Tactile effects

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Tactile effects are defined as any subjective effect which directly alters a person's sense of touch.

This page lists and describes the various tactile effects which can occur under the influence of certain psychoactive compounds such as hallucinogens, entactogens, stimulants and dissociatives.

Spontaneous physical sensations

Spontaneous tactile sensations are 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 styles of sensation. This effect is capable of manifesting itself across the three different levels of intensity described 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 tactile sensations are often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as tactile intensification 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 bodily sensation 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 as sharp, cold, and electric or as soft, warm, and gentle.
  • 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 bodily sensations can either be interpreted as pleasurable to experience or they can manifest in the opposite direction and become uncomfortable to experience.

Tactile hallucinations

A tactile hallucination is the experience of perceiving a convincing physical sensation which is not actually occurring.[1][2] Common examples of this can include 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 be also accompanied by visual hallucinations of a plausible cause of the sensation. For example, during internal and external hallucinations one may be able to touch and feel imagined objects or autonomous entities just as convincingly as within normal everyday dreams. The sensations that are possible within these hallucinations are near limitless 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[3] and extreme sleep deprivation.

Levels of hallucination

Note that not all detailed effects are not universal, instead, it gives an overall idea of intensity of effect. Every substance has more or less unique hallucinatory state progression.

  1. Partial hallucination: An already-existing touching sensation or very warmth of the body might move or have an unexpected details such as warmth and pressure. Effect is still minor and might feel more imagination than actually perceived effect.
  2. Full hallucination: Effect is clear and indistinguishable from real sensations. It can have any kind of biologically possible details and either replicate realistic ideas but might just as well stay abstract.
  3. Extended hallucination: With this level on the sensations can mix and blur out with other concepts such as spatial awareness and yield otherworldly experiences. The one could physically sense detailed presence of invisible entities and objects, possess nonexistent or impossible body parts, physically being part of non-self object-entity or one could even experience physical effects from abstract thoughts. (synesthesia)


While details are given as in two opposite possibilities, the experiences often have details from the both ends.

  • All-encompassing vs. Location specific: The sensations can be limited to small areas or be all-body-encompassing.
  • Interactive vs. Static: The effect can be intricate to create immersive interaction with entities and objects or have stay as a static plot or even as completely inanimate awareness.
  • Clear sensations vs. Mixed sensations: Biologically realistic sensations include temperature, touch, pressure, pain and physical orientation. These often mix over areas and animated forms for confusing combinations, such as electricity.
  • Realistic texture vs. Abstract texture: Perceived textures can mimic those of real objects or be completely made up from unique collages of other tactile properties.
  • Euphoric vs. Dysphoric: Sensations usually carry out either instantaneous positive or negative feedback.

Tactile intensification

Tactile intensification is an overall increase in both the intensity of a person's sense of touch and their awareness of the physical sensations across their body. At its highest level, this becomes extreme enough that the exact location and current sensation of every single nerve ending across one's skin can be felt and comprehended all at once. In contrast, throughout normal sober living, most people can only maintain awareness of the tactile sensations which are relevant to their current situation.

This effect can result in tactile sensations such as touching, hugging, kissing, and sex becoming greatly enhanced in terms of the pleasure they induce. However, it can also result in an over-sensitivity of the skin which causes the same sensations to become uncomfortable and overwhelming.

Tactile intensification is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as spontaneous bodily sensations and physical euphoria. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of psychedelic compounds, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. However, it can also occur under the influence of stimulants, cannabinoids, and certain dissociatives.

Tactile suppression

Main article: Tactile suppression

Tactile suppression can be described as a decrease in one's ability to feel their sense of touch in a manner which can result in a general numbness across the body. At higher levels, this can eventually increase to the point where physical sensations have been completely blocked and the body is fully anaesthetized.

Tactile suppression is often accompanied by other coinciding effects such as pain relief and physical euphoria. It is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of dissociative compounds, such as ketamine, PCP, and DXM. However, it can also occur under the influence of opioids and certain GABAergic depressants.

See also


  1. Berrios, G. E. (April 1982). "Tactile hallucinations: conceptual and historical aspects". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. 45 (4): 285–293. ISSN 0022-3050. 
  2. Lewandowski, K. E., DePaola, J., Camsari, G. B., Cohen, B. M., Ongür, D. (May 2009). "Tactile, olfactory, and gustatory hallucinations in psychotic disorders: a descriptive study". Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. 38 (5): 383–385. ISSN 0304-4602. 
  3. Morani, A. S., Panwar, V., Grasing, K. (April 2013). "Tactile hallucinations with repetitive movements following low-dose cocaine: implications for cocaine reinforcement and sensitization: case report". The American Journal on Addictions. 22 (2): 181–182. doi:10.1111/j.1521-0391.2013.00336.x. ISSN 1521-0391.