Hallucinogens: What They Are and What to Do About Them

What is a Hallucinogen?

Hallucinogens are drugs that alter human perception and mood. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “The biochemical, pharmacalogical and physiological basis for hallucinogenic activity is not well understood.” What is understood is that these substances produce changes in perception, thought and mood. These changes may be either pleasant or extremely frightening natural remedies for postpartum depression.

Hallucinogens affect the regions and structures of the brain, the neurotransmitters, that are responsible for coordination, thought processes, hearing and sight.

Hallucinogens can be found in natural plants and substances or can be synthetic. Some common natural hallucinogens include: peyote, psilocybin and psilocyn, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT). LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, is manufactured from naturally found lysergic acid. Synthetic hallucinogens include: dimethoxyamphetamine (DOM), phencyclidine(PCP) and Ecstasy (MDMA).

Effects of Hallucinogens:

Hallucinogens induce physiological, sensory and psychic effects. They are also known for causing flashbacks, even when the person no longer uses the drug. The physiological effects include:

*elevated heart rate

*increased blood pressure

*dilated pupils

*sleeplessness and tremors

*lack of muscle coordination

*sparse, mangled, incoherent speech

*decreased awareness of touch or pain


*coma; heart and lung failure

The sensory effects of hallucinogen use include perceptual distortions. For example, one may “hear” color or “see” music.

The psychic or psychological effects include:

*disorders of thought associated with time and space

*depression, anxiety, paranoia

*violent behavior

*confusion, suspicion, loss of control

*schizophrenic psychosis-like behavior


*severe depression

The most important thing to remember about hallucinogens is that each person will react differently depending upon body size, dosage and hallucinogenic drug type. Hallucinogens are very unpredictable, dangerous drugs, and just as the drugs themselves are unpredictable, so are the flashbacks, which occur more often during times of stress and seem “to occur more frequently in younger individuals” according to the DEA.

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