Hallucinogens are a general group of pharmacological agents that can be divided into three broad categories: psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants. These classes of psychoactive drugs have in common that they can cause subjective changes in perception, thought, emotion and consciousness. Unlike other psychoactive drugs, such as stimulants and opioids, these drugs do not merely amplify familiar states of mind, but rather induce experiences that are qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. These experiences are often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, dreams, or insanity.
Street Names – acid, Sid, shrooms, paper, blotter, cubes, magic mushrooms, micro dots, boomers, trips, caps
Effects – Psychedelic effects can vary depending on the precise drug and dosage, as well as the set and setting. “Trips” range between the short but intense effects of DMT to the protractedibogaine experience, which can last for days. Appropriate dosage ranges from extremely low (LSD) to rather high (mescaline). Some drugs, like the auditory hallucinogen DiPT, act specifically to distort a single sense, and others have more diffuse effects on cognition generally. Some are more conducive to solitary experiences while others are conducive to social, bonding experiences.
Long-term use – Most psychedelics are not known to have long-term physical toxicity. However, entactogens such as MDMA that release neurotransmitters may stimulate increased formation offree radicals possibly formed from neurotransmitters released from the synaptic vesicle. Free radicals are associated with cell damage in other contexts, and have been suggested to be involved in many types of mental conditions including Parkinson’s disease, senility, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s. Research on this question has not reached a firm conclusion. The same concerns do not apply to psychedelics that do not release neurotransmitters, such as LSD, nor to dissociatives or deliriants.
No clear connection has been made between psychedelic drugs and organic brain damage. However, hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a diagnosed condition wherein certain visual effects of drugs persist for a long time, sometimes permanently, although science and medicine have yet to determine what causes the condition.
Withdrawal Symptoms – As the hallucinogen drug leaves the system uncomfortable feelings and physical and psychological changes will start to occur
The medical treatment for hallucinogen intoxication and/or withdrawal involves stabilizing physiological processes and treating psychosis. The patient may need to be sedated for hostile or aggressive behavior.
Statistics – In 2007, more than 22.7 million persons aged 12 or older reported they had used LSD in their lifetime (9.1 percent); however, fewer than 620,000 had used the drug in the past year. There was no change between 2006 and 2007 in the number of past-year initiates of LSD.