Hallucinogens are a type of drugs that cause hallucinations—profound changes in an individual’s perception of reality. Sudden and unpredictable mood changes can also take place when some users take hallucinogens
Hallucinogens are produced by some plants and mushrooms. Or, they can be man-made. Often they are classified into two groups – classic hallucinogens (for example, LSD) and dissociative drugs (for example, PCP).
What do Hallucinogens look like?
Hallucinogens come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s an overview of the most important drugs of this type:
This drug is synthetically made as crystals which are then converted into liquid form. As a liquid it is odourless, colourless and has a mildly bitter taste.
LSD is often called “acid” as well as many other names, it is sold small tablet form (“microdots”), capsules or squares of gelatin (“window panes””). Often the drug is absorbed inside paper, which is then made into sheets of small squares that are illustrated with colourful designs or pictures of cartoon characters.
LSD can be identified by a LSD Identification Test. In the UK, LSD is classified as a Class A drug, making it illegal to possess, use or buy. Illegal possession of the drug can result in up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
This drug can be found occurring naturally in over 200 types of mushroom. These types are often referred to as magic mushrooms and ‘shrooms. Other fungi and plants also have hallucinogenic potential.
This drug can take the form of dried mushrooms or even capsules with powder inside. Laboratory made Psilocybin is a white crystalline powder that is then put into pills, capsules, or dissolved into liquid.
Magic Mushrooms are a Class A Drug, which means that illegal possession or use is illegal in the UK if you are caught with the drug, the penalties can be severe.
This drug is an anaesthetic that is conventionally used on animals. It can be found as white powder (in its purest form) but generally the drug is seen as capsules, pills or coloured powder. Rarely seen in the UK, this drug became popular as a drug of abuse in 1970’s USA. The drug is often known as Angel Dust.
PCP is a very strong hallucinogen that can have dramatic effects. The powder can be identified by law enforcement agencies using a PCP Identification Test.
PCP is a Class A drug, putting it in the same class as drugs like cocaine. This means that anybody caught supplying can face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The maximum penalty for possessing PCP is 7 years in prison and a fine.
This drug is another anaesthetic that is medically used on both humans and animals. Normally, a white crystal powder, found in pills, tablets or dissolved in liquid The effects of using Ketamine include a cocaine-like “rush”, lmuscular coordination loss and LSD-like hallucinations. These effects can last between one to three hours.
Ketamine is a Class B drug, putting it in the same class as drugs like cannabis. This means that anybody caught supplying can face a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison. The maximum penalty for possessing Ketamine is 5 years in prison and a fine. A urine drug test for Ketamine will quickly identify recent use of the drug.
This hallucinogen is obtained from from the peyote cactus. for thousands of years, Mescaline has been used as a drug by Native Americans in Mexico as part of their religious ceremonies.
Mescaline can also be manufactured synthetically. It takes the form of a white crystal powder (in its pure form). Man-made mescaline comes in various colours of powder and capsules.
Mescaline is not physically addictive, but just like other hallucinogenic drugs, you can become quickly used to its effects. It is a Class A drug in the UK.
Cannabis and Ecstasy (MDMA)
Both Cannabis and Ecstasy can also act as hallucinogens when taken in high doses.
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2015.