Agents of temporary effectiveness which produce reflex responses
interfering with performance of duty. These include skin and eye
irritants causing pain or itching (vesicants or urticants),
vomiting or cough-producing compounds (sternutators), and tear
Agents which disrupt basic life-sustaining systems of the body
and thus prevent the carrying out of physical activity. Examples
include agents which lower blood pressure, paralyzing agents such
as curare, fever-producing agents, respiratory depressants, and
Although theoretically effective, such agents
almost invariably have a low margin of safety between the
effective doses and the possibly lethal doses and thus affect the
basic purpose of an incapacitating agent, which is to reduce
military effectiveness without endangering life.
In spite of the restrictions imposed by the above
definition, a great variety of mechanisms remain by which central nervous
system regulation and maintenance of performance could theoretically be
In reality, however, only two general types of incapacitating
central nervous system depressants and central nervous system stimulants.
a. Central Nervous System Depressants.
Central nervous system
depressants are compounds that have the predominant effect of depressing or
blocking the activity of the central nervous system, often by interfering
with the transmission of information across synapses.
An example of this
type of agent is BZ, which appears to block the action of acetylcholine both
peripherally and centrally in the same way that Atropine does. BZ, however,
has far greater relative potency than Atropine with respect to the central
nervous system where it disturbs the higher integrative functions of memory,
High doses produce toxic
delirium, which completely destroys the ability to perform any military
General symptoms from agent BZ are interference with ordinary
constipation; slowing of mental and physical activity; headache; giddiness;
disorientation and hallucinations.
Cannabinols (marihuana) and phenothiazine type compounds are other potential
Euphoria, a relaxed, unconcerned daydreaming attitude, easy
laughter, hypotension and dizziness when standing up suddenly are signs and
symptoms of marihuana use.
The primary effects of these agents, however,