All About Natural Drugs—Very Not Safe Organic Substances

Natural Drugs

There is this very common, very dangerous misconception on the drug use scene, that drugs which occur naturally (i.e. organic drugs) are okay, safe, or are in some way “acceptable” to use.

This is a misconception, and a dangerous one at that, because natural drugs are very dangerous. And we are not only speaking of the obvious danger from heroin and cocaine, two drugs that are not that far removed from their natural form. We are speaking of the very real danger from entirely plant-based drugs that drug dealers will try and sell as being “safe” drugs.

The Difference Between Processed Drugs and Natural Drugs

Let’s take another look at this. With heroin and cocaine, yes they come from plants originally, heroin from the opium poppy plant and cocaine from the coca plant, but both of these plants receive a great deal of processing before they can be used as mind-altering substances to get high off of. So they aren’t really man-made drugs, but they aren’t really natural drugs either. They are more of a hybrid.

Then there are of course entirely man-made, synthetic drugs. These are substances like methamphetamine, LSD, and pharmaceutical drugs. While such substances may have once had a basis in a plant or a naturally occurring substance, such drugs are now produced entirely synthetically (meaning without the help of plant products, entirely man-made).

The misconception that we seek to debunk in these paragraphs is the one on purely organic drugs, substances that receive almost no alteration from their natural form before they are consumed. It is these drugs that so many individuals in the drug culture will try to convince you are “safe to use” and it is these drugs that you definitely do not want to experiment with.

Few drug users will attempt to sell you on the idea that heroin and cocaine are safe because they are natural. However, drug users will try to sell you on the idea that Psilocybin, Cannabis, Angel's Trumpets, Datura Plants, Hawaiian Babies, Peyote, Kratom, Salvia, Ayahuasca, Betel Nut, and other such substances are, “Perfectly safe to use because they’re plant-based drugs.” We’re going to debunk this myth, once and for all.

Ten Fully Organic Drugs and Their Very Real Risks

There’s a lot of information on drugs out there, and with millions of Americans participating in the drug culture, there is no doubt that some of that information is going to be false. The argument that, “It’s a natural, plant-based drug, it must be safe!” is one of the oldest in the book. We’ll go over ten of the most common, plant-based drugs below, and show the risks of using each one of them:

Psilocybin mushrooms.

1. Psilocybin. Psilocybin is the active ingredient found in about two-hundred different species of mushrooms. However, a good percentage of mushrooms that have psilocybin in them are also poisonous. And of the ones that have psilocybin in them but which aren’t poisonous to humans, these plants still cause mass panic, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and a great deal of other, uncomfortable sensations. Seems like a great deal of discomfort to go through just to get a hallucination. It might be more enjoyable (and a whole lot safer) just to watch an action movie at the cinema in 3D.

2. Cannabis. Cannabis is the plant from which marijuana is made. Not all cannabis plants contain THC, a psychoactive chemical, but the ones that do can get users high when it is smoked or consumed. However, this comes with negative side effects, such as lethargy, a drop in IQ, memory loss, slowed reaction time, anxiety, etc. Cannabis is also one of the most prominent gateway drugs used in the United States.

3. Angel’s Trumpets. Angel’s Trumpets are a flowering plant that contains alkaloids. Alkaloids cause the heart rate to increase and the mind to go into hallucinations. However, this plant can be lethal, as users never know how much to take without taking too much. Deadly accidents with such plants are not uncommon.

4. Datura Plants. Similar to Angel’s Trumpets, Datura is another plant that is sold as a hallucinogen, but which is poisonous for human consumption. In addition to the drug’s poisonous effect, the drug can also cause people to completely lose touch with reality, a mental condition which leads to other negative side effects.

Hawaiian Babies
Hawaiian Babies.

5. Hawaiian Babies. Sounds like an innocent plant, right? Not so. Hawaiian Babies, also called Argyreia Nervosa, are the seed pods of a climbing vine native to Asia. The plant causes hallucinations, but they also cause nausea, prickling skin, and psychoses. One can overdose on them quite easily too.

6. Peyote. Peyote cactus plants are chock-full of mescaline, a hallucinogenic compound. Peyote cactus plants grow in the U.S., but it is illegal to consume them, per the international Convention on Psychotropic Substances. They can be addictive, and they cause hallucinations and a loss of sense and time.

7. Kratom. There is currently an argument in the U.S. over the integrity of kratom or the lack there-of. Kratom is thought by some to be the “natural pain reliever,” the drug that people can use to alleviate pain without having to turn to pharmaceuticals. But Kratom has its own negative side effects, much like opioid pharmaceuticals do.

8. Salvia. Salvia comes from the herb family, but this is no ordinary herb. Salvia produces hallucinations by activating specific nerve cell receptors. While the drug does not contain substances that could cause chemical dependence, users can become addicted to the mental and spiritual effects of the drug.

9. Ayahuasca. Another natural drug that is touted as being spiritually fulfilling, Ayahuasca refers to a South American vine that is harvested and made into a drink of the same name. But what drug dealers and pushers will not discuss is the fact that those who use Ayahuasca are just as likely to have a bad experience with it, and some have even died from consuming too much of it. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common side effects.

Betel Nut
Betel Nut.

10. Betel Nut. Though it is relatively new in the U.S., about one-tenth of the world’s population consumes the Betel Nut. It is the fourth most common psychoactive drug in the world, following behind nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. This plant is most commonly found in Sri Lanka, India, and Southeast Asia. The plant produces hallucinogenic effects, but it has also been tied to serious health problems such as esophageal cancer, oral cancer, and other health concerns.

We can clearly see that organic, plant-based drugs are not the “risk-free” substances that we are told they are.

The Importance of Living a Sober, Drug-Free Life

We can’t promote the value of living a drug-free life enough. Whatever “enjoyment” people get out of drug use never outweighs the risks and the negative implications of such drug use. We can have even better experiences from living a life of sobriety and abstinence than we could ever hope to garner from whatever trumped-up highs we might get from drug use.

People have been using drugs and experiencing the negative implications of such drug use for thousands of years. But that doesn’t mean that you have to follow in their footsteps.


Clinical Review by Claire Pinelli, LADC, CCS, ICAADC, MCAP



After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.