Key Things To Know About Angel Dust

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated January 27, 2019

What is Angel Dust and How Does it Work?

Angel dust is another term for phencyclidine (PCP). It is a mind-altering drug that can trigger hallucinations. It has been around since the 1950s and was first used as a local anesthetic. However, angel dust was quickly banned when health experts realized that it had dangerous effects.

Angel dust works by altering certain receptors in the brain’s neurons. It can affect dopamine levels in the brain and it may also alter the opioid receptors in the brain.

Angel Dust Symptoms: Short-term and Long-term Effects

There are short-term and long-term effects of angel dust. It can work in as little as two minutes, but the amount of time it takes for angel dust to work can vary. Individuals who smoke this substance will usually feel the effects of it within a few minutes. In contrast, it takes between 30 to 60 minutes to feel the effects of angel dust if the drug is swallowed because the body does not absorb it as quickly when it’s taken orally.

The effects of PCP can last anywhere from 4 to 48 hours regardless of the method of consumption a person uses. These effects depend on the amount of angel dust a person uses. If an individual takes a low dose of the drug, then he or she will feel relaxed and numb. The individual’s motor skills and coordination will also be affected.

High doses of angel dust can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, panic, anxiety, and hallucinations. Long-term use of this powerful hallucinogen can result in extreme weight loss, memory problems, speech problems, and severe depression.

Although the symptoms may vary from case to case, some of the general effects of PCP use include the following:

  • Disorientation
  • State of euphoria
  • Extreme calmness
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Coordination problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Loss of bodily control
  • Involuntary bodily movement
  • Profuse sweating
  • Numbness

Angel dust can be addictive. People who use PCP will continue to crave it. This causes physical dependency. When a person becomes dependent on their drug, they will feel as if their bodies cannot function without it. This drug is extremely powerful and addictive. If a person does develop an addiction to angel dust, they might experience:

  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Increased anxiety
  • Hallucinations

PCP abuse can also cause people to show abnormal and uncharacteristic behaviors. A PCP user that is addicted to this drug may become aggressive, irritable, easily agitated, and excessively anxious.

In some cases of PCP addiction, people experience loss of consciousness, seizures, and manic symptoms. Some individuals develop suicidal thoughts and may even attempt to harm themselves or commit suicide.

The Many Dangers of Using Angel Dust

Angel dust is an extremely dangerous drug to use. People who are under the influence of this hallucinogen are more likely to engage in dangerous activities. This substance has been known to cause people to overestimate their abilities, believing that they have more physical strength than they actually do. This often results in people doing things that they would not have done if they were not experiencing angel dust effects and symptoms.

People who are under the influence of PCP may also exhibit violent behavior towards other people. This can result in causing serious harm to others. Individuals may also experience negative physiological, emotional, and cognitive side effects. It may become difficult to focus or concentrate. Thinking processes might be disturbed and altered. Angel dust can cause people to have trouble speaking clearly and communicating with others. This drug also causes excessive weight loss, which can be very harmful.

Unfortunately, angel dust users sometimes mix the drug with other substances. Some may mix angel dust with alcohol or barbiturates. Mixing these drugs causes the effects of them to be more enhanced, so individuals may decide to combine them in an attempt to have a more intense and pleasurable experience. However, the angel dust effects and the effects of the other substance can cause very serious consequences when they’re combined. In some situations, these mixtures cause people to experience seizures, coma, or even death.

The Intensity of Angel Dust Withdrawal Symptoms

Whenever a person stops using PCP after having used the drug for a while, the individual’s body will go into somewhat of a shock. This is known as withdrawal. When the body is physically dependent on something, it becomes difficult to function without that substance. So, if an individual end PCP use, his or her body will respond.

Withdrawal symptoms can be very extreme and uncomfortable. The symptoms a person experiences will depend on how long the individual has used PCP. But, some of the symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Twitching
  • Increased appetite
  • Delusional thinking
  • Increased irritability
  • High body temperature

These symptoms can be very intense and even fatal if individuals do not get medical and professional attention. It can be dangerous to attempt to stop using angel dust on your own. Angel dust withdrawal symptoms can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as confused thoughts. Individuals can put themselves or others in danger while in this state of mind. This is why it’s so important to go through a professional detox program at a rehabilitation center. These programs can help you to manage your angel dust symptoms and effects. Then, an addiction treatment program can help you to remain free from substance abuse.

The Importance of Treatment

Fear is one of the main reasons people try to withdraw from PCP use on their own. Many people are afraid of what treatment will entail. They’re unsure about what to expect or whether or not treatment will actually work.

But, here at Northbound Treatment Center, you can expect to find a compassionate, understanding, knowledgable, and professional staff that is dedicated to your well-being. You can be sure that we will put your health first, keeping your specific needs in mind as we develop the best treatment approach for you. Each patient’s treatment approach is different, but our full continuum of care includes medical detox, counseling, drug and alcohol education, 12-step meetings, and peer support. 

Your PCP addiction does not have to ruin or end your life. You can go through addiction treatment and get your life back on the right track. Contact us today if you are interested in ending your addiction by going into rehab.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.


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