Smoking dead scorpions for an intense 10-hour-long high is dangerous and could be fatal, drug boffins have warned.
The bonkers practise, which takes place in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, sees the poisonous creature dried in sunlight before it’s burnt to death on a stove.
Ashes from the tail can then be mixed with hashish or tobacco and smoked in a cigarette, or alternatively burnt in a small pipe.
The first six hours of the high are ‘painful’ as the body processes the fumes – but slowly, the feeling becomes enjoyable, reports the Kashmir Monitor.
Unsurprisingly, experts say the odd activity can cause an array of health problems, including a constant state of delusion, addiction and sleeping problems.
“Scorpion smoking causes short and long-term memory loss,” said Jamal, a medical officer at the Khyber Teaching Hospital.
“It can cause hallucination, the state where a person has a perception of something which is not present.”
He also pointed out that of the 1,750 known species of scorpions, 25 are deadly to humans.
Because the scorpion-inhaling druggies tend to smoke the insects in secret, there is a lack of official data on how popular it is.
The United Nations Drug’s Office hasn’t formally investigated the substance and there are no exact statistics on users, but research is being carried out to investigate the full extent of the problem.
Pakistan isn’t the only country seeing a spike in scorpion drug-taking and there are reports of similar activities in India.
It is common in a few states in the country and is said to be quicker and more expensive than the smoking method.
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Instead of burning the scorpion, addicts splash out for a direct sting from people holding the animal in their hands.
But getting high isn’t the only use of the insect – chemicals extracted from its body have been used to treat diseases including AIDS and cancer.
Unfortunately, experts point out that if all the scorpions are burnt and inhaled, there will be a threat to the availability for medical purposes.