Psychedelic drugs, along with dissociative and deliriant drugs, are part of the wider class of drugs known as hallucinogens. These drugs distort the way a person perceives reality, self, time, motion, and space. The classical psychedelic drugs are psychoactive chemical compounds that come from plants such as psilocin (magic mushrooms), LSD which is synthetically produce from ergot, the fungus that grows on rye, mescaline from the peyote plant, and salvia divinorum. Other popular psychedelic drugs include PCP which is also considered a dissociate drug, and MDMA which is known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly.
Effects of Psychedelic Drugs
Psychedelic drugs act primarily in the brain and central nervous system and alter senses of being or a state of mind where the person is set apart from reality. They can produce various states of consciousness including dreamlike effects, trances, or near death experiences. For centuries, psychedelics have been used in medicine, rituals, and religious ceremonies to alter and explore or “enlighten” perceptions and cognition within the mind. The psychedelic “trip” can be a positive experience in a controlled setting, under the supervision of experienced and qualified healing professionals, such as psychiatrists, but, these drugs are unpredictable and a negative “trip” can have dangerous consequences.
Dangers of Psychedelic Drugs
Abuse and use of psychedelic drugs on the street can be extremely dangerous. Although they are not considered addictive, abuse of psychedelic drugs increases the risks of accidents, injuries, misinterpreted thoughts, psychotic behaviors, and poses other serious dangers. Synthetically produced psychedelic drugs such as LSD, MDMA, or PCP are more dangerous because of their manufacturing inconsistencies. They are produced in illegal laboratories where chemicals, dosage potencies, and other considerable factors can cause serious physical and psychological harm, including a “bad trip”, overdose, or death.
More often, psychedelic drugs on the street are causing users to experience a “bad trip.” The user can become so overwhelmed with their thoughts, feelings, or perceptions that they suffer severe panic attacks, depression, anxiety, paranoia or other inabilities to cope. Many users have become violent or suicidal and when a person is unable to distinguish what is real and what is not, the psychosis can last for hours.
MDMA causes many dangerous side effects including anxiety, agitation, increased blood pressure, heat stroke, dehydration, hyperthermia, muscle cramps, heart failure and kidney failure. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, MDMA or Ecstasy emergency department visits “increased significantly from 10,220 visits in 2004 to 17,865 visits in 2008, representing a 74.8 percent increase. These drugs are often used at “raves” or night clubs and the physical exertion during these events adds to their dangerous risks.