This substance was invented in the 1920s, but not until the 1950s was it introduced as a drug, intended as a human and veterinary anesthetic. Human medical use soon ended because of psychological effects discovered during tests on patients. PCP is related to ketamine and, like that substance, has hallucinogenic qualities. Depending on how PCP is used, it can have stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic actions. In monkeys PCP is about 10 times stronger than ketamine. Its sedative and anesthetic effects are trance-like, and patients experience a feeling of being “out of body” and detached from their environment.
In its pure form, PCP is a white crystalline powder that readily dissolves in water or alcohol and has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. On the illicit drug market, this substance contains a number of contaminants causing the color to range from a light to darker brown with a powdery to a gummy mass consistency. It is available in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders, which are either taken orally or by insufflation (“snorted”). The liquid form of PCP is actually PCP base dissolved most often in ether, a highly flammable solvent. For smoking, PCP is typically sprayed onto leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana. PCP may also be injected
Soon after PCP was introduced as a street drug in the 1960s, it gained a reputation of causing bad reactions and never became very popular with illicit pcp drug users. Some users, though, like the feelings of strength, power and invulnerability the drug produces. Others enjoying the numbing effect PCP can have on the mind. Therefore, some continue to use the drug despite the negative risks.