From Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW
News agencies report that teens are snorting, smoking, drinking and eating large amounts of nutmeg, a spice traditionally used for holiday baking, in an effort to get high.
During this season of joy an increasing number of YouTube videos were posted by teens showing their abuse of nutmeg in an attempt to alter how they feel. Amongst some troubled teens this spice is being described as an inexpensive, easy and legal way to ‘get a buzz.’
The Facts About Getting High on Nutmeg
Teens are trying it. Does it work?
Here are the facts:
- Myristicin is a compound occurring naturally in nutmeg that has mind-altering effects such as hallucinations or a sense of euphoria.
- To achieve these effects, large amounts have to be ingested.
- The effects take awhile to kick in so often teens think they haven’t taken enough and continue to ingest the spice.
- According to the Poison Control Centers the side effects of ingesting nutmeg are substantial to include convulsions, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting, dehydration, dizziness, drowsiness and depression.
- The physiological effects of ingesting nutmeg, or doing so over a period of time, haven't been studied but likely include increased blood pressure and heart rate, blurred vision or respiratory problems.
Why Abusing Nutmeg is a Problem
Joy isn't found in a bottle of nutmeg. Here are some of the more chilling aspects of this unusual way for a teen to spend the holiday season, or anytime:
- A teen who thinks it’s a good idea to put large quantities of a toxic substance into their body may be acting out deeper problems or issues.
- Abusing nutmeg is no different than abusing alcohol or any illegal drug.
- A teen who abuses nutmeg risks doing permanent damage to their body and mind.
- Teens who experiment with nutmeg to feel differently may be self-medicating.
- Especially during the holiday season, a teen trying to alter their mood may suffer fromdepression, and abusing nutmeg can make depression even worse.
Clearly this is a potent substance in large doses. Teens who experiment with nutmeg face potentially life-threatening consequences, and may be struggling with serious underlying problems that need to be addressed.