Phencyclidine (PCP) was developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic but, due to the side effects of confusion and delirium, its development for human medical use was discontinued.
In its pure form, it is a white crystalline powder that readily dissolves in water or alcohol and has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. On the illicit drug market, Phencyclidine contains a number of contaminants as a result of makeshift manufacturing, causing the color to range from tan to brown, and the consistency to range from powder to a gummy mass. It is available in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders, which are either taken orally or snorted. The liquid form of phencyclidine is actually phencyclidine base dissolved most often in ether, a highly flammable solvent. For smoking, phencyclidine is typically sprayed onto leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana.