Hallucinogens, also known as ‘psychedelic’
drugs, are drugs that change the way a person
perceives the world. Hallucinogens affect all the
senses and cause hallucinations-seeing or hearing
things that do not exist or are distorted. A
person's thinking, sense of time and emotions can
also be altered.
There are many different kinds of hallucinogens.
Some occur naturally, in trees, vines, seeds, fungi
and leaves, while others are manufactured in
laboratories. Hallucinogens include LSD, ‘magic
mushrooms’, mescaline, PCP (phencyclidine).
Naturally occurring hallucinogens have been used
since ancient times by various cultures throughout
the world, particularly by the indigenous peoples of
North and South America, for their mystical and
Hallucinogens became very fashionable in the
United States and Europe in the 1960s, when many
young people were pursuing greater personal freedom
and questioning old values and ideas.
TYPES OF HALLUCINOGENS
LSD ('acid' or 'trips') is one of the most
commonly used hallucinogens . It was invented in
1938 and explored as a treatment for some mental
illnesses. During the 1960s, LSD became the drug of
choice of the ‘hippy’ culture. Since then its
use has declined, but there is some recent evidence
of increased popularity.
In its pure state, LSD is a white, odourless
powder. It usually comes in the form of a liquid or
as tablets or capsules, squares of gelatine or
blotting paper. LSD is swallowed, sniffed, injected
or smoked. It is very potent, with small amounts
causing strong effects. For easier handling, LSD is
often diluted with another substance, such as sugar,
or soaked onto sheets of blotting paper.
dust’): As well as effects similar to LSD, the
effects of PCP include euphoria and numbness. Heavy
use can cause PCP psychosis, with aggression,
paranoia and violent or suicidal behaviour.
Ecstasy (MDMA): Ecstasy is like both
amphetamines and hallucinogens in chemical structure
and effect. It is usually swallowed, but sometimes
is also injected. Ecstasy can have hallucinogenic
properties when used in high quantities.
(or ‘golden top’ mushrooms): They have the
active ingredient psilocybin. They can be eaten
fresh, cooked or brewed into a 'tea'. Small
quantities cause relaxation and slight changes in
mood, but larger quantities can cause stomach pain,
nausea and vomiting, shivering, a numbing of the
mouth and dizziness. People can mistake poisonous
mushrooms for those containing psilocybin. Certain
kinds of these poisonous mushrooms can cause death
or permanent liver damage within hours of ingestion.
A number of other mushrooms and plants that grow in
Australia have hallucinogenic properties but also
have dangerous, toxic side effects when sufficient
qualities are used to give the psychedelic effect.
These include datura (the belladonna plant) and fly
Cannabis (marijuana): In small quantities,
cannabis is a depressant drug that slows down the
body's systems. Very strong cannabis preparations or
larger quantities of cannabis can cause mild
hallucinogenic effects. These can lead to anxiety or
panic in the user.
The effects of any drug (including hallucinogens)
vary from person to person. It depends on many
factors, including the person’s size, weight and
health, how much and how the drug is taken, whether
the person is used to taking it , whether other
drugs are taken, whether use is combined with
drinking alcohol, the environment in which the drug
is taken; for example, whether the person is alone
or with others, such as at a party.
More than with any other drug, the effects of
hallucinogens vary greatly from person to person,
and from occasion to occasion. It is hard to know
how the hallucinogenic experience, or ‘tripping’,
will affect the person.
Days, weeks or even years after using the drug,
some people have a repeat experience of the effects
(flashbacks). The user may see intense colours and
other hallucinations. Flashbacks can be sparked by
the use of other drugs, or by stress, fatigue or
physical exercise. The flashback experience can
range from being pleasant to producing severe
feelings of anxiety. They are usually visual and
last for a minute or two.
Hallucinogens affect your
brain. Hallucinogens alter how the brain
perceives time, reality, and the environment around
you. They also affect the way you move, react to
situations, think, hear, and see. This may make you
think that you're hearing voices, seeing images, and
feeling things that don't exist.
Hallucinogens affect your
heart. The use of hallucinogens leads to
an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Hallucinogens can put you in a coma. They can also
cause heart and lung failure. Hallucinogens affect
your well-being. The use of hallucinogens may change
the way you feel emotionally. They may cause you to
feel confused, suspicious, and disoriented. Use of
PCP may interfere with hormones related to normal
growth as well as with the learning process.1
Hallucinogens affect your
self-control. The impact of hallucinogens
varies from time to time, so there is no way to know
how much self-control you might maintain. They can
cause you to mix up your speech, lose control of
your muscles, make meaningless movements, and do
aggressive or violent things.
The use of hallucinogens seems to be linked to an
increased risk of miscarriage. There may also be a
higher incidence of birth defects among babies born
to women using hallucinogens.
HALLUCINOGENS AND DRIVING
It is illegal to drive while under the influence
of any drug, including hallucinogens. Breaking this
law carries penalties including disqualification
from driving, fines and/or imprisonment.
It is also extremely dangerous to drive after
Perception of space and time is distorted and the
user may 'see' things that will cause erratic
driving. The combination of drugs and alcohol can
make driving significantly more dangerous.
A number of drug treatment options are available
. Some treatment options include counselling and
withdrawal (detoxification) and. Residential
programs are available.
LSD, Acid, Blotter, Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms,
PCP, Angel Dust, Boat, Ozone, Wack, E,
X and XTC.
If you know someone who
uses hallucinogens, urge him or her to get help. If
you're using them-stop! The longer you ignore the
real facts, the more chances you take with your
on your State or Province