Hallucinating Foods
5 min

Foods That Can Make You Hallucinate

5 min

Food can cause all sorts of feelings and emotions. Despite of making us feel happy when it fills our bellies, there are foods that can excite us or make us tired, cause weird dreams, and even other unexpected effects. Did you know that there are common foods that can make you hallucinate? Read on and learn all about them here in this article!

Food can at times have a profound effect not just on our body but also on our minds. It can make for quite an eclectic assortment of feelings, from happiness to sadness with everything in-between. Remember the strange yet oddly satisfying tiredness and exhaustion that you felt after a large turkey roast? Ok, maybe Aunt Mildred being annoying again may have played a role there as well, but you get the idea.

Yet, some foods can cause effects on a whole different level, with some of them outright psychedelic. They can cause hallucinations, visions and other effects that make certain drugs look lame in comparison. Strangely enough, some of these foods that can make you hallucinate are rather ordinary foods that you can find everywhere. Here is a list of some of these foods that can make you hallucinate.


Fish sea bream

The awesome word “Ichthyoallyeinotoxism” stands for hallucinogenic fish inebriation, or said differently, a type of fish poisoning with effects that are similar to those of LSD. Not all fish, whether fresh or gone bad, does make you trippin’ though. The type of psychedelic experience that comes with hallucinations, both visual and auditory, normally happens only from eating certain species of fish.

It’s not entirely clear whether the fishy and trippy toxins are actually produced by the fish themselves or whether it has to do with certain algae that these fish eat for their diet. Anyway, there are several reports of people who had quite an exciting time after they ingested fish. An example is that one guy in Cannes who had the pleasure to see “aggressive and screaming animals" and "giant arthropods” after he felt what he thought was merely an “ordinary” case of fish poisoning from sea bream. Sea bream being a type of fish that is known to cause such effects on occasion, in particular if you eat its head.

It is also believed that the ancient Romans used sea bream for tripping when things got a little boring. On the other hand, it may be helpful to know that the hallucinations from this type of fish poisoning can last up to several days, and they may also spoil your taste for fish forever - so be warned.


Rye bread hallucinate

Back in the Middle Ages, people actually tripped quite a bit and no one back then really knew the reason. The usual explanation (of course) had been possession by demons - which at that time seemed like a good explanation seeing that folks also had intensive convulsions and other bad symptoms with their trips. And if we say “bad” we actually mean it since lots of people didn’t actually survive this horrifying experience.

Today we know better. It wasn’t demons but tainted rye bread. Rye can develop a fungus that’s called ergot, which contains the compound ergotamine, one of the precursor chemicals for LSD. If said mould happens to get into rye bread, things can get trippy.

Because of the scary psychedelic and physical effects caused by tainted rye, it’s now the opinion of some historians that the hallucinations may possibly have had a role in causing the mass hysteria which ultimately led to the Salem Witch Trials. Needless to say, with ergot poisoning potentially being fatal, you better forget that mouldy rye bread idea if you want to have a good time.


Caffeine hallucinate

It isn’t necessarily that caffeine by itself causes hallucinations, but a study from 2009 found an interesting correlation between caffeine consumption and hallucinations. Researchers had been interested in hallucinations and other psychotic experiences encountered in everyday life. You know, when even "normal" folks think they see something weird and unexplainable, like a ghost or some type of paranormal “presence”.

The scientists found that caffeine increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, with the result being it makes us a little bit more paranoid and anxious. A few cups of coffee would be all that it takes to see and to hear things a little bit more often, and this would also include more of those strange things which then freak us out, aka the classic definition of hallucination. Obviously, this qualifies caffeine to be on our list.


Chilli peppers hallucinate

Chilli heads know about the awesome effects of eating hot peppers. Super-spicy foods can definitely make for some good “head trips”, but now there is some evidence that they are good for much more.

There is the case of a consultant radiologist from the UK, Mr Rothwell who ate “the World’s hottest curry” that was stuffed with 20 Naga Infinity Chillis. It was reported that it was so potent, he ended up hallucinating.

Some other bloke, Marshall Terry, had a similar experience after tasting a pepper named "HP22B", better known as Carolina Reaper, the world's hottest pepper.

While these reports about tripping on chilli peppers may sound hard to believe at first, it can help when you know that peppers are actually in the same botanical family as potatoes, tobacco and the deadly nightshade. We already know that tobacco has a psychological effect, although a very mild one. And the deadly nightshade is an extremely toxic plant. No surprise then that super-hot peppers - and we’re talking about heat levels that make a Jalapeno look like a joke - would bring on such experiences! Probably not a practical option for the modern psychonaut.


Nutmeg hallucinate

Nutmeg isn’t just what you sprinkle on your cinnamon rolls for baking. It is a quite potent psychoactive hallucinogen - if just taken in the right doses. A mere 5 to 15 grams of ground nutmeg would be enough to get quite a substantial effect (it may not sound much, but eating it straight up is another matter). Nutmeg contains the active compound Myristicin, which is a chemical precursor for MMDA. If you’re into chemistry or psychedelics that’s all you'd need to know to erase any doubt about the effectiveness of nutmeg.

On the other hand, nutmeg has some disadvantages (or advantages, depending on how you look at it) should you toy with the idea wanting to consume it for tripping. The first is that it can take a long time, up to 8 hours until you feel the effect. The other is that once it kicks in, the effect of nutmeg can last a very long time, sometimes for several days. So just in case you feel curious, you may want to take this into account. Some definite disadvantages are feelings of fatigue and headaches. Also growing tired of the experience but having to endure anyway.


Poppy seeds hallucinate

While not all poppies are culprit, there is a type out there whose seeds contain small amounts of opiate alkaloids. What is surprising is that these seeds are also often used in the food industry. On the other hand, cases of people tripped from eating a single bagel sprinkled with some seeds don’t really happen. To get a high from poppy seeds, you need quite a lot of them.


Blue cheese hallucinate

In a study from 2005, cheese experts from The British Cheese Board found that most people experienced “strange and vivid dreams” after they ate Stilton cheese before bedtime. Other types of cheese, like certain varieties of blue cheese, are also said to contribute to extraordinarily vivid dreams.

What exactly about cheese would be responsible for these cheese dreams isn’t known. It’s possible that the amino acid tryptophan, which is a substance that is known to have a relaxing effect, plays a role. But then, there are other foods that contain tryptophan (eggs, tofu, etc.) where people have not reported any changes in their dreams whatsoever.

An alternative explanation can be that cheese takes longer to digest in our bodies, and that this can possibly keep our body and brain more active at night leading to these intensive vivid cheese dreams.


Hallucinate with mulberries

There is evidence that eating lots of unripe mulberries, the green shoots, or the sap makes for a trippy experience - although most of these reports are anecdotal. On the other hand, before you consider giving mulberries a shot for some “psychedelic research”, consider that unripe mulberry will make you feel absolutely awful. You’d need to eat quite a bunch of these fruits for any effect and you’ll in all likelihood ending up puking your guts out. And barfing like there’s no tomorrow isn’t exactly the best thing that you want to happen to you when high, so you possibly want to think twice about whether this would really be worth it…


Magic Mushrooms hallucinate

The above foods that can cause hallucinations are all relatively common, and you can get them legally pretty much everywhere. Most of them, however, come with strange and sometimes unpleasant side-effects which can make them not so attractive for the curious psychonaut.

We conclude our list of foods that make you hallucinate with magic mushrooms - because they’re obviously food as well, even if you can’t get them at the store around the corner.

Magic mushrooms have the benefit that their effects and optimal doses are usually known among experienced users. They also don't come with the other potential problems of the above foods. They are a tried and true method for psychonauts to reach the stars in their mind.

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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