PSYCHEDELICS

Psychedelics

Psychedelic drug, also called psychotomimetic drug or hallucinogen, any of the so-called mind-expanding drugs that are able to induce states of altered perception and thought, frequently with heightened awareness of sensory input but with diminished control over what is being experienced. See also hallucinogen.

The 12 of us — nine women and three men — taking ayahuasca in a private home in San Diego were led by two trained guides: Kat and her partner, whom I’ll call Sarah since she requested anonymity due to legal concerns. Together they have more than 20 years of experience working with psychedelics, including ayahuasca, a plant concoction that contains the natural hallucinogen known as DMT.

Kat (her full name is Tina Kourtney) and Sarah work as a team serving psychedelic medicine every month or so in a different city. Their primary role is to create a space in which everyone feels secure enough to drop their emotional guards and open up to the drugs’ potential to change their attitudes, moods, and behaviors.

Types Of Psychedelics

Acid or LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is a chemically synthesized hallucinogen, developed from ergot, a kind of mold that grows on the rye grain. Also known simply as acid, LSD was widely used in the 1960s until it was made illegal. Use of LSD has continued, despite being a controlled substance, although its use has gone through phases of greater or lesser popularity.

Dimethyltryptamine or DMT

DMT is a naturally occurring plant-based psychedelic found in the bark and nuts of certain trees from Central and South America. The effects of DMT are much shorter than those of other psychedelics, typically lasting only an hour. This has lead to the term “businessman’s trip” or “businessman’s lunch” being used to describe a DMT trip.

Ololiuqui or Morning Glory Seeds

Ololiuqui is a naturally occurring psychedelic which is found in the seeds of the morning glory flower. The effects are similar to those of LSD, but the drug has many unpleasant side effects. These include nausea, vomiting, headache, high blood pressure, and drowsiness.

Psilocybin or Magic Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms contain a naturally occurring type of hallucinogen, called psilocybin, which is found in certain fungi. There is a wide variety of hallucinogenic mushrooms, and their legal status is somewhat ambiguous, as they can be found growing wild in many parts of the world.

This can make them appealing to young people, keen to experiment with these “free drugs.” But mushrooms carry particularly high risks given the toxicity of some varieties, which can even be lethal.

Ecstasy

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is more difficult to categorize as a psychedelic because the hallucinogenic effects are less pronounced, and the mood-enhancing and stimulant effects are more noticeable to the user than some other psychedelics. However, ecstasy can induce hallucinations and delusions.

It is possible to have a bad trip on ecstasy, although this is not as common as bad trips on LSD or mushrooms. Ecstasy has also been associated with increased risks of health problems arising from overheating, dehydration and water intoxication.

Mescaline or Peyote

Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychedelic substance found in certain species of cactus, the most well-known being the peyote cactus. The effects of mescaline, which are similar to those of LSD, were well documented in the classic text on hallucinogens, The Door of Perception by Aldous Huxley.

Although peyote is a schedule 1 drug, and is therefore illegal, the listing of peyote as a controlled substance does not apply to the use of peyote in bona fide religious ceremonies of the Native American Church. Any person who manufactures peyote for or distributes peyote to the Native American Church, however, is required to obtain registration annually and to comply with all other requirements of law.

How To Use Psychedelics

Psychedelics have been used since ancient times by various cultures throughout the world for their mystical and spiritual associations. LSD, magic mushrooms, Mescaline and DMT are usually swallowed, smoked or inhaled. Mushrooms are usually eaten fresh, cooked or brewed into a ‘tea’.

Occasionally, they may be mixed with tobacco or cannabis and smoked. Mescaline is usually swallowed. Peyote buttons may be ground into a powder and smoked with cannabis or tobacco. The buttons can also be chewed or soaked in water to produce a liquid.

Most forms of NBOMe are inactive if swallowed, and the most common methods of taking them are under the tongue, held in the cheek or snorted.

Generally, people who use psychedelics don’t take them on a regular basis, but on occasions that may be weeks or months apart.

Effects Of Psychedelics

There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

Psychedelics affect everyone differently, based on:

  • size, weight and health
  • whether the person is used to taking it
  • whether other drugs are taken around the same time
  • the amount taken
  • the strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch).

The effects of psychedelics can last several hours and vary considerably, depending on the specific type of psychedelic. The following may be experienced during this time:

  • feelings of euphoria
  • sense of relaxation and wellbeing
  • seeing and hearing things that aren’t there
  • confusion and trouble concentrating
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • clumsiness
  • fast or irregular heart beat
  • breathing quickly
  • vomiting
  • sweating and chills
  • numbness.

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