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Alcohol and Substance Abuse - Hallucinogens

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Member Drugs: (Brand Names) [Street Names]

  • LSD [Acid]
  • Mescaline [Cactus]
  • Psilocybin, ['Shrooms, Mushrooms]
  • MDMA [Love Drug, "X", Esctacy]

What The Drugs Looks Like:

  • Hallucinogens like LSD and MDMA typically appear in the form of prepared blotter paper, sugar cubes, pills etc.
  • Psilocybin most typically arrives in the form of dried mushrooms
  • Mescaline appears in the form of dried (peyote) cactus 'buttons', and in synthesized form

Most Typical Routes Of Administration:

  • Mouth (swallowing pills, plant matter, sugar cubes, etc.)

What These Drugs Do (Symptoms Typical Of Intoxication):

  • Short term effects (LSD):
    • LSD is very rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and to the brain. Effects appear within 30 to 45 minutes after taking the drug, and can last for about 10 to 12 hours.
    • There are a wide range of hallucinogenic effects. Each drug taking experience is greatly influenced by a user's expectations, environment, etc. However, some of the more typical effects of LSD may include:
      • Auditory and visual hallucinations which the user is aware are not real
      • Perception of time may be distorted
      • Control over concentration and thinking processes is greatly diminished
      • Anxiety, exhilaration
      • Rapid and wide ranging mood swings
      • Muscle twitching and muscle weakness as well as impairment of coordination
      • Rapid breathing and an increase in blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate
      • Dizziness, nausea and vomiting
  • Long term effects (LSD):
    • An amotivational syndrome, similar to that seen in long term marijuana users has been seen in some LSD users.
    • Flashbacks can occur years after a person stops using LSD. (see special hazards below)
  • Short term effects (MDMA):
    • Users feel a great sense of pleasure, empathy, emotional insight and increased sociability.
    • Increased blood pressure, pulse and body temperature
    • Blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, chills and sweating
    • Muscle stiffness, jaw clenching and teeth grinding
    • Higher doses can cause distortions in perception and hallucinations
    • Some of the hangover effects which may be felt the next day are: headache, loss of balance, fatigue, insomnia
    • A person may feel confused, depressed or anxious for a number of weeks following a single dose.
  • Long term effects (MDMA):
    • There is not much information available about the long term effects of ecstasy
    • The longer a person uses, the worse the hangover effects become.
    • Some effects of long term use may include: weight loss, flashbacks, paranoia and depression.
    • There is evidence of liver and brain damage with long term, frequent use.

Pattern of Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • There are few if any reliably reported withdrawal symptoms described for hallucinogens

Most Significant Problems:

  • Overdose can be a concern but is not typically fatal
  • May contribute to flashbacks during withdrawal and afterwards
  • May cause and contribute to depression and anxiety.
  • "Bad" trips can occur which are highly negative and disturbing rather than peaceful