Classic hallucinogens are thought to produce their perception-altering effects by acting on neural circuits in the brain that use the neurotransmitter serotonin. Specifically, some of their most prominent effects occur in the prefrontal cortex—an area involved in mood, cognition, and perception—as well as other regions important in regulating arousal and physiological responses to stress and panic.
Also known as: Dimitri
A powerful hallucinogenic chemical found naturally occurring in some Amazonian plant species and also synthesized in the laboratory. Synthetic DMT usually takes the form of a white crystalline powder and is typically vaporized or smoked in a pipe.
Some research has suggested that DMT occurs naturally in the human brain in small quantities, leading to the hypothesis that release of endogenous DMT may be involved in reports of alien abductions, spontaneous mystical experiences, and near-death experiences, but this remains controversial.
LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide)
Also known as: acid, blotter, doses, hits, microdots, sugar cubes, trips, tabs, or window panes
One of the most potent mood- and perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. It is a clear or white, odorless, water-soluble material synthesized from lysergic acid, a compound derived from a rye fungus. LSD is initially produced in crystalline form, which can then be used to produce tablets known as “microdots” or thin squares of gelatin called “window panes.” It can also be diluted with water or alcohol and sold in liquid form. The most common form, however, is LSD-soaked paper punched into small individual squares, known as “blotters.”
Also known as: magic mushrooms, shrooms, boomers, or little smoke
Extracted from certain types of mushrooms found in tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. In the past, psilocybin was ingested during religious ceremonies by indigenous cultures from Mexico and Central America. Psilocybin can either be dried or fresh and eaten raw, mixed with food, or brewed into a tea, and produces similar effects to LSD.