Hallucinogens are a class of psychoactive substances that produce powerful alterations in perception, mood, and various cognitive processes. Hallucinogens represent one of the three major classes of psychoactive substances: the other two are stimulants ("uppers") and depressants ("downers").
Some claim hallucinogens can be fundamentally distinguished from stimulants and depressants. Rather than merely amplifying or dulling existing states of consciousness, they are said to produce qualitatively unique states, in which the environment and self are perceived in a new fashion.
A notable aspect of hallucinogens — particularly psychedelics — is that they are often reported to be able to facilitate introspective or therapeutic processes. Hallucinogenic experiences are often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as lucid dreaming, trance meditation, spiritual or shamanic experiences, hallucinations, dreams, and states of psychosis.
Hallucinogens can be classified into three categories:
- psychedelics (e.g. LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, etc.)
- dissociatives (e.g. ketamine, PCP, DXM, etc.)
- deliriants (e.g. DPH, scopolamine, datura, etc)
Each category is associated with a unique mechanism of action, subjective effects, therapeutic properties, abuse potential, and toxicity risks.
Despite what their names suggest, most hallucinogens induce pseudo-hallucinations rather than 'true' hallucinations (i.e. which cannot be distinguished from normal reality). Pseudohallucinations, on the other hand, are recognized as such by the user. These are common with psychedelics and dissociatives, while 'true' hallucinations are usually induced by deliriants.
It is highly advised to use harm reduction practices if using these substances.
List of hallucinogens
- Nichols, D. E. (2004). Hallucinogens. Pharmacology & therapeutics, 101(2), 131-181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pharmthera.2003.11.002
- Nichols, D. E. (February 2004). "Hallucinogens". Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 101 (2): 131–181. doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2003.11.002. ISSN 0163-7258.
- Telles-Correia, Diogo; Moreira, Ana Lúcia; Gonçalves, João S. (2015). "Hallucinations and related concepts—their conceptual background". Frontiers in Psychology. 6: 991. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00991. ISSN 1664-1078. OCLC 701805890. PMC . PMID 26283978.