Psychedelics

Psychedelics include drugs related to the in-dolealkylamines, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), PSILOCYBIN, psilocin, DIMETHYL-TRYPTAMINE (DMT) and diethyltryptamine (DET), to the phenylethylamines, such as mescaline, or to the phenylisopropylamines, such as 2,5-dime-thoxy-4-methylamphetamine (DOM or "STP") as well as 3,4-methylene-dioxyamphetamine (MDA) and 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMAor "ecstasy"). The feature that distinguishes these psychedelic agents from other classes of drugs is their capacity to reliably induce states of altered perception, thought, and feeling. There is a heightened awareness of sensory input accompanied by an enhanced sense of clarity, but a diminished control over what is experienced. The effects of LSD and related psychedelic drugs appear to be mediated through a subclass of receptors associated with the inhibitory neurotransmitter serotonin (i.e., serotonin 5HT2 receptors). Immediately after the administration of LSD, somatic symptoms such as dizziness, weakness and nausea are present, although euphoric effects usually predominate. Within two to three hours, visual perceptions become distorted; colors are heard and sounds may be seen. Vivid visual hallucinations are also often present. Many times this loss of control is disconcerting to the individual, resulting in the need for structure—in the form of experienced companions during the "trip." The entire syndrome begins to clear after about twelve hours.

Little evidence exists for long-term changes in personality, beliefs, values, or behavior produced by the drug. Tolerance rapidly develops to the behavioral effects of LSD after three or four daily doses of the drug. In general, however, the psychedelic drugs do not give rise to patterns of continued use over extended periods. The use of these drugs is generally restricted to the occasional trip. With drawal phenomena are not observed after the abrupt discontinuation of LSD-like drugs, and deaths directly related to the pharmacological effects of LSD are unreported in humans—however, fatal Accidents and Suicides have occurred during periods of LSD intoxication.

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