Nutmeg High
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NutmegDid you know you can overdose on a spice used in desserts? The spice is nutmeg and it's a poor man's substitute for recreational drugs - it's actually categorized as a psychoactive drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The spice comes from the seed of an evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans, indigenous to the eastern islands of the Moluccas but now widely cultivated. Arab traders brought nutmeg to Europe in the 12th century and it was soon recognized for its potency.

They used it to treat infections and stimulate menstruation, and it was known to induce a hazy high. At one point nutmeg became so valuable it was second only to gold. In modern times, Nutmeg mythology entered the prison culture.

Malcolm X described nutmeg hidden in matchboxes and mixed into liquids to create a high equal to several marijuana cigarettes. What he didn’t describe are the unpleasant side effects, which include intense nausea, rapid heartrate and hallucinations. Too much nutmeg can cause hearing, nerve and liver problems. Nutmeg contains psychoactive compounds that produce these symptoms.

One study found 32 nutmeg poisoning cases reported over a decade, of which just over half were accidental and fifteen were deliberate. The deliberate cases involved 15-20 year olds who mixed the spice with pharmaceuticals. In another study of 119 cases, 70% were deliberate; some were toddlers whose parents left the spice out.

So, enjoy baking with your young ones, but be sure to keep nutmeg out of their reach. As for teens looking for a cheap high, this should be a wakeup call that a nutmeg high is not worth the risks.