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Scary Trends in Psychedelic Use

Many of the drugs that youth use for their psychedelic properties are easily accessible and legal.

Psychedelics have been used for thousands of years as part of religious and spiritual ceremonies. Beginning in the early 1900’s, and continuing into the 1960’s, they were used in the treatment of mental illness. However, with the advent of the hippie counter-culture the widespread abuse of psychedelics prompted governments to make them illegal. This did not stop their use, and they have made a significant comeback in recent years. Some of the most recent trends are incredibly frightening. To understand these scary trends in psychedelic use, there are a few things to know.

What are psychedelics?

Psychedelics are defined by the Oxford Dictionary as relating to, or denoting drugs that produce hallucinations and apparent expansion of consciousness. This includes the entire class of hallucinogens, as well as a number of dissociative drugs. Some of the most well recognized psychedelics include:

  • LSD (also known as acid),
  • PCP,
  • ketamine (also known as Special-K)
  • mescaline,
  • peyote, and
  • MDMA (also known as ecstasy).

All of these drugs can be very dangerous, as they fundamentally change brain chemistry, produce vivid hallucinations and can lead to possible psychotic episodes. There is also evidence of brain damage and deaths directly related to the abuse of psychedelics. The only positive note from the classic psychedelics is that they have no real physical effects, and are not physically addictive.

New psychedelic drugs and their effects


MXE is a legal drug that can cause hallucinations and euphoria.

That all changes with the new group of psychedelics. These drugs are usually combinations of already dangerous psychedelics and a whole host of toxic chemicals. These chemicals are sometimes household poisons and other times they are extremely illegal drugs. Below is a listing of some of the emerging psychedelics, what is in them, and their effects, as stated by the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, and Law Officer Magazine.

Purple Drank: Also known as Lean, it is a combination of Sprite soda, Jolly Rancher candies, and codeine or dextromethorphan cough syrup. Some of the effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • severely impaired motor skills
  • mild hallucinations
  • central nervous system depression
  • possible death

Lemon Drop: This is a combination of Naptha (a paint solvent) or lighter fluid and over the counter cough medications which are heated together to extract a concentrated dextromethorphan. This liquid is then mixed with lemonade, or lemon juice to produce the finished drug. Its effects include:

  • hallucinations
  • high blood pressure
  • nausea
  • impaired motor skills
  • hyperactivity
  • memory loss
  • desensitization
  • disorientation

Gravel: This is a combination of alpha-PVP, a chemical similar to ketamine and PCP, which is combined with rat poison and ammonium. This process produces rock or salt like crystals that are smoked or injected. The effects of Gravel include:

  • high blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • hallucinations
  • extreme paranoia
  • brain damage
  • necrosis at the injection site

Pump-It Powder: The active ingredient in this is geranamine, a synthetic form of the natural extractives of the geranium plant. It is marketed as a “plant vitamin”, and sold legally. It can be snorted, injected, or laced into food or beverages. The effects of Pump-It Powder include:

  • accelerated heart rate
  • increased body temperature
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • overdose (usually related to its slow effectiveness, and the tendency of users to double or triple dose)

MXE: Also known as M-ket, Kmax, or Mexxy, methoxetamine is a chemical analog of Ketamine. It is sold, legally, as a “research chemical”, and is believed to be a safe alternative to ketamine. However, it has many of the same effects, including:

  • hallucinations
  • euphoria
  • warmth
  • disassociation with reality
  • increased heart rate
  • loss of coordination
  • slurred speech

Bromo Dragonfly: This is a psychedelic drug related to LSD and MDMA. It is often mistaken for other psychedelics, and, because of its high potency, causes numerous overdoses. Some of the effects include:

  • hallucinations
  • euphoria
  • expanded consciousness
  • dehydration
  • poor body temperature regulation
  • irregular heart rate
  • high blood pressure

N-Bomb: Sometimes called “legal acid” or “smiles”, N-Bomb refers to any of the synthetic hallucinogens in the NBOMe family. This includes 2C-I, or India, which is the single most popular hallucinogen today. The effects of N-Bomb are the same as Bromo Dragonfly. However, because of its extreme potency and the fact that it is often sold as the much less powerful LSD or mescaline, its effects are far more damaging. It also has the additional side effects of:

  • seizures
  • heart attack
  • respiratory failure
  • extreme strength
  • aggressiveness or violence
  • death

Many of these drugs are marketed to people who are lower income or to high school and college students.

Psychedelic abuse among youths

Perhaps the most frightening thing about the new trends in psychedelic use are the increase in youths taking them. This is primarily due to the fact that so many of them are sold legally, with no restrictions, or are able to be produced at home. Also, many of them are marketed as safe alternatives. This is clearly not the case, and while traditional psychedelics are not physically addictive, often times these new drugs are. If you, or someone you love is struggling with psychedelic use, get help right away. The dangers of psychedelic use cannot be ignored.

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