Psychedelic drugs can have extremely strong effects on users, especially when they take these drugs in high doses. Most individuals will experience strong effects the first time they use psychedelic drugs and, if they become dependent and/or tolerant, they will constantly strive to get those feelings back. Listed below are some of the most common effects of psychedelic drugs; these are reported to be experienced by most users of these substances.
Emotional changes are often experienced by those who use any type of psychedelic drug. One moment, the individual may feel very calm, peaceful, or happy and the next, they may become panicked and afraid. According to the NIDA, LSD, one of the most commonly abused psychedelic drugs, causes “rapid emotional shifts that can range from fear to euphoria, with transitions so rapid that the user may seem to experience several emotions simultaneously.”
This can be understandably intense for the user as well as frightening. Some users enjoy the rush of emotions they feel but it is important to remember that psychedelic drugs can always take a turn; one minute you may be enjoying what you’re feeling and the next you will be very upset or afraid.
One of the reasons why psychedelic drugs are so popular is because of the hallucinations they cause. Users want to feel something strange or unreal and often turn to these drugs for an experience that is more than what their normal life lets them perceive. Certain psychedelic drugs like LSD, psilocybin (mushrooms), and peyote have been used to facilitate religious or spiritual experiences for certain individuals or groups.
According to the NIDA, “The very same characteristics that led to the incorporation of hallucinogens into ritualistic or spiritual traditions have also led to their propagation as drugs of abuse.” Often someone will report experiencing a vision or another type of comforting or pleasurable hallucination. However, it is important to note that there is no guarantee your hallucinations will be pleasurable. “Unlike most other drugs, the effects of hallucinogens are highly variable and unreliable, producing different effects in different people at different times.”
This is part of why they are so dangerous. People can sometimes be scared or hurt by their hallucinations and do something that might endanger themselves or others. It is important to remember that, though the hallucinations are often the draw for psychedelic drug abuse (even sometimes in the instance of MDMA or ecstasy use), there is no way of knowing what one person’s experience will be like.
Intensified and Altered Sensory Experiences
Many individuals report that their senses become stronger when they are actually experiencing more intensified sensory reactions than before. Things may seem sharper, clearer, or louder to you when you are on psychedelic drugs. Some individuals even claim that they can hear colors or see sounds; these feelings are a product of mixed senses which can occur with many types of psychedelic drugs. While these perceptions can be exciting, they can also be very dangerous as well.
Sensory experiences that are altered can make it harder for you to concentrate and to coordinate your movements. It is important that you stay safe if you are experiencing these issues and do not try to do things you would normally do when lucid like drive a car. It could put you and others in a lot of danger.
As a physical effect of psychedelic drug use, nausea is fairly common with any type of drug. From LSD to ecstasy to salvia divinorum, nausea is a side effect and also can vary in intensity. Some people become used to this effect and can handle it easily while those who are taking psychedelics for the first time will likely experience more intense or more difficult to control nausea.
Increase in Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Body Temperature
LSD, psilocybin, peyote, MDMA, and PCP can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, while the final three all also cause an increase in body temperature. According to CESAR, even the THC in marijuana, sometimes considered to be a psychedelic, “causes the user’s heart rate to increase.” These issues can become extremely problematic in high doses; individuals abusing ecstasy in extremely close, hot spaces like clubs have died of dehydration because of their sharp spike in body temperature.
Over time, a person who continues to abuse these drugs can experience heart problems as well as other issues that may result from these bodily functions all increasing dramatically as often as the individual takes the drugs. Sweating is also incredibly common as a result of the increase in bodily functions and body temperature. This can help you be sure whether or not someone is high on psychedelics.
Paranoia is one of the more common negative effects associated with the use of psychedelics. All of these drugs can cause mild to severe paranoia depending on the individual, when the drug is taken, how much is taken, and a number of other aspects that affect the user’s experience. Ecstasy is often known to cause “empathy for others/emotional warmth,” but even it can also cause severe anxiety or paranoia in certain users and at certain times (CESAR).
PCP is known for causing severe paranoia and, over time, psychosis. Other drugs like LSD and peyote can cause paranoia and anxiety if the user has a bad trip, which are more common than most people realize.
Dry mouth is another extremely common psychedelic drug effect. Most psychedelic drugs cause it. One of the only ones that doesn’t is PCP which can cause drooling in some individuals. While some other psychedelics, like LSD, can cause salivation as well as this effect, dry mouth is very common with most psychedelics across the board.
Dilation of Pupils
When someone is high on psychedelic drugs, they are likely to cause a dilation or widening of the pupils. This is another way for other individuals to be able to tell if someone is abusing psychedelics. Stimulants can sometimes cause the same effects, but the person will likely be behaving differently if they are on stimulants instead of psychedelics.