Hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin and PCP are known for their ability to cause the user to experience a distorted perception of reality or even see hallucinations and things that are not really there. The mind-altering capabilities of these drugs are what makes them dangerous, and the effects of taking such substances can have a lasting impact on the brain.
What are hallucinogens?
Hallucinogenic drugs cause people to see and hear things that aren't there or feel sensations that are not actually happening to them. These drugs are derived from compounds found in certain mushrooms and plants. Most of them have structures that are similar to the brain's neurotransmitters and the hallucinogenic drugs may work by binding to neurotransmitter receptor sites in the brain or causing a temporary interference in their functioning.
LSD comes from a fungus that is found in grains and rice. Psilocybin comes from mushrooms, while PCP is an anesthetic that is used intravenously. PCP was discontinued in 1965 due to the adverse effects it caused. Peyote, which comes from a cactus, contains the active ingredient of mescalin. Although some of these substances have also been used as part of religious rituals, that does not mean they are safe.
What are the types of hallucinogenic drugs?
Although various drugs fall under that hallucinogen category, different kinds have different effects. LSD, which is one of the most well-known hallucinogens, comes in a few forms. It is most often added to paper and taken orally, though it may also come in a capsule or a liquid. Its effects, which can be extremely mood-altering, can last for up to 12 hours at a time. When a person has taken LSD, his or her pupils will become dilate and might also experience physical effects like sweating, dry mouth and increased heart rate. It is the most commonly-used hallucinogen.
Psilocybin is often referred to as "mushrooms" or "shrooms" and is typically taken by ingesting the types of mushrooms that contain the substance. This will cause the user to experience mood alterations and hallucinations. One of the dangers of this drug is that the user runs the risk of ingesting potentially poisonous mushrooms that have been mistaken for psilocybin. The effects of the drug may be felt for up to six hours during which the user may experience dilated pupils, nausea or vomiting and drowsiness.
Peyote, which is derived from a cactus, may be ingested by boiling the plant to make tea or chewing on it. When ingested it may cause hallucinations and anxiety, increased body temperature, sweating and uncoordinated movements.
PCP has the potential to create severe psychological effects, which may lead the user to become violent or even suicidal. It is especially dangerous at high doses, which can cause the user to have to be taken to the emergency room. He or she may experience blurred vision, dizziness, loss of balance or even seizures, coma and in some cases death.
Even after the effects of these drugs wear off, some can leave lasting damage to the brain. For example LSD users may experience flashbacks that lead to psychological distress. If you or someone you know is suffering from hallucinogen abuse, there is hope for help.
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