Also called psychedelics

Understanding hallucinogens

Hallucinogens affect the brain, producing distortions of the senses, mood and thought. They can be plant-based or chemical-based. Using hallucinogens is commonly referred to as ‘tripping’.

What does it look like when plant based?

  • Magic mushrooms (shrooms, mushies, blue meanies, gold tops) - psilocybin
  • Peyote cactus (mescaline)
  • Crystals or powder (DMT – N,N-dimethyltryptamine)

What does it look like when chemical based? 

  • Squares of gelatin or blotting paper soaked in:
    • LSD – Lysergic acid diethylamide (acid, trips, tabs, microdots)
    • 25I-NBOMe – an N-methoxybenzyl phenethylamine
How are they used?
  • Swallowed as tea or powder or dissolved under the tongue
  • Snorted (chemical-based)
  • Smoked (chemical-based)
  • Injected (chemical-based)

People who inject are at higher risk of additional harms such as:

  • Blood-borne viruses
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Damage to the circulatory system
  • Increased likelihood of overdose
What are the possible short-term effects?

People commonly use hallucinogens to change the way they perceive things with their senses i.e. seeing, hearing or touching things that aren’t there. Other short-term effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Clumsiness
  • Mood swings

People can experience a ‘bad trip’ while using hallucinogens, which could be a combination of negative effects. These can include:

  • Extreme anxiety, fear or panic
  • Frightening hallucinations
  • Feeling of losing control
  • Paranoia

Hallucinogens affect people differently depending on a range of factors including the type, how strong it is, how much is consumed, whether it is used with other drugs, and the individual characteristics of the person. It is important to know that there is no safe level of use.

What are the possible long-term effects?

People who use hallucinogens regularly may experience a range of physical, mental and social problems.

What are the signs of a hallucinogen problem?
  • Spending a great deal of time getting, using, or recovering from the effects 
  • Using for longer than originally planned
  • Experiencing mental health issues
  • Social problems including relationship issues, financial problems, impacts on study or work and legal problems
Thinking about cutting back or stopping?

Sometimes it can take a few attempts to cut back or stop. 

  • Focus on reasons for cutting down or stopping
  • Avoid ‘triggers’ (i.e. things associated with using such as places, people and stressful situations)
  • Ask a friend, family member or health professional for support
Hallucinogen use and pregnancy

People should avoid using hallucinogens while pregnant as it is linked to higher rates of miscarriage and birth complications. People who are concerned about their hallucinogen use should talk to their doctor or health professional.

What help is available?

Adis 24/7 Alcohol and Drug Support is a 24 hour, 7 day a week confidential support service for people in Queensland with alcohol and other drug concerns, their loved ones and health professionals. 

Talk to us. Anytime, anywhere.

1800 177 833

What should I do in an emergency?

If someone is experiencing strong hallucinations, anxiety or paranoia, try and keep them calm by reassuring them that the feelings will pass. Take them to a safe place and stay with them. 

If the person has collapsed or lost consciousness, call an ambulance on triple zero (000).  If they have stopped breathing commence CPR.  If they are breathing normally, place them into the recovery position.


Adis - Understanding Hallucinogens Fact Sheet

Adis fact sheet about hallucinogens aka psychedelics.

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