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Hallucinogens

 

This section includes information on LSD and other synthetic hallucinogens, hallucinogenic mushrooms and cannabis. The hallucinogenic amphetamines are included under stimulants, although they have both hallucinogenic and stimulant properties.

Drugs include:

Drug Name

Street name

Amanita muscaria (Fly agaric) Magic mushrooms
Cannabis Pot, dope, blow
Lysergic acid diethylamide LSD, acid
Ketamine Special K
Phencyclidine PCP, angel dust
Psilocybe semilanceata Liberty cap,
Magic mushrooms
Street use Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug. Its use tends to be recreational in nature. Similarly, the use of LSD and magic mushrooms is normally associated with recreational use. Liberty Cap grows in the autumn, therefore its use tends to be seasonal, although the dried fungus can be stored.
Drug effect Heightened appreciation of sensory experiences, perceptual distortions, feelings of disassociation and elevation of mood.
Dependency Minimal risk of physical dependence. All carry risk of psychological dependency.
Long-term use Apart from those linked to smoking (cannabis), there are no known physical dangers attributed to long-term use. Adverse psychological reactions are possible with LSD, PCP and liberty cap. In some cases, they can be severe and long-lasting.
Overdose risk Overdose risk is small. However, with ketamine, inhalation of vomit may be a risk when doses sufficient to induce anaesthesia are taken.
Legal status There is some variation in the legal classification of drugs in this group. LSD and PCP are both class A (Schedule 1) controlled drugs. Cannabis is now classified as a class C (Schedule 1) controlled drug.
From 1 January 2006, ketamine is controlled as a class C drug under Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002.
From 18 July 2005, the possession or supply of any fungus containing psilocin or an ester of psilocin (“magic mushrooms”) is illegal. They are controlled as a class A (Schedule 1) drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Previously, only dried and prepared magic mushrooms were illegal.

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Amanita Muscaria (Fly agaric)

 

Street name Magic mushrooms
Drug effect Hallucinogen
Description A red mushroom, about 10-12cm high, with white spots. The psycho-active drugs are muscarine, atropine and bufotenine.
Method of use Usually cooked and eaten or boiled in water to make a “tea”. Mushrooms can also be dried for storage.
Dependency No
Withdrawal Effects which include sweating, nausea, reduced heart rate and hallucinations begin within 30-40 minutes and usually last between four and eight hours. Aggressive mood changes have also been reported.
Long-term use Little is known about the long-term use of fly agaric.
Overdose risk Fly agaric mushrooms are very toxic. Heart failure is the most common cause of death.
Legal status As fly agaric mushrooms do not contain either psilocybin or psilocin, it would appear they are not illegal, even if they are prepared for use.

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Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty cap)

 

Street name Magic mushrooms, mushies
Drug effect Hallucinogen
Description Light brown mushroom about 6-8cm high containing psilocybin.
Method of use Usually cooked and eaten or boiled in water to make a “tea”. Mushrooms can also be dried for storage.
Dependency No
Withdrawal Effects which include euphoria and hallucinations begin within 20-40 minutes and usually last between four and eight hours. Sleep often follows use. No withdrawal symptoms have been noted.
Long-term use Psilocybin can cause impaired cognitive functioning and poor performance on attention tests. However, no adverse long-term effects have been reported.
Overdose risk Liberty caps are not very toxic and so the overdose risk is low. Amounts of mushrooms used vary from one or two mushrooms to 20 or more. However, there is a risk of mistakenly taking a more poisonous mushroom or fungus.
Legal status In the past, only dried and prepared liberty cap mushroms were illegal. The current law, which came into force on 18 July 2005, means that raw (fresh) liberty caps, as well as those that are prepared (dried or stewed) are now classified as class A drugs.
Maximum penalty
For possession:                    Seven years and/or unlimited fine
For dealing:                         Life and/or unlimited fine

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Cannabis (Tetra-hydrocannabinol)

 

Street name Blow, draw, pot, dope, grass, black, hash
Drug effect Naturally occurring hallucinogen from the plant cannabis sativa
Street form Cannabis resin/hashish – most commonly used form is small blocks/lumps of brown resinous material. Marijuana/herbal cannabis – preparation resembles dried grass or leaves. Cannabis oil – strongest preparation, brown to black coloured thick oil.
Method of use Smoked, eaten
Dependency Yes (probably psychological)
Withdrawal If smoked, effects last for up to three hours. If eaten, the drug is absorbed more slowly and effects may last for 24 hours. No physical withdrawal symptoms reported but heavy users may experience restlessness and depression.
Long-term use Respiratory problems associated with smoking. Psychological disturbance with heavy use (rare).
Overdose risk Very unlikely, although vomiting is common when taken for the first time.
Legal status Cannabis resin and cannabis grass are both class C controlled drugs (Schedule 1). It is an offence to possess the drug or to supply it to others. Cannabis oil is a class A controlled drug (Schedule 1) and carries the same restriction except maximum penalties are greater.
Class A (Cannabis oil)
Maximum penalty
For possession:
For dealing:
Seven years and/or unlimited fine
Life and/or unlimited fine
Class C (Cannabis resin and grass)
Maximum penalty
For possession:
For dealing:
Two years and/or unlimited fine
14 years and/or unlimited fine

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Ketamine

 

Street name K, special K
Drug effect An anaesthetic with analgesic (pain killing) and hallucinogenic properties.
Brand name Ketalar (Parke-Davis)
Street form Clear liquid
White powder
Therapeutic use Used as an anaesthetic, most commonly in emergency surgery.
Method of use By mouth, sniffing, smoking or by injection.
Dependency Yes (psychological)
Withdrawal Ketamine takes between 30 seconds and 20 minutes to take effect, depending on how it is administered. Drug effects, which include a cocaine-like “rush”, loss of muscular coordination and LSD-like hallucinations, last between one to three hours but for considerably shorter periods among heavy users. There are no physical withdrawal symptoms but heavy users report a strong psychological dependence.
Long-term use Information on the long-term use of ketamine is limited. LSD-like “flashbacks” have been reported, together with loss of appetite and weight loss. There may also be a potential for the development of psychiatric problems following heavy use.
Overdose risk Few deaths have been reported. However, as with any anaesthetic, inhalation of vomit (after eating) is a serious risk if doses sufficient to induce anaesthesia are taken.
Legal status From 1 January 2006, ketamine is a controlled class C drug under Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and Part 1 of Schedule 4 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002.
Maximum penalty
For possession:                    Two years and/or unlimited fine
For dealing:                         14 years and/or unlimited fine

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LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)

 

Street name Acid, acid-tabs, trips, trade names eg strawberries
Drug effect Hallucinogen
Street form Considerable local variation: paper squares, microdots, tablets
Method of use By mouth
Dependency No evidence of physical dependency
Withdrawal Trips begin up to one hour after dose and last for two to 12 hours depending on strength. Tolerance develops quickly after 3-4 days so that further doses are ineffective. No physical/psychological withdrawal symptoms reported.
Long-term use Flashbacks (re-experiencing previous trip) common.
Temporary psychological disturbance with heavy use.
Overdose risk Only one recorded overdose death worldwide, although suicides and accidental deaths also reported.
Legal status LSD is a class A controlled drug (Schedule 1). This means it is not available for medical use and it is an offence to possess the drug or to supply it to others.
Maximum penalty
For possession:
For dealing:
Seven years and/or unlimited fine
Life and/or unlimited fine
Special note  If user is having a “bad trip”, it helps to reduce all external stimulation to a minimum – low lighting and noise levels.
Users with a family history of mental illness or with a latent mental illness run the risk of triggering long-term psychological illness.

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