Hallucinogens Characteristics and Effects

First synthetically produced in the 1940s to remove obstructive inhibitions in psychiatric cases. Those derived from plants, such as the peyote cactus, have been used by indigenous groups of Mexico for hundreds of years for recreation and religious observations.

Hallucinogens also known as psychedelics, act on the central nervous system to produce significant, often radical, changes to the user’s state of consciousness; can distort the user’s sense of reality, time and emotions.

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is the best known of hallucinogens. It is a synthetic drug based on an ergot which has been extracted from a dry fungus that grows on rye grass. The manufacturing of LSD from precursor drugs requires a high level of technical knowledge and expertise.

LSD is an odourless, colourless and tasteless liquid which is often absorbed into any suitable substance such as blotting paper and sugar cubes or can be incorporated into a tablet, capsule or occasionally confectionery. Its most popular form is on absorbent sheets of paper which are then divided into squares and taken orally.

Unlike many other drugs, LSD users can have little idea of what they are embarking on and the effects can vary from person to person, from occasion to occasion and the dose.

Effects can begin within an hour of the dose, build up between 2 – 8 hours and slowly fade after about 12 hours.

For many LSD users the effect can be extremely enjoyable, relaxing and promote a sense of wellbeing. There are often changes in perception, of sight, sound, touch, smell, taste and space. Negative effects can include loss of emotional control, disorientation, depression, dizziness, acute panic and feelings of being invincible resulting in a person physically placing themselves in danger.

Long term use can result in flashbacks of hallucinogenic effects, days, weeks or months after using the drug.

There is no evidence of physical dependence and no withdrawal symptoms have been observed even after prolonged use. However, psychological dependence can occur.

Tolerance to LSD can develop rapidly but tolerance can also disappear after 5-6 days when not used on a regular basis.

Other hallucinogens include mescaline (natural product from the peyote cactus) nutmeg, particular mushrooms (containing the drugs psilocin and psilocybin) dimethyltryptamine (DPT), phencyclidine (PCP) and ketamine hydrochloride.

What are your observations, experiences with hallucinogens?

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