Commonly Abused Drugs – Hallucinogens
Hallucinations are distortions in a person’s reality. People who are on hallucinogens will see images, hear sounds, and feel things that seem real but actually aren’t. Some hallucinogens also can cause rapid and intense emotional mood swings.
The way hallucinogens cause their hallucinations is by disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is a part of the brain and spinal cord that controls behavior, perception and regulates systems such as mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control and sensory perception.
One of the most commonly abused drugs that are a hallucinogen is LSD. Most people think of LSD when they think of hallucinogens. LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide. LSD was discovered in 1938 and is one of the most potent hallucinogens still today. LSD is made from lysergic acid which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is more commonly referred to as acid and is sold on the street in tablets, capsules and sometimes in liquid form. As a hallucinogen its effects are unpredictable depending on how much is taken, the user’s mood, and the surrounding in which it is used.
Another commonly abused drug that is also a hallucinogen is PCP. PCP is known as a dissociative hallucinogen. A dissociative hallucinogen means that it causes the user’s to dissociate from reality, their own body, who they are, where they are etc. while also causing intense visual and auditory distortions. Some of the street names for PCP are angel dust, hog, rocket fuel, DOA, and peace pill.
Psilocybin is probably one of the second most commonly abused drugs known as a hallucinogen. Psilocybin is better known as the active ingredient in magic mushrooms or shrooms. Psilocybin can create altered states of perception and feeling as well as nausea. Psilocybin mushrooms are taken orally either through eating the actual mushrooms or making a tea out of them. Psilocybin occurs naturally in the right conditions within mushrooms and has been used for thousands of centuries on end.
Mescaline which is better known as peyote is another commonly abused drug that is a hallucinogen. Mescaline is usually swallowed or smoked and can create intense hallucinations that can last for up to 12 hours. Mescaline’s street names are buttons, cactus, mesc, and peyote.
Another commonly abused drug that has hallucinogenic properties but also has more amphetamine-like properties is Ecstasy. Ecstasy is better known as MDMA and is called ADAM, E, XTC or molly on the street. Ecstasy is a synthetic psychoactive drug. Ecstasy is the combination of two other synthetic drugs known as MDA and methamphetamine. Ecstasy is usually swallowed in pill form but it can also be crushed, snorted, injected or used in a suppository.
This is not all of the commonly abused hallucinogens but these are some of the most well-known. Some hallucinogens such as Ecstasy can have permanent damaging effects whereas psilocybin really has no threat of addiction. Either way abusing hallucinogens can be a dangerous habit for those who do so.