Author: James Anderson

Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA

side effects of hallucinogens

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. Better understanding these mechanisms is an active area of NIDA-funded research. This basic research plays an important role in identifying their health effects and potential therapeutic uses.

In modern times, they are primarily used to “enhance” the experience of young people attending concerts, dance clubs, or parties. Their long history contributes to the perception that hallucinogens are safe and fun. The hallucinogen class of drugs causes people to sense nonexistent things.

Short-Term Effects

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. Information on the use of psychedelic and dissociative drugs is collected by several national surveys. These surveys use the terms “hallucinogen” and “hallucinogen use disorder” and data from those surveys are reported below.

  1. When people develop tolerance to a drug, they require higher doses to feel the same effects.
  2. Mescaline is a naturally occurring substance found in the peyote cactus.
  3. But providers stopped using it for this purpose in 1965 due to serious side effects.
  4. This side effect of hallucinogens, known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder or HPPD produces flashback episodes of previous drug “highs,” which can occur at any given time.
  5. Others combine LSD and alcohol to enhance the hallucinatory effects.
  6. Some cultures use psychedelics for religious and spiritual practices.

Mixing hallucinogens with other drugs can cause serious side effects. These effects depend on the type of drug, the dose and the method of use. Combining hallucinogens with stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, can cause serious heart problems. In addition to causing hallucinations, hallucinogens cause diverse psychoactive effects. Hallucinogen use can cause a variety of short- and long-term health effects.

What Are Hallucinogens Used For?

NIDA supports and conducts research to learn whether some of these drugs may help treat substance use disorders in medical settings. This side effect of hallucinogens can persist for years after a person stops using drugs, essentially destroying his or her overall functional capacity. Both dopamine and norepinephrine can respond to fluctuations in serotonin.

More recently, people use the drugs for recreational purposes. Healthcare providers don’t consider any amount of psychedelic drug use safe. However, scientists are now looking into the possibility of using certain hallucinogens as provider-supervised treatments for mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Hallucinogens, or psychedelics, are a group of drugs that alter a person’s perception of reality. Types of hallucinogens include LSD, peyote, PCP, psilocybin and others.

PCP, otherwise known as Angel Dust, can cause seizures, coma, and even fatalities due to its potency. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses.

The long-term effects of ecstasy include confusion, depression, sleep problems and cravings. The long-term effects of other hallucinogens are not fully understood. Taking hallucinogens with other drugs that cause hallucinatory effects, such as marijuana, may increase the chances of having a bad trip. Taking multiple drugs that disrupt the brain can cause serious health problems. The effects of PCP include seizures, violent behavior and psychotic symptoms.

side effects of hallucinogens

There is only one way to reduce your risk of suffering any of the negative effects, either short or long term, related to hallucinogen abuse and addiction. That is to stop your hallucinogen use and undergo treatment that addresses all aspects of addiction, substance abuse, and its possible physical and mental consequences. Persistent psychosis occurs when a psychotic state brought on by the changes that hallucinogen abuse causes in the brain becomes permanent. Hallucinogens that affect the same part of the brain cause cross-tolerance. That means someone taking LSD also becomes tolerant to mescaline or psilocybin.

But providers stopped using it for this purpose in 1965 due to serious side effects. You can cook the psilocybin mushroom, boil it into a drink or eat it raw. To mask the bitter flavor of the mushrooms, psilocybin chocolate has become popular. People have developed recipes using mushrooms and chocolate together to get the same effect with a less bitter taste.

Substance use disorders

The length of time that they stay in the system will vary depending on the particular drug. But generally speaking, they will be detectable in the blood for up to 4 hours, in saliva for up to 72 hours, in urine for up to 30 days, and in the hair for up to 90 days. There are a few different ways to test for hallucinogens in the body – through blood, saliva, hair, and urine. Both of these potential effects can be permanent, and will keep you from living a normal life with out the proper type of treatment. A provider will place the person in a quiet room with little sensory stimulation. Occasionally, the provider will recommend a medication such as benzodiazepine (Xanax®) to manage extreme agitation or seizures.

These effects not only hold the potential to kill you, they put you into situations where you are at disastrously high risk of sexual assault or accidental injury. As if this wasn’t bad enough, without treatment you run the risk of falling victim to the long term effects, as well. Others combine LSD and alcohol to enhance the hallucinatory effects. Mixing alcohol and MDMA can cause dangerous changes to body temperature, leading to organ damage and overdose.