What Are Psychedelic Drugs?

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When someone talks about psychedelic drugs, images of a twisted Alice in Wonderland, a rave, and even crazy looking mushrooms come to mind. But what are psychedelic drugs actually?

Psychedelic drugs include LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), magic mushroom (formally known as psilocybin, or mescaline (peyote and other cacti). It's a common misconception that psychedelic drugs have no physical effects. All the drugs listed above do produce certain hallucinations which can be auditory, visual and tangible. However, many users have reported that most psychedelic drugs can make them feel light headed, sluggish, tingly, warm, and other minor physical sensations. Some users of LSD even report that the physical effects are similar to those of marijuana.

Psychedelic drugs have long since been in a separate category of drugs amongst drug users. They are not known to cause physically-harmful effects, addiction, or other compulsive tendencies in people. Experts even agree that psychedelic drugs are less harmful than alcohol and other recreational drugs. The added catch is that psychedelic drugs are known to cause anxiety and confusion more often in users than most other drugs.

There are quite a few other misconceptions surrounding psychedelic drugs. The most popular is the pink elephant belief. Many people, especially those who have never done psychedelic drugs, imagine that the drugs inspire intense and complete hallucinations. Events such as seeing entities that are actually completely non-existent or other outrageous claims (such as seeing "outer space" around them) only truly occur in individuals who have mental disorders such as schizophrenia who take the hallucinatory substances.

To the average user, hallucinations for psychedelic drugs include spots of color, blurred lines, waving objects, moving or slightly distorted objects, and things of that nature. There are many more ways that the hallucinations can differ from individual to individual, however, the main truth is that the hallucinations are mild in comparison to seeing a pink elephant pop up in the middle of the room; and the hallucinations are generally perceived as more intense depending on the mind frame of the person affected.

There are different ways to take psychedelic drugs, but most are mainly taken orally. While psychedelic drugs may not pose many health concerns, they can be dangerous if a user's frame of mind becomes unstable. Paranoia and fear have been known to become out of control in negative situations when these drugs are involved.

In a recent study from the Department of Neuroscience at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, it was estimated that approximately 32 million people have used LSD or other hallucinogenic drugs. While this number may seem incredibly high, proportionate to the population, this statistic shows that estimated number of psychedelic drug users has maintained a similar level over the past three decades. Other drugs such as heroin and prescription pills have had increasing growth over time.

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