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This project is a work in progress; information may still be incomplete and/or incorrect.

The purpose of this project is to provide existing or potential "Psychonauts" a subjective referential document, supported by both objective and subjective information, that can help them compare the effects and utilities of varying types of psychoactive drugs. This purpose would be fulfilled through the use of a diagram and written categorization. The intended use of this diagram and the supporting writing is subjective and up to the reader; one potential use of the project would be to find what kind of Psychoactive would best fit the needs and desires of that reader.


Many psychoactive drugs of differing classification can exhibit effects that are typical of other categories of drugs (E.g., MDA is classified as an entactogen, but also exhibits stimulant and psychedelic-type effects), so this makes the creation of an all-encompassing drug "tree" diagram, that flawlessly links all drugs to a top unified category, difficult when using an objective and technical approach. The root classification that all other classes would branch off from would be "Psychoactive Drugs" (as not all drugs are psychoactive, and will be disregarded here), with the following lower two classifications being consciousness altering and consciousness amplifying, with a third and lower branch that converges after coming off of both, and would define unique drugs that prominently display both qualities. Below those classes would be more classifications, some that branch off even further.

If one groups drugs according primarily to their most notable or unique subjective effects, and subsequently uses objective information to justify that grouping, that process becomes much more manageable. Here is an example: MDA possesses stimulant, entactogenic, and psychedelic qualities. To start to classify MDA, we can look at it's most notable or unique effects. Since it is an entactogen, it would be placed under the class of entactogens as separate to what it's pharmacological makeup would place it under (To remain consistent with the concept of directing users towards subjectively different experiences). Next, we consider the prominence of the stimulant and psychedelic properties that MDA possesses; since we are basing the classification off of subjective effects concerning user decisions, we would not be able to place MDA under either psychedelics or stimulants. Instead, we can place it under a category of special entactogens possessing both consciousness altering and amplifying effects. This special entactogen class would be placed under a single line created by the convergence of two lines, directly stemming from the two classes of consciousness altering and amplifying drug descriptors.

From this logic, we can create a narrative for the path one would take in order to locate a specific drug like DXM, for example. One would start at the top from "psychoactives"; next, as DXM's primary effects work by altering our perception of the world, we would move down to "Consciousness altering". Since DXM is notable for having the potential to cause distinct and prominent hallucination of the senses, we move to the category of "hallucinogens". DXM is more specifically part of the group "dissociatives, by its primary effect of causing one to feel increasing disconnected from reality and self. DXM would then be found underneath the category of morphinans, named after the actual chemical class that DXM belongs to.

Psychoactives -> Consciousness altering -> Hallucinogens -> Dissociatives -> Morphinans - DXM

Categories based primarily upon subjective effects

The next few sections will explore the various classes and subclasses that have been placed in the diagram theory. Underneath each class will be reasoning for chosen title name and the subjective characteristics that define each class.

Consciousness Altering

These types of drugs are broadly defined as having the ability to change the way we perceive the world through a deviation of normal cognitive processes. A few basic examples would be experiencing the changing of colors, opinions, loss or change in personality, or the creation of new and creative ideas that one would not think of if sober. More specifically, these drugs tap the inner workings of what makes us who we are. This can result in the access and development of unused parts of our brain, the disconnection from reality and self to experience an unbiased view of existence, or simply a distorted and delirious view of reality. "Consciousness altering" diverges into two immediate categories which are listed below. The categories that are contained within this class include:

  • Hallucinogens
  • Cannabinoids


The category of "Hallucinogen" is derived from the actual group of psychoactives that include psychedelic, dissociative, and deliriant type drugs. These drugs are so named due to their ability to induce prominent and all-encompassing sensory hallucinations at high doses; These hallucinations can range from seeing or hearing things in the external environment that aren't real, seeing geometric shapes, environments, or autonomous entities with one's eyes closed. Some drugs, mainly those of the deliriant class, produce hallucinations that are frightening and difficult to differentiate from reality. The categories that are contained within this class include:

  • Psychedelics
  • Dissociatives
  • Deliriants


The category of "Cannabinoids" as used in this theory is based directly on the PsychonautWiki group of drugs falling into the phytocannabinoid and synthetic cannabinoids. Cannabinoids work by acting on cannabinoid receptors on cells that repress neurotransmitter release in the brain.