Addiction Drug Use Hallucinogens The Effects of Taking Various Doses of PCP By Buddy T Buddy T Facebook Twitter Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 27, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by David Susman, PhD Medically reviewed by David Susman, PhD David Susman, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist with experience providing treatment to individuals with mental illness and substance use concerns. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Frederic Cirou / Getty Images Originally developed in the 1950s as an intravenous surgical anesthetic, PCP is in a class known as dissociative drugs. The drug was used in veterinary medicine but was discontinued for use in humans due to its side-effects. The drug became a drug of abuse in the 1960s when it appeared in pill form and in the 1970s when it came available in powdered form. A common practice was to sprinkle powdered PCP on marijuana joints and smoke it, but it can also be snorted or in pill form swallowed. The onset of its sedative and anesthetic effects are rapid. Users report having a trance-like experience or a feeling of being "out of body" or detached from their environment. Users can experience shallow breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate and elevated body temperature. Effects of Dissociative Drugs, Including PCP Here is a list of effects of dissociative drugs in general: Low to Moderate Doses Numbness Loss of coordination Disorientation Confusion Dizziness Nausea and vomiting Changes in sensory perceptions Hallucinations Feelings of detachment from the self and the environment Increase in blood pressure Increased heart rate Rapid respiration rate Increased body temperature Higher Doses Hallucinations Memory loss Physical distress Marked psychological distress Extreme panic or fear Anxiety Paranoia Invulnerability Exaggerated strength Aggression In addition to the general effects noted above, PCP users can become extremely aggressive or violent and can experience psychotic symptoms similar to schizophrenia. When PCP is used with high doses of alcohol or other depressants it can lead to respiratory distress or arrest, resulting in death. The effects of PCP are unpredictable and can vary widely from user to user. In some users, it can cause muscle contractions that can produce uncoordinated movements and bizarre postures. These contractions can become so extreme they can result in muscle breakdown leading to kidney damage. Very high doses of PCP can cause convulsions, coma, elevated body temperature, and death, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse research. The Decline in PCP Popularity These extreme side-effects are the main reason that PCP has gained a bad reputation even among the most adventurous drug users. Consequently, the prevalence of PCP use in the U.S. has declined drastically in the last 20 years. Long-Term Effects of PCP Unfortunately, there has been very little research into the long-term effects of PCP and other dissociative drugs, therefore, the full extent of using PCP over a long period of time is not completely understood. Some researchers have reported the following long-term effects: Memory lossSpeech difficultiesDepressionAnxietySocial withdrawalSuicidal thoughts If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. There is some scientific evidence that some of the above long-term effects can persist for a year or more after users stop doing dissociative drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some users develop a tolerance for dissociative drugs, meaning it requires more of the drug to produce the same effects. Long-time users of dissociative drugs have reported withdrawal symptoms when they quit using, including headaches, sweating, and craving for the drug. In some cases, withdrawal can be life-threatening and require medical supervision. Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs. Research Report Series. The Partnership at DrugFree.org. PCP. Drug Guide. By Buddy T Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Get Treatment for Addiction Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.