A psychedelic drug is one that distorts a person’s perception of reality. Psychedelic drugs are among the oldest known to mankind, and date back to ancient times. Many are made from fungus and mushrooms, but there are manmade or synthetic hallucinogens. Popular psychedelics are Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ecstasy, MDMA, ketamine, mescaline, and cannabinoids such as hashish.
The term “psychedelic” comes from a Greek word meaning “soul-manifesting.” The word was very popular in the 1960’s, when young people listened to psychedelic music, decorated with psychedelic posters filled with psychedelic colors, wore psychedelic fabrics, and used psychedelic drugs, particularly LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) as a way to experience instant spirituality and to enhance creativity.
Under the influence of LSD, some people see waves of colors around ordinary objects, lose their sense of time or feel time “stretching” or moving backward, feel more loving and open, watch objects “breathing” and “rippling,” have out-of-body experiences and lose their sense of ego. Other people have “bad trips” in which their worlds become horror movies. An LSD experience or trip can last as long as eight hours.
Some research has been done using psychedelic drugs to treat depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental diseases, but so far the results have been limited.
These drugs are not considered physically addictive, but some people develop a psychological dependence on these unusual experiences and their friendships with other users. Some hallucinogens have caused permanent neurological damage in laboratory animal, and they are linked to memory problems in humans. Some people who use LSD experience “flashbacks” or involuntary, reoccurring memories of their psychedelic experiences. Another danger of using these drugs is that they cause extremely impaired judgment.