Friday, August 14, 2020

That Time I Tried: Calamus

I learned about calamus root via, a great resource for all things drug-related.  I always start there when researching a new substance.  After seeing some not-so-pleasant trip reports like this one, I decided to proceed with caution since nausea/vomiting are my kryptonite.  To put it MILDLY.  Actually it's one of my few deal-breakers with drugs--if puking is involved you can count me out.

Calamus root powder

I bought some ground calamus root online & stirred it into hot water like I do with ginger root tea.  The taste is hard to describe:  spicy & very unique.  I don't recall the exact dose, but I sipped it slowly to gauge its effects.  Sure enough, I started to feel that familiar "stomach churning/backing up" feeling one gets when sickness is going to occur, so I put the glass down & lay down for a nap.  It was more of a scratchy sensation in my gut than actual nausea but still unpleasant.  If I'd drunk more I'm sure I'd have been sick.

I don't recall any real psychoactive effects other than maybe some very slight visual changes & sleepiness, though that might've been placebo effect.  And certainly nothing worth repeating.  Calamus was used traditionally to TREAT stomach ailments like gas, ulcers & cramping which seems counter-intuitive after what I experienced but to each his own.  Even Erowid doesn't describe much of a psychoactive effect beyond "subtle" so don't expect much if you try this one.

Acorus calamus plant

Calamus might be better as an incense or gum flavoring agent than a psychoactive drug.  The taste is the most memorable thing about it and the side effects at higher doses are too intense to be worth any potential "fun" effects.  It's chewed during hunting trips to stave off hunger by Natives & is said to sharpen vision, but for me it just caused stomach pains.  The smell is now a nauseating reminder of that single experience. 

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