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strychnine inquiry Options
 
Keeper Trout
#1 Posted : 7/1/2019 3:28:17 PM
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This may sound like a weird question but I am curious: what exactly do people recognize as "strychnine" effects in drugs?

I'm working on a paper about this fairly common ideation (with a focus on the known incidences and rumors of strychnine in LSD but also including other drugs such as morning glories, peyote, mushrooms, etcetera) and would like to be accurate about two things:
1) What effects people consider to be produced by strychnine.
2) Why they believe it to be caused by strychnine.

I am not looking for the rationales as to why it is not due to strychnine. Those I can find in abundance. I am more curious about the existence and origins of the belief itself.

I am also looking for any actual prior first-hand experiences with pure strychnine although I am most certainly not wanting to encourage anyone to try it in an effort to be helpful. I would strongly discourage that.
Please don't post this here since it discusses your actual drug experience and email me at keepertrout at gmail.

So far this subject has proven to be a surprisingly rich area of exploration but the literature can only take a person so far.

Thanks in advance.

Feel free to PM me if not wanting to post.
 

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Wolfnippletip
#2 Posted : 7/1/2019 3:56:27 PM

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Back in the 70's the rumor about strychnine being in LSD was that strychnine was what caused teeth grinding and involuntary muscle flexing, usually in the thighs which I now recognize is a result of vasoconstriction. Some said the strychnine was added for a stimulant effect and some said strychnine was a byproduct of shoddy synthesis.

It was all I had to go on then and made sense to my teenage self.
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Keeper Trout
#3 Posted : 7/1/2019 4:05:42 PM
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Thanks! I grew up amidst the same ideas in the 1970s.
 
DreadedShaman
#4 Posted : 7/1/2019 6:00:44 PM

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Wolfnippletip wrote:
Back in the 70's the rumor about strychnine being in LSD was that strychnine was what caused teeth grinding and involuntary muscle flexing, usually in the thighs which I now recognize is a result of vasoconstriction. Some said the strychnine was added for a stimulant effect and some said strychnine was a byproduct of shoddy synthesis.

It was all I had to go on then and made sense to my teenage self.


I have heard all of this as well, though by the time I had tried LSD there was enough research out there to point towards vasoconstriction.

I have never heard of it being a problem with other things, though I could see it having the same rumor base with MG seeds due to vasoconstriction again.
 
Keeper Trout
#5 Posted : 7/1/2019 6:03:58 PM
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Thanks for the feedback!
 
Mindlusion
#6 Posted : 7/3/2019 1:47:30 AM

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Wolfnippletip wrote:
Some said the strychnine was added for a stimulant effect and some said strychnine was a byproduct of shoddy synthesis.

It was all I had to go on then and made sense to my teenage self.


Hah! that would be something of a miracle , accidentally synthesizing strychnine from scratch. Strychnine is one of the most complex small natural products known, containing 7 different interlocking ring systems each of a different type. Due to this it's long been a target for organic chemists in natural product total synthesis, as is lysergic acid, some syntheses being more than 40 steps long and less than 1% yield.

They probably meant accidentally leaving ergotamine/lysergic amide byproducts, which can possess strychnine like effects.

Strychnine is a nerve-toxic, affecting the binding of acetylcholine, so similar to agents like sarin or VX, but different in terms of how it acts in the body. Instead binding irreversibly destroying the acetylcholinesterase receptors like the nerve gases, strychnine acts as a non-competitive antagonist of glycine receptors, preventing the inhibitory action of glycine and as a result the action potential to fire the neuron requires less neurotransmitters than it should.

The result is the same, it starts with muscle spasms as the neurons begin to fire uncontrollably, death usually results due to lack of oxygen since breathing becomes impossible.

Other symptoms that can present including seizures, hypertension, hypervigilance, and agitation. Ergotism causes convulsions as well so perhaps that is the reason, as well as fearmongering because strychnine is rightly so a terrifying poison and one well known in the public mind from it's use in literature and film.

--

I attached a picture of some crystals of strychnine hydrochloride, I used it to take a 500MHz NMR sample to collect some NMR data for practice problems. Since it is a very complex structure, it's a tough spectrum to solve and serves as a good puzzle. I keep it stored away from anything I have that is medicinal, would not want to mix this up with something else. What it really needs is a lock box.
Mindlusion attached the following image(s):
20190702_204942.jpg (4,105kb) downloaded 112 time(s).
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Keeper Trout
#7 Posted : 7/3/2019 2:44:26 AM
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Thanks for your thoughts, the pharmacology of actual strychnine I do have familiarity with but your reply is appreciated.
Strychnine did used to be used by humans for a number of things. I once had a cobalt glass pharmaceutical bottle with a paper label saying "sugar-coated strychnine granules" from back in the old patent medicine days. It got broken sadly.

I'm trying to sort out why people in more modern times came to believe their experience wrt to side-effects arising from multiple different drugs was due to strychnine.
That belief and where it originated has been puzzling me and lacking resolution for quite some time (and I have really been digging for this).
I know that many of them believed it because someone told them that but the idea had to start from someplace.

 
twitchy
#8 Posted : 7/8/2019 10:30:14 PM

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I was told at some point that they added strychnine to LSD to make it more stable or less apt to degrade with heat and light, but I never really put alot of thought into it. The vasoconstriction thing sounds reasonable though, there was always someone somewhere cooking up morning glory seeds and trying to pass it off as LSD.
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Keeper Trout
#9 Posted : 7/8/2019 10:36:06 PM
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Thanks for your input. As soon as I've got what I am working on written up I will post it.
 
downwardsfromzero
#10 Posted : 7/12/2019 12:36:16 AM

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Wolfnippletip wrote:
Back in the 70's the rumor about strychnine being in LSD was that strychnine was what caused teeth grinding and involuntary muscle flexing, usually in the thighs which I now recognize is a result of vasoconstriction. Some said the strychnine was added for a stimulant effect and some said strychnine was a byproduct of shoddy synthesis.

This outline rumour was current in the UK in the early '90s as well. A variation was that the stomach cramps were from the 'strychnine' (rather than, perhaps, staying up all night and forgetting to eat...)

twitchy wrote:
I was told at some point that they added strychnine to LSD to make it more stable or less apt to degrade with heat and light, but I never really put alot of thought into it. The vasoconstriction thing sounds reasonable though, there was always someone somewhere cooking up morning glory seeds and trying to pass it off as LSD.

One rationale for using strychnine in a chemistry context would be as a resolving agent in order to separate different optical isomers of another compound, although given that it's a basic substance it would have to be used at the lysergic acid stage for this to make any sense.
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TexasTrichocereus
#11 Posted : 7/12/2019 1:54:57 AM

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I talked to a guy not long ago that said he ingested strychnine and has to go to the hospital. I believe it was in the 70’s. The person he got it from said it was mescaline.
 
Keeper Trout
#12 Posted : 7/12/2019 3:06:51 AM
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Thanks on all of those thoughts.
There is no question that some people have deliberately used strychnine as a rather risky stimulant choice.
This was the first time I've heard of it being misrepresented as mescaline before though.
 
TexasTrichocereus
#13 Posted : 7/12/2019 3:40:24 PM

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I met him when was re doing my neighbors carpet. He saw the piles of shells and coral I had drying, then he saw some cacti, and so it took off from there.
 
Keeper Trout
#14 Posted : 7/12/2019 3:44:16 PM
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Feel free to put him in touch with me if he is open to discussing his experience.
Thanks! And thanks for your post.
 
Mindlusion
#15 Posted : 7/12/2019 3:56:05 PM

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downwardsfromzero wrote:
Wolfnippletip wrote:
Back in the 70's the rumor about strychnine being in LSD was that strychnine was what caused teeth grinding and involuntary muscle flexing, usually in the thighs which I now recognize is a result of vasoconstriction. Some said the strychnine was added for a stimulant effect and some said strychnine was a byproduct of shoddy synthesis.

This outline rumour was current in the UK in the early '90s as well. A variation was that the stomach cramps were from the 'strychnine' (rather than, perhaps, staying up all night and forgetting to eat...)

twitchy wrote:
I was told at some point that they added strychnine to LSD to make it more stable or less apt to degrade with heat and light, but I never really put alot of thought into it. The vasoconstriction thing sounds reasonable though, there was always someone somewhere cooking up morning glory seeds and trying to pass it off as LSD.

One rationale for using strychnine in a chemistry context would be as a resolving agent in order to separate different optical isomers of another compound, although given that it's a basic substance it would have to be used at the lysergic acid stage for this to make any sense.



Actually yes, that didn`t occur to me before but it is definitely possible, used as a chiral resolution agent. Usually the less toxic Brucine is used, but that is why typically brucine and strychnine are staples in old chemical laboratories. Optically inactive (-)-Strychnine (+)-lysergate, sounds expensive and dangerous.
Expect nothing, Receive everything.
"Experiment and extrapolation is the only means the organic chemists (humans) currrently have - in contrast to "God" (and possibly R. B. Woodward). "
He alone sees truly who sees the Absolute the same in every creature...seeing the same Absolute everywhere, he does not harm himself or others. - The Bhagavad Gita
"The most beautiful thing we can experience, is the mysterious. The source of all true art and science."
 
Keeper Trout
#16 Posted : 7/12/2019 4:49:14 PM
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Thanks on all of those thoughts.

It may be noteworthy that the only known incidents of strychnine+LSD showing up in analysis all fell within the time range of 1971-1972 and probably came from one individual in the northeastern USA. Two of the reports did not note the form it was in so it is not possible to know more.
I came across one of those fairly recently so more may still be lurking someplace.
One other exists which resulted in a death but that turned out to be pure strychnine and not LSD at all so it can't really be considered in the same thought.

It is the paucity of demonstrable occurrences combined with the widely held beliefs that is my primary point of puzzlement. Lots of people strongly believe it to have been common and report having experiences from a variety of substances they felt were either contaminated or otherwise contained it. For unknown reasons, Lee & Slain actually claimed it was in "most" acid; similarly that rather lamely researched book "Drugs as Weapons Against Us" recently asserted it was common.
That this is demonstrable mythology is clear (I would welcome finding any sort of evidence to the contrary and am quite open to learning that I am in error if any evidence exists) but the origins of such a strongly and widely held belief is what is presently a point of fascination and investigation for me. Since strychnine does not actually produce the effects that people typically attribute to strychnine when thinking it is in their drugs it is especially peculiar.
Thanks again.
 
 
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