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Drugs, Inc. Facts: Hallucinogens

What You Should Know About Hallucinogens

Photo: A persons eyeball while tripping

Photo: A persons eyeball while tripping (View larger version)

Photo by: NGC / B Reid

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  • Unlike most other drugs, the effects of hallucinogens are highly variable and unreliable, producing different effects in different people at different times. This is mainly due to the significant variations in composition of active compounds, particularly in the hallucinogens derived from plants and mushrooms.

  • According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health approximately 1.3 million persons aged 12 or older used hallucinogens for the first time in the past year.

  • Psilocybin and LSD have both proved to be effective in the treatment of cluster headaches. Dubbed ‘suicide headaches’ due to the extreme pain experienced by sufferers, they affect about 1 in every 1,000 people.

Ibogaine

  • Ibogaine is a psychoactive alkaloid derived from the rootbark of the African plant Iboga. In recent years it has been successfully used to treat both drug and alcohol addiction. Ibogaine is administered in one session and reportedly has the ability to remove the symptoms of drug withdrawal and to reduce drug-craving.

  • Ibogaine often causes extreme nausea and vomiting which may be followed by numbness of skin, mild auditory and dreamlike visual hallucinations lasting for 3-4 hours. This is frequently followed by an intense autobiographical inventory of the events and signficance of one's life, lasting from 8-20 hours.

LSD

  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It is derived originally from ergot, a fungus that grows on rye.

  • LSD is most commonly sold as small squares of paper from blotter sheets. Blotters are decorated with artwork or designs, perforated, then soaked in liquid LSD solution and dried. LSD is also sold as a liquid, as tiny tablets called microdots or on sugar cubes.

  • A single LSD tab sells for $3 to $10 per hit, though it sometimes ranges as high as $25 depending on where you purchase it.

  • In the 1950s and 1960s doctors in America and the UK used LSD to help some mentally ill patients recall repressed thoughts and feelings. It was also tried out unsuccessfully by the US military as a 'truth drug' for interrogating enemy troops and as a drug simply to cause confusion during a battle.

  • In the beginning stages of onset, LSD is likely to cause a feeling similar to anticipation or anxiety. As the effects become stronger, a wide variety of perceptual changes may occur; mental and physical stimulation, pupil dilation, changed thought patterns, feelings of insight, confusion, or paranoia, and quickly changing emotional states.

  • Albert Hofmann was the Swiss scientist who first ingested and learned of the psychedelic effects of LSD. In the lab, he accidentally absorbed a small quantity of the drug through his fingertips and discovered its powerful effects.

  • Three days after re-synthesizing LSD, Hofmann performed a self-experiment, intentionally ingesting 250 micrograms. Less than an hour later, he experienced the sudden and intense changes in perception LSD causes. He left the laboratory and cycled home, experiencing the first LSD trip in history. This infamous day has been dubbed ‘Bicycle Day’ by LSD fans.

  • LSD users can experience flashbacks, or recurrences of certain aspects of the drug experience. Flashbacks occur suddenly, often without warning, and may do so within a few days or more than a year after LSD use. A condition known as hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder can develop when flashbacks persist and continue to cause distress to the individual.

Psilocybin

  • Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychoactive chemical found in mushrooms that are indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. These mushrooms typically contain less than 0.5 percent psilocybin plus trace amounts of psilocin, another hallucinogenic substance.

  • Psilocybe mushrooms have been used for thousands of years by Native Americans in Central and South America. The first European record of their use showed up in the 16th century writings of a Spanish priest who wrote about the Aztec's use of both mushrooms and peyote. Mushrooms generally take 30-60 minutes to take effect with the trip lasting around 4-6 hours. Users commonly experience butterflies in the stomach as the effects take hold. At the peak of the trip users can have clammy hands, dilated pupils, closed and open eye visual hallucinations, see patterns in their field of vision and experience quickly changing emotions ranging from anxious or scared to peaceful and euphoric. Ayahuasca

  • "Ayahuasca" is a term for both the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and for the visionary brew made from that plant, usually in combination with an additional DMT-containing plant. The word "ayahuasca" comes from the Quechua language and means "vine of the souls".

  • While none of the standard plant constituents of ayahuasca are specifically controlled federally in the United States, DMT is Schedule I and as such ayahuasca fall under this ban.

  • Ayahuasca shamans consider the vomiting that is brought on by the drug to be a process of spiritual cleansing and believe it helps to remove emotional blockages and toxins.

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