What alcohol makes you hallucinate

Hallucinogens

What types of hallucinogens are there?

It was a coincidence that Albert Hofmann discovered the drug in 1943: while working in the laboratory, he had come into contact with a small amount of the hallucinogen. Within a very short time he was no longer able to speak and lost his bearings.

There are hallucinogens that occur naturally and those that are synthetically made. The natural hallucinogens can be found, for example, in certain plants such as mushrooms, nightshade family and cacti.

Apparently, however, certain animals, such as toads, also release secretions that have a hallucinogenic effect. The effects of these natural mind-altering substances have been known in some cultures for thousands of years.

Synthetically produced hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline, on the other hand, have only been known since the 1940s. The active ingredients usually also come from plants, although they are not contained in their pure form. It is only through chemical processing in the laboratory that the active ingredients are "refined" and can develop their hallucinogenic effects.

A mind-altering effect is also known from opiates such as opium, morphine or heroin, but these form a separate class of intoxicants. In contrast to hallucinogens, opiates are extremely addicting.

What is hallucinogen?

Translated, the Latin term "halucinato" means something like "thoughtless talking, babbling". Hallucinogens are substances that cause various types of delusions (hallucinations), visions and changes in perception.

Some herbal hallucinogens have long been used by indigenous peoples. In these societies, however, they are not considered intoxicants, but rather sacred or visionary substances and are used for religious rituals or medicinal purposes.

As a rule, their use is only allowed for special people such as shamans or priests. Abuse is often severely punished. Scientists use the term "entheogens" for hallucinogenic substances used in rituals or healing processes. The word comes from ancient Greek and means translated: "to work with God".

What is a hallucination?

Hallucinations are hallucinations and are divided according to the respective sensory organs affected. A distinction is essentially made between acoustic, visual, olfactory (related to the sense of smell), haptic (related to the sense of touch) and kinesthetic (related to body movement) delusions.

The hallucinating person perceives these delusions to be extremely real and indistinguishable from reality.

Hallucinations can be pathological delusions that occur, for example, in schizophrenia. Hallucinogenic drugs can produce similar changes in perception. Scientists hope that experience under the influence of hallucinogens will allow a deeper understanding of various mental illnesses.

What are the effects of hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens produce two types of effects. Scientists have proven that in addition to the perceived psychological effects, there is also a neurobiological effect.

The psychological effects of hallucinogens can only be observed in humans. Findings about this are often based on self-experiments by scientists, stories from test persons and consumers or on reports from indigenous peoples.

The term hallucination actually falls short here, because especially the vernacular equates this with a fantasized perception. However, under the influence of hallucinogens, for example, colors can be heard and music evokes certain images and patterns. Usually it is an idea without direct perception.

The neurobiological knowledge about hallucinogens is still fragmentary. Nonetheless, they have brought amazing insights to light, because hallucinogens act on the central nervous system. Mainly nerve cells and synapses are affected there. The nerve cells in the human brain are linked by synapses.

The transmission of information takes place primarily in a biochemical way through transmission substances, the so-called neurotransmitters. These migrate through the synapses from one nerve cell to the other and there dock onto the receptors.

The receptors are the receiving or receiving device for certain stimuli. The neurotransmitters fit there like a key in the lock. These receptors are primarily used to transmit excitation through the brain's own messenger substances and hormones.

In experiments with hallucinogens, however, scientists have found that receptors for cannabinoids and opiates are also present in the human brain. Without them, hallucinogens would have almost no effect.

Once the hallucinogens have docked, they strengthen, hinder or change the function of the nerve cells. It is not yet clear why there are receptors for hallucinogenic substances in the brain.

Horror trips and self-awareness

"All efforts of my will to stop the disintegration of the outer world and the dissolution of my self seemed in vain". This is how Albert Hofmann described his extremely unpleasant experience with a very high dose of LSD.

Because hallucinogenic drugs are psychoactive substances, they work differently for each person. Hallucinogens can cause or aggravate mental disorders in people with a corresponding predisposition.

Since they intensify and change sensory perception to a particular degree, the environment in which they are consumed is also of crucial importance.

Specifically, this means: In an unpleasant environment and with negative feelings, a so-called "horror trip" can usually be expected. Conversely, there have been reports that using hallucinogenic drugs in a positive setting can produce incredible self-knowledge.

The British writer and drug pioneer Aldous Huxley describes in his book "The Portals of Perception" how he gained a deeper understanding of himself and the cosmos by taking mescaline and LSD. The psychologist Timothy Leary and the poet Allen Ginsberg also reported positive experiences with LSD and publicly advocated the consumption of hallucinogens.

The Czech psychiatrist Stanislav Grof is one of the few scientists who has done extensive research on hallucinogens. The aim of his work was to explore a possible use of hallucinogens in psychiatry and psychology. Due to the worldwide restrictive legislation, he had to break off his research in the mid-1970s.

Grof noted that there are a variety of spiritual techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and ecstasy in dance and music that lead to states similar to those that can be achieved through drugs.

He saw this finding as proof that the human brain has the ability to use the body's own substances to produce the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. There are suspicions that so-called near-death experiences (for example tunnel journeys into light) are also generated by the release of endogenous drugs.