Are Hallucinogens Safe to Use?

When it comes to hallucinogens, many people have mixed feelings. Some think they are safe to use, while others point to their illegality and the fact that they can be very dangerous. Psychotropic substances alter your state of mind, which can lead to bad consequences. However, hallucinogens generally do not create a physical dependence like other drugs such as opioids.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, hallucinogens are:

A class of drugs that cause hallucinations—profound distortions in a person’s perceptions of reality. Hallucinogens can be found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) or can be man-made, and they are commonly divided into two broad categories: classic hallucinogens (such as LSD) and dissociative drugs (such as PCP). When under the influence of either type of drug, people often report rapid, intense emotional swings and seeing images, hearing sounds, and feeling sensations that seem real but are not. (NIH)

Now that you’ve learned exactly what hallucinogens are, let’s dive into their safety. Anything drug that is abused can be dangerous, but what if hallucinogens are used moderately or occassionally?

Are Hallucinogens Safe to Use?

What are the Immediate Negative Effects of Using Hallucinogens?

Sometimes a person may experience the negative effects of hallucinogens and have what is called a bad trip. They may experience some unpleasant and/or intense hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, and panic or fear. Feelings of panic, paranoia, and fear can lead to risky behavior that can cause injury, such as running across a busy street. Some people may experience a drug-induced psychosis after using hallucinogens. This can occur after a single dose or long-term use. The psychosis is usually characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and bizarre behavior and can last for several hours or longer for some people. As the effects of the hallucinogen begin to wear off a person may experience a range of effects. These effects can last for several days after use and may include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and psychosis.

Can You Die if You Overdose on Hallucinogens?

High doses of hallucinogens can increase the negative immediate effects. Death from an overdose of LSD, magic mushrooms and mescaline are extremely rare. A high dose of hallucinogens can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more hallucinogens than their body can cope with. Not knowing the strength or purity of the hallucinogen increases the risk of overdose. Deaths generally occur due to suicide, accidents and dangerous behavior, or due to the person inadvertently eating poisonous plant material. An overdose of PCP or ketamine can result in depressed breathing, coma, convulsions, seizures, and death.

The effects of mixing hallucinogens with other drugs, including alcohol, prescription medicines and over the counter medicines, are often unpredictable. Mixing hallucinogens with stimulant drugs (such as cocaine or amphetamines) increases the stimulant effects and can further increase the heart rate and place the body under extreme stress. Combining hallucinogens with depressant drugs such as alcohol may further reduce coordination and increases the chances of vomiting.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Hallucinogens?

The most common long-term effect of hallucinogens is the ‘flashback’. Flashbacks are a re-experience of the drug and can occur days, weeks, months and even years later. Flashbacks can be triggered using other drugs, or by stress, fatigue or physical exercise. The flashback experience can range from being pleasant to causing severe feelings of anxiety. They are usually visual and last for a minute or two. All areas of a person’s life can be affected by drug use. Disagreements and frustration over drug use can cause family arguments and affect personal relationships. Legal and health problems can also add to the strain on personal, financial and work relationships.

How Can Garden State Treatment Help You as Parent?

You can get help and lead a successful, productive life as a parent. The first step is acknowledging the potential problem and just by asking yourself if you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be, you’re already started on the right track. Here at Garden State Treatment Center, we provide group therapy, individual addiction counseling, relapse prevention treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, 12 step addiction treatment and many other services that help teach you the skills you need to lead a Hallucinogen and addiction-free life. We believe in treating the entire person, not just their addictions. We personalize the treatment plan based on the individual’s characteristics. Our admissions team is standing by for your call.