Exploring The Benefits and Risks Of Psychedelic Drug Consumption

Risks Of Psychedelic Drug Consumption

Psychedelics are a group of psychoactive drugs capable of inducing hallucinations and feelings of euphoria. Many cultures have used them for centuries for religious and spiritual purposes. While today just 5.5 million Americans are predicted to use psychedelics, an increasing body of evidence points toward significant medicinal benefits.

However, the debate over psychedelic drug consumption is a heated one. While they have been shown to provide benefits for various conditions, there is the risk of addiction and mental health problems.

This article will discuss some of the most common psychedelics and their pros and cons.

What are Psychedelics?

Psychedelics are known as hallucinogens because they can result in hallucinations. The definition of a hallucination is a sensory experience that alters the way we see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.

Sometimes, they can change our thoughts and perceptions of our surroundings, for good or bad.

These substances can be derived from natural sources, such as plants or mushrooms, or synthetic and manufactured in a lab.

Types of Psychedelics

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) divides psychedelics into two distinct categories: classic and dissociative.

Firstly, we have the classic hallucinogens:

  • LSD – This mind-altering chemical is clear or white and has no smell. It’s made from lysergic acid, a fungus in grains.
  • Psilocybin – This is the main active ingredient within magic mushrooms, which can be found in the U.S., Mexico, and South America, among other regions.
  • Peyote – Also known as mescaline, this is a small cactus found growing in Mexico and the Southern United States. It’s commonly used in religious ceremonies and is a Schedule 1 substance.
  • DMT – DMT is found in plants like Mimosa and Phalaris. It’s most often used to make a tea called ayahuasca, which is also used in spiritual ceremonies. You can also find it as a synthetic white powder, which is smoked.
  • 251-NBOMe – Less common is 215-NBOMe. Initially, it was created by neuroscience researchers, but it’s also found its way into the recreational market.

These are classic hallucinogens. Strictly speaking, while marijuana can lead to changes in your thoughts and feelings, it’s not viewed as a hallucinogen because of the serotonin receptor definition.

Now, what are dissociative psychedelics?

  • PCP – PCP was used in the 1950s as a general anesthetic. It’s a potent pain reliever that can create hallucinations and delirium.
  • DXM – Dextromethorphan can be found in cough and cold medicines purchased in pharmacies. When taken at high doses, DXM can create feelings of euphoria and hallucinatory effects.
  • Salvia – Salvia is a plant found in Mexico. It can be smoked, chewed, or vaped, with hallucinations leading to visions of bright lights, colors, and visual distortions.

Medicinal Benefits of Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are not designed to be taken in large amounts for medicinal purposes. Instead, most experts recommend microdosing to take advantage of their benefits without risking severe side effects.

So far, researchers have discovered a range of medicinal benefits, including:

Anxiety and Depression

Animal studies have shown that repeated doses of LSD could reduce stress. By relieving stress, the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that it could help relieve many of the common anxiety and depression symptoms.

In a human study of LSD’s effects, it was found that people taking LSD while undergoing psychotherapy experienced increased feelings of happiness, trust, and empathy.

Studies into the impact of hallucinogens on anxiety and depression remain ongoing, with an increasing body of evidence pointing to positive outcomes for magic mushrooms and LSD consumption.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD sufferers can often find living with their condition to be challenging. Researchers decided to study the therapeutic impact of psilocybin on people diagnosed with OCD.

The study showed that participants experienced a lessening of their symptoms, regardless of how much they took. However, research remains ongoing to rule out the impact of the placebo effect.

Migraines

Pain relief is another area that has become especially interesting to researchers. It makes sense because some psychedelics were initially used as pain relief.

In the Harm Reduction Journal, scientists found that some psychedelics successfully treated both migraines and cluster headaches.

Drawbacks of Using Hallucinogens

The above are just a small number of uses for psychedelics that researchers are studying to uncover their true benefits.

Like any substance, hallucinogens carry the risk of addiction. Furthermore, severe side effects, also known as bad trips, may be frightening or traumatic for some patients.

In some people, psychedelic-induced psychosis is another possibility, especially for those with ongoing mental health issues.

Conclusion

Psychedelics are a new frontier of medicine, with many exciting discoveries made as the political storm shifts away from classifying all drugs as “evil.”

It appears that psychedelics are beginning to go through the same awakening as cannabis did after research into it was permitted. However, it could still be many years before the whole truth is known about the benefits of psychedelics.

What do you think the future holds for hallucinogens?

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