And for many, that dream became a nightmare of anxiety, heart palpitations, severe paranoia and vomiting.
“We found out later that we were poisoned,” said the young man. That’s right, poisoned.
Thousands of people chase the flower’s high all the way to the hospital each year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Hundreds more chase it to the grave.
“My fear is that more and more people are going to die from taking this,” said drug counselor John Corbett.
Corbett says it’s a growing problem fueled by the internet.
“How do we know that somebody is not going to react in a negative way and be caught in a trip that they can’t be brought out of?” Corbett said.
“Within any plant, there are certain types of protective compounds,” said William Hlubik, a Rutgers University professor of agriculture.
Hlubik says Datura plants contain dangerous and toxic compounds.
“Anyone who tries to experiment with these plants is in danger if they don’t have a lot of knowledge of the concentration or potency,” he said.
“It’s not what you think it’s going to be,” agreed the young man who used the plant.
He learned his lesson the hard way and now wants to warn others about the beautiful flower’s ugly side.
“Don’t do it, absolutely don’t do it,” he warned other would-be users.
Datura is on Pennsylvania’s Noxious Weed List, which means it is against the law to sell, transport or plant it in the Keystone state.
And in New Jersey, it’s illegal to use, possess or sell the plant.