Hallucinogenic Drugs

  • John R. Smythies
  • C. B. Ireland
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


There are various types of hallucinogenic drugs that are distinguished by the psychological effects which they induce. The most familiar are the “visionary psychodysleptics” which produce prominent visual and somatic distortions and hallucinations. Complex emotional changes ranging from ecstasy to terror may occur, as well as alterations in thinking. Examples of such drugs are LSD, mescaline, and tryptamine derivatives such as dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The imagery-producing psychodysleptics such as cannabis and various coumarins (e.g., from Calea zacatechichi) potentiate visual imagery and produce characteristic distortions in time perception, body-image, and thought. Trance-producing psychodysleptics (such as lysergic acid amide (obtained from Rivea corymbosa) ololiquhqui, turbicoryn, and corymbosine), as their names suggest, produce trance-like states. Finally the deliriants (e.g., atropine) produce clouding of consciousness and amnesia, as well as hallucinatory effects.

Further reading

  1. Aghajanian GK, Haigler HJ, Bloom FE (1972): Lysergic acid diethylamide and serotonin: direct actions on serotonin-containing neurons in rat brain. Life Sci 11: 615–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Domelsmith LN, Munchangen LL, Houk KN (1977): Lysergic acid diethylamide. Photoelectron ionization potentials as indices of behavioral activity. J Med Chem 20: 1346–1348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Huxley Aldous (1954): The Doors of Perception. London: Chatto & WindusGoogle Scholar
  4. Jung CG (1952): Personal communicationGoogle Scholar
  5. Osmond H, Smythies J (1952): Schizophrenia. A new approach. J Ment Sci 98: 309Google Scholar
  6. Smythies JR (1959): The stroboscopic patterns. Part I. The dark phase. B J Psychol 50: 106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Smythies JR, Morin RD, Brown GB (1979): Identification of dimethyltryptamine and O-methylbufotenin in human cerebrospinal fluid by combined GC/MS. Biol Psychol 14: 549–556Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Smythies
  • C. B. Ireland

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations