What are Hallucinogens?
What are Hallucinogens? | AToN Center

What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are a type of drug that causes people to experience hallucinations, hearing sounds, seeing images, or feeling certain sensations that appear to be real but are not. Some hallucinogens disrupt the brain chemical glutamate, and others affect serotonin.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 1.4 million people 12 or older were current users of hallucinogens. Young adults ages 18 to 25 were the most prevalent hallucinogen users among individuals ages 12 and up. Research is still being conducted to determine how hallucinogens work, but it was found that they work by temporarily changing the communication between certain neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord.

The most commonly abused hallucinogens include:

  • Ayahuasca
  • Mescaline
  • Psilocybin
  • DMT
  • LSD
  • PCP
  • Marijuana

Hallucinogens are usually categorized into two different types of hallucinogens including dissociative drugs and classic hallucinogens. Both types of drugs are manmade and also found in certain plants or mushrooms but all will result in similar impacts to those who use them.

Due to the effects of hallucinogens, they can be abused and sometimes cause addiction, although it is rare. If you are struggling with hallucinogen addiction and need help please reach out to AToN Center. Our addiction treatment program can help address the underlying reasons behind your hallucinogen problem.

Types of Hallucinogens


PCP is a dangerous substance that is manmade and was originally used medically as an anesthetic but was later discontinued due to the side effects that PCP causes in a person. PCP is now an illegal street drug sold in liquid form or as a white powder. It can be snorted, injected, smoked,or swallowed. PCP produces “out-of-body” sensations or known as hallucinations and when PCP is used in large amounts it can cause life-threatening medical health effects or even lead to death.


Mescaline is a naturally occurring drug that is derived from the peyote cactus plant and it has been used in Native American traditions for many years and prescribed by doctors (or an MD) to treat disorders such as depression and alcoholism. Although it was used by doctors (or an MD) it was later found to have too many negative health side effects that outweigh the benefits of the drug.

DMT (Dimethyltryptamine)

Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a hallucinogen drug that can be naturally found in many plants or animals. It can cause intense changes in the brain that result in visual and also auditory hallucinations and powerful user experiences.

Although it is illegal, and never medically necessary, it is sometimes used during religious ceremonies to gain a deeper spiritual insight. DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S. and has a very high potential for abuse.


LSD is one of the most powerful mood changing drugs that is found in fungus that grows on grains and rye. It interferes with serotonin in the brain, which regulates a number of things throughout the body, including muscle control, sensory perception, hunger and body temperature.


Marijuana works in a similar way to other hallucinogenic drugs by overstimulating neurotransmitters in the brain which disrupts communications between nerve cells. Although the hallucinogenic effects of marijuana have been, for the most part, considered less than those of other hallucinogens such as Mescaline or PCP, there is a certain degree of unpredictability in every marijuana experience. Most individuals who use marijuana do so for the calming, relaxing impacts. Although, with heavy marijuana use, it is possible to experience extreme anxiety, paranoia, and delusions.

Hallucinogen Effects

There are both short and long-term effects in the body and brain that can occur when a person uses hallucinogens. Those who use hallucinogens refer to the experiences brought on by these drugs as “trips.” These hallucinogenic health effects can be both physical and also mental effects on the body and brain.

There can be short-term health effects in a person such as:

  • Numbness
  • Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation and loss of coordination

There can be long term health effects such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Speech problems
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Memory loss
  • Weight loss

Addiction to Hallucinogens

Although it is rare for hallucinogens to cause addiction like with other substances, they can cause tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms to occur once drug use is discontinued. For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), LSD is not classified as an addictive drug because it does not produce uncontrollable drug-seeking behaviors.

It is less common for people to develop an addiction to hallucinogens, but like most substances the common symptoms of addiction include:

  • You feel the need to take the drug more frequently
  • Continuing use despite recognizing the severe consequences of doing so
  • People go through extremes to get the substances
  • Users start avoiding responsibilities or friends and family in favor of using the drug

Typically when people have experiences of withdrawal or detox from hallucinogens, a medical detox program is not necessary, however in some severe cases a medical detox program at a treatment center or rehab may be necessary for the safest, most comfortable outcomes.

Addiction Treatment for Hallucinogens at AToN Center

AToN Center is a top rated addiction treatment rehab that is located in San Diego, CA on a beautiful 2 acre estate. At our treatment center, we treat each client with the utmost care, ensuring there is constant staff available, with a capacity of only 30 total clients, and 6 residents to each home, and private suites available. We offer treatment and rehab for addiction to all types of drugs and alcohol, including abuse to hallucinogens.

It is a high priority for us to treat addiction in a multitude of ways, including both holistic options as well as traditional methods, depending on the needs of each client. We understand the struggles that addiction causes for both the person struggling and their families, which is why we offer both family, individual and group counseling during treatment.

We want to help you achieve recovery from your addiction, whether it is to hallucinogens or other drugs with our state of the art treatment methods. Our medically trained addiction treatment staff include doctoral level health clinicians, and other addiction treatment specialists to assist you during your rehab and recovery.

If you are looking for addiction treatment, please contact us for more information on our rehab programs, on-site amenities, admissions info and more. Our staff can determine if it is medically necessary for you to be admitted to our addiction treatment rehab. We would love to help you achieve recovery from addiction and help you through your substance abuse problem.

Hallucinogenic Drugs | AToN Center

Hallucinogenic Drugs

Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that cause “hallucinations” or changes in a person’s view of reality to be changed. The most commonly used hallucinogen drugs are LSD, Ayahuasca, Marijuana,DMT, Mescaline, PCP and Psilocybin.
How are Hallucinogens Taken | AToN Center

How are Hallucinogens Taken?

Hallucinogens can be taken by swallowing them as tablets, pills, or liquid, snorting them, brewing them in tea, injecting them, absorbing them in the lining of the mouth from drug-soaked papers, consuming them raw or dried or inhaling, vaping or smoking them.
Long Term Effects of LSD | AToN Center

Long Term Effects of LSD

Long term use of LSD can cause certain medical health conditions that include hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which may cause visual disturbances that affect everyday life or flashback experiences that persist for days, months or even years after using LSD.
Is LSD Addictive? | AToN Center

Is LSD Addictive?

LSD is not considered a hallucinogen drug that causes addiction because it doesn’t cause uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior. However, it does produce tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take higher doses to achieve the same effect.

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