Hallucinogens is a broad term for a group of drugs, generally divided into two categories: Classic hallucinogens such as LSD, and dissociative drugs such as PCP and ketamine. Though the types of hallucinogens may vary, as their name suggest, these drugs can cause hallucinations and alter a person’s perception, thoughts and feelings. Hallucinogens may come from natural sources, such as plants or mushrooms, or can be manmade. Like with many drugs, there’s a risk of developing an addiction to hallucinogens if abused or used for a long-time.
So what drugs are considered hallucinogens? The different types of hallucinogens include:
- Dextromethorphan/DMX (an ingredient sometimes found in cough syrups)
People may drink hallucinogens as tea, take pills, smoke them, snort them as a powder, or inject them into their veins. People often take hallucinogens for the euphoric high and the sensory perceptions, which are often called “trips.”
The effects aren’t always positive though. Some people who take hallucinogens may experience panic and paranoia that they can’t escape from. These are usually called “bad trips.”
The effects of hallucinogens can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours.
How Hallucinogens Work
Like many drugs, hallucinogens target the brain and tend to have the following symptoms:
- Increased blood pressure, breathing rate or body temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Sleep problems
- Mixed senses (such as “seeing” sounds or “hearing” colors)
- Spiritual experiences
- Feelings of relaxation
- Out-of-body experiences
- Uncoordinated movements
- Excessive sweating
There hasn’t been much research on the long-term health effects of hallucinogen use but the fact remains that the effects of hallucinogens are dangerous. For example, long-term ketamine use can lead to bladder or kidney problems; ingesting a dangerous mushroom could poison the user and kill them; and high doses of PCP can lead to comas or seizures.
Mixing hallucinogens with other drugs, such as alcohol or depressants can make someone fall into a coma. Accidental fatal injuries are common as well as people who have out-of-body experiences can hurt themselves without realizing it.
Most long-term hallucinogens users have memory problems. They may also experience any of the following long-term effects:
- Speech problems
- Memory loss
- Weight loss
- Depression and suicidal thoughts