PCP Acid LSD Angel Dust Ketamine Tik Hallucinogen Drugs
What are hallucinogens?
Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations profound distortions in a person’s perceptions of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also pro d u c e rapid, intense emotional swings. Hallucinogens cause their e ffects by disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the n e u rotransmitter serotonin. Distributed throughout the brain and spinal cord, the serotonin system is involved in the controlof behavioral, perceptual, and regulatory systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behavior, muscle control, and sensory perception. LSD (an abbreviation of the German words for “lysergic acid diethylamide”) is the drug most commonly identified with the term “hallucinogen” and the most widely used in this class of drugs. It is considered the typical hallucinogen, and the characteristics of its action and eff e c t s described in this Research Report apply to the other hallucinogens, including mescaline, psilocybin, and ibogaine.
What are dissociative drugs?
Drugs such as PCP (phencyclidine) and ketamine, which were initially developed as general anesthetics for surgery, distort perceptions of sight and sound and produce feelings of detachment—dissocia t i o n — f rom the enviro nment and self. But these mindaltering effects are not hallucinations. PCP and ketamine are there fore more properly known as “dissociative anesthetics.” Dextromethorphan, a widely available cough suppre s s a n t , when taken in high doses can p roduce effects similar to those of PCP and ketamine. The dissociative drugs act by altering distribution of the neurotransmitter glutamate throughout the brain. Glutamate is involved in perception of pain, re s p o n s e s to the environment, and memory. PCP is considered the typical dissociative drug, and the description of PCP’s actions and e ffects in this Research Report l a rgely applies to ketamine and d e x t romethorphan as well.
Why do people take hallucinogens?
Hallucinogenic drugs have played a role in human life for thousands of years. C u l t u res from the tropics to the a rctic have used plants to induce states of detachment from re a l i t y and to precipitate “visions” thought to provide mystical insight. These plants contain chemical compounds, such as mescaline, psilocybin, and ibogaine, that are structurally similar to serotonin, and they pro d u c e their effects by disrupting norm a l functioning of the serotonin system. Historically, hallucinogenic plants were used largely for social and religious ritual, and their availability was limited by the climate and soil conditions they re q u i re. After the development of LSD, a synthetic compound that can be manufactured a n y w h e re, abuse of hallucinogens became more widespread and from the 1960s it incre a s e d dramatically. All LSD manufact u red in this country is intended for illegal use, since LSD has no accepted medical use in the United States.
Physical characteristics of LSD
LSD is a clear or white, odorless, w a t e r-soluble material synthesized from lysergic acid, a compound derived from a rye fungus. LSD is the most potent
mood- and perc e p t i o n - a l t e r i n g drug known: oral doses as small
as 30 micrograms can produce effects that last 6 to 12 hours. LSD is initially produced in crystalline form. The pure crystal can be crushed to powder and
mixed with binding agents to p roduce tablets known as “ microdots” or thin squares of gelatin called “window panes”; more commonly, it is dissolved, diluted, and applied to paper or other materials. The most common form of LSD is called “blotter acid”—sheets of paper soaked in LSD and perforated into 1/4-inch square, individual dosage units. Variations in manufacturing and the presence of contaminants can produce LSD in colors ranging from clear or white, in its purest form, to tan or even black. Even uncontaminated LSD begins to degrade and discolor soon after it is manufactured, and drug istributors often apply LSD to colored paper, making it difficult for a buyer to
d e t e rmine the drug’s purity or age.
L S D ’s effects
The precise mechanism by which LSD alters perceptions is still unclear. Evidence from laboratory studies suggests that LSD, like hallucinogenic plants, acts on certain groups of serotonin receptors designated the 5-HT2 receptors, and that its effects are most prominent in two brain regions: One is the cerebral cortex, an area involved in mood, cognition, and perception; the other is the locus ceruleus, which receives sensory signals f rom all areas of the body and has been described as the brain’s “novelty detector” for important e x t e rnal stimuli. LSD’s effects typically begin within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion and may last as long as 12 hours. Users refer to LSD and other hallucinogenic experiences as “trips” and to the acute adverse experiences as “bad trips.” Although most LSD trips include both pleasant and unpleasant aspects, the drug’s effects are unpredictable and may vary with the amount ingested and the user’s personality, mood, expectations, and surroundings. Users of LSD may experience some physiological effects, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, dizziness, loss of appetite, dry mouth, sweating, nausea, numbness, and tre m o r s ; but the drug’s major effects are emotional and sensory. The user’s emotions may shift rapidly through a range from fear to
euphoria,with transitions so rapid that the user may seem to experience several emotions simultaneously. LSD also has dramatic effects on the senses. Colors, smells, sounds, and other sensations seem highly intensified. In some cases, sensory perceptions may blend in a phenomenon known as synesthesia in which a person seems to hear or feel colors and see sounds.
Hallucinations distort or transform shapes and movements, and they may give rise to a perception that time is moving very slowly or that the user’s body is changing shape. On some trips, users experience sensations that a re enjoyable and mentally stimulating and that produce a sense of heightened understanding. Bad trips, however, include terrifying thoughts and nightmarish feelings of anxiety and despair that include fears of insanity, death, or losing control . LSD users quickly develop a high degree of tolerance for the drug’s effects: After repeated use, they need increasingly larg e r doses to produce similar eff e c t s . LSD use also produces tolerance for other hallucinogenic drugs such as psilocybin and mescaline, but not to drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, and PCP, which do not act directly on the s e rotonin receptors affected by LSD. Tolerance for LSD is shortlived— it is lost if the user stops taking the drug for several days. T h e re is no evidence that LSD p roduces physical withdrawal symptoms when chronic use is stopped.
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PCP ACID LSD ANGEL DUST KETAMINE TIK - Hallucinogens drugs unlike cocaine heroin alcohol, street names tik, acid, angel dust, and vitamin K distort the way a user perceives self. These drugs can disrupt a person’s ability to think and communicate