Psychedelics (also known as hallucinogens) are a class of psychoactive substances that produce changes in perception, mood and cognitive processes
Psychedelics affect all the senses, altering a person’s thinking, sense of time and emotions. They can also cause a person to hallucinate—seeing or hearing things that do not exist or are distorted.
There are many different kinds of psychedelics. Some occur naturally, in trees, vines, seeds, fungi and leaves. Others are made in laboratories.
Types of psychedelics
- LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is made from a substance found in ergot, which is a fungus that infects rye.
- Psilocybin is a naturally occurring substance found in mushrooms and is found in many parts of the world.
- Mescaline is derived from the Mexican peyote and San Pedro cactus and produces similar effects to LSD.
- DMT (Diemethyltryptamine) is structurally similar to psilocin, an alkaloid found in psilocybin mushrooms. It can be synthesised in the laboratory but is also a naturally occurring component of several plants.
- DOM is a member of the DOx family of compounds which are known for their high potency, long duration, and mixture of psychedelic and stimulant effects.
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How are they used?
Psychedelics have been used since ancient times by various cultures throughout the world for their mystical and spiritual associations. LSD, magic mushrooms, Mescaline and DMT are usually swallowed, smoked or inhaled. Mushrooms are usually eaten fresh, cooked or brewed into a ‘tea’.
Occasionally, they may be mixed with tobacco or cannabis and smoked. Mescaline is usually swallowed. Peyote buttons may be ground into a powder and smoked with cannabis or tobacco. The buttons can also be chewed or soaked in water to produce a liquid.
Most forms of NBOMe are inactive if swallowed, and the most common methods of taking them are under the tongue, held in the cheek or snorted.
Generally, people who use psychedelics don’t take them on a regular basis, but on occasions that may be weeks or months apart.
Effects of psychedelics
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Psychedelics affect everyone differently, based on:
- size, weight and health
- whether the person is used to taking it
- whether other drugs are taken around the same time
- the amount taken
- the strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch).
The effects of psychedelics can last several hours and vary considerably, depending on the specific type of psychedelic. The following may be experienced during this time:
- feelings of euphoria
- sense of relaxation and wellbeing
- seeing and hearing things that aren’t there
- confusion and trouble concentrating
- blurred vision
- fast or irregular heart beat
- breathing quickly
- sweating and chills