Hallucinogens – An Explanation!
Hallucinogens or psychedelics are substances that contain mind altering properties which changes thought processes or moods to the extent that they perceive objects or experience sensations that in fact have no basis in reality. Many natural and some synthetic substances have the ability to bring about hallucinations. In fact, because of the ready market for such chemicals, they are manufactured in illegal chemical laboratories for sale as hallucinogens. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and many so-called designer drugs have no useful clinical function. Hallucinogens have long been a component in the religious rites of various cultures, both in the New and Old Worlds. Among the oldest are substances from mushrooms or cactus that have been in use in Native American rites since before recorded history. Hallucinogenic mushrooms have been used for centuries in rites of medicine men to foresee the future or communicate with the gods. The mushroom is consumed by eating it or by drinking a beverage in which the mushroom has been boiled. The effects are similar to those experienced by an LSD user-enhancement of colors and sounds, introspective interludes, perception of nonexistent or absent objects or persons, and sometimes terrifying, ominous visions. Another ancient, natural hallucinogenic substance is derived from the Mexican peyote cactus. The flowering head of the cactus contains a potent alkaloid called mescaline. Hallucinogenic substances can be found in a number of other plant species.