‘I’d like to compliment you on the shape of your skull’: coffee can be a hallucinogen

In the early 1990s, I worked with a guy who said, “When I retire, I’m going to have a front porch with a couple of huge amps, my electric guitar, play Jimi Hendrix, and do a lot of hallucinogens.”

But I recall he drank a lot of coffee. And researchers at Durham University in the U.K. announced yesterday in the journal, Personality and Individual Differences, that high caffeine consumption could be linked to a greater tendency to hallucinate.

People with a higher caffeine intake, from sources such as coffee, tea and caffeinated energy drinks, are more likely to report hallucinatory experiences such as hearing voices and seeing things that are not there, according to the Durham University study.

‘High caffeine users’ – those who consumed more than the equivalent of seven cups of instant coffee a day – were three times more likely to have heard a person’s voice when there was no one there compared with ‘low caffeine users’ who consumed less than the equivalent of one cup of instant coffee a day.

In the study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council, 200 students were asked about their typical intake of caffeine containing products, such as coffee, tea and energy drinks as well as chocolate bars and caffeine tablets. Their proneness to hallucinatory experiences, and their stress levels, were also assessed. Seeing things that were not there, hearing voices, and sensing the presence of dead people were amongst the experiences reported by some of the participants.

Maybe people who do a lot of acid or ‘shrooms drink a lot of coffee and eat a bunch of chocolate.


Hallucinogenic chocolates doom Berlin sweet shop

In a scene seemingly straight out of the TV show, Weeds, Reuters reports that police closed down a Berlin sweet shop after discovering the owner was selling chocolates and lollipops laced with hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

The 23-year old owner of the shop in the trendy east Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, an area known for its vibrant night life, was taken into custody on suspicion of drug-dealing.

"In the shop we found 120 pieces of magic mushroom chocolate and countless cannabis lollipops," said police, who confiscated around 70 sachets containing various drugs, about 20 marijuana joints, a range of pills and some jars of drug-laced honey.

Typo in food magazine recipe poisons Swedes

Ten thousand copies of a food magazine were recalled in Sweden last month after a mistake in one of its recipes left four people poisoned.

Matmagasinet’s chief editor Ulla Cocke told AFP,

"There was a mistake in a recipe for apple cake. Instead of calling for two pinches of nutmeg it said 20 nutmeg nuts were needed.”

When Matmagasinet first discovered the mistake it immediately sent out letters to its 50,000 subscribers and placed a leaflet inside the copies sold in the store, cautioning that "high doses of nutmeg can cause poisoning symptoms."

"We publish 1,200 recipes each year, and of course there have been times when they’ve had a bit too much butter or too little flour, but we have never experienced anything like this before,"
Cocke said.

In large doses, nutmeg is a mild hallucinogen