PCP, also known as phencyclidine, is a very strong hallucinogen with dissociative properties that affects the senses and the perception of reality. It was first created as an anesthetic (painkiller) for surgery. However, it was quickly removed from the market due to the dangers it presented. Production of this drug is now limited to clandestine labs. Less and less PCP is being found in the lab analyses of drugs seized on the street in Québec. PCP is often wrongly sold under the name of mescaline.
A dose of PCP may contain:
- Pure PCP
- PCP cut with other products
- Everything else but PCP
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PCP is often sold under other names.
Its appearance varies as it can be present in a large number of drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy) and ketamine.
Effects of PCP (Phencyclidine)
PCP reduces or completely alleviates pain and sensitivity in the entire body. The effect is similar to that of general anaesthesia.
It also produces a dissociative effect, that is, it can cause dissociation between the body and the mind where, at low doses, the person is aware of what is happening, but does not feel physically or emotionally involved. They see themselves as an observer of their own actions. PCP also tends to cause antisocial and violent behaviour.
Risks Associated with PCP (Phencyclidine) and Possible Consequences
PCP is one of the most dangerous drugs in existence. Varying and sporadic intoxication from PCP for days, weeks and even months after last use have been documented in people who abuse PCP. It can cause permanent physical and psychological damage.
For example, PCP can:
- Alter the body’s natural reflexes, such as the beating of the heart (the heart can even lose the reflex to beat)
- Cause irreparable brain damage
- Produce aggressive, impulsive and violent behaviour
- Impair short- and long-term memory
- Lead to psychological disorders (anxiety, panic attack, depression, psychosis) or suicide, in the case of regular use and as a result of an overdose
Using PCP can lead to a psychological dependence, which means that the user needs to take the drug more often in order to feel better about himself or herself, relax, calm down, feel stimulated or have the courage to face problems.
To learn more, read the Addiction section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.
Last update: July 26, 2018