LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
Hallucinogenic drugs, also known as "psychedelics" change the way a person perceives the world. Hallucinogens affect the central nervous system, altering a person's thinking, sense of time and emotions. They can make a person see, hear, smell, feel or taste things that aren't really there or are different from how they are in reality.
There are many different kinds of hallucinogens. Some occur naturally, in trees, vines, seeds, fungi and leaves. Others are manufactured in laboratories.
Some examples of hallucinogens include:
- LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
- Magic mushrooms (psilocybin)
- Morning glory seeds
- Mescaline (peyote cactus)
- PCP (phencyclidine)
LSD is a synthesised derivative of the fungus ergot which grows on rye and other grasses. It is a highly potent drug, so only very small doses are usually taken.
What does LSD look like?
In its purest state, LSD is a white, odourless powder. It usually comes in the form of squares of gelatine or blotting paper that have been infused with the drug. LSD is also sold in liquid form, or as tablets or capsules.
How is it used?
LSD is generally used sublingually (dissolved under the tongue), swallowed, sniffed, injected or smoked.
Effects of hallucinogens
The effects of LSD and other hallucinogens also depend on the environment in which the drug is taken and the mood and expectations of the person taking it. For example, whether the person is in a good mood or feeling anxious, is alone, with others or at a party, will affect the way in which the drug works.
The effects of hallucinogens can last several hours and vary considerably depending on the specific type of hallucinogen. Some of the typical effects of hallucinogens include:
- Blurred vision
- Increased breathing rate
- Sense of relaxation and feeling of well-being
- Hallucinations and distorted sensory processing, including visual, auditory, body, time and space perception
- Disorganised thoughts, confusion and difficulty concentrating, thinking or maintaining attention
- Anxiety, agitation, paranoia and feelings of panic
- Impaired coordination
Treatment is more effective if tailored to suit a person's circumstances, and usually involves a combination of counselling, group therapy, pharmacotherapy and withdrawal programs.
Source of information: DrugInfo Clearinghouse - Australian Drug Foundation
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