Hallucinogens are a category of drugs that alter the user’s thinking processes and perception in a manner that leads to significant distortions of reality. Just as shown in the movies, these drugs affect one’s perception far differently than many other types of drugs do.
To many, the influence of these drugs represents experiences of new and even expanded consciousness, and, indeed, some individuals experience synesthesia (may see sounds, taste words, or feel a sensation on their skin when they smell certain scents).
Other common effects produced by these drugs include hallucinations, an altered sense of time, and dissociative experiences (e.g., not feeling connected to one’s body or reality). Hallucinogens, while considered among the least-addictive of illicit drugs, can be fatally dangerous psychoactive substances with a wide potential for abuse.
Almost all hallucinogens contain nitrogen and are classified as alkaloids. Many hallucinogens have chemical structures similar to those of natural neurotransmitters (acetylcholine-, serotonin-, or catecholamine-like).
How do different types of hallucinogens work?
The different plants and chemical compounds that make up different types of Hallucinogens alter normal brain function by disrupting communication between chemical systems in the brain and spinal cord. Hallucinogens also impact the release of serotonin (the chemical in the brain responsible for regulating mood, sleep, sensory perception, body temperature, sex drive, and muscle control).
This is the reason why many individuals who use Hallucinogens report increased feelings of euphoria, touch, and sexual pleasure. However, repeated use can train the brain to become dependent(tolerance) on a Hallucinogen for a release of serotonin, instead of the brain producing normal amounts on its own or just the amount needed.
six types of hallucinogens
D-lysergic acid diethylamide commonly known as (LSD) is a manmade chemical made from ergot, a fungus that grows on certain grains. It is probably the most powerful hallucinogen presently, producing hallucinations, changes the way reality is perceived, and altered moods.
LSD is a synthetic drug(one type of hallucinogen) that in small amounts can produce very powerful visual hallucinations and mood alterations. LSD was developed in 1938 by a chemist named Albert Hofmann, who was conducting research with ergot, a fungus, to develop its potential as a circulatory stimulant.
The fungus had no practical uses and for this purpose and it was shelved. Five years later, Hoffman began working with it again and, after accidentally absorbing it through his fingertips, he experienced the drug’s hallucinogenic effects. After experimenting with his colleagues, the drug was marketed as a potential benefit to patients for psychotherapy purposes.
Most LSD users typically feel euphoric, experience visual hallucinations, and often have very intense mood swings; however, so-called “bad trips” can occur in individuals, resulting in extreme anxiety, panic attacks, and significant depression.
Forms of LSD
- blotter acid
- mellow yellow
Effects of LSD
- dry mouth
- mood swings
- distorted thinking
- profound sweating
- loss of appetite
DMT(dimethyltryptamine or Dimitri), is a hallucinogenic found in some plants as well as inside the brains, blood, and urine of mammals. Those seeking a high from the compound commonly use Amazonian plants, like Ayahuasca, will extract a derivative in the form of white crystalline powder.
DMT can be smoked, injected, or even consumed orally to produce intense hallucinations and euphoria. It is a Schedule 1 drug in the US and is also referred to as Dimitri. The worldwide use of DMT is increasing, as it has a large number of new users compared to other hallucination drugs.
Small amounts of DMT may occur naturally in the human brain. These trace quantities of DMT are hypothesized to be involved in people’s reports of certain unusual events, such as near-death encounters, mystical experiences, or alien abductions
Unlike many other hallucinogens with relatively long duration of effects, overall, users have not reported many negative adverse effects.
Effects of DMT
- severe vomiting
- increase heart rate
- body and spatial distortions
- mood swings
Long-term DMT use doesn’t appear to cause tolerance and there is little evidence to the long-term effects of ayahuasca use.
PCP is a dangerous manmade substance that was originally developed as a general anesthetic but was discontinued for human use in 1965 due to side-effects. It is now an illegal street drug sold as a white powder or in liquid form. It’s still legal for use in animals but is rarely used in veterinary settings It can be snorted, injected, smoked, or swallowed.
Street names for PCP include;
- angel dust
- animal tranquilizer
- rocket fuel.
At least 14 types of PCP were sold on the street between the late 1960s and 1990s and many illegal samples contain PCC, a toxic chemical that releases cyanide and can cause poisoning. Although the prevalence of PCP addiction or PCP use disorder remains unknown, about 2.5% of the population has reported using PCP at least once in their lives.
PCP effects vary depending on the dose, but generally, the user will feel effects within 1-5 minutes if the hallucinogen is injected or smoked and within about 30 minutes if taken orally or snorted. Intoxication typically lasts about 4-6 hours, and PCP effects may include;
- severe anxiety
The effects of the drug are often enhanced when PCP is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol, stimulants such as cocaine, or depressants including narcotic medications. Chronic PCP use can lead to impairments in cognition, speech, and memory, and these deficits may last for months
Long term effects of PCP
- Respiratory issues
- heart attacks
- Intracranial hemorrhage
Chronic PCP users may develop tolerance leading to higher doses of the drug in order to experience desired effects. This can be dangerous since higher doses can cause seizures and coma.
Psilocybin is a chemical compound contained in some psychedelic mushrooms found in Mexico, Central America, and the US. These mushrooms are distinguishable from edible mushrooms for their long, slender stems and caps with dark gills on the underside.
They are literally ingested orally or brewed in tea to reduce the bitter flavor. Psilocybin can produce hallucinations, mirage view, panic attacks, and psychosis if consumed in large doses. It is also known as Magic Mushrooms and Shrooms. Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine) is a hallucinogenic substance that is found in more than 200 types of mushrooms.
Effects of shrooms
- spiritual experience
Another risk associated with psilocybin use is that of poisoning. There exist allot of mushrooms which some are poisonous.
A natural substance found as the main ingredient in the peyote cactus. The top of the spineless peyote cactus plants has disc-shaped “buttons” that contain mescaline. Peyote may be one of the oldest known hallucinogenic drugs used in Mexico by the Aztecs and by certain groups of Native Americans. These groups used it for hallucinogenic and medicinal purposes.
Some Native American churches still have the legal right to use peyote in religious services despite its classification by the DEA. Others have used mescaline, as well as other hallucinogens, to enhance creativity and promote appreciation of beauty and art 14. The buttons are dried out and then either chewed or soaked in liquid to produce an intoxicating drink. Mescaline can also be made through chemical synthesis.
Effects of mescaline
- flushed skin
- Altered perception and body image
- increase heart rate
- coordination problems
Ketamine is a surgical, dissociative anesthetic that also produces some hallucinogenic effects. Ketamine was designed as an anesthetic for both animal and human use, particularly in trauma or emergency situations.
Nowadays, ketamine is abused for its dissociative effects and its popularity as a “club drug” is increasing, particularly among young adults and teens It is primarily injected widely for veterinarians, but can also come in powder or pill forms.
Because Ketamine is a sedative and induces immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia, it has also been used as a date rape drug. It is often used in conjunction with cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, or MDMA (Ecstasy)
what are the street names for ketamine?
- Kit Kat
- Special K
- Cat tranquilizer
Effects of ketamine
- heart palpitation