Nutmeg Madness: Common Household Spice or Killer Narcotic?

There is a hidden killer lurking in the shadows of your mother’s kitchen spice rack.

A dangerous and potent substance that, if consumed, can cause brutal side effects like vomiting, hallucinations, seizures, and even DEATH!

Yes it is true – at least according to this Global News segment – that nutmeg is destroying the lives of unwitting, buzz-hungry teenagers everywhere.

“They’re snorting it, smoking it, and swallowing it,” Global reporter Minna Rhee tells viewers, “teens desperate to get high are turning to the Internet and learning that nutmeg – yes that common household spice – can take them there.”

Though it is true that significant doses of nutmeg can cause discomfort and indeed get you high for extended periods, the spice you love to put in your eggnog is not quite the lethal gateway drug (to heroin) depicted by Global TV’s sensational reporting.

Nutmeg comes from the egg-shaped seeds of the Myristica fragrans tree and is a common spice found in most grocery stores. Far from being just a “newfound high” for desperate teenagers, the plant has been used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years as a medicine, narcotic, dream enhancer and aphrodisiac.

In this exhaustive article on Nutmeg, Ibo Nagano of the Entheogen Review lays out a detailed history of the plant and its various uses.

As well as providing relief for a list of ailments like rheumatism, limb pains, general aches, and inflammation; the drug has been used for its sedative effect and to treat upset stomachs. A host of studies suggest myristicin, one of the active chemicals in nutmeg, may even reduce and inhibit the growth of tumors.

Many users have noted a mood-elevating quality to nutmeg taken in small doses, and clinical studies suggest it may be a potent aphrodisiac and a safe and effective natural remedy for treating sexual disorders.

Nutmeg was so sought after by 17th-century Europeans that the Dutch reportedly traded what is now Manhattan for control of a nutmeg-producing island called Run (one of the smallest of the Banda Islands – part of Indonesia).

The high from nutmeg? In larger doses, the spice can cause inebriation (similar to marijuana or alcohol) and even hallucinations lasting for up to 30 hours. Some people report discomfort, but others enjoy the dream-like effects that come with increased dosage.

But what about the reports of DEATH, you ask? According to Nagano’s research, there have been only two cases in all recorded history that showed nutmeg as a possible cause of death (one suggested it was mixed with other drugs), but that “almost all cases of nutmeg poisoning are resolved without note and most emergency room visits are accounted for by accidental poisonings or by panic reactions.”

Despite Global’s euphoriaphobic coverage, I think I may sprinkle a little extra nutmeg on my eggnog next Christmas.

Check out Erowid’s Nutmeg Vault for more information.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jeremiah Vandermeer
Jeremiah Vandermeer

Jeremiah Vandermeer is Chief of Operations of Cannabis Culture and Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine & Pot TV.



  1. ts743 on

    Nutmeg is a great alternative when things are scarce. It’s not for everyone,but it could be for you. Don’t knock it till you try it. True fact:it helped Malcolm Little(Malcolm X) beat his dope sickness in the bing(prison),and it’s a good thing. They should serve it at clinics instead of opiate replacements. I mean if you really want to quit,ween yourself with nutmeg and plenty of buds,you’ll make it. Were Malcolm around,he’d tell you. Why do you think his brainwaves changed direction? Hallucinagens tend to move people to greater heights of understanding,what an individual choose to do after enlightenment is up to them. The wise have used hallucinogens for ever. Thanks for your time and be well,

  2. Anonymous on

    Whats going to be next? Lettuce, Bananas, black pepper, tabasco, or a whole host of other common foods that can make you halucinate, relieve pain, or ‘adjust’ your mental pathways?

    Whats next? Are they going out to the garden to Stomp & Trash your morning glorys and canary grass?

    But ya gotta admit it is a bit amusing when these fools think they have ‘Discovered’ something new and dangerous; like the upcoming Show about how Drinking and Driving can increase accidents! Sarc!

  3. Mister Grean on

    Global News should run a segment on Jenkem. It’s a drug made from the fermented gases of raw sewage.

    I’d really like to see a reporter run a segment on it.

  4. Anonymous on

    He’s a ‘hardcore chronic toker word up’ so maybe your argument is a bit too subtle, er eh, ‘not very cool & crap chronic heads yo that bong is blazin libertarian peeps da CC house’. Your point is fair & important though; alcohol is totally dangerous, totally awful, addictive, depressing & socially acceptable to compare to cannabis ergo the false equivalence.

  5. Anonymous on

    Good work Vandermeer; but what’s up with the cannabis-alcohol false equivalence? We all know alcohol is far more inebriating & dangerous than cannabis so, come on! They’re hardly comparable in the slightest!

  6. Bud 72 on

    Jeez… Better make it illegal quickly or kids might use it! We are sending the wrong message to children when we bake and drink eggnog! I propose that it be Schedule 1 as it is obviously less dangerous than heroin, just like marijuana is. And since marijuana is less dangerous than heroin (which is Schedule 1) and less dangerous than Alcohol (which is legal) it should be made Illegal!

    I love logic…

  7. Dave on

    Come on now Jeremiah, you, of all people, should know Cannabis does not cause inebriation like alcohol.

    Over the holidays, I felt more frisky than usual. Thought is was the festive season but now it looks like the nutmeg might have been responsible. Next year, I think, I’ll try it out on the Old-Lady; hopefully, I can duplicate this years results.

  8. Anonymous on

    shotty kingpin of nutmeg cartel to form after nutmeg prohibition

  9. Anonymous on

    Nostradamus consumed nutmeg to help his meditations.

    Its use for imaging for his purposes was known by many in the 1500s.

  10. Amanda on

    Apparently its impossible to swallow 2 tbsp of cinnamon. One could actually have it clog up the throat and cause you to choke to death. And now I read this.. Wow!

  11. David762 on

    As an adolescent explorer of altered consciousness, I can vouch for the effectiveness of nutmeg as a mood-altering substance. While not an expert, I can tell you that the ground nutmeg found on the grocery store shelves is not nearly as good as fresh ground nutmeg. Buy whole nutmeg, and grind it just before use. My personal preference was 2 to 3 rounded tablespoons of fresh ground nutmeg consumed along with a nice slice of slightly chilled chocolate cheesecake, and washed down with a frosty cold beer. The effects lasted for at least 6 – 8 hours.

    Please don’t tell the DEA about this amazing spice — I wouldn’t want to see it banned from America’s kitchens, dens, and bedrooms by the jack-booted police state.