When it comes to the list of things you can get “high” from, most people probably wouldn’t even think to include nutmeg. However, according to a recent study from the Utah Poison Control Center, consuming just one tablespoon of nutmeg can cause a high.
Nutmeg is a popular choice amongst thrill-seekers since it’s not addictive like other drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, and it produces a cheap “high.”
In fact, people have been getting high on nutmeg since the 12th century. The first reported case of “nutmeg-high” occurred in 1576. A pregnant British woman became delirious after eating 10 nutmeg seeds!
Nutmeg is known for emitting euphoric effects when used in baking, or sprinkled in hot chocolate or punch—this could be why it’s a popular choice for topping drinks, such as eggnog, which is often paired with alcohol.
What Is Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is a seed derived from the evergreen tree Myristica fragrans. This spice is native to the Molucca Islands and has been used in cooking for over 2,500 years—but Europeans only started using it in the Middle Ages.
The fats and oils found in nutmeg contain thousands of unidentified chemical compounds. It is widely thought that the chemical that causes a high is Myristicin, which causes the same hallucinogenic effects as LSD. It’s also similar to an amphetamine—a nervous system stimulant. Nutmeg is also a common ingredient found in many aromatherapy products.
Also Read: 8 Amazing Benefits of Nutmeg Oil
Side Effects of Nutmeg
A light dusting of nutmeg in a hot beverage, used to add flavor to food, or while baking won’t cause any unpleasant side effects. However, a large consumption of nutmeg can cause a few nasty side effects that may lead to hospitalization. It can take as little as one tablespoon of the spice to cause any of the following symptoms of a nutmeg high, but a toxic dose would be two to three teaspoons:
- Abdominal pain
- Feelings of agitation and irritation
- Chest pains
- Extreme coldness
- Deliriousness and delirium
- Difficulty breathing
- Feelings of fear, including fear of dying
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid pulse
- A feeling of restlessness
A nutmeg high can last as long as 24 hours and many users say that it may take as long as two days to recover from the nutmeg “hangover.” Some symptoms won’t set in until a few hours after the spice has been ingested, which may place the user in a potentially dangerous situation (e.g. such as when they are driving).
A large consumption of nutmeg could result in psychotic episodes that include delusions and hallucinations. Some even describe a nutmeg high as feeling similar to being “encased in mud!” Chronic use of nutmeg to get high has also been known to cause chronic psychosis—a mental disorder categorized by impaired thinking and emotions.
Nutmeg High Treatment
For many people, getting a high dose of nutmeg may be completely unintentional. However, if you experience a nutmeg high, it is strongly recommended that you immediately visit the hospital or local poison control center. Only induce vomiting under the supervision of a medical professional. Since nutmeg often induces feelings of nausea on its own, vomiting is likely to occur anyway.
To combat feelings of agitation, a doctor might prescribe a sedative to calm the nerves or charcoal to help the body absorb the spice. People with high blood pressure or acidosis, a condition that causes high levels of acid in the body, may be at risk for falling into a coma, or even death, after getting high on nutmeg. If you experience any of these conditions, a doctor might recommend eight hours of heart monitoring as a precaution.
Finally, if you are turning to something like nutmeg to get high—you may also be suffering from a drug addiction and treatment is strongly recommended.
Should You Take Nutmeg to Get High?
Considering the effects linked to consuming a large amount of nutmeg, using it as a way to get high isn’t worth it. It should be used sparingly in cooking, as people have unintentionally experienced the symptoms of nutmeg intoxication by adding too much of this spice to their food.
A light sprinkling will not produce any adverse side effects, but it should still be used sparingly.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Young, J., “High Dosages of Nutmeg,” Livestrong.com, February 18, 2015; http://www.livestrong.com/article/467995-high-dosages-of-nutmeg/.
Dovey, D., “A Nutmeg High Can Leave You Dizzy and Nauseous With A ‘2-Day Hangover’,” Medical Daily web site, December 1, 2014; http://www.medicaldaily.com/nutmeg-high-can-leave-you-dizzy-and-nauseous-2-day-hangover-312572.
Conley, M., “Nutmeg Treated as Drug for Hallucinogenic High,” ABC News web site, December 9, 2010; http://abcnews.go.com/Health/large-doses-nutmeg-hallucinogenic-high/story?id=12347815.
“Can You Get High Off Nutmeg?” Addiction Blog web site, August 16, 2011; http://drug.addictionblog.org/can-you-get-high-off-nutmeg/.
Gregor, M., “Nutmeg Toxicity,” NutritionFacts.org, October 31, 2013; http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/10/31/nutmeg-toxicity/.