Hallucinogens and Psychedelics

Hallucinogens and psychedelics do not share a common mechanism of action, but all induce hallucinations . These drugs can either be natural such as mescaline, which is derived from the peyote cactus, or synthetic such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), but they are typically classified pharmacologically according to the affected neurotransmitter system.

Cholinergic psychodelics (drugs altering acetylcholine transmission) include physostigmine, scopolamine, and atropine. Drugs that alter norepinephrine transmission include mescaline and ecstasy . Drugs that alter serotonin transmission include LSD and psilocin. Other drugs in this category include the psychedelic anesthetics phencyclidine (PCP) and ketamine.

Marijuana, which is derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, is often classified as a psychedelic substance, although only in very high doses does it produce sensory distortions. Marijuana's most common behavioral symptom is sedation. Unlike other drug classes, and with the exception of the cholinergic psychedelics, hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs are generally nonlethal even when taken in large doses.

Excerpt from Psychoactive Drugs

Hallucinogenic Drugs

Drugs that distort perception are called hallucinogenic drugs. Many hallucinogenic drugs, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), chemically resemble serotonin. They attach to serotonin type 2A ( 5-HT2A) receptors and provide stimulation at inappropriate times or for longer than usual durations.

Excerpt from Kalat's Biological Psychology, (2012, p. 76).

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