How Does Truth Serum Work?

My post vanished so I’ll try again-

Is there such a thing as truth serum? Is sodium pentathol truth serum?? How does it work??? What does it taste like???


short answer-- no. there is no such thing as truth serum.
long answer-- kinda. there are things like Sodium Pentathol that can have truthserum-like effects in the right enviroment and on the right person. The CIA technique(as remembered from the book Acid Dreams) involved the combining of a drug like Sodium Pentathol(a Barbituate) and something like Dexedrine or methedrine(amphetamines). The idea was to make someone two out of it to stay awake, but at the same time, to wired to sleep. This technique can be very effective on some people, not unlike the guy at the bar who won’t stop talking about anything and everything to anyone who will listen. This was far from being a true truth serum though. Some people spilled there guts immediately, others grew even more tightliped, and many simply started babbling on about unrealated and even nonexistant topics.

Sodium Pentathol is a muscle relaxant. It is what they use on you at the hospital just before a general anesthetic. The idea is that you tell people in advance that they are going to be subject to truth serum, that they will have to talk, etc. This suggestion sometimes works.

Surreal, if you want an eponymous dose of truth serum info, go to google and try a few combinations of these words:

bz, or dmz

you will find anything you wanted to know about truth serums. the sad thing is, G.I. Joe lied to us all, and there is no effective truth serum. not that that hasn’t stopped us from looking.

the first truth drug the CIA experimented with was code-named ‘sugar’, and was a colorless, tasteless liquid. it was nothing but marijuana extract.


I don’t have a cite for this, but I alaways thought whatever combination of drugs they used just lowered your inhibitions. Makeing you more likely to speak the truth.

That is basically correct lthough the actions of barbituates are very generalized. Barbituates work through a very similar mechanism to alcohol (GABA receptors). The effect of most barbituates including Sodium Pentathol are similar to getting someone very drunk. Some people tell all, some people just do stupid stuff, some people make all kinds of crazy stuff up, and others just want to fight you. If you have been around enough drunks than you can see what the problem is.

I have, in numerous instances, seen truth serum in action. It comes in several varieties. Common street names are “Budweiser”, “Miller”, “Vodka”, and most powerful of all, “Jaegermeister”.

Seriously though, 5-HT is, appropriately, right on when he/she says that so-called truth serums simply act to make you the neighborhood drunk who won’t shut up (when they do work). There is no magic potion that works at all times on all people though.

nor (as with the drunk guy chewing your ear off from a near-by stool) do such ‘truth drugs’ ensure that one tells the truth.


As 5-HT said, there’s no such thing as truth serum.

But one could further. The idea of “truth” serum implies that there’s some absolutely correct version of the facts which people have at their disposal–if only they chose to divulge it.

But obviously, it ain’t so. A quick look at the experiments where several people are asked to explain what happened at an accident demonstrates that people aren’t tuned to any objective reality.

Then include that people’s memory is altered by all sorts of factors: stress, wish-fulfillment, derangement, senility, etc. People couldn’t necessarily divulge the “truth” even if they wanted.

The whole idea of truth serum is based on the idea that if a person knows when they’re concealing something, or lying, that some magical process will “undo” what they’ve done. That they knew the truth, but hid it. But liars, it might be appropriate to observe on this Easter morning, know deceit, but not necessarily truth.