Physical alterations

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A physical alteration can be defined as any alteration of one's physical state which does not merely amplify or suppress ordinary physical responses, but rather induces reactions that are qualitatively different from those that occur during one's normal physical state.

This page lists and describes the various physical alterations which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds.

Bodily pressures

Main article: Bodily pressures

Bodily pressures can be described as the physical experience of spontaneous pressures across differing parts of the body. These can occur as static and fixed in their location or they can occur at seemingly random varying points across the body. Depending on the intensity of the sensation, this can result in pressures which range from neutral in experience to extremely uncomfortable in experience.


Main article: Bronchodilation

Bronchodilation is the expansion of the bronchial air passages in the respiratory tract. A bronchodilator is a substance that dilates the bronchial tubes, resulting in decreased resistance in the respiratory airway and increased airflow to the lungs.

Additionally some psychostimulant drugs that have an amphetamine-like mode of action, such as amphetamine,[1] methamphetamine, and cocaine,[2] have bronchodilating effects and were used often for asthma due to the lack of effective β2-agonists for use as bronchodilator, but are now rarely, if ever, used medically for their bronchodilation effect.

Changes in felt bodily form

Changes in felt bodily form can be described as feelings of a change in physical perception which can manifest itself as sensations of the body shifting in its perceived felt physical shape, organization and form without any visual alterations. For example, perfectly comfortable feelings of the body folding into itself many times over as well as stretching, splitting into separate parts, expanding, or condensing into, over, and across itself in extremely complex forms are all entirely possible.

Changes in gravity

Main article: Changes in gravity

Changes in felt gravity can be described as feelings of gravity shifting in its direction. For example, during this state one may feel as if they are flying forwards, backwards, upwards, downwards, in multiple directions at once, or in a singular direction that doesn't make sense.

This effect is most common throughout high level experiences with cannabis, salvinorin a and certain other hallucinogens, particularly during states of level 5 or above geometry and holes, spaces and voids.

Excessive yawning

Main article: Excessive yawning

Excessive yawning can be described as a physical effect which induces repeated and spontaneous yawning despite a complete absense of sedation or sleepiness. The experience of this effect most commonly occurs on hallucinatory tryptamines such as psilocin, psilocybin, psilacetin, 4-HO-MET and others.

Muscle relaxation

Main article: Muscle relaxation

Muscle relaxation can be described as the experience of one's muscles losing rigidity or tenseness and becoming relaxed and comfortable. This component is particularly useful for those who are currently suffering from muscle or back pains and is commonly associated with benzodiazepines.

Physical autonomy

Main article: Physical autonomy

Physical autonomy can be described as the experience of one's own body performing simple or complex actions entirely of its own accord. Depending on the intensity, this results in any required task becoming partially to completely autonomous in nature without the requirement of decision-making skills or attentive conscious input.

At lower levels, the effect is partially controllable by commanding the body with simple thoughts. For example, thoughts such as "go to the toilet" or "go drink a glass of water" can result in the body performing these actions flawlessly when the person would otherwise struggle endlessly due to a lack of focus and motor control had they have attempted to perform it manually in their given state. This can often help the person perform necessary physical actions such as tending to bodily functions or avoiding danger when they would otherwise be too incapable, unconscious, or distractible to perform them.

At higher levels, this effect no longer requires verbal commands and becomes entirely automatic. It's worth noting that although this technically results in a loss of cognitive control, the body will usually only perform actions which the owner would have decided to perform were they capable of it themselves, but can (on rare occasions) result in random or unwanted physical actions and movements.

Physical euphoria

Main article: Physical euphoria

Physical euphoria is an effect which exists in contrast to cognitive euphoria but usually occurs simultaneously along side of it. It can be described as feelings of physical pleasure and comfort within and across the body. The forcefulness of this effect can range between subtle in its strength to overwhelmingly pleasurable beyond even the most intense full body orgasm possible.

This effect occurs consistently under the influence of certain substances, these commonly include opioids such as heroin or codeine and stimulants such as amphetamine and MDMA.

Pupil constriction

Main article: Pupil constriction

Pupil constriction (also called pinpoint pupils or miosis) is the reduction of the size of a person's pupils under normal lighting conditions. Pupil constriction decreases a person's ability to see in low light conditions. This effect generally occurs on opioids.

Pupil dilation

Main article: Pupil dilation

Pupil dilation (also called mydriasis) is the enlargement of the size of a person's pupils under normal lighting conditions. Normally, the pupil size increases in the dark and shrinks in the light; however, a dilated pupil will remain excessively large even in a bright environment. This effect generally occurs on drugs which increase overall serotonin levels including psychedelics, dissociatives, deliriants, entactogens, various stimulants and some anti-depressants.

Runny nose

Main article: Runny nose
Above is an image which depicts a child with a runny nose.

Runny nose is a condition where the nasal cavity is filled with a significant amount of mucus fluid. The condition, commonly known as a "runny nose", occurs relatively frequently in most human beings. It is a common symptom of allergies or certain diseases, such as the common cold or hay fever.

It can be a side effect of crying, exposure to cold temperatures, cocaine abuse[3], withdrawal (such as from opioids like methadone[4]) and under the influence psychedelic tryptamines such as psilocin, psilocybin and psilacetin.

Skin flushing

Main article: Skin flushing

Skin flushing can be described as the experience of a sudden reddening of the skin which is usually accompanied by feelings of rushing blood and warm skin. It is a common physical response to anxiety, stress, embarrassment, anger and certain psychoactive substances. In terms of its appearance, it manifests itself in an identical fashion to that which occurs across the face when one is embarrassed. Blotchiness or solid patches of redness are also often visible when blushing.

Sublingual numbing

Main article: Sublingual numbing

Mouth numbing is a physical side effect of administering certain drugs sublingually (under the tongue) or buccally. This effect can be described as an obvious feeling of general numbness of the tongue and mouth which can stay for up to an hour after the drug has been administered.

The NBOMe series (25C-NBOMe, 25B-NBOMe, and 25I-NBOMe) cause this effect consistently and it is accompanied by a strong, unpleasant, metallic chemical taste immediately after sublingual absorption. As LSD does not cause numbing or a strong chemical taste, this is the key difference when it comes to determining whether your blotter paper contains LSD or another psychoactive chemical such as one of the NBOMe series.

The stimulant cocaine also causes numbing of the tongue, gums, and mouth when administered sublingually. Many people test the purity of their cocaine by rubbing it in their mouth. This, however, is not a guarantee of the drug's quality as it is common for cocaine to be cut with various numbing agents and local anesthetics (such as procaine, AKA novocaine, lidocaine, or benzocaine) which mimic or add to cocaine's numbing effect.

Spontaneous tactile sensations

Spontaneous physical sensations can be described as the experience of sensations across the body occurring without any obvious or immediate physical trigger. This results in feelings of seemingly random but distinct tingling sensations that occur across the skin and within the body. Depending on the psychoactive substance consumed, these vary greatly in their alternative styles of sensation but can be broken down into three basic levels of intensity. These are described and documented below:

  1. Mild - At the lowest level, the sensation can be described as subtle and fleeting tingling sensations throughout the body. These sensations do not impair physical motor control and can essentially be ignored if one wishes to do so.
  2. Distinct - At this level, the sensation becomes very difficult to ignore. It can be described as distinct tingling sensations which are intense enough to partially impair a person’s motor control and act as a significant distraction which impairs one's focus.
  3. Overwhelming – At the highest level, the tingling sensations increase enough to become a powerful, uncontrollable focus point of the person's attention. This can feel completely overwhelming and heavily impairs a person's motor control, leaving them either lying or sitting down, incapable of standing up due to the all-encompassing sensations.

Spontaneous physical sensations are often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as tactile enhancement and physical euphoria. They are most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, they can also occur under the influence of stimulants, cannabinoids, and dissociatives.


The specific differences between each potential style of spontaneous tactile sensations can be broken down into the following variations:

  • Moving vs. Motionless – Spontaneous physical sensations will either move up and down various parts of the body in different directions or they will remain still and consistent in their position.
  • Constant vs. Spontaneous – Spontaneous physical sensations will either be constantly present throughout a significant portion of the experience or they will spontaneously and temporarily manifest themselves at random points for differing lengths of time.
  • Sharp vs. Soft – Spontaneous physical sensations will either be perceived to feel soft, warm, and gentle on the skin or sharp, cold, and electric.
  • All-encompassing vs. Location specific - Spontaneous physical sensations can either be felt across every square inch of the skin in an evenly distributed fashion or in very specific locations such as the ends of the fingers and toes, up and down the spinal column or throughout the head.
  • Euphoric vs. Dysphoric – At appropriately high dosages, spontaneous physical sensations can either be interpreted as pleasurable to experience or they can manifest in the opposite direction and become uncomfortable to experience.

Tactile hallucinations

Tactile hallucinations or somatic hallucinations can be described as the experience of perceiving physical sensations which are not actually occurring within reality. Common examples of these can include hallucinating the feeling of people or insects touching the body in various places and in a wide variety of ways. Alternatively, these hallucinations can be felt as complex and structured arrangements of vibration across the skin.

This effect may also be accompanied by visual hallucinations. For example, during internal and external hallucinations a person may have the perception that they are able to feel imagined objects or be touched by autonomous entities in a similar manner to that of ordinary dreams. The sensations that are possible within these hallucinations could be almost anything and can even include pain or sexual pleasure.

Tactile hallucinations are most commonly induced under the influence of heavy dosages of deliriant compounds, such as DPH, datura, and benzydamine. However, they can also occur to a lesser extent under the influence of psychedelics, stimulant psychosis and extreme sleep deprivation.

Optical sliding

Main article: Optical sliding

Optical sliding can be described as a physical effect which inhibits the coordination and control of one's eyes by suppressing their ability to keep them still. This results in the orientation of one's eyes continuously moving in a variety of directions and the sensation of not being able to stare motionless at any particular point becoming present.


Main article: Vasodilation

Vasodilation refers to the widening of blood vessels resulting from the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls (in particular in the large veins, large arteries, and smaller arterioles). In essence, the process is the opposite of vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of blood vessels. The primary function of vasodilation is to increase blood flow in the body to tissues that need it most.

THC and other cannabinoids cause vasodilation by decreasing blood pressure; this dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow throughout the body. The arteries in the eyeball expand from the decreased blood pressure and this often results in a bloodshot red eye effect and relief from glaucoma.[5][6]

Watery eyes

Main article: Watery eyes

Watery eyes can be described as a physical effect which results in a state of continuous involuntary streaming, tearing, crying and watering of the tear ducts within one's eyes.

The experience of this effect often leads onto the feeling that one is crying for no reason despite a complete absence of the relevant emotions one would usually expect during such a state. This is most common and intense within tryptamine psychedelics such as psilocin, psilocybin and psilacetin.

See also


  1. Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook |
  2. Dominic Streatfeild (17 June 2003). Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography |
  3. Palatal necrosis due to cocaine abuse ( / NCBI) |
  4. Eileen Trigoboff; Kneisl, Carol Ren; Wilson, Holly Skodol (2004). Contemporary psychiatric-mental health nursing. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Prentice Hall. p. 274. ISBN 0-13-041582-0.
  5. Cardiovascular Effects of Cannabis |
  6. Is Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Glaucoma? |