What are hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are drugs that cause people to experience hallucinations and alter their perception of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. Hallucinogens alter the way the nerve cells (neurons) work in your brain. They cause the neurons to release a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This can over activate the serotonin receptors which may affect mood, sleeping patterns and heart rate. The actions of other neurotransmitters can also be disrupted when using hallucinogens.

Many hallucinogens are chemically produced. Some hallucinogens occur naturally and can be found in plants such as the Peyote Cactus (mescaline) or in fungi / magic mushrooms (psilocybin.)

Hallucinogens include:
LSD, Ecstasy

Why do people take hallucinogens?

  • To trip, to experience hallucinations induced by a drug, especially LSD
  • Euphoric effect on the brain
  • Fun
  • Stimulation or depression
  • Behavioral changes

Hallucinogens in Common Use by
Psychoactive ingredient / Chemical derivative, and drug name:

  • LSD - Lysergic acid diethylamide
    • Acid
  • Phencyclidine
    • Angel Dust
    • PCP
    • Ketamine >> 2-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)- cyclohexanone Ketamine is known as a dissociative drug but we classed it here as it is similar molecularly to Phencyclidine.
  • Psilocybin
    • Magic mushrooms
  • Phenethylamine
    • DOB >> 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine
    • DOM >> 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine >> STP
    • Mescaline >> 3,4,5-trimethoxy-ß-phenethylamine
    • 2C-B >> 4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine
    • 2C-D >> 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methyl-phenethylamine
    • 2C-E >> 2,5-dimethoxy-4-eethyl-phenethylamine
    • 2C-I >> 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Iodophenethylamine
    • 2C-T-2 >> 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylthiophenethylamine
    • 2C-T-7 >>- 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(n)-propylthiophenethylamine >> T7, Blue Mystic
  • Psychedelic Amphetamine (see also stimulants)
    • MDA >> 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine
    • MDE >> 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine >> MDEA
    • MDMA >> 3,4-methylenedioxy-n-methylamphetamine >> Ecstacy
    • PMA >> Para-methoxy-amphetamine, 4-MA (Often sold as Ecstacy)
  • Tryptamine
    • AET >> Alpha-ethyltryptamine
    • AMT >> Alpha-methyltryptamine
    • Ayahuasca
    • Bufotenin >> 5-hydroxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine N, N-dimethyl-serotonin
    • DET >> N,N-Diethyltryptamine
    • DIPT >> Di-isopropyl-tryptamine
    • DMT >> N,N-dimethyltryptamine
    • DPT >> N,N-dipropyltryptamine
    • Toad Venom (Psychoactive toads) >> 5-hydroxy-N,N- dimethyltryptamine or N,N-dimethylserotonin
    • 4-Acetoxy-DET >> Ethylacybin
    • 4-Acetoxy-DIPT >> 4-Acetoxy-N,N-diisopropyltryptamine
    • 5-MeO-AMT >> Alpha,O-Dimethylserotonin
    • 5-MeO-DMT >> 5-Methoxy-N,N-Dimethyltryptamine
    • 5-MeO-DIPT >> N,N-diisopropyl-5-methoxytryptamine >> Foxy
  • Others >> from Plants / Trees / Shrubs
    • Ibogaine (from the Tabernanthe Iboga shrub)
    • Peyote Cactus >> Lophophora Williamsii
    • LSA - Lysergic Acid Amides, found in:
      • Ergot
      • Hawaiian Baby Woodrose
      • Morning Glorys
      • Sleepy Grass

Hallucinogens are also known as

Angel Dust, Aurora Borealis, Back Breakers, Beavis & Butthead, Belladonna, Blotters, Blotter Acid, Blue Microdot, Candy Flipping, Domes, Dots, Electric Kool Aid, Fantasy, Ghost, Loony Toons, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Paper Acid, Purple Rain, Rainbow, Rocket Fuel, Tic Tac, Trips, Utopiates, XTC, Ying Yang, Zen, Zombie Weed, and more ...

How are hallucinogens taken?

Hallucinogens can be taken orally, injected, smoked, or sniffed.

What are the possible effects of hallucinogen use?

  • Rapidly changing feelings (immediately and long after use)
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness, confusion, nausea & vomiting
  • Suspicion
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle relaxation, weakness, tremors
  • Ataxia. or loss of the ability to coordinate muscular movement
  • Loss of control, bad trips
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased sweating, flushing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness, drowsiness
  • One use of hallucinogens may cause multiple and dramatic behavioral changes and/or irreversible brain damage
  • Delayed effects
    • Flashbacks may occur long after use

Chronic / long term use may cause

  • Extreme changes in behavior and mood; depression, violent behavior
  • Catatonic syndrome (person may sit in a trance-like state)
  • Anxiety, fearfulness
  • Trembling hands
  • Chills
  • Irregular breathing
  • Sweating
  • Distorted senses of light, hearing, touch, smell, and perception of time.
  • Increase in blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar
  • Generallized numbness of extremities and loss of muscular co-ordination
  • Large doses of hallucinogens may cause
    • convulsions
    • ruptured blood vessels in the brain and,
    • irreversible brain damage.

What are the risks associated with pregnancy and hallucinogen use?

The use of LSD and other hallucinogens while pregnant may cause uterine contractions which can lead to a miscarriage.

Symptoms of hallucinogen overdose

  • Longer, more intense trip
  • Psychosis
  • Muscle spasms and seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Convulsions
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Catatonic syndrome (person may sit in a trance-like state)
  • Heart/lung failure
  • Ruptured blood vessels in the brain
  • Coma
  • Death

Withdrawal symptoms

There are no discernible withdrawal symptoms from the use of hallucinogens.


Australian Drug Foundation. Hallucinogens. Drug Fx.  June 01, 2003.  http://www.adf.org.au/drughit/facts/hdayha.html

Erowid Psychoactive Chemical Vaults.
The Vaults of Erowid : Documenting the Complex Relationship Between Humans and Psychoactives. June 01, 2003.  http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI).  NCADI: Drugs of Abuse.  Inventory # RP0926.  NCADI: SAMHSA’s The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information - PREVLINE. March 01, 2003.  http://www.health.org/govpubs/rpo926/ 

National Institute on Drug Abuse.  National Institute of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs: Including LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan. March 2001.  NIDA Research Reports.  NIH Publication Number 01-4209.  05 October 2009 http://www.drugabuse.gov/PDF/RRHalluc.pdf         

National Institute on Drug Abuse.  National Institute of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA InfoFacts: Hallucinogens - LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP. Revised June 2009.  NIDA InfoFacts.  October 05, 2009.  http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofacts/hallucinogens.html