What Is PCP (Phencyclidine)? | Uses, Effects, Warning Signs, & Risks

PCP is a volatile hallucinogenic drug that has no medical uses. The side effects of PCP use can be severe and include aggression, psychosis, and seizures.

Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP or angel dust, is a hallucinogenic drug that can change your perception and mood.

Desirable effects of PCP may include feelings of superhuman strength, euphoria, clear thinking, and experiencing sensations that are not there. Negative side effects of PCP may include paranoia, impairment, vomiting, seizures, and even death.

PCP has no approved medical uses, and is solely an illicit drug for recreational use. PCP is classified as a Schedule II drug with a high potential for substance abuse and long-term health risks.

Illicit Use Of PCP

PCP sees widespread illicit drug use due to its dissociative, hallucinogenic, and psychological effects.

As a street drug, phencyclidine may be sold as a white crystalline powder, a tablet, or a capsule containing clear liquid. These forms of the drug may be snorted through the nose, swallowed, injected, or smoked.

Street names for PCP include angel dust, rocket fuel, ozone, wack, and hog. PCP can also be combined with oregano and marijuana under the names supergrass and killer joints.

Former Legal Uses Of PCP

PCP was developed and introduced in the 1950s as a medical anesthetic for humans and animals. It saw legal use for a short period of time, before it was discontinued due to prevalent and serious adverse effects.

Today, there are no approved or medical uses for PCP. Snorting, smoking, or ingesting PCP are forms of drug abuse.

Effects Of PCP Use

PCP’s effects can be both mind-altering and physical, and may include:

  • sensory hallucinations
  • analgesia (pain relief)
  • dissociative effects (a detachment from reality)
  • loss of coordination
  • feelings of invulnerability
  • psychosis
  • increased heart rate
  • increased body temperature
  • increased blood pressure

These effects can occur even in moderate doses. Higher doses may result in more intense, severe side effects.

Warning Signs Of PCP Abuse

Illicit use of PCP can have visible signs to family members or loved ones. If you suspect a person close to you may be abusing phencyclidine, there will likely be signs of abuse.

Common signs of PCP abuse include:

  • rapid mood changes
  • rapid, involuntary eye movements
  • a blank stare
  • memory loss
  • constant exhaustion or tiredness
  • significant weight loss

Risks Of PCP Use

As an illegal drug, PCP products are likely unregulated. It can be difficult to tell the amount of PCP you are ingesting with each tablet or powder. PCP can also be mixed with other drugs without the buyer knowing, which can cause harmful side effects.

PCP Overdose

High doses of PCP can result in a drug overdose.

During a PCP overdose, a victim’s body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate may increase to life-threatening levels. Kidney failure has also been reported in overdose victims.

These effects may be accompanied by visible signs such as:

  • muscle rigidity
  • seizures
  • convulsions
  • coma

If you see these signs in a loved one, get help immediately.

Substance Use Disorder

Long-term use of PCP can negatively affect your health and daily life. The health effects of PCP can also make it difficult to quit. Withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, agitation, and psychosis have been reported in patients who attempt to stop taking PCP.

Patients who are looking to reduce or stop their use of PCP may benefit from professional help. An addiction treatment program can offer various mental health services and withdrawal management to improve a patient’s recovery outlook.

Get Help For A Substance Use Disorder

To find out if our outpatient substance abuse treatment program works for you or your loved one, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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