These drugs change or distort the way you see or experience things, but they do not cause true hallucinations.  A hallucination has no basis in reality even though it will seem real to the person having it (Here to Help).  Hallucinogens are sometimes called psychedelics.

There are two types of hallucinogens

Natural Hallucinogens - from plants of fungi

  • Peyote cactus (mescaline)

  • Magic mushrooms (psilocybin)

  • Ayahuasca

  • Cannabis (at high doses)

Man-made Hallucinogens

  • Acid (LSD)

  • Angel dust

  • Ketamine

  • Laughing gas

  • Ecstasy (at high doses)

The peyote cactus and magic mushrooms may look like dried food.  Acid often comes on small squares of paper (often with cartoon type characters on it).  Ecstasy is often in pill form.

The effect of hallucinogens depends on what the user expects to happen and on past experience with the drug.  It also depends on how much you use and the environment you use it in.  People use these drugs in different ways.  They may be snorted, injected, smoked, swallowed, rubbed on gums or other mucous membranes, or cooked in foods.

Some basic short term effects

  • Muscle weakness

  • Hard to control muscles and possible loss of movement

  • Problems with coordination

  • Numbness, loss of feeling in parts of the body

  • Enlarged pupils

  • Higher or lower heart rate, blood pressure and temperature

  • Nausea

  • Possible loss of consciousness

  • May no feel pain

  • Sight, hearing, taste, touch maybe distorted.  This can be very positive or very negative (a "bad trip")

Long term effects

  • Possible feelings of anxiety or depression, especially if the user experienced a "bad trip"

  • Flashbacks or Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (although these are rare)

  • May trigger or worsen mental problems

  • May cause problems with memory or concentration

  • Might have some positive effects (e.g helping people deal with posttraumatic stress disorder)

Withdrawal effects

Hallucinogens are not physically addictive so there are no physical withdrawal effects.

See Also: 
Learn about MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly) (Here to Help)
Learn about what MDMA is, what happens when we use it, when it becomes a problem, and how to make healthier choices about MDMA.
Learn About Tripping (Here to Help)
Information on the effect of hallucinogens, how they work, why people do it, what happens, how to lower risks, and what to do if you or someone you know wants to explore change. potential health effects and problematic use.

BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.