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The Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs on The Brain

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Biology 202
1998 First Web Reports
On Serendip

The Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs on The Brain

Alicia Ebbitt

Hallucinnogenic Drugs alter a person's perceptions of reality and may cause hallucinations and other alterations of the senses. Drugs classified as hallucinogens include: LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetime(DOM), N,N-dimethyltrptamine(DMT), psilocin, and mescaline. There are two aspects of these drugs that classify then as hallucinogens. They all have common side effects, including distortion of sensory perception, and other psychic and somatic effects. These drugs also exhibit cross-tolerance. This means that a user of hallucinogenic drugs develops a higher tolerance to hallucinogens, the more they are used and the shorter the time span is between the last usage.

Hallucinogenic drugs have been used throughout history for a number of reasons. They have been used as medicinal agents as well as having served religious purposes. Hallucinogens such as mescaline have been used in Native American ritual ceremonies. There was extensive usage of hallucinogens in the 60's and 70's as part of the counter- culture hippie movement. During the "acid tests" of this era, hallucinogenic drugs were used for mind exploration (B.L. Jacobs, "How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work").

Hallucinogenic drugs cause both physical and psychological effects on humans. The physical effects of these drugs include: dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, appetite loss, sleeplessness, tremors, headaches, nausea, sweating, heart palpitations, blurring of vision, memory loss, trembling, and itching. A user of hallucinogenic drugs will also experience a number of psychological alterations in the brain. These drugs may cause hallucinations and illusions as well, as the amplification of sense, and the alterations of thinking and self-awareness. It is quite possible to have a bad reaction to hallucinogenic drugs. This is referred to as a "bad trip" and may cause panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. The long-term effects of these drugs can be quite dangerous. These long-term effects may include: flashbacks, mood swings, impaired thinking, unexpected outbursts of violence and eventually possibly depression that may lead to death or suicide.

Quite a lot of interest concerning hallucinogens has been generated by neurobiologists and other scientists. The effects that hallucinogenic drugs have on the brain are quite complicated and very interesting. Many users of hallucinogenic drugs have experienced whole personality changes which raises questions about the relationship between brain and behavior. Scientists are also curious as to how total alterations of the senses can occur as the result of hallucinogen usage. Many people that have used hallucinogens claim to have "seen sounds" or "heard colors". Scientists ask questions such as: How can a person under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs see things that aren't there? or How do flashbacks work? Another aspect of hallucinogenic drugs that interests scientists is that they are psychomimetic meaning that they mimic certain aspects of psychosis. Through the use of hallucinogenic drugs, one can induce temporary symptoms of psychosis.

As a result of the great interest in hallucinogens, many years of research have been done to try and determine exactly how the brain is affected by these drugs. Scientists have tried to determine if there is a specific site in the brain where hallucinogens act. This has been difficult to determine. Scientists still are unable to answer all questions about hallucinogenic drugs. However they have been able to determine certain areas of the brain that these drugs do act upon.

Early on in the reasearch on hallucinogens, it was determined that hallucinogenic drugs structurally resemble serotonin (5-HT) Serotonin is found in specific neurons in the brain that mediate chemical neurotransmission in the brain. Neurons containing serotonin can be found in the brain stem section of the brain. Axons of serotonergic neurons project to almost every part of the brain, affecting and communicating with all sections of the brain. Serotonin also acts at many receptor areas of neurons. Because hallucinogenic drugs are structurally similar to serotonin, it was theorized that hallucinogenic drugs may act upon serotonergic neurons (B.L. Jacobs, "How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work").

Scientists began to carefully study the serotonin system and found out that hallucinogens do in fact have some kind of effect on serotonin. Hallucinogenic drugs cause an increase in the level of brain serotonin, but they inhibit the rapid firing of neurons containing serotonin. This is a negative feedback system in which as the serotonin level rises, the activity of serotonergic neurons decreases. It was originally theorized that this effect of hallucinogenic drugs directly caused sense alteration and hallucinations. Several observations however have shown this theory not to be true. These observations include the following: Low doses of LSD effect behavior, but do not depress firing of serotonergic neurons, The behavioral effects of LSD outlast the alteration of the firing of the serotonergic neurons, Repeated dosage of LSD results in a decrease of behavioral changes, but still effects neuron firing, Other hallucinogens do not affect serotonergic neurons, When serotonin levels are depleted, the effectiveness of LSD is not eliminated (Ian Leicht, "Postulated Mechanisms of LSD").

It has now been determined that the effects of hallucinogenic drugs are actually caused by the effects that hallucinogenic drugs have on the post-synaptic activity of serotonergic neurons. Hallucinogenic drugs directly affect the serotonin receptors(specifically the serotonin receptor subtype, 5-HT2), which is what eventually results in a complex pattern of action potentials and activity. This was proven by the fact that the depletion of serotonin levels in animals does not result in a decrease of behavioral effects caused by hallucinogenic drugs (B.L. Jacobs, "How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work").

Hallucinations and other effects of hallucinogens are however very complicated experiences. They are not simply a part of a cause and effect system in the brain, where hallucinogenic drugs act on serotonin and cause hallucinations. Instead, hallucinogenic drugs act initially on the serotonin system, which sends into motion, a pattern of complex action potentials and activity. Other neurotransmitters may be involved in these activities as well. The effects that inputs and outputs have on each other in this system as well as the pattern of action potentials mediated by hallucinogenic drugs help to cause many of the complex changes that allow hallucinations to happen. (B.L. Jacobs, "How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work") Scientists continue to do research to determine the exact effects that hallucinogens have on the serotonin receptors and to answer any questions that they cannot yet answer.


WWW Sources

1) NIDA (National Institution Drug Abuse: LSD(Lysergic Acid Diethylamide).

2) Hallucinogenic Drugs in Psychiatric Research and Treatment: Perspectives and Prospects.

3) Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness.

4) Hallucinogens (PCP, LSD, etc.).

5) Narcotics, Dangerous Drugs, and Marijuana.

6) Healthguide Online: Substance Abuse: Hallucinogens.

7) Hallucinogens.

8) Los Angeles Police Department Drug Recognition Expert Unit: Hallucinogens.

9) Postulated Mechanisms of LSD.

10) B.L. Jacobs. 1987. How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work. "American Scientist". 75:385-92.

11) M.C. Bindal, S.P. Gupta, and P. Singh. 1983. QSAR Studies on Hallucinogens. "Chemical Reviews". 83:633-49.


Comments made prior to 2007

When you list the drugs in the beginning of your article you list lsd psilocin and mescaline. But "psilocin" is not actually the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The correct term is "Psilocybin". Just thought I'd point that out ... Daniel, 19 February 2007


jo's picture

i agree

People shouldn't look at hallucinagins as a problem they open your mind to whats happening all around you, most people who judge drug usage usually havent tried it themselves, which is fine, but they really have no room to even be part of this conversation. as for the fellow who commented earlier about the extacy, you took the drug and had a blast doing it, live with it and be proud that you were able to try a different lifestyle then one who goes everyday following the rules of society, everyone's brain will fail eventually why not do the things you enjoy, and boo hoo if you had a few nightmares!

Serendip Visitor's picture

The Darkside

Keep going and you might see things even more from the outside\ Darkside, like i do. I feel like i see things from hell or somethn, ive taken alot of shrooms and lsd all because i was like you it felt great. I felt like i was unravelling some kind of mystery about life perhaps, felt like i was understanding how everything works. I was stupid and kept going now i feel out of body alot of the time. Also mentioned by alot of people i have good days and bad, i never feel 100% and if i do its only for a matter of minuets. I havnt taken any hard drugs for 2 years now and i hope to god i just feel atleast a little bit better in any of the years to come. Every minite of every day is a battle for me with massive amounts of anxiety paranoia and panic attacks. Whats bad is that i am aware of all these feelings and it makes me have to evaluate every situation. I have to use all my brain power to think and conversate because i am constantly watching what i say and more so watching wat i thnk. trying to make sure my brain is thinking strait, which is impossible now !

Serendip Visitor,, kate's picture

im an 22 years old and i have

im an 22 years old and i have triped hundreds of times.. i am so much happier then i used to be before my first time with shrooms.. i was always depressed and hated life.. the first time i over dosed on shrooms was a wake up call.. i know appreciate everything that life has to offer.. i am happy no matter what im doing and i appreciate every moment that i have.. i now use dmt bout once a month for a few days at music festivals. its like shrooms only it only last like 15 min.. you have totall control over how long you want to trip,, its way more spirtitul.. i recommend trying it but put your self in a happy place with good music first.. the environment you are in is how the trip will turn out... the things you see all depends on what your listening to and where u are. you can compeletly control what happens by what u set up for yourself.. im writing a paper for school on the healing affects of hallucinogens and i stumbled upon this.. i healed myself with them and i want others to do the same.. thank you and happy trailsss. try what i said .. you will be even more of a happier person after..

Nick's picture

I feel you its amazing. I

I feel you its amazing. I just got out of a mental institution and i tried shrooms and i am more happy than ever

Serendip Visitor's picture

Drugs for first time?

I'm 19 years old, and last saturday i was drinking liquor, im not an alcaholic i just did it for the heck of it. afterwards went clubbing then to a "friends" house. i have always been scared of drugs always told myself i would NEVER! but here i am. so that night i tried Ecstacy, idk how many halves, and also a tiny bit of cocaine. just a fingertip & small line. I am now feeling shaky & my head feels like my nervous system is shooken and i sleep all the time. I need help. i regret doing what i did, but the plus is i dont want to do them again, they are not fun. I want to know how long this will last i want to go back to being myself again.

Please help me
what should i do?

thank you so much

Serendip Visitor's picture

Time will heal...

From personal experience, I believe you were/are experiencing the down side of Ectasy..and its a BIG downside. Back in the 90's I wass a regular weed smoker, drinker, acid eater, and had did cocaine several times. I had some hangovers and heady feelings (short-lived)the next day, but no lasting effects. While travelling, a friend offered me X. As a regular tripper, I thought what the hey and did it. The trip wasnt very fun and I was mildly depressed after that for about 4 months. No other drug I had done previously had ever affected me that way. it effects the seretonin (feel good) production areas in the brain. Of course some people are more susceptible to this. Good news is I eventually came back to being my old self for the most part but never encourage anyone to try X. I would also recommend exercising vigorously to jumpstart your natural seratonin production and for increased sense of well-being.

Serendip Visitor's picture

Drugs for the first time

Okay so I am kinda in a similar situation as you my friend are, I took a very bad Ecstasy pill and thought I was going to die. Ever since I did that I have kept myself away from them and feel so much better about my life, I appreciate my life more now than I have ever done in my life. Just accept it and you will be fine in a day or so with good friends and a lot of fresh air.

ps: hope this helped, if you have any other questions ill try hard to help.

jake's picture

drugs for 1st time

haha no big deal man this happens to almost everyone after they try drugs for the first time. i know this will be hard for you to understand but i promise you ITS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!!! if you just tell yourself that you are fine and everything is going to be ok then it will be. this happened to me the first time i started trying drugs. i was always nervous and thought i threw my life away. a friend told me to relax and act like nothing happened and after a few days i was fine... hope this helped

Serendip Visitor DHamilton's picture

Drugs for first time

what should you do?
You'll be fine by now, I expect. But Lay off the coke. Bad, expensive stuff, it's what gave you the headache. Some people get along with it, love it. You are not one of those. They have different body chemistry from you. MDMA suits some, not others. Not my choice, for instance.
Oh, and don't mix coke and alcohol, whatever you choose. That's a good way to get addicted to them both. And that will ruin your finances and your life.

Questions's picture

Long term effects after you have stopped?

My Boyfriend suffers from severe panic attacks, and none of his meds seems to work efficiently to free him from all symptoms. My Boyfriend is 23 and,was into a array of drugs for a long time until almost 3 years ago when he stopped cold turkey due to the birth of our little one. He did crack/cocaine,K,E,uppers,marijuana,acid,hash,and some laced with heroin.
It is really difficult to find information on the long term after effects of these drugs. It would be very helpful in determining if they have a link to his panic/anxiety attack syndrome or if he really dose not have this condition at all and it is a result of his younger adventures. Hopefully with some more info we can try to figure out if other treatment is needed.
I have a feeling that obviously these drugs take a toll on your body with abuse, and also certain chemicals can effect your body's chemical makeup long term.

he suffers;
-sharp head/chest pains
-shortness of breath
-the feeling that his throat is closing inn
-high blood pressure
-loss of libido
-erectile dysfunction
-sporadic radiating pain

these are all symptoms that a man in his 60's may suffer, and let me remind you he is only 23.
If anyone has any information please share, these are every day occurrences for my boyfriend, and the peace of settling on a possible answer. To help steer us closer to a solution would be very appreciated.

Serendip Visitor Leroy's picture

Hello Misses Jane Doe. My

Hello Misses Jane Doe. My name is Leroy. You are not alone when it comes to living with a ex-drug user. My loving wife to be has had the same concerns that you have had. From the ages 16-26 I did a lot of acid, cocaine, Pot and mass quantities of beer. Have been clean & sober for 20 years this past June. It was not until about five years ago that I started to have a hard time swallowing, shortness of breath, erectile dysfunction, complete body muscles are constantly sore. Then out of nowhere I will still have flashbacks of anxiety with dry heaving or throwing up just after eating. It is embarrassing to pull over on the side of the street to throw up in front of onlookers. Sometimes when driving down the street I will drive through a intersection with the lights turned green. Then watch the same intersection pass by again. Sometimes 2-3 times. It always scares me. I am under a doctors care a psychiatrist and a therapist twice a month. Then take four psychotropic drugs once a day. I live a very simple life with positive friends and on a strict diet with plenty of exerciser. I am 46. But feel like I am 70. It is just something that I have accepted and live with as best as possible. Take care... -Leroy-

Serendip Visitor's picture

Sounds like he is suffering

Sounds like he is suffering from post arterial stress. Genetics, job, physical health all affect your blood flow, but drugs of that calibur and frequency can have irreversable effects on brain function which can cause havoc everywhere. But the erectile, labido, pain, inflammation, head aches and blood pressure can all be linked back to some type of arterial damage.

Now there isn't enough info to make an intelligent decsion, but knowing he did a substantial amount of severe drugs in his teens could have sprung developmental disorders like premature onset of arthritis, asthma, and other age related disorders... again it's hard to judge with such limited information. Not sure about his current or past physical health, his current mental/emotional state.. perhpas ditching the old life and taking care of the child is putting undealt stress that needs to be worked out.

bottom line, go to a doctor, get on a good diet and physical regime that should help lessen arterial aging and ultimately get back some of the years that were sacraficed for hard drugs... just make sure he gets plenty of support to keep him on the right track and prevent any relapse of drug use.

Tyler H's picture


My second cusin used to do the same drugs that your boyfriend does and she did alot of researching on those drugs as well as i did because she wanted to find out what it was doing to her body if she kept using them she found out that acid gives you alot of brain damage that can cause these things to happen parts of the brain control different things and these things that hes getting is from parts of his brain not working anymore theres some parts of the brain that control organs (such as his lungs) the shortness of breath is his brain not being able to control his lungs and concentrate on his breathing which makes him not be able to breath as well as he should like you said the affects hes getting is the affects a 60yr old should be getting the more he uses these drugs the more his body will age internally which will speed his death rate up i know that sounds deppressing but thats what will happen techniccaly hes committing suicide rite now if he doesnt stop.

scott_m's picture

Okay Tyler H, would you

Okay Tyler H,
would you please let me see where you got this information? No offense, but I'm gonna tell you that what you said is party true but not specifically for LSD (acid).
There is a lot of false information on drugs out there, which is why you should use a reputable source like before you try to tell people things.

On acid causing brain damage: what it most definitely does is alter your brain chemistry while you're on it. Almost everyone returns to their normal state after it is taken, depending on their mental stability and the dose. There are long-term affects of using LSD but I wouldn't consider them damaging but altering in a way that could be for better or worse. People can lose touch with reality and drugs like acid can set off an underlying mental condition that would have come out anyway but there's no evidence that LSD can directly cause brain damage. The people in question who use LSD most likely use other drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy) and pot which have shown more evidence to cause memory problems. I sincerely doubt that LSD is the main culprit-it's a dangerous drug but it's probably the lifestyle and combination of LSD and partying lifestyle that causes the real damage in the people you're talking about.

If someone is having shortness of breath it's probably because of abusing any of the number of drugs that are smokable and someone who does LSD is usually using other substances also. Although there is a link between the brain and the bodily organs, years of abusing an addictive drug such as alcohol, nicotine, or heroin would be more likely to cause your body to slowly shut down and organs to fail. Though LSD is enjoyable and people may want to repeat the experience, it's not physically addicting. It's also not something a person can take every day-in fact it doesn't work after a couple days of doing it.

I'm telling you these things from my own personal experiences with drugs, observing and talking to other drug users, and my own research. I'm not a scientist but as far as civilian advice, it doesn't get any more legit than that.

I don't mean to sound like I'm telling you off, I just want you to open your eyes and think about everything else that goes on in people's lives.

Serendip Visitor's picture

bad trips

i have taken acid quite a few times now. but i have a problem, the last 3 time i have taken acid i have had very bad trips, ive thought my brother was trying to kill me and i have also tryed to kill myself. but the strange thing about these bad trips is that, i havnt been sceared or bothered in anyway by the visules, iv been just jumping to conclusions about wot people are thinking and wot theer intentions are. its sort of all in my head. can u sujest any reason for this to happen and wot cud i go to stop it? thankyou

Serendip Visitor's picture

some help on bad trips

most of the time when a user takes lsd you will have a bad trip, the best way to cure a bad trip is thinking of the happiest thing that comes to your mind even if it takes the whole trip, DO NOT SMOKE CIGGARETTS they heighten the effect and make you sick and you can think it will even kill you, go outside and get some fresh air, if your not trippin balls cause somebody will call the cops, and dont trip alone because you start to think your going insane. just a heads up

Serendip Visitor's picture

anxiety related

All of the symptoms you described can be attributed to the anxiety/panic attacks i assure you:) It was really important for me to realize that all of these things can come and go as a result of becoming anxious, not because my throat is really closing in. It's also pretty standard I think for people with anxiety to want to associate it with some sort of long term effects; like from drugs at an early age. we do this because its a scary thought, and for some reason when ur stuck in a loop of anxiety u try to think of every scary thing u can think of lol. He needs a good cognitive therapist - my panic attacks are all but totally gone, and believe me when I say they were severe for quite a while. hope this helps:)

Serendip Visitor's picture

did cognitive therapy help?

hey man i just read your post and noticed you saying to take cognitive therapy, i start my therapy today and reading your post seriously helped me! just that small paragraph brings such relief into my mind knowing i can completely get rid of anxiety!

Phillip's picture

Hi, I'm sorry that you and

I'm sorry that you and your boy friend are going through this espcially at such a stresful time as young parents.
I am 34 and I have been through some very difficult stages in my life due to drugs. I think your boy friend has been very strong in
giving up drugs even if there have been relapses. I have suffered from most of these symtoms and in my experience I would say that
these are allrelated to drug use or at least agrivated.

Many stem from imbalances in the brain which take time to readjust, certainly labido and probably all the other symptoms.
A very powerful lesson that I have learnt is that chains of thought, for example analysing why you feel ill, fearing that you may be going
insane, effect your brain and perpetuate anxiety and depression and actually make your physical symtoms worse as well.

I hope this does not sound patronising this is not an easy thing to deal with.

When I was 15 I had an extremely powerful and terifying experience on Acid. After that point I became very depressed and anxious. I coped day to day but I could not look into the future. Gradually my memory of the trauma began fade but I still had frightening
anxiety attacks. When I was about 23 I met an old friend and he was into clubs and I decided to go out with him and I started to take ecstacy. This was a massive release of stress and I really began feel in control again but of course with time the lows began to out weigh th highs and I started to experience many of the symtoms that your boy friend has. I eased of and struggled with bouts of depression and a constant desire to go out and get wasted.

It all came to a head when I was 29 my girl friend and I and a couple of mates went to the Burningman festival in Navada. I can't tell you why but I decided to try a small amount of acid again. I guess after so much time and a lot of wierd experiences I thought that I would be fine. It was quite a long experience I managed to cope with the experience but I was taken back to the same state of mind although much milder as when I was 15. By the end of the trip I was enjoying myself. The next day I felt very emotional but the spirit of the festival pulled me through. During that day I met somebody who I attribute to starting me on the first steps to rebuilding my life. It sounds dramatic but I dread to think where I would be without his advice. He had gone through a crystal meth addiction but now had a good job and was mentally fine. He told me that he had hit rock bottom and had been introduced to buddhism. He had learnt to meditate and from this totally taken control of his life.

I was very interested but at the same time very wary of any religions practice. I listened to what he said and decided to at least read about it.

When we returned to the UK I began to feel very unwell. I was extemely anxious and depressed and experiencing many of the perceptual distortions that I had had at the age of 15.
I felt as though I had gone back to square one I could not bare to go through the next few years the way I thought was in store for me. I was at rock bottom but thankfully, like your boyfriend I had someone who loved me very much and who supported, I know it was a missive drain on her.
She helped me to explore buddhism and meditation and gradually we learnt more and more.

I began to meditate and found it very uncomfortable because you have to face your thoughts and many were very dark. After attending many drop in meditation groups and meeting many people who had similar experiences, I foun out about a Zen Abbey, called throssel hole in Northumberland.
I organised to stay there for 10 days throwing myself in at the deep end. Within 2-3 days I had completely faced down my darkest fears. This point in my life changed everything. I still have some symptoms but I do have control over my thoughts and that has proven to be the route of many problems

That was over 4 years ago and I have never had anxiety or depression since. But also my concentration, memory, emotions and joy of life have returned. I now have two beautiful children, a good job and everything that I never thought possible!

I should add that I am no more religious now than when I started and that Buddhism is about seeing things as they are and not living in the cycles of thought which can control our lives.

The bottom line is that ultimately only your boyfriend can help himself but if he chooses to look closely at himself he can achieve all this and more.

If you are still reading, well done. If you have any questions please feel free to ask

Good luck to you all and don't give up hope!

Serendip Visitor's picture

we both don't know what to do.

Hello there.
I'm 16 and my boyfriend does drugs.
He's only 14 but does way too many of them, way too often. It worries me because I know the long term effects of them.

He does E and acid all the time and used to do MDMA quite a bit. He does shrooms every now and then and smokes weed pretty much everyday. He drinks sometimes and is addicted to smoking.

How old was your boyfriend when he started on drugs?

Serendip Visitor's picture

MDMA and ecstasy are the same

MDMA and ecstasy are the same drug,mdma is the main ingredient in the drug,hes only 14? he shouldnt be doing any of these drugs.He should be playing outside for recess and watching nickelodeon

The Daver's picture

it's hard to teach people your prespective

I know how hard it is to show someone the damage they're doing because I myself refused to accept the consequences until I found out for myself. My best friend- the one I mentioned in my post- is a nurse of neurology and even she knew that explaining it to me wouldn't work. What you need to stress to him is that his brain is still developing and these drugs are really, really messing with the wiring and he's increasing the chance of later developing a personality disorder. I honestly don't mean to scare you but this stuff happens all the time more often than you might think. Being the monkey on his back (not saying you are) will probably not get you very far but action needs to be taken and it needs to be done appropriately. I'm not sure how exactly you could get him to start searching but look on youtube for the UCLA's 4 part bit on how the brain works, he might be inspired to start digging a little further because it's really fascinating stuff in my opinion. I wish you all the best, keep strong and don't be afraid to let people go. He may be destroying his life, don't let him do it to yours too. Take care dear, keep your head up high. He's lucky to have someone that cares so much about him, he just doesn't see it like that yet

Ross's picture

your kidding right im only 15

your kidding right im only 15 at the moment and was doing an assignment on drugs and came across your thing you must be fucking with everyone here, hes only 14 and does like 6 different types of drugs. if by any chance your telling the truth you seriously gotta go get get help see a doctor talk to his parents if you can.

zane's picture

people are so naive. I have

people are so naive. I have spent some minutes reading over the posts and comments on this. I find it comical that most of the anti-drug advocates in here seem to sound the least educated. While all the open-minded pro choice advocates sound much more educated. Our society has been flooded with all these anti-drug ads which are an insult to the intelligence of our community. Yes, drugs can have negative side effects. Yes, drugs can cause addiction and death. But the way these ads lay the dangers of drugs on the table is absurd. The way the facts get misconstrude twisted, and contorted is amazing. AND PEOPLE BUY THIS SHIT. On another note food can be addicting, while eating dopamine is released in the brain. Thusly you find over-weight people. People who enjoy that dopamine surge. Read the poem "To Everything There Is A Season" the basic lesson to be learned is MODERATION. Aspirin how many people take it daily for headaches toothaches back aches etc. How many negative side effects go hand in hand with continual aspirin use? How many negative side effects go hand in hand with obesity/over eating? If you do anything to much negativity will come from it. Drugs are no different. If the proper precautions are taken there are several drugs that can have very positive side effects. I respectively say, Get real and think for yourself

Mike's picture

Various Drugs.

People, lets please not group all drugs together, and say,
"all drugs cause brain damage, loss of life, etc.."
that's simply not true.
There have been no cases of weed killing anybody, and only
2 (controversial) cases of acid killing anybody.
There is NO evidence to suggest that acid damages the
brain, infact most of the studies, show that acid can
actually expand potential of the brain.

Personally, i had experimented with every drug under the
sun. I started on weed, as most do, and although weed can
be abused, it's not a bad drug.
Most people have a means of relaxing, partying, or some
form of recreational substance, or social substance,
it's just more commonly accepted to have tobacco or alcohol
as those substances.
I'm not a big fan of alcohol, and i'm not a big fan of
smoking weed in a bong, especially when mixed with tobacco.

But i see no problem with smoking weed, in a pipe, or
cooking it up in a cake. Provided its use isnt abused.

I found i could study much more easily when stoned, i
could focus on 1 thing rather than having my attention
fly from 1 thing to the next..
(i have been diagnosed with ADHD)

As for acid, wow.. acid is an incredible drug, it has
my full respect.
I have had a lot of acid in the past, and i continue to use
it, probably even tonight.
I'd say i take acid maybe once every 2 months or so,
weed, maybe every couple weeks, (i have been a daily user
before though..)
and other drugs, randomly inbetween,..

Acid needs to be taken in a comfortable environment,..
From what i've seen, you need to also be pretty comfortable
with who you are. I've never had a bad trip, but every
time i've seen another person start to head toward having
a bad trip, they always seem to start asking questions
about themselves.. who they are, why are they like they are
when they don't like that kind of person, etc.
Most of the time without actually saying those things out
Every time i see this, when i reassure that person, and
tell them they are a good person, and i wouldn't be their
friend if they weren't, they seem to pull themselves out
of it,.

As for my own experiences with acid, acid has really
helped me to discover myself.
You become like a child on acid, in awe of everything,
open minded, willing to let go of things you thought
you knew, and rediscover them.

I have had those kind of feelings, on extacy too, but
the difference being, once you come off extacy, you realize
that everything you found amazing, was actually just your
mind overreacting.. (i often write things down when i am
on drugs, to reread later).
However, with acid, you think back to it all, and its all
real, it's all incredibly clear, it all makes complete
I show people what i have written down while on acid,
without telling them i was on some kind of drug at the
time, and they are in awe too.

It has changed who i am, but not because of brain damage,
i chose to change, based on what i had discovered, while
on acid.
Right now i am exactly what i want to be, and maybe that
will change next time i take acid, but it will be because
i discovered that i was wrong about something, and can
change to become even better, based on what i had discovered
while on acid, not because of brain damage.

I don't recommend any other drug however..
Speed/ice and amphetamines in general, they make you
feel good, but wow are they addictive,..
I have extremely strong will power, and i found it very
hard to stop the cravings after having speed/ice.

Heroin/coke, much the same. Don't even bother experimenting
with these two..

As for all other drugs, you can pretty much get the same
effect from other, "lesser" drugs, without the huge
addiction factor.

For any young people reading this, the "coolness" of taking
drugs, wears of very quickly. If your ever going to do
drugs, do it because its what you actually want to do,
don't get pressured into it.
If your set on experimenting with a drug, do some research
on it first. Have a backup plan incase things go wrong.

No drug is "safe".
Some drugs might not cause death, or other serious
physical problems, but they can have very strong mental
Weed for example, can, and will likely, make you
depressed if you use it often. Especially if you have
underlying depression in the first place.
Acid, can put you is a strange uncomfortable mental
state, and while in that state, although iv never seen
this happen, but its definately possible, to put yourself
in harms way, you could end up infront of an oncoming
car, for example.
These are pretty extreme situations, and its likely,
they wont happen, but always keep it in mind.

Anyway, i hope i havn't offended anybody by saying all of
this, but for parents out there, worried about your kids
taking drugs, if they really want to do it, they are going
to find a way to do it wether you know about it or not.
Obviously don't go embracing their drug use, but please
don't force them to chose between drugs or their parents.
My mother was pretty open minded when it came to me using
drugs, she never tried to force me not to take them,
she just advised me of the dangers, said shed prefer, if
i didn't do it, as she was worried about my health etc..

I still took drugs, i was going to no matter what,
but i wasn't forced into the druggy life by being shut
out by my immediate family.

Now, i still take drugs, i live a normal life, most people
around me would be suprised to learn that i take drugs,
i work full time, im able to make friends with non drug
users, and not feel ashamed.

I hope you can all take something in from what iv written..


Serendip Visitor's picture

i cannot believe that there

i cannot believe that there are people who are willing to talk on behalf of such a wide killer. no matter how some of you would like to justify the use of drugs they kill and thats that!!!!!
keep fooling yourselfs and saying you are not eddicted, you live a normal life, not all drugs brain damage, it depends on the in take......and whatever else you want to fool yourselves with, but the truth of the matter is your organs will fail you sooner then supposed to be!!]

how foolish can people get???

Serendip Visitor's picture

People kill people as well,

People kill people as well, yet you will still justify for the rest of the human race that not all people are murderers. Are you saying we might as well limit our rations of food to prevent over-eating? Heart disease is the number one killer in America. I think the ban of fast food is more important than the banning of substance that has shown no damage to the brain or any other organ in that case. Alcohol, tobacco and presciption drugs are okay though because our government approves of it. All those have killed way more people than obviously acid and marijuana yet those are all legal. Truth is, where the money lies so will the government.

KT 's picture

acid/Hallucinogenic drugs

i'am doing a slideshow/presentation at college and wondered if anyone could comment on a trip they had. Good or bad, prefferably good lol. i havent YET, experimented with this as i have a smoking habbit i enjoy. Cannibis plays an importent role in my life. i dont drink alcohol, i dont enjoy the feeling it gives off, and prefer to be relaxed and get into deep conversation. i have obviously got drunk im 18 lol. but im also on medication for arthritis, i got diagnosed at 10 so its been a long time in pain. and drinking alot could put me in a critical condition. So im left with the greatest thing on this earth (to me lol) Cannibis x
But i would really like to find out more about Hallucinogenic drugs as the feelings you get (i have been told by friends, family) are amazing.
anything would help. Thanks x

Serendip Visitor's picture

it all depends

It all depends on the person taking the drugs. Many people can take drugs and be fine the next day. In my case i took shrooms 3 months ago and realized i have not been the same since. In all honesty I have matured mentally, but I feel as if my anxiety has grown immensly. There are times where i can't controll my mind thus putting me in mayor depression. All I can say too you is if weed makes you feel good by all means use it. I used to be a heavy smoker but now i see that canabis has a bad side effect on my mentality as well. Hallucinogenic drugs are quite amazing when your on the trip. Its just the after effects of the drug that are the downfall. You can take shrooms and trip, and the next day be the happiest person alive. Or, you can take shrooms and trip, and be the most misserable person in the world. It all depends on you! In my recomendation follow your gut feeling if your every going to expiriment with any drug. I didnt listen to my gut feeling and now I'm dealing with the consequenses but with time I know I'll be fine. For all you teenagers reading this, seriously take my point of view into perspective. I'm only 19 and I feel like I'm 50 lol. Keep your head up, stay in school, get a girl, find a nice job and life will take care of itself. Experimenting with drugs can be fun but also extremely dangerous. Just follow your gut feeling and I'm sure you'll be fine.

Serendip Visitor's picture

hallucinogenic drugs

Its not the fact that hallucinogenic drugs are altering my brain chemistry, its the things I learn on them which is bringing me farther from reality. I am burdened by my understanding of eternity which was onset by drugs.

zane's picture

i dont feel like my

i dont feel like my anatomical make up has changed whatsoever. its the things i have found either true or not true about human existence while on LSD that has forever changed me. I feel i was exposed to an alternative perception and or reality. Once this happened I have never been able to look at my life or any others, through the same eyes again.

scott464's picture


dear KT:
Each drug differs in it's effects. It all depends on the person, their past experience, dosage, set, setting and mindframe and expectations. I've had about 100 trips (I'm 21) most of which were positive experiences.
A mild trip on something like LSD or Mushrooms usually gives me an increase in energy and awareness. I get a little giddy, or even talkative. Things are associated more fluidly so that if someone says the word dog, I will think of my dogs back home, then think of how they are animals, then think about how animals are related to us, and why they are called dogs, etc etc. It's kind of a process of over thinking things in ways you normally wouldn't by association.
In higher doses things get interesting. Lines in the vision become wavy and blank or flat surfaces will shimmer with growing and pulsating colors and patterns. My body will get hot and I will have odd sensations all over, very sensitive skin. Sometimes I get synesthesia, which is when your senses blend together. Usually what I'm hearing like music and what I see will match up. For example, at the peak of an acid trip me and 3 other friends put a DVD box set of Woody Woodpecker on the ground. There was reggae music playing, and the box started waving to and fro to the music. Then, Woody popped out from the box and was standing in front of it, and started to move about and almost dance around the box which we ALL saw. It was as if he had come alive and our imagination made him do a dance. That was an amazing trip.

Some bad trips I've had was when I took something on an unplanned evening when I was drunk or not prepared and I simply wasn't able to communicate (talking is difficult when tripping hard) or concentrate. When you have bad thoughts, they can take over you in the trip and reality is all too much. Things that you have pushed down and not wanted to deal with can surface and it's almost impossible to get them back down.

ralph's picture

I would recommend using

I would recommend using hallucinogens to level-headed individuals on a few times every year basis at most. I have only done low doses of shrooms twice, and one hit of acid. All three times were great experiences. But keeping in touch with reality is more important. I found that acid and shrooms stimulated thoughts about the goals I have in my life. My speaking skills were impeded by acid, but while on shrooms I felt so fluent in my language that I could be a comedian. While on both psychedelics my musical skills seemed to increase. Although I think they seemed to increase only because making music became much more fun and amusing. I would recommend doing trips with 2-3 people total. That keeps conversations from becoming too random and confusing. I would also recommend tripping in well known places, outside or inside away from other people. Acid and shrooms are made for great experiences, just think positively while consuming and everything should be fine.

Anonymous's picture


i had my first experience of marihuana in year 7. my mates dad had weed in his shed, so he took some along with his pipe. we smoked weed after school for about two months along with about four over mates. we all decided to stop using pot.i used it randomly throughout years 8-11. during year 12 my interest in smoking increased and i started smoking during recess and lunch with mates. my interest increased becasue i started getting really high everytime i had a sesh. i literally smoked hard everyday during year 12. after i left school i decided to hav a break. i lasted 7 weeks, however everyday was a battle. know i question life itself and do not believe anything is real. i also think that im retarded. this may sound weird but its true, and i mainly started thinking because i became paraniod. i know smoke weed around 3-4 times a week and although it hasnt effected my academics it has effected my mental thoughts and outlook on life. i have also dont acid and found it a fun experience however i follow the if it growd in the grownd approach. do u think my mental paranioa was caused from altogether stopping weed use?

Dandy's picture

Re: weed

"do u think my mental paranioa was caused from altogether stopping weed use?"

I have smoked a lot of weed in short periods of time, and I can say from experience and research that weed abuse will cause brain damage.

If you get paranoia now, wait until you think an assassin is behind every door, hear voices, see objects crying or turning into monsters, chairs turning into electric chairs, memory blanking out all the time, etc. I would strongly suggest quitting, but I know how hard it can be. If you think you have enough self-control, smoke less and less in frequency and amount and quit within three months. It'll soften the withdrawal.

It's good that you've at least slowed down. Taking 5-htp (supplement) will make you feel clearer, but it should only be used for a few weeks or months. If you take it while you still smoke, it could strengthen the hallucinogenic aspects of the high, and might be even more detrimental (at high doses, at least), but try it out when you're sober. Sometimes it'll make you think about negative things that have happened since you started smoking, but for me, it also allowed me to work on those problems without having a breakdown or being so lazy and irritable all the time.
It should be noticeable the first or second time you take it, but it could take up to a week. I'd suggest starting at 50mg per day and going up to 100-200mg daily after a month or two. I found that taking 5-htp while I smoked reduced my tolerance and depression but occasionally increased anxiety and, because of the reduced tolerance and side effects, encouraged me to start smoking again.

Even if some drugs are beneficial, they are only good at low doses and will usually backfire when you're old. I'm positive that chronic use of marijuana is detrimental and fairly confident that any use at all is only beneficial for a small minority of people. As for psychedelics, they are fun and can make you a "better" person if you do them right, but IME they're detrimental to your mind in many other ways, and not worth more than a few experiences, if any, and only at lower doses.

If you do try it, remember there's a reason that delusions and hallucinations are called so. A person who has a delusion doesn't know they're wrong. Hallucinogens (especially dissociatives, but also psychedelics) can cause your brain to record incorrect information and categorize it as true, so it will obviously make sense to you and perhaps a few others (most people can't reason for themselves anyway). Some of the insights will be true, but don't let that fool you into thinking hallucinogens of any kind are usually more good than bad.

your mom's picture

my family is into drugs so

my family is into drugs so bad that a person actually came into their home and shot them just to get some pills-cause they sell em. Her 17 year old son tries to take care of her u know but yea wat ever i guess.....

Anonymous's picture

To be honest, I equate

To be honest, I equate marijuana on the same level as caffeine, alchohol and cigarettes, although the last three probably do have more detrimental effects to the user. Cannabis seems to cause more good than harm, judging by the investigations into it's potentiality. Oh and not to mention the fact that the hemp plant could save the fucking planet. It can be made into clothes, rope, fibre, paper, the list goes on, and not only that but it can be used as FUEL FOR CARS. Ford's first ever motor-vehicle was designed to run on fuel derived from hemp. So lets see. You have economies and vehicles running on refined oil which is made from dead plants and animals, or you have fuel that is made from living plants. The oil industry is an industry based on death from the word go, using dead animals/plants to run a car, when in reality you can grow acres of hemp very quickly instead of fighting for this finite oil resource. Apart from those benefits, cannabis has benefits to the user if you look into it. Oh sure, there are those that give it a bad name by doing it to excess (their personal choice by the way, not having a go at anyone, I'm pro-choice), and of course those who take to it badly. And the fact that it's illegal means it's driven underground and it is sprayed with shit to make it weigh more (it's sold in weight) and different strains are made for more strength, but essentially the plant does more good than harm. I certainly don't see any deaths or hospital admittance's, and when you equate that to alchohol.. which would you prefer? Tobacco causes cancer and nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet, but research shows that cannabis can expel carcinogens.. Why dyu think they are using it medicinally? because it's bad for you? And look at Amsterdam if you still have fears over cannabis.. The crime rate is not extortionately high and hard-drug use is actually lower than many cities...

Anonymous's picture

I agree completely...

I agree completely...

Anonymous's picture

Effects of Drugs

I myself am a current user or better yet a person searching for more spiritual guidance. I must say that ive done it all. It has altered my thinking process in different ways. It has not completely changed who i am as a person, but i do have more feelings of anixiety or depression for no reason frequently.

I think everyone who uses any hallucinagins should have the right mind set while doing it. Some people are not content enough or their personalilties seem to not match with the "chill" attitude you must have in order to avoid a "Bad trip" i have had a few bad trips, but that does not stop me from continuing my use. I still love tripping i just dont abuse it.

Its not something you want to rule your life. As long as you are smart and you use your head, and you also take long breaks between your uses you wont loose your head. The thing is you cant abuse it and you need to only use them to help you have more of a grip on reality as a whole.

anynomous's picture

any advice or help!

Primary school age 11 i took my first bong with a friend and it never really appealed to me at first i left it for a while it was not until i reached secondary school age 13 that i got roped into cannabis more often. Then ended up a daily thing for me years this went on i am now 20 years of age and just went cold turkey 3 weeks ago. also threw the years there was a lot of party pills Ecstasy and Metradone. 3 weekends ago i took a few 2CB hallunagenic pills three times in a week. The first time was a great laugh and enjoyable experience. After that me and a friend had one during the week had a good laugh! The third time I took another full one. I experienced a really bad trip and really wanted the feeling to end. My friends tried to calm me down, but it didn't work. I was so terrified! The hellish trip lasted a few hours, but gradually faded away. I felt really paranoid and couldn't trust the people in my company. My head was hurting a lot and I was really tired, but couldn't sleep. Ever since that bad trip, I feel really confused, this had lead me to think that the side effects of the eventful night may be permanent. I have gone totally cold turkey from all drugs since that night. I feel a little bit better, but I still feel like my mind is confused and that I have lost touch with reality. I have also experienced flash backs of the night. This has lead me to suffer panic attacks, migraines, confusion and anxiety. My real concern is that I still do not know if these symptoms I am experiencing are linked to cannabis withdrawal or the bad 2CB trip. If anyone can relate to this or has any relevant knowledge on this subject I would really appreciate feedback. Thank you. will i be this way forever?

Serendip Visitor's picture

You are not alone.

I'm the same way. I am now trying to gain a better spiritual relationship with god because I know that I can hold onto this faith in alternate realitys, which you and me know of vividly.

God's picture

Wow. What a buch of

Wow. What a buch of unscientific speculation and bullshit. I had a feeling, as I began to read this article, that the author did not have a backgound in science. Anyone who refers to research and then cites only 'scientists', rather than which scientists, obviously is merely running their blabbering mouth instead of engaging in intelligent discourse. Please people, nobody knows for certain what these substances do, but allow me to provide some personal testimony. In high school, my grades were poor. After high school, I ate over 100 hits of acid in three months. I recently had an iq test and I clocked in at 154. I also have a 4.0 gpa and am on my jr year of college as a chemistry major. Hmmmm that darn drug must have killed alot of brain cells, eh?

jake's picture

i feel man, i started smoking

i feel man, i started smoking weed the summer vacation between 8th and 9th grade and have continued to smoke weed almost every day since. im in 12th grade now i drink once in a while and 4 months ago started eating shrooms nearly every weekend and my grades have stayed the same. i have a 3.4 gpa and am taking a lot of advanced classes without struggling at all. my best friend however, did the same thing and lowered his gpa from 4.0 to close to 2.0. some people just cant juggle drugs and school/work the same as others. its hard for people like us to think drugs kill brain cells, when we are just as smart(if not smarter) as we were before we started doing them.

Andrew G's picture

dude thats so sweet. it had a

dude thats so sweet.
it had a few hits of acid before all of my tests for finals, and aside from my mind wandering the whole time, i was actually able to pass all of them with atleast a B+

Anonymous's picture

how did you managed to take

how did you managed to take 100 hits in 90 days?

nebosky's picture

for example 2 a day every

for example 2 a day every second day

Anonymous's picture

Watch your child in a "Bad Trip" then you can have an opinion.

Drugs kill brain cells, Drugs alter your ability to consent or make any choice with any basis. Drugs can kill. I experimented as a teen as many do and chose to live life and move forward in the world. You cannot focus in life with alcohol or drugs in your system. You have not seen the true effect of what a society with drugs in schools is doing to our children until you watch your own teenager go through a 7 hr "Bad Trip" in an emergency room. To look into your daughter's eyes and watch her not recognize you or anything around her. To watch her unable to speak or comprehend what has happened to her. To watch her scream in fear for 7 hrs when she never chose to even take the drug but was slipped it in her food at lunch in a school.

Dandy's picture

Re:Watch your child in a "Bad Trip" then you can have an opinion

"Drugs kill brain cells"
Some do, but most simply damage them unless enormous doses are taken.

"You have not seen the true effect of what a society with drugs in schools is doing to our children until you watch your own teenager go through a 7 hr "Bad Trip" in an emergency room."
I'm 16 years old, so I can't really comment here, but boy are bad trips unpleasant. Very, very unpleasant.

"To look into your daughter's eyes and watch her not recognize you or anything around her. To watch her unable to speak or comprehend what has happened to her"
This sounds more like dissociative or deliriant-induced tripping (i.e. cough syrup or benadryl, respectively), but sufficiently high doses of psychedelics can do that. No matter what, it's always possibly that your daughter lied about one or more things in her story. I've done it pretty easily.

All of this that being said, I'm against psychedelics (except for low-dose, therapeutic use in a small minority of people), so I can see where you're coming from. Has your daughter recovered in any or every way since?

Anonymous's picture

She had a bad trip because

She had a bad trip because she was not ready for the experience. LSD should never be slipped to someone as a joke. It is a extremely powerful drug. When used right it can expand the mind greatly and can be used for good.

call me quietly's picture

re: your child's bad trip

I completely agree with rdanfort, who had a kind, respectful and thoughtful response to your comment. But with that out of the way, I have to wonder how it is your daughter managed to convince you that someone slipped some LSD into her hamburger or whatever.

I mean . . . really?

You believe that??

I cannot think of any incentive for slipping psychoactives to just a regular, plain old, Everyman teenager who had no interest in drugs and was just minding her own business at school--particularly given the potential legal ramifications and the fact that pretty much anyone who has acid would rather eat or sell it than waste it, especially at the expense of somebody else's well-being.

In all likelihood, the schools didn't do that to your daughter, and and society didn't do that to your daughter. Your daughter did. She made a mistake (i.e. took so much acid she suffered a complete loss of ego), lied about it to cover her ass, and then you, the obliging parent, pinned it on society-at-large.

Ironic to your woeful tale, personal responsibility really is at the heart of controlling drug usage in any meaningful way.