as a whole.
It is crucial to raise awareness about these dangers and implement effective prevention and treatment strategies to address this grave situation. Ultimately, the goal should be to minimize the use of PCP and promote healthier alternatives for individuals seeking escape or relief from reality.