Phencyclidine (PCP, Angel Dust) is a synthetic dissociative drug
formerly used as an anesthetic. It is an N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist and can cause hallucinations, euphoria
, paranoia, and suicidal impulses. It can be smoked, orally ingested, insufflated, intravenously injected, added as eye drops, or transdermally
absorbed. While not known to be physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive.
[top]Introduction to Phencyclidine
Phencyclidine is a synthetic dissociative drug formerly used in humans as a surgical anesthetic. First used in 1953, its use was soon discontinued due to its side effects
and lengthy elimination time in humans. It was also used as a veterinary anesthetic, but use in this field also soon plummeted. There is still some production for research purposes and rare veterinary use, but the majority of phencyclidine today is produced illegally. It is an N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist and can produce impaired motor functions, analgesia, anesthesia, hallucinations, euphoria, paranoia, dissociation, suicidal impulses, and aggressive behavior.
[top]Ways of administration
Phencyclidine can be administered through smoking, insufflation
, oral ingestion, intravenous injection
, added as eye drops, or transdermal absorption
. Its most common route of administration is likely smoking. Often times, Marijuana
joints or tobacco
cigarettes will be dipped in PCP liquid and then smoked. It can also be taken in the form of oral capsules.
[top]Effects of Phencyclidine
At low doses, phencyclidine can cause physical effects including numbness of the extremities, impaired motor functions, and bloodshot eyes. At moderate doses, it can produce analgesia and anesthesia. At high doses, it can cause convulsions. Depending on dose, mental effects of phencyclidine can include varying levels of hallucination, euphoria, paranoia, dissociation, suicidal impulses, and aggressive behavior.
Phencyclidine has a notorious public reputation for the aggressive behavior it can induce. While this reputation has been greatly exaggerated by the media, there are documented cases of people under the influence of phencyclidine committing bizarre and horrific acts.
[top]Combinations with Phencyclidine
Due to possible sedative effects of phencyclidine, combination with other depressants
, such as alcohol
, or benzodiazepines, can cause coma.
[top]Different Uses for Phencyclidine
Phencyclidine was at one time used as an anesthetic for surgery in humans. This use has since been discontinued. Phencyclidine has also been used as a veterinary anesthetic.
[top]Pharmacology of Phencyclidine
PCP behaves as an uncompetitive N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) Receptor antagonist. PCP acts by binding within the channel of the NMDA-receptor complex. This blocks calcium and sodium ions from entering the cell while preventing potassium ions from leaving the cell. This then prevents the neuron from firing.
LD50 (mg/kg) (as the hydrochloride)  :
Mice : 76.5 orally
[top]Chemistry of Phencyclidine
|Systematic (IUPAC) name:||1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine|
|Synonyms:||angel dust, HOG, PCP, CI-395; Sernyl, Sernylan (hydrochloride)|
|Molecular Formula:||C17H25N, C17H25N.HCl (hydrochloride), C17H25N.HBr (hydrobromide)|
|Molar mass:||243.39 g/mol, 279.85 g/mol (hydrochloride), 324.30 g/mol (hydrobromide)|
|CAS Registry Number:||77-10-1, 956-90-1 (hydrochloride)|
|Melting Point:||46-46.5 °C, 233-235°C (hydrochloride), 214-218°C (hydrobromide)|
|Boiling Point:||135-137°C @ 1.0 mmHg|
|Flash Point:||no data|
|Notes:||freebase aspect : colorless crystals. Hydrochloride crystallized from isopropanol|
Phencyclidine's full chemical name is 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine and is in the chemical class, arylcycloalkylamine. Phencyclidine has more than 30 different analogues, some of which are themselves sold as PCP or by another name; however, true PCP is the aforementioned chemical compound. As a lipophilic weak base, phencyclidine's renal clearance is highly dependent on urine pH.
[top]The dangers of Phencyclidine
PCP abuse can lead to psychological addiction
and cessation of use can lead to withdrawal
symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can include depression, fatigue, and physical distress. Extended periods of use can lead to memory loss, difficulty speaking, lowered cognition, depression, and weight loss.
At high doses, phencyclidine can cause serious health risks including coma, seizures, hyperthermia
, intracranial hemorrhage, apnea, and acute rhabdomyolysis
(often resulting in myoglobinuria and acute renal failure). Direct depression of myocardial contractility and decreased peripheral vascular resistance may cause hypotension and circulatory collapse.
PCP has been in the systems of many people who have committed violent and horrific acts. While it is debatable how much of a role phencyclidine had to play in it, this is a risk.
[top]Forms of Phencyclidine
There are over 30 different analogues of phencyclidine, all with varying degrees of effect and types of phencyclidine-like effects. However, the only true phencyclidine is 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl)piperidine. This can come in liquid, powder, or tablet form.
[top]Legal status of Phencyclidine
Phencyclidine (PCP) is a controlled substance 21 CFR 1308.12
Psychotropics Schedule II
CDSA Schedule I
Part I Class A Section
CSA Schedule II
[top]History of Phencyclidine
Phencyclidine was first synthesized in 1926 and developed by Parke, Davis and Company under the trade name Sernyl for use in humans. It was favored for its ability to not only provide anesthetic and analgesic effects, but to also give the recipient a sense of calm and serenity. Thus, its trade name was based off of the word "serenity." By the 1950s phencyclidine had made it to public use in humans and soon as a veterinary medicine. However by 1965, use in humans was discontinued after studies revealed patients had severe side effects. Use by veterinarians also soon declined.
Today, use in veterinary care is rare. The majority of phencyclidine is created illegally and often contains impurities. While some phencyclidine is still produced legally for research, phencyclidine is a heavily watched drug in most major countries and is on several controlled substance lists.
[top]Popularity of phencyclidine over time
[top]More Phencyclidine Sections
[top]Associated Slang Terminology
Slang names for phencyclidine include: amp, angel dust, boat, dipper, dust, elephant, embalming fluid, formaldehyde, fry, hog, ozone, peace pill, PCP, rocket fuel, sherm, super kools, TicTac, tranq, water, wet.
Using PCP can be called, "getting wet."
The name "embalming fluid" or "formaldehyde" has led some users to believe that this chemical is somehow actually involved with PCP or an option for recreational use. Consumption of formaldehyde can be lethal to humans. Users are advised to ensure their product doesn't actually contain formaldehyde.
[top]The latest Phencyclidine threads
Merck Index, fifteenth edition (2013)
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