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Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs

Common Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs

Classic Hallucinogens*

photo of LSD

LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide)—also known as acid, blotter, doses, hits, microdots, sugar cubes, trips, tabs, or window panes—is one of the most potent mood- and perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. It is a clear or white, odorless, water-soluble material synthesized from lysergic acid, a compound derived from a rye fungus. LSD is initially produced in crystalline form, which can then be used to produce tablets known as “microdots” or thin squares of gelatin called “window panes.” It can also be diluted with water or alcohol and sold in liquid form. The most common form, however, is LSD-soaked paper punched into small individual squares, known as “blotters.”

photo of Psilocybin

Psilocybin(4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine)—also known as magic mushrooms, shrooms, boomers, or little smoke—is extracted from certain types of mushrooms found in tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. In the past, psilocybin was ingested during religious ceremonies by indigenous cultures from Mexico and Central America. Psilocybin can either be dried or fresh and eaten raw, mixed with food, or brewed into a tea, and produces similar effects to LSD.

photo of Peyote

Peyote (Mescaline)—also known as buttons, cactus, and mesc—is a small, spineless cactus with mescaline as its main ingredient. It has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of religious ceremonies. The top, or “crown,” of the peyote cactus has disc-shaped buttons that are cut out, dried, and usually chewed or soaked in water to produce an intoxicating liquid. Because the extract is so bitter, some users prepare a tea by boiling the plant for several hours. Mescaline can also be produced through chemical synthesis.

photo of synthetic DMT

DMT (Dimethyltryptamine)—also known as Dimitri—is a powerful hallucinogenic chemical found naturally occurring in some Amazonian plant species (see “Ayahuasca”) and also synthesized in the laboratory. Synthetic DMT usually takes the form of a white crystalline powder and is typically vaporized or smoked in a pipe.

photo of ayahuasca

Ayahuasca—also known as hoasca, aya, and yagé—is a hallucinogenic brew made from one of several Amazonian plants containing DMT (the primary psychoactive ingredient) along with a vine containing a natural alkaloid that prevents the normal breakdown of DMT in the digestive tract. Ayahuasca tea has traditionally been used for healing and religious purposes in indigenous South American cultures, mainly in the Amazon region.

Dissociative Drugs

Photo of liquid, tablet, and powder forms of PCP

PCP (Phencyclidine)—also known as ozone, rocket fuel, love boat, hog, embalming fluid, or superweed—was originally developed in the 1950s as a general anesthetic for surgery. While it can be found in a variety of forms, including tablets or capsules, it is usually sold as a liquid or powder. PCP can be snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed. It is sometimes smoked after being sprinkled on marijuana, tobacco, or parsley.

Photo of ketamine in white powder form

Ketamine—also known as K, Special K, or cat Valium—is a dissociative currently used as an anesthetic for humans as well as animals. Much of the ketamine sold on the street has been diverted from veterinary offices. Although it is manufactured as an injectable liquid, ketamine is generally evaporated to form a powder that is snorted or compressed into pills for illicit use. Because ketamine is odorless and tasteless and has amnesia-inducing properties, it is sometimes added to drinks to facilitate sexual assault.

Photo of cough syrup

DXM (Dextromethorphan)—also known as robo—is a cough suppressant and expectorant ingredient in some over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications that are often abused by adolescents and young adults. The most common sources of abused DXM are “extra-strength” cough syrup, which typically contains around 15 milligrams of DXM per teaspoon, and pills and gel capsules, which typically contain 15 milligrams of DXM per pill. OTC medications that contain DXM often also contain antihistamines and decongestants.

Photo of fresh salvia leaves

Salvia divinorum—also known as diviner’s sage, Maria Pastora, Sally-D, or magic mint—is a psychoactive plant common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. Salvia is typically ingested by chewing fresh leaves or by drinking their extracted juices. The dried leaves of salvia can also be smoked or vaporized and inhaled.

*In this report, the term “hallucinogen” will refer to the classic hallucinogenic drugs LSD and Psilocybin.

This page was last updated February 2015

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