The deliriants (or anticholinergics) are a special class of acetylcholine-inhibitor dissociatives. The name comes from their primary effect of inducing a medical state of frank delirium, characterized by stupor, utter confusion, confabulation, and regression to "phantom" behaviors such as disrobing and plucking. Other commonly reported behaviors include holding full and lifelike conversations with imagined people, finishing a complex, multi-stage action (such as getting dressed) and then suddenly discovering you had not even begun yet, and being unable to recognize one's own reflection in a mirror (and thus becoming angry with the "stranger's" acts of mimicry). The effects have been likened to sleepwalking, a fugue state or a psychotic episode (particularly in that the subject has minimal control over their actions and little to no recall of the experience). This is a notable departure from typical hallucinogens.
Included in this group are such Solanaceae plants as deadly nightshade, mandrake, henbane and datura (containing tropane alkaloids sometimes referred to as the Belladonna alkaloids), as well as a number of pharmaceutical drugs such as the antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and the antiemetics dimenhydrinate (Dramamine or Gravol) and scopolamine. The chemical warfare agent BZ (3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate) is a highly-potent anticholinergic military incapacitating agent.
Despite the fully-legal status of several common deliriant plants, deliriants are largely unpopular as recreational drugs due to the severe and unpleasant nature of their disassociative effects. User reports of recreational deleriant usage on Erowid generally indicate a firm unwillingness to repeat the experience. In addition to their potentially-dangerous mental effects, many tropane alkaloids (such as scopolamine and atropine) are highly poisonous and can cause death due to tachycardia-induced heart failure and hyperthermia even in small doses. Other physical effects include intense and painful drying of the eyes and mucous membranes, as well as a pronounced dilation of the pupils which can last for several days resulting in sensitivity to light, blurry vision and inability to read.
Pharmacological classes of deliriants, and their general subjective effects
Entries marked with a # are naturally occurring
Disubstituted glycolic acid esters
- Dissociative drug
- Psychedelics, Dissociatives and Deliriants
- Psychoactive drug