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It's the Quenchiest: Sokka's Drug Trip - Avatar: The Last Airbender Meta
The who, the what, the how, and the why not?

DPAK posting in Avatar: The Last Airbender Meta
User: avatar_meta (posted by banditjoeykuba)
Date: 2009-09-29 19:04
Subject: It's the Quenchiest: Sokka's Drug Trip
Security: Public
Tags:flora and fauna
It’s The Quenchiest: Sokka’s Drug Trip
Analyzing what it was Sokka drank and it’s effects to determine it’s real life equivalent
(or, How Mike and Bryan slipped an illegal, psychoactive substance under Nickelodeon’s radar)

The purpose of this meta is to identify the substance Sokka drank from the cactus in the desert, list its effects and its classification, and show the real life equivalent of the “cactus juice”.

“Drink cactus juice! It’ll quench ya!”

Cactus Juice is introduced to us in the book two episode “The Desert”. Katara, Sokka, Toph, and Momo are attempting to both find Aang and safely exit the vast desert sans Appa. However, water is limited and, when Sokka spots a cactus, he assumes that it must hold water that is safe to drink. Ignoring Katara’s reluctance, he slices it open and he and Momo drink the water within. Within minutes of his consumption, his (and Momo’s) pupils dilate and the trip begins.

The Symptoms of Cactus Juice

*Fast acting: Within minutes of consumption, the drug was already in the user’s blood stream and effecting their nervous system.
*Long lasting: While it is difficult to gauge exactly how much time passed between the initial high and when Sokka starts to come down from it (in that he begins to think clearly), it is easy to conclude that the effects lasted at least 12-18 hours. When Sokka consumed it, it was daytime. He was still buzzed when they stopped traveling for the evening and still so when they began traveling again after dark. He finally says he thinks it is clearing his system as the sunrises (though he still shows signs of residual effects).
*Hallucinations: Open-eyed visualizations, dream-like euphoria, psychedelic experiences
*Altered state of conciousness
*Dilated pupils

What Cactus Juice is not.

Cactus Juice is NOT a form of alcoholic beverage. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant and, while Cactus Juice does share some symptoms with alcohol (such as slowed reaction times), does not produce the same kinds of effects as Cactus Juice.

It is NOT a form of cannabis. In order to achieve the same psychoactive effects as Cactus Juice, it would had to have been smoked and inhaled. Ingesting liquid cannabis (literally: cannabis tea. Would Iroh approve?) provides low psychoactive effects as the main agent of cannabis is not water soluble (though this can be rectified by adding THC or alcohol).

So what IS Cactus Juice?

Just that: the juice from a cactus. In real life, many types of cacti contain poisonous or hallucinogenic liquids, and, as most of Avatar is based on things found in the real world, it is safe to assume this is the case in the Avatar universe.

To be specific: the effects of Cactus Juice are based off the Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii) which are found in the Southwestern United States and parts of Mexico. The Peyote is well-known for the fact that it produces Mescaline, a psychedelic alkaloid.

The Effects of Mescaline

*Visual hallucinations (open- and closed-eyed)
*Altered states of consciousness (can be dream-like)
*Euphoria (including laughter)
*An overall psychedelic experience

The Side Effects of Mescaline

*Increased heart rate

More about Peyote and Mescaline

*Peyote is a small, spineless cactus.
*Native Americans use Peyote during religious ceremonies and have been doing so for at least 3000 years.
*Peyote is harvested by cutting the cacti to ground level and waiting for new ‘heads’ to grow up. These ‘heads’ are then dried out and made into disc-shaped buttons. The buttons can then be chewed, dissolved into a liquid, or crushed and placed into a capsule.
*In order to experience hallucinations, human consumption must be between 300-500 milligrams. That’s about 9-20 buttons, as buttons contain about 25mg each.
*The effects of Mescaline last about 12 hours
*Mescaline was made illegal in the US in 1970, though certain natives can legally obtain it for use of religious practices through the Native American Church. However, it is up to individual states to determine if mescaline can be legally used for these religious ceremonies.
*Mescaline is not physically addicting. Which means there are no outward withdrawal symptoms.

Sources used:

Information on Peyote/Mescaline:


Cross-posted from my journal.

Also, unsure how to tag this. ._.
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User: zabchan
Date: 2009-09-30 12:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
thanks for posting and sating my curiousity :) i'd always wondered if bryan and mike were making it up...
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moronokimi: PIANO AUSTRIA
User: moronokimi
Date: 2009-10-01 15:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's a reason I just call that episode "Sokka's Peyote Adventure."
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my journal
October 2009