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jimson weed seeds overdose

Jimson weed (Datura stramonium, a member of the Belladonna alkyloid family) is a plant growing naturally in West Virginia and has been used as a home remedy since colonial times. Due to its easy availability and strong anticholinergic properties, teens are using Jimson weed as a drug. Plant parts can be brewed as a tea or chewed, and seed pods, commonly known as “pods” or “thorn apples,” can be eaten. Side effects from ingesting jimson weed include tachycardia, dry mouth, dilated pupils, blurred vision, hallucinations, confusion, combative behavior, and difficulty urinating. Severe toxicity has been associated with coma and seizures, although death is rare. Treatment consists of activated charcoal and gastric lavage. Esmolol or other beta-blocker may be indicated to reduce severe sinus tachycardia. Seizures, severe hypertension, severe hallucinations, and life-threatening arrhythmias are indicators for the use of the anticholinesterase inhibitor, Physostigmine. This article reviews the cases of nine teenagers who were treated in hospitals in the Kanawha Valley after ingesting jimson weed. We hope this article will help alert primary care physicians about the abuse of jimson weed and inform health officials about the need to educate teens about the dangers of this plant.

Charpin, D., Orehek, J., and Velardocchio, J. M. Bronchodilator effects of antiasthmatic cigarette smoke (Datura stramonium). Thorax 1979;34(2):259-261. View abstract.

Some people use it as a recreational drug to cause hallucinations and a heightened sense of well-being (euphoria).

Uses & Effectiveness

Tiongson, J. and Salen, P. Mass ingestion of Jimson Weed by eleven teenagers. Del.Med.J 1998;70(11):471-476. View abstract.

Gdyra, D. and Zweglinska-Pioro, A. [Datura stramonium poisoning]. Pol.Tyg.Lek. 5-18-1970;25(20):733-735. View abstract.

Dominguez, Fuentes B., Asencio, Mendez C., Garcia, Gil D., and Jimenez, Gomez R. [Hallucinations and agitation in a meeting of adolescents]. Rev.Clin.Esp. 2008;208(1):58-59. View abstract.