Last updated: 05/7/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Psychedelic drugs distort reality. They do not create something that isn’t there but expands on what is happening at the moment. Positive surroundings can produce a good trip, while negative surroundings can cause a “bad” trip. They are referred to as serotonergic drugs because they interfere with the normal functioning of the brain chemical serotonin. Most psychedelic drugs are illegal and can come with severely dangerous side effects.
Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is one of the most commonly known psychedelic drugs. Its effect and intensity depend on the strength of the dose that is taken and can vary greatly from one person to another. LSD often is dispensed in what are known as “tabs,” or small squares of paper infused with liquid acid, that are placed on the tongue. Liquid drops also can be placed directly on the tongue, or in the eyes.
Effects of the drug while “tripping” include being extremely happy and laughing, losing the sense of time, having an enhanced sensitivity to general surroundings, being very energetic – having an overall sense of euphoria. Stronger effects may involve visual distortion, such as seeing static objects, like rugs or chairs, begin to appear rolling like waves or as if breathing.
Visual patterns, as well as colors and sounds, become very vivid, at times seeming three-dimensional. Familiar objects become distorted, sometimes looking as if they are melting or morphing. Creative thinking is flighty and intense. All sensations are on high alert. Often, LSD is the baseline drug to which many others are compared to intensity and feeling.
Psilocybin, or “Magic Mushrooms”
Psilocybin is found in the form of a certain type of mushroom. The mushrooms are dried and ingested in any number of ways, including brewing them in soup or making tea. It also can be produced synthetically and sold as a powder in capsules. In mushroom form, the drug is known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms.” It is chemically related to LSD, though is often considered to induce a gentler, less intense, experience.
Almost any dose of psilocybin produces effects within half an hour and can include feelings of relaxation, euphoria, increased sensations to music and color, and distortions in perception. This experience usually lasts between four and five hours.
Molly – Ecstasy
Molly, the name of which is taken from the word molecule, is a purer form of Ecstasy. The main ingredient in both is MDMA, a type of methamphetamine. When taken, either drug induces feelings of extreme euphoria. The user also may feel an increase of energy, as well as a lost sense of time and a strong emotional attachment to those around them. Both drugs are available in tablet or capsule form. The purest form of Molly is a crystal-like powder, usually sold in capsules. The effects of either Molly or Ecstasy last between three to six hours.
Morning Glory Seeds
Morning glory seeds come from a vine-type plant that is commonly grown in backyard gardens. The plant blooms are groups of white, blue or purple flowers. The seeds from the flower are typically brown or black. Once ingested, they provoke a psychedelic high, including a heightened sense of textures, colors, sounds and other environmental stimuli. A person may feel as if they can hear colors or feel sounds. The effect of taking morning glory seeds, which contains active ingredients similar to those in found in LSD, usually lasts about three hours.
Smiles, more technically known as 2C-1, is a fairly new drug, likened to other drugs such as “Bath Salts,” K2 or “fake weed.” Smiles is an illegal designer drug that is extremely popular among teenagers and young adults because it is fairly easy to obtain and untraceable in blood tests.
The drug is a combination of amphetamines or stimulants, and hallucinogens, and when taken, carries the risks associated with both. Smiles are usually sold as a white, crystal-like powder, or in tablet or capsule form. The powder may be snorted, or mixed with other substances before ingesting.
The amphetamines in the are altered, which creates different effects from amphetamines, such as euphoria and psychedelic experiences. Other effects include giddiness and auditory and visual hallucinations.
Ketamine, a general anesthetic often used for animals, goes by many street names – Special K, K2, Vitamin K, Super K, Kit Kat, Ketaset, Jet, Super Acid, Super Acid, Special LA Coke and many others. Ketamine is available by prescription but has become a drug of abuse, particularly as a recreational drug. Ketamine is available in a clear liquid or off-white powder. It can be injected, consumed orally, or added to marijuana and smoked.
Recreational use of Ketamine can create intense visual hallucinations, with side effects of deep confusion or amnesia, often influenced by environmental factors. The drug also can alter the perception of light and sound and produce feelings of detachment from one’s self and surroundings.
At higher doses, Ketamine effects can feel like the user is having an “out-of-body” hallucinogenic experience, often reported as terrifying. Like Smiles and Ecstasy, Ketamine is popular as a club drug, used by many teens and young adults at “rave” parties. Like alcohol, one can build a tolerance to Ketamine, requiring more of the drug to produce the same effects. The effects of Ketamine generally last about one hour.
Peyote – Mescaline
Mescaline is a hallucinogen obtained from a spineless type of cactus called Peyote. The cactus grows multiple circular-shapes that are cut from the plant and dried. They are usually chewed or soaked in water producing a liquid with psychedelic properties. The hallucinogenic dose for mescaline is 0.3 to 0.5 grams, or about five grams of dried peyote, and lasts about 12 hours.
The peyote/mescaline experience creates visual hallucinations and severe changes in states of consciousness. These changes can often be pleasurable but occasionally come with a strong feeling of anxiety. Other effects include euphoria, a feeling of being in a dream-like state and strong laughter. Like most psychedelic hallucinogens, mescaline is not physically addictive.
The above is just a sampling of the many psychedelic drugs available today.