Hallucinogens are among the oldest known drugs that have been used for their ability to alter human perception and mood. For centuries, many of the naturally occurring hallucinogens found in plants and fungi have been used for medical, social and religious practices.
In recent years, a number of synthetic hallucinogens have been produced, some of which are much stronger than their naturally occurring counterparts.
The biochemical, pharmacological and physiological bases for hallucinogenic activity are not well understood. Even the name for this class of drugs is not ideal, because hallucinogens do not always produce hallucinations.
However, taken in non-toxic dosages, these substances produce changes in perception, thought and mood.
- Physiological effects include elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and dilated pupils.
- Sensory effects include perceptual distortions that vary with dose, setting and mood.
- Psychic effects include disorders of thought associated with time and space. Time may appear to stand still, and forms and colors seem to change and take on new meaning.
Weeks or even months after some hallucinogens have been taken; the user may experience flashbacks of certain aspects of the drug experience without actually taking the drug. The occurrence of a flashback is unpredictable, but is more likely to occur during times of stress and seems to occur more frequently in younger individuals. With time, these experiences happen less often and become less intense.
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Types of Hallucinogens
Last reviewed October 2012
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse.