Substance Use

What is Angel Dust?

white poweder drugs in jars

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PCP abuse and addiction can pose a number of dangers to your health, including death. Familiarizing yourself with the categorization and origins of PCP can help you recognize the warning signs, prevent addiction, and help someone who is struggling.

The world of recreational drugs is big and often confusing. Among all the substances, one that frequently raises questions is Phencyclidine (PCP). PCP, also known as Angel Dust, has a long and notorious history.

This article aims to help you understand what it is, how it’s used, and the health effects of using Angel Dust.

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What Does Angel Dust Look Like?

Angel Dust, or PCP, can take many shapes and forms. The most common one is a white or off-white powder, but it can also come as clear or colored crystals, tablets, or capsules. 

It may be sold in small glass vials, metal foil packages, or plastic bags.

How is Angel Dust Used?

Angel Dust can be used in several ways, including:

  • Smoking
  • Swallowing
  • Snorting
  • Injecting

When smoked, it’s often applied to a leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana. 

When smoked or injected, the effects are felt in a matter of minutes. When swallowed, they are usually felt within 30 minutes.

How Long Does Angel Dust Stay in Your System?

In general, PCP can be detected in urine for about a week after use. However, in heavy users, it can remain detectable for weeks

Hair tests detect drug use over a longer period. This can potentially identify PCP for up to 90 days after use. Blood tests are less frequently used, but are available.

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Angel Dust?

The severity of these effects depends on the amount of the drug used, the frequency of use, the method of ingestion, the duration of addiction, and the individual’s overall health. 

Smoking or injecting PCP often results in a quicker and more intense high compared to swallowing or snorting the drug.

Physical Effects

Angel Dust primarily affects the central nervous system, altering the normal functions of your brain and body. It can damage your liver, kidneys, and lungs.

Your heart rate and blood pressure may increase, and you could feel hot and sweaty. As the drug takes hold, you might experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Severe Depression

This drug affects your brain chemistry, leading to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed. You may find it difficult to work, maintain relationships, or even take care of your basic needs.

It can also lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. This can last for weeks, months, or even years after you stop using the drug.


You may suddenly feel as if you’re high on Angel Dust, even though you haven’t used it. These flashbacks can be frightening and disorienting, and they can occur at any time, without warning. 

Flashbacks can last for a few seconds to several minutes. In some cases, they can be so intense that they cause panic attacks or other psychological distress.

Memory Issues

Angel Dust can damage the parts of your brain responsible for memory and learning. This can lead to difficulties with short-term memory, such as forgetting names, dates, or events. It also affects your long-term memory, making it harder to recall information from the past.

Memory issues can affect your ability to function in daily life. They can make it difficult to work, study, or perform other tasks that require mental concentration.

Toxic Psychosis

Toxic psychosis involves severe mental disturbances, including hallucinations, delusions, and agitation. You may lose touch with reality and have difficulty distinguishing between what’s real and what’s not. This can be dangerous and lead to violent behaviors.

Treatment and Recovery Options for Addiction to Angel Dust

Many options have proven to be effective in helping individuals overcome addiction. These include:

Drug Detox

The goal of detox is to remove the drug from your system under medical supervision. It’s essential to undertake this step under the guidance of healthcare professionals. 

Withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, depression, anxiety, and even psychosis in extreme cases. Your healthcare provider will treat you to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Drug Rehab

Drug rehab is a structured program of therapy and support to help you understand your addiction and develop coping strategies to maintain long-term sobriety. 

Rehab programs can be inpatient (where you live at the facility) or outpatient (where you attend therapy sessions but live at home).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This form of therapy helps you to identify and change harmful thought patterns that lead to drug use. Through CBT, you’ll learn to challenge and modify negative thoughts and behaviors, replacing them with healthier alternatives. It is a foundational component of rehab. 

Support Groups

Support groups provide a safe environment where you can share your experiences, learn from others who are also in recovery, and build a network together.

Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) follow a 12-step program and can provide ongoing support and guidance as you navigate your recovery journey. 

The shared experiences and mutual support found in these groups can be invaluable in maintaining long-term sobriety.

Seeking Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with Angel Dust, it’s crucial to seek help. Numerous resources and treatment options are available. Get help today, contact Zinnia Health 24/7 at (855) 430-9439.


Angel Dust, or PCP, is a powerful and potentially dangerous drug. Its effects can be unpredictable and long-lasting, leading to significant risks for users and those around them. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with Angel Dust addiction, help is available.

Author: Giselle Leung, PharmD, BCGP. Giselle is a practicing pharmacist with over 9 years of experience in the community and long-term care pharmacy settings; and a freelance medical writer. She earned her PharmD from the University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy in 2014. She is a Board-Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP), who focuses on the complex medication needs of older adults.


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