Psychedelic drugs are defined as substances that alter perception, induce hallucinations and disassociation with the self. Common psychedelics include LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and peyote. Occasionally other drugs such as ecstasy are combined with LSD to create a psychedelic experience.
The Psychedelic Trip
A trip is the slang term for the experience of taking a psychedelic drugs. A trip can be anywhere between 4 and 12 hours, or longer, depending on the strength and amount of drugs taken. Psychadelic drugs do not typically produce many physical signs of being under the influence, other than behavior, although pupil dialation is one effect. The reactions appear to be more inward. Emotions, senses, visuals are altered.
Trips can be exciting, physical experiences that users feel enlightened by. A new reality, a clearer understanding of reality and consciousness, a profound altered mindset. Time is a difficult concept to grasp, speak is sometimes minimized. Emotional changes are common. Alternatively, the drug user can experience a bad trip which can be psychologically distressing. People may see things that are not real, think they do things that haven’t happened, think they say things that they don’t. It can be difficult to communicate with a person who is tripping as they may not make any sense or be able to communicate.
After a trip, people can feel drained and fatigued. These feelings may be felt for some time after the experience. There are some reports of flashbacks but these do not occur for everyone in every circumstance.
Risks with Psychedelics
Psychedelic drug experiences can be unstable and unpredictable and are affected by the mindset and the location that the drug is taken in. Some users may find that the drug magnifies feelings of anxiety or anger. When this occurs, the hallucinations and visuals that they may experience can be menacing and scary. Reports of suicidal thoughts, violence, people going missing or being involved in accidents are common. Paranoia and a feeling of misery or being frightened are also some of the negative experiences that people may find themselves in.
People who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, anxiety or other conditions that affect their mood should refrain from taking LSD or any psychedelic drug.
LSD or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is the most well know, well researched and commonly used of all psychedelic drugs. LSD is typically sold as a liquid or as a small piece of paper that has been soaked with LSD.
LSD, or acid as it is often called, is a strong psychedelic drug that can distort reality, induce hallucinations, shift perception and moods. Individuals take drugs because of the mind-altering effects that the drug has. Some people my feel spiritual changes, mind expansion, closer to god and other people, and feel that they understand the world better. Other people find the experience overwhelming and terrifying.
History of LSD
LSD was discovered in 1938 by the chemist Albert Hoffman. Five years after he discovered lysergic acid diethylamide, he inadvertently absorbed some of the drug though a routine synthesis of the chemical. He experienced mild hallucinations for over 2 hours, felt unable to continue working, and felt as if he was in a dream. Hoffman experimented by self-dosing an amount of LSD, which led to further studies and experiments. He continued to work in the field of psychedelics for many years, especially in the area of medicinal and psychological uses of LSD and other drugs.
LSD was studied for many years as a drug with great potential in the field of psychiatry. Research was especially focused into the ability of the drug to cure alcoholism, treat anti-social or mental health disorders that were apparent in the prison population, and to increase peoples creativity. The success in the latter was largely part of its demise as many people began to use the drug socially. Scientific studies were soon halted, as was the pharmaceutical production of the drug. LSD was ruled an illegal substance in 1966 in the United States, and the rest of the world soon followed this ban.
LSD has been and remains a popular drug and its popularity was particularly high during the 1960’s and 1970’s. During this era, young people were rejecting the values of their restrictive culture, demonstrating against the Vietnam War and exploring themselves and their world with new eyes. Psychedelic drugs were the perfect experience for people to experiment with at this time. People still take the drug as a way to enter the unknown, to experiment with hallucinations, enrich their lives creatively, and as a form of recreation.
Psilocybin and Psilocin
Psilocybin and psilocin are the active compounds that occur in psychedelic or magic mushrooms. There are over 180 naturally occurring species of mushrooms that contain the psychedelic chemicals. Psychedelic mushrooms can be eaten raw, mixed with food or drink, in a tea or dried for later use. Some people dry mushrooms and grind them into a powder.
Psychedelic mushrooms have LSD-like qualities and the experience is often described as a shorter-acting LSD trip. But as with any drug, the effects are subjective and unique to each person. After ingesting psilocybin or psilocin, people will feel alterations to their perception, experience hallucinations, have a lack of concept of time or space. Visuals, brightening of colors and lights, uncontrollable desire to laugh and perception shift are also common effects of the drug.
Appearance-wise, psychedelic mushrooms are small, brown and tan which makes them very similar to non-psychedelic mushrooms. This can cause some issues in identification and there are often reports of people ingesting toxic or poisonous mushrooms. Mushrooms can also cause people to become very ill if they are covered with mold, have begun to rot or are turning black.
Peyote is a small, spineless cactus that grows in Mexico and southern parts of the United States that has psychedelic properties when ingested. Peyote is not a commonly found psychedelic outside of the regions it grows in. The cactus contains the psychoactive alkaloid mescalin. Peyote is a popular psychedelic that is used in spiritual practices of some Native American Indian tribes, such as meditation and prayer, to enhance and direct users to a higher level of spiritual connectedness.
The peyote cactus is a small plant with a fleshy button-shaped crown. This crown contains small disc shaped sections that contain the psychedelic chemicals. These discs are chewed, boiled or dried to get the effects of the drug. Peyote is extremely bitter and reports of nausea and vomiting are common. Respiratory pressure, muscle tension and dizziness are some of the other common effects associated with the drug.