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What are Psychedelic Drugs?

Posted by Doctor Dan on Jul 20, 2017 3:28:27 PM

Psychedelic DrugsPsychedelic drugs are substances whose primary aim is to change the cognition and perception of people who take them. They are also called as psychotomimetic drugs. They form part of a group of drugs called hallucinogens which also include dissociative and deliriants.

They are also known as mind expanding drugs that induce a state of altered thought and perception. They create the heightened awareness of senses and diminished control over what is experienced.    

The effect of Psychedelic Drugs depends upon different factors such as where is the user is experiencing the drug, their mood, expectations, and level of experience of the drug. In case the user is in a noisy situation such as party or concert the effect could be different than if he is in a quieter place like home.  For someone who is taking the drug for the first time, the doubt or uncertainty related to the effect will also affect their experience.  In some cases, this can translate into extreme anxiety, which can be dangerous for the user.

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Some commonly reported effects of Psychedelic drugs are as follows-

  • Colours look more intense, textures appear richer and contours sharpened
  • Your awareness of your body is enhanced
  • Perception of Depth is heightened
  • Distorted sense of time
  • Images are seen when the eyes are closed
  • Hallucination when eyes are open (change in perception of things or seeing new things)
  • Heightened sense of awareness to changes
  • Profound sense of emotions and feelings
  • Alterations in memory with impaired short term memory

Some people report distressing time under the influence of psychedelic drugs. This is called as “bad trip” and can be risky due to appalling effects it has on the individual.  Even though it is difficult to pin-point the reason for bad trips, it is caused by fear or doubt or any abnormal event when the subject is under the influence of drug.

Following feelings are a result of Bad Trips

  • Panic or strong anxiety
  • Heightened Fear
  • Dis-orientation
  • Periods of hang-up
  • Tendency to cause harm to self or others

It is established fact that effects of psychedelic drugs are mostly erratic People show unpredictable behaviour under the influence of these drugs. They can do dangerous things such as jumping from the roof top or running into traffic. However, at the other extreme, some people have described as having spiritual, religious or enlightening experience after having the drugs.

Common psychedelic drugs are

  • LSD or ‘acid’
  • Psilocybin or Psilocin or ‘magic mushroom’
  • Mescaline or the active component of Peyote
  • DMT one of the active components of Ayahuascaor Iowaska
  • Salvia Divinorum

Psychedelic drugs were at the height of their popularity in 1960s and 70s. They were widely used during the ‘hippie’ culture in the US and Europe. Their popularity diminished thereafter, but their use was still prevalent in some countries and cultures. They again became popular among youths in the 1990s as the Interest in LSD and MDMA (ecstasy) was renewed.

In the late 1970s, psychedelic drugs were banned by many countries due to their harmful effects; post this ban, scientific research on their potential benefits on mental health was largely halted. Only recently there was renewed interest in the use of these drugs for their medicinal value. New research shows some success in use of psychedelic drugs for reducing anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and addiction. Yet another research at the University of Sussex points to a 'higher' state of consciousness in people after taking these drugs.  

Topics: Drug Safety