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PCP is a powerful dissociative. The acronym PCP stems from its organic name 1-(1-phenylcyclohexyl) piperidine, which alludes to its relatively simple production from the arylcyclohexylamine piperidine. It is best known for stories of the strange and sometimes violent behavior of people under its influence. However, studies by the Drug Abuse Warning Network in the 1970s show that media reports of PCP-induced violence are greatly exaggerated and that incidents of violence are unusual and often (but not always) limited to individuals with reputations for aggression regardless of drug use. It has been implicated as a major cause of psychiatric decompensation and has a number of clinical syndromes described in the literature. In addition, PCP has been shown to cause significant medical morbidity and mortality. It is found in a variety of forms including crystals/powder, tablets, and liquid. Recently PCP seems to be available on the underground market most commonly in form of cannabis joints, regular cigarettes or cannabis leaf which are dipped in liquid PCP, and usually marketed as something else, seldom as 'PCP'.


Phencyclidine was first synthesized in 1926. In 1956 it was approved as an anaesthetic for animals (Sernylan), and in 1963 for humans (Sernyl) in Germany. However, due to hallucinations experienced by patients under its influence, it was already removed from the market in 1965. In 1967 PCP first appeared at music festivals in the US. Like ketamine, PCP was formerly used as a pre-induction anaesthetic and animal tranquillizer, hence it has street eponyms such as “horse tranquillizer", ”hog”, and “elephant”.


Note: 20 mg may put an individual into a comatose state, and 70 mg may induce seizures.

{{#tdose: pcp }}


Onset 2-20 minutes
Duration 4-6 hours
After-effects Up to 24 hours


Behavioural effects can vary by dosage. Low doses produce a numbness in the extremities and intoxication, characterised by staggering, unsteady gait, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and loss of balance. Moderate doses (5–10 mg intranasal, or 0.01–0.02 mg/kg intramuscular or intravenous) will produce analgesia and anaesthesia. High doses may lead to convulsions. Users frequently do not know how much of the drug they are taking due to its potency and tendency of the drug to be made illegally in uncontrolled conditions.

Psychological effects include severe changes in body image, loss of ego boundaries, paranoia and depersonalization. Hallucinations, euphoria, and suicidal impulses are also reported, as well as occasional aggressive behavior. Like many other drugs, phencyclidine has been known to alter mood states in an unpredictable fashion, causing some individuals to become detached, and others to become animated. PCP may induce feelings of strength, power, and invulnerability as well as a numbing effect on the mind.


  • Increase in energy
  • Euphoria
  • Pleasant mental and/or body high
  • Disconnected thoughts
  • Sense of calm
  • Increased sociability, loss of inhibitions
  • Closed- and open-eye visuals
  • Shifts in perception of reality
  • Improvement in charisma
  • Can improve depression


  • Increased salivation
  • Change in body temperature regulation, sweating
  • Increased heart rate (lower doses)
  • Altered time perception
  • Disrupted speech patterns
  • Analgesia (decreased pain awareness) and numbness
  • Feelings of invulnerability
  • Distorted sensory perceptions, hallucinations
  • Unusual and unpredictable behavior
  • Mild to moderate dissociation (common)
  • Confusion, disorientation (common)
  • Nystagmus (rhythmic eye movement)


  • Disturbing hallucinations and/or delusions
  • Severe anxiety, paranoia
  • Severe dissociation, depersonalization
  • Ataxia (loss of motor coordination)
  • Severe confusion, disorganised thinking
  • Psychotic episodes
  • Physical aggression
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Temporary amnesia
  • Severe distortion or loss of auditory/visual perception
  • Decreased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration (high doses)
  • Seizures (high doses)
  • Hangover including dizziness, numbness and lethargy; may last 24 hours or more
  • Coma (high doses, increased risk when combined with depressants)
  • Possible neurotoxicity (controversial)
  • Increase in body temperature, leading to dehydration and users to remove clothes
  • Potential for violence or unpredictable behavior

Harm Reduction

If you think you are overdosing on PCP, please seek emergency medical attention immediately.

  • At an Emergency Room. , Doctors usually provide a benzodiazepine or Phenobarbital and between 1-10mg Haloperidol (anti-psychotic) to combat PCP overdoses and violent or unpredictable behavior.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery.
  • Avoid walking or moving in general if possible.
  • Always experiment with drugs with a sober friend in a safe place. Start low, increase until the desired effect.
  • A full stomach may lead to nausea; consider fasting 3-4+ hours before usage.

See Dissociative Harm Reduction for general information.


  • Alchohol
  • Benzodiazepines


  • Acts as a Central Nervous System depressant. Interacts negatively with the above potentiators

Chemistry and Pharmacology

In chemical structure, PCP is an arylcyclohexylamine derivative, and, in pharmacology, it is a member of the family of dissociative anaesthetics. PCP works primarily as a NMDA receptor antagonist, which blocks the activity of the NMDA receptor and, like most anti-glutamatergic hallucinogens, is significantly more dangerous than other categories of hallucinogens.

The clinical picture may wax and wane between extreme agitation and sedation because PCP can produce CNS stimulation and depression through its different clinical effects in the CNS. With increasing concentrations, the drug binds to NMDA receptors, acts as a monoamine reuptake inhibitor, stimulates σ-opioid receptors, as well as nicotinic, muscarinic and GABA receptors.

There are more than 125 known derivates of PCP.

Legal status

PCP is Schedule II in the United States. This means it is illegal to sell without a DEA license and illegal to buy or possess without a license or prescription.

It is also banned in the UK, Germany, Poland, Canada and New Zealand.



Olney's lesions


Use of haloperidol in PCP-intoxicated individuals.

Phencyclidine Intoxication and Adverse Effects: A Clinical and Pharmacological Review of an Illicit Drug