Drug of the Week: Sarpa Salpa

So, you’ve got a brain but you’re not, like, super-totally attached to it always working one hundred percent of the time? Well, good news! Modern drug-mongers have discovered all kinds of creative ways to erode your mind and body. Each week we’ll cover a new, potentially disgusting and dangerous way to make your mind go all funny in our series “Drug of the Week.”

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This Week’s Drug: Sarpa Salpa     Medical Risk: 7     Hallucinatory Effect: 8

These adorable fish are normally harmless, and you might find them on the menu at classy Mediterranean restaurants. But if you feed them a certain kind of algae (the theory goes), then eating the fish will produce psychotropic effects. Nobody’s exactly sure what the mechanism is for producing this effect, but it comes on within minutes of your meal and lasts a day and a half. So watch out.

The hallucinatory effect has been described as “nightmarish” with sounds of shrieking birds and visions of large bugs that can last 36 hours or more. Plus, the fish can also be toxic causing painful vomiting, explosive diarrhea and even permanent neurophysiological and psychological damage.

If tripping on cold-blooded creatures is your things, also check out the Colorado River Toad, which produces a poison that can give you hallucinations if eaten. You can smoke the chemical that the toad excretes, producing euphoria. But please don’t — the species is threatened and endangered in several states, and the last thing those delicate ecosystems need are a bunch of idiots wandering around squeezing every frog they find.

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Featured image by Charis Tsevis