Historically, people have used hallucinogens in an effort to broaden experiences related to spirituality, music, and art. Because of the intense effects hallucinogens have on the senses, many people believe that they can enhance their mind by augmenting their perception of reality. There have been studies that show this idea to be both true and false. However, all studies agree that hallucinogens are very dangerous because of their impact on decision making and their side effect of causing extreme paranoia. There are 3 commonly used hallucinogens that continue to have a presence in communities nationwide.
LSD – Lysergic acid diethylamide, more commonly known as LSD, acid, tabs or trips, is a Schedule I drug and is considered one of the most common hallucinogens. It is one of the most potent mood altering substances. It comes on either small pieces of paper, as a liquid or as a gelatin. It is generally taken orally, but can be dropped into the eyes in the gelatin or liquid form.
The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. LSD is not considered to be a physically addictive drug because it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior like cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, or nicotine, but it can become psychologically addictive.
Mushrooms – Also called caps, shrooms and magic mushrooms are an organic hallucinogenic. Psilocybin and psilocyn are the hallucinogenic principles that grow naturally in certain mushrooms. Physically, they do not look much different than any other type of mushroom. They can be eaten or brewed into a tea.
The high from using mushrooms may cause altered feelings and distorted perceptions of touch, sight, sound and taste. Other effects can include nervousness and paranoia.
PCP – A schedule II drug, phencyclidine or PCP is a “dissociative” anesthetic. Its sedative and anesthetic effects are trance-like, and users experience a feeling of being “out of body” and detached from their environment. PCP is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water or alcohol. It has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. PCP can be snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed and is most commonly sold as a powder or liquid and applied to a leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, tobacco, or marijuana.
PCP is highly addictive and one of the more dangerous hallucinogens. At low to moderate doses, PCP can cause distinct changes in body awareness, similar to those associated with alcohol intoxication. Other effects can include shallow breathing, flushing, profuse sweating, generalized numbness of the extremities and poor muscular coordination. At high doses, PCP can cause hallucinations as well as seizures, coma, and death. Other effects that can occur at high doses are nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling, loss of balance, and dizziness. High doses can also cause effects similar to symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, paranoia, disordered thinking, a sensation of distance from one’s environment, and catatonia. Speech is often sparse and garbled.