Author: James Anderson

Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, PCP & Other Psychedelic Drugs

the effects of hallucinogens on the body

Roth and other colleagues recently showed the potential of such structure-based design. Based on similar discoveries about an opioid receptor, they created a molecule that effectively alleviates pain in mice, but with fewer side effects than morphine. People may become psychologically dependent on hallucinogens, but physical dependence is not typical. Many new compounds are being synthesized, and the list of hallucinogens is growing. Enter search terms to find related medical topics, multimedia and more.

the effects of hallucinogens on the body

NIDA conducts and supports research to better understand how often and to what extent people experience tolerance, withdrawal, and other substance use disorder symptoms related to the use of psychedelic and dissociative drugs. People have used hallucinogens for religious and healing rituals for centuries. More recently, people use the drugs for recreational purposes.

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder symptoms may be mistaken for those of other neurological disorders such as stroke or brain tumors, sufferers often consult multiple clinicians before the disorder is accurately diagnosed. As with chronic physical conditions like diabetes, with adequate treatment, those struggling with addiction can learn to control their condition and live normal, productive lives. Treatment for drug addiction should incorporate behavioral changes to help patients manage cravings and triggers; patients may also take medications as part of their treatment regimen. The team also found that the serotonin receptor closes a “lid” over the LSD molecule, preventing it from quickly detaching. A mutant form of the receptor with a weaker lid had reduced β-arrestin pathway activity, while leaving G-protein pathway activity unaffected.

Users refer to the combination of these effects as “a trip.” There are no specific treatments for drug use and substance use disorder (SUD). But inpatient and/or behavioral treatments may be helpful for people with a variety of substance use disorders. The long-term effects of ecstasy include confusion, depression, sleep problems and cravings. The long-term effects of other hallucinogens are not fully understood.

How many people have a hallucinogen use disorder?

Read more or another mental health disorder or after the use of marijuana, alcohol, or barbiturates. The drugs also affect parts of the brain that control other vital functions, including sleep, hunger and mood. A subclass of hallucinogens called dissociative drugs makes people feel disconnected from their body or environment. Most users do not seek treatment for the effects of hallucinogens. A quiet, dark room and calm, nonthreatening talk can help users who are having a bad trip.

  1. Although the short- and long-term effects of hallucinogens on the body vary depending on the type of hallucinogen used, there are some general effects caused by this class of drugs.
  2. It is unclear if the drug use causes psychosis or simply uncovers an underlying mental health disorder.
  3. The user’s ability to cope with the visual and auditory distortions also affects the experience—or “trip.” Inexperienced, frightened users are less able to cope than someone who is more experienced and not afraid of the trip.
  4. The actual effect can depend on the user’s mood and expectations of the “trip,” ability to cope with hallucinations, and the setting in which the drug is taken.

Information provided by NIDA is not a substitute for professional medical care or legal consultation. Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.2% (or about 493,000 people) had a hallucinogen use disorder in the past 12 months. Salvia divinorum, more commonly referred to as salvia, is a plant found in southern Mexico and Central and South America. People usually ingest salvia by chewing its leaves or by drinking juices extracted from the plant. They also smoke or vaporize and inhale the dried leaves of the salvia plant. Other names include sage of the seers and the diviner’s sage.

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To be diagnosed with a substance use disorder, a person must meet specific diagnostic criteria for continued substance use despite negative consequences. The drugs can induce a distorted sense of sight, hearing, and touch, or change the users’ impressions of time and space. On some “trips,” users experience sensations that are enjoyable and mentally stimulating with a sense of heightened self-awareness and insight. “Bad trips,” however, can include terrifying thoughts and nightmarish feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and despair; these may include fears of insanity, death, or losing control of one’s mind or body. More studies are needed to better understand how psychedelic and dissociative drugs work. While researchers debate how to describe these drugs and how specific drugs should be classified, they generally group them according to what is known about how they work in the brain.

Ketamine is an anesthetic that healthcare providers use for surgery on humans and animals. Much of the ketamine people use is stolen from veterinary offices. People usually snort it as a powder or swallow it as a pill, but they can also inject it as a liquid. LSD and other manufactured hallucinogens were first synthesized in early- to mid-20th century. They first became widely used in the United States and Europe in the 1960s. Many of the individuals who used hallucinogens expressed a desire to expand their own consciousness and experience spiritual or psychological insight.

Many hallucinogens also cause increased heart rate, high blood pressure and dilated pupils. The hallucinogen class of drugs causes people to sense nonexistent things. The brain thinks it sees something, hears a sound, feels a sensation or smells a scent that isn’t real. Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, can alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings.


In some cases, the hallucinations caused by this class of drug are purely visual or sensory; in other cases, they include delusions and false notions. Certain kinds of hallucinogens can also produce rapid, intense mood swings. Some report that these transitions occur so quickly that users feel as if they are experiencing several emotions simultaneously. Hallucinogens can also cause physiological symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure and may induce convulsions and seizures when used at high doses.

What adverse effects do hallucinogens have on health?

If a person is under the influence of a hallucinogen, they’re said to be “tripping.” People can have “good trips,” where the experience is positive, or “bad trips,” where the experience is negative. Although the short- and long-term effects of hallucinogens on the body vary depending on the type of hallucinogen used, there are some general effects caused by this class of drugs. Some former LSD users report experiences popularly known as flashbacks; this phenomenon is called Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or HPPD, by physicians. These episodes are spontaneous, repeated recurrences of the sensory distortions that were originally produced by LSD.