Morning Glory Seeds: Are They Legal and Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
Considering their widespread availability, it may be surprising to know then that morning glory seeds contain a chemical psychoactive substance known as ergine.
Are Morning Glory Seeds Being Used to Get High?
Morning glories are beautiful and hearty plants that grow well in virtually every environment, and their resilience makes them easy for even beginning gardeners to grow. They come in a wide variety of colors and are often seen growing along the side of the road or climbing gates. However, research shows that morning glory seeds contain a chemical psychoactive substance known as ergine. This chemical compound is also known as LSA, and when the seeds are ingested, they produce similar effects to LSD although the side effects are more severe.1
In recent years there has been a sudden uptick in the number of cases that have involved the abuse of morning glory seeds. Because the seeds are commercially sold as there is no limit or regulation on them, it is very easy for anyone to buy them.2
Chewing Morning Glory Seeds
While there are a number of ways to ingest morning glory seeds such as brewing them into a tea or creating a tincture, but by far the most common method of ingestion is chewing the seeds.
Chewing morning glory seeds is the most direct and efficient way to quickly ingest the LSA contained within them, and this is the method that is most commonly used among teenagers.
Unfortunately, chewing morning glory seeds is an extremely imprecise method of drug use and it can be difficult to know the exact amount of LSA that is being consumed. Because of this fact, consuming these seeds is not recommended, and it has often led to incidents of people being hospitalized due to unwanted and unintended side effects.
The legality surrounding morning glory seeds is ambiguous at best. Although it is completely legal to purchase, own, and grow the plant (with the exception of AZ, LA, and TN), it is illegal to extract the LSA chemical from those seeds.
What is LSD?
LSD is a synthetic drug that is a fast-acting hallucinogen that is more commonly known as “acid.” It was an extremely popular recreational drug in the ‘70s that is still sometimes used today although with less prevalence.
LSD users typically refer to ingesting microdoses of the drug as “acid tripping.” These “acid trips” come with a variety of side effects both positive and negative.
Positive LSD Effects
The positive effects include:
- Hallucinations (in some instances)
- Intense sensory experiences
- Time distortion
- Intensely spiritual experiences
For some, these positive side effects are embraced as an unhealthy coping mechanism for a variety of emotional disorders and psychological trauma. For some people, the promise of getting high, whether through legal or illicit means, can be preferable to reality regardless of the potential dangers.
Negative LSD Effects
These dangers and side effects include:
- Blurry vision
- Dry mouth or excess salivation
- Weakness in limbs
- Rapid mood shifts
- Severe anxiety
- Bouts of violence toward oneself and others
- Severe agitation
Recently, LSD has been one of the previously illicit drugs, along with ketamine, psilocybin, and cannabinoids, that have been considered as a potential treatment for PTSD.3
While studies are still being done to determine if any of these options will be viable for long-term treatment, researchers are optimistic that they will be able to treat emotional trauma and psychological trauma with these drugs.
ACE Test / ACE Scores
The ACE test (Adverse Childhood Experiences test) was developed in the 1990s as an attempt to measure how traumatic childhood experiences impacted a person later on in life. The ACE test consists of ten questions, and it is scored as one point for each question.
The higher that a person’s ACE score is, the higher their likelihood is of having severe physical and mental health problems later in life. This issue is believed to be due to the link between childhood abuse and neglect and a lifelong difficulty in regulating emotions and behaviors.
Those with high a high ACE score tend to be statistically more likely to have a focus on getting high and abusing drugs in later life.
What is LSA?
LSA is a naturally occurring substance that is found in morning glory seeds, and it has been used since as early as the Mayan civilization to induce visions and hallucinatory states. While this substance is similar in chemical composition to LSD, it produces a very different high.
Whereas LSD tends to produce a more energetic and stimulating hallucinogenic state, LSA creates a more dreamlike, sedative state. In addition, with enough LSA in a short period of time, the effect can be nearly catatonic.
Less potent than LSD
LSA is significantly less potent of a substance than LSD, particularly due to the difference in quantity that is required to feel any effects. Whereas LSD only requires an extremely small microdose for the hallucinogenic effects to be felt, it can take hundreds of morning glory seeds to produce even a fraction of the same effect with LSA.
Side Effects of Morning Glory Seeds
Although it may be tempting to ingest morning glory seeds for their hallucinogenic properties, it is important to know that there are several serious side effects associated with ingesting them. Some of the most significant include:4
- Muscle cramps
- Stomach pain
- Visual distortions
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
In addition to these side effects, some users have reported a feeling of euphoria and a sense of deep insight. The flowers themselves are completely harmless, but the seeds can be incredibly toxic in large quantities. In most situations, a person will start to feel the toxic side effects such as nausea and vomiting long before they will feel the high that they are hoping for.
LSA stays in a person’s system for an average of eight hours, with the effects peaking around three to four hours. It is rare for a fatality to occur as a result of ingesting LSA, however, it is possible if an extremely large quantity is taken and is typically the result of self-harm due to the hallucinations that can occur.5