Psychodelic Drugs Essay, Research Paper
Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in this society. It is
accepted as a part of social life. Its use is widely promoted via sponsorship of
sporting events. Advertising infers that drinking is the path to happiness,
success, romance, etc. There are references to alcohol and its effects from
earliest known writings. Alcohol is consumed in the beverage form and sold
legally in this state to persons over 21.
Alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the stomach
and small intestine. It is distributed by the blood throughout the body,
affecting literally every organ it touches in a matter of minutes. Enzymes in
the liver metabolize alcohol at a rate of 10-15 ml (less than one half ounce)
per hour. Hence, only time can sober someone up. Coffee, cold showers, or
exercise do not work.
The warm glow of disinhibition, “letting go” is a major desired effect
of alcohol. People feel more sociable and talkative with small amounts of the
drug. Alcohol is a relaxant, so many people drink to unwind from the demands of
life. Because alcohol has been around for so long, its effects are well-known.
Two key concepts to understand in dealing with alcohol use and abuse are
impairment and tolerance. They are both problems in themselves and signals of
possible additional difficulties.
IMPAIRMENT refers to the deficits in performance, judgment, memory, and
motor skills which occur because of alcohol consumption. Impairment becomes
noticeable at blood levels of 0.05%, which can occur when as few as two drinks
are consumed in an hour by a 160 pound person. The deceptive part about
impairment is that, by definition, impaired judgment cannot recognize its own
impairment. The individual thinks he or she is functioning well, when actually
s/he is not. Later, there is impaired memory of the impaired performance.
TOLERANCE means that a drug loses some of its effect with repeated use,
and that higher and higher doses are needed. It is the body’s way of adapting to
having a foreign substance in the system.
People develop a high tolerance to alcohol when they drink a great deal
over an extended length of time. “WHILE TOLERANCE MAY SEEM TO SOME TO BE A
DESIRABLE STATE, IT SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES THE RISK OF ALCOHOLISM AND LONG-TERM
HEALTH AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS”. For example, a heavy drinker could still be lucid
at 0.25%, whereas the average person would barely be able to function. Even so,
the heavy drinker would be extremely dangerous on the highway.
Thirteen percent of male and five percent of female college students
nationwide are alcoholic. Persons are considered alcoholic if they exhibit three
or more of the following symptoms for more than one month, or if the symptoms
get repeated over a longer period of time:
1.Alcohol is consumed in greater quantities or for longer periods of
time than the person intended; 2.The individual has a persistent desire to
control or eliminate drinking, or has made one or more unsuccessful efforts to
do this (for example, there are resolutions to “cut down,” but these efforts
disappear after a period of time); 3.Considerable time is spent in obtaining,
using, or recovering from alcohol and its effects; 4.Intoxication or its
aftereffects (e.g., hangovers) frequently occur at times when the person is
expected to fulfill work, family or school obligations; or there is physically
hazardous use (e.g., while driving); 5.The individual gives up or reduces social,
recreational or job-related activities because of alcohol use; 6.Drinking
continues despite the knowledge that alcohol causes the person to have social,
psychological or medical problems; 7.Significantly increased tolerance has
developed; 8.Withdrawal symptoms occur when initially attempting abstinence
(e.g., flu-like symptoms, headaches, gastrointestinal distress, sweatiness, mood
swings, irritability, anxiety); 9.Alcohol or other drugs are used to ward off
Other long-term medical problems include high blood pressure, increased
risk of heart attack, pancreatitis, various cancers, cirrhosis of the liver.
Chronic heavy drinking in men is associated with testicular atrophy and breast
enlargement. In women, as little as one drink a day greatly increases the risk
of breast cancer. Drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects and mental
Alcohol is also fattening. One glass of wine daily added to the diet can
result in a weight gain of ten pounds a year.
Cocaine and Crack
Cocaine is an alkaloid extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. It
is a stimulant and euphoric substance that has powerful effects on the human
brain. The practice of sniffing (”snorting”) cocaine actually dates back to the
beginning of this century as knowledge spread about cocaine’s ability to induce
feelings of well-being and increased energy. At that time, cocaine was also
available in over-the-counter tonics and potions.
Crack is cocaine that has been processed so that it can be smoked. It is
generally sold in small quantities and distributed in small glass vials or small
plastic bags. When crack is smoked, it produces an immediate, short-lived effect.
Intravenous use (”shooting up”) also results in rapid onset of effects, while
the effects of sniffing are delayed several minutes.
The onset of the high, or rush, from cocaine and crack is reported by
users to be intense and pleasurable. Some users have called the rush “an orgasm
of the brain.” The rush lasts only a few seconds, followed by a 20 minute high.
Individuals report an increased sense of well-being and self-confidence, along
with a decrease in fatigue and hunger. Some people report that they experience
cocaine as an “aphrodisiac”. There is a social aspect to cocaine use as well, as
cocaine is frequently obtained from “friends” and consumed in small get-
Cocaine (and in particular “crack”) is one of the most addictive drugs
known to humankind. Laboratory studies have shown that animals, when offered the
option to self-administer cocaine, will continue to administer the drug until
they die, ignoring their needs for food and water.
It is reported that as many as one out of every three crack users become
addicted to cocaine. There is no scientific way to predict who will become
addicted. However, there has been a good deal of news media attention given to
stories of successful people who have lost themselves, their jobs, fortunes, and
families because of their involvement with cocaine. The problems cocaine causes
in people’s lives are so severe and the pull to use the drug again is so strong
that it generally takes people two years of rehabilitation to recover from a
cocaine addiction, once they seek treatment.
Crack is a very rapidly addicting form of cocaine, with addiction often
becoming apparent within a matter of weeks. Some users have reported becoming
addicted after their first experience with this form of cocaine. Thus crack is
an especially dangerous form of the drug.
Cocaine can be quite toxic to the cardiovascular system and cause death.
Death occurs from one of two primary effects. Cocaine can cause a spasm of the
coronary arteries, which supply the heart with blood, and cocaine can also
disrupt the rhythm of the heart by interfering with its electrical conduction.
There is no way to tell who is sensitive to these effects. As in the cases of
these athletes, being in excellent physical shape is no protection. Furthermore,
what is a non-lethal dose for one person may be lethal for another, and this
makes the question of dosage a risky one for the novice users. In high dose or
prolonged use (binges) users often exhibit extreme irritability (which may
explode to violence), and paranoia.
While the high from cocaine is generally well understood by the general
public, less well-known is the withdrawal or “crash”: fatigue, prolonged sleep
and severe depression. These symptoms escalate as the frequency of use or the
dose increases, leading many people to use the drug again soon. This sets up the
addictive cycle, and people have been known to go on “cocaine binges” to cope
with such crashes. During a binge, an individual may use up hundreds and even
thousands of dollars’ worth of cocaine, and put them selfs in significant risk.
For those injecting cocaine, this could mean 10 or more injections in a night,
with increased risk for AIDS if sterile needles are not used. To complicate
matters medically, users often consume large quantities of alcohol to handle
Other “Speed” Drugs
Two other stimulants are known to be abused locally. They have many
similarities to the cocaine drugs, but have some important differences.
Methamphetamine (meth, crank, crystal) has the stimulant properties of cocaine,
but lasts from four to six hours. It can be taken orally or injected. Recently a
drug called “ice” known in Japan and other countries has come to Oregon. Ice is
a smokable form of methamphetamine, just as crack is a smokable form of cocaine.
The effects of ice last for a long time, 14 hours or more, with a similar
potential for addiction, irritability and paranoia as cocaine.
The other stimulant of concern is a prescription drug called Ritalin
(Methly Phenidate). It is prescribed by physicians for hyperactive children, but
is often diverted by drug abusing parents. This drug is a powerful stimulant.
When abused, the tablets are crushed and mixed with water, then injected. The
problem associated with Ritalin abuse, besides the typical stimulant problems,
has to do with the chemicals used to make the tablet. Talc (like talcum power)
is used to hold the pill together. Talc does not dissolve in the body or
bloodstream, and can clog veins, causing embolisms and strokes.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is an extremely powerful hallucinogen–
100 times as potent as psilocybin and 4000 times as potent as mescaline. LSD or
“acid” saw its heyday in the late 1960s and early 1970s but is still used today.
It is usually taken orally, in tablets, capsules or on blotter paper.
The attraction. The effects of LSD begin within an hour of ingestion and
last from 2 to 12 hours. The effects taper off gradually. Users provide a
variety of reasons for taking the drug, including a desire to experience
something profoundly beautiful, a wish to achieve a transcendent state, enhance
their creativity or take a vacation without going anywhere.
Sights and sounds may be merged and intensified, and the sense of time
may be altered. Visual hallucinations often occur and can be novel and
fascinating . Because LSD diminishes an individual’s capacity to differentiate
the boundaries of one object from another, and oneself from the environment,
some users report a pleasant feeling of oneness with the world.
The description above is one side of the coin, the so-called “good
trip.” The other side of the coin is the “bad trip,” in which hallucinations,
loss of boundaries, and perceptual changes are experienced as unpleasant and
scary . This can cause paranoid feelings, extreme anxiety and/or panic, and in
some cases a psychotic reaction, triggering a process which, in some, is not
always reversible. There is no way to predict which individuals will have good
or bad trips. Even expe rienced users can have an unanticipated bad trip, some
even requiring psychiatric hospitalization.
Another problem with LSD is the occasional occurrence of flashbacks,
strong evoked memories of the LSD experience. Flashbacks often cause fear in the
user and are especially dangerous if the individual is driving a car or
Short-term effects on the body can include increased blood pressure,
rapid heartbeat, muscular weakness, trembling, nausea, chills, hyperventilation,
and impairment of motor coordination.
Another drug, PCP (Angel Dust) is sometimes marketed as LSD. It is
cheaper and easier to make, and it is potentially lethal.
Like cocaine, Ecstasy (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is not a new
drug. It was synthesized in 1914 by a pharmaceutical company for use as an
appetite suppressant, but was never marketed. It has been “rediscovered” in
recent years and goes by the name of MDMA, ADAM, XTC, X, “the love drug,” and
the “hug drug.” It is chemically similar to but less potent than MDA.
The drug is taken orally and produces a high which lasts two to four
hours. After the initial onset of symptoms, which can be seriously unpleasant,
some users report a period of relaxation and emotional openness, where problems
seem to disappear and the user feels receptive to those around him. He or she
may feel self-assured, friendly, and sociable. Such feelings are, of course,
obtainable without drugs, but Ecstasy seems to provide a shortcut for some who
may have problems in these areas. Users report that the drug has a “mind-
expanding” effect without the extreme reactions found in some of the
hallucinogens, such as LSD.
One of the problems with Ecstasy is the initial onset of symptoms, which
usually begins with a jittery feeling accompanied by teeth-gnashing, sweating,
blurred vision, and an increase in pulse rate and blood pressure. These latter
two symptoms have been implicated in seizures and heartbeat irregularities, and
the drug effect on certain brain centers has led to psychotic reactions in some
individuals (hallucinations, paranoid delusions, misinterpretation of reality).
There is no way to predict in advance who will be affected in this way. Because
this drug appears to have milder effects than some of the other drugs discussed,
some users double or triple their dose, creating serious medical problems.
Repeated use of the drug produces tolerance (that is, the drug becomes
ineffective), and it can produce a crash.
A recent study found that one of the by-products created when Ecstasy is
metabolized is a toxic substance harmful to nerve endings. This seems to cause
Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms in persons as young as 30 years of age. These
symptoms do not appear immediately, but may occur after a period of time. They
are apparently non-reversible.
There are a number of plant materials which have LSD-like effects and
which come under the heading of mushrooms or “shrooms” as they are often called.
These include the psilocybe mexicana and several other species which have the
active ingredient psilocybin. Mushrooms are generally dried and then eaten.
Mescaline originally came form the “buttons” which grow on the top of peyote
cactus. Several varieties of psilocybin mushrooms grow and are illegally
marketed in the Northwest.
The initial effects of psilocybin are experienced in 30 minutes and the
high generally lasts several hours. Small doses can reportedly produce feelings
of physical and mental relaxation and pleasant changes in mood and perception.
Larger doses can produce marked changes in perception, with the user
experiencing effects similar to those found with LSD.
With mescaline, the effects appear slowly and last from 10-18 hours.
Commonly reported effects include euphoria, heightened sensory perception,
visual hallucinations, alterations in body image, and some muscular relaxation.
With regard to perceptual processes, the unpleasant effects of these
drugs are similar to those found with LSD. In addition, psilocybin can cause
dizziness, light-headedness, abdominal discomfort, numbness in the mouth, nausea,
vomiting, shivering, facial flushing, sweating, and fatigue. With mescaline,
nausea and vomiting frequently occur, and high doses can produce low blood
pressure, cardiac depression, slowed respiration, and headache. These side
effects have the potential to be medically serious.
Both psilocybin and mescaline can be manufactured in the laboratory.
Marijuana consists of the dried leaves and flowering tops of the hemp
plant (cannabis sativa). The plant’s principal psychoactive ingredient is delta-
9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Hashish or “hash” is the dried resin from the tops
and leaves of the female plant. It contains a higher concentration of the THC
and is therefore more potent. Both marijuana and hash are usually smoked.
When smoked, the effects of marijuana produces a feeling of euphoria
which gives rise to a tendency to talk and laugh more than usual. Color, sound,
and taste, touch and/or smell may be enhanced and experienced as pleasant and
fascinating. Muscular relaxation may occur, as well as a sense of well-being and
relief from tension.
Cannabis impairs the ability to perform complex motor tasks such as
driving a car. It also impairs short-term memory and logical thinking. At very
high doses, effects can be similar to those of hallucinogens, and the user can
experience confusion, restlessness, hallucination, paranoia, and anxiety or
panic. These problems have become more noted in recent years, as the strains of
marijuana now available are many times more potent than the marijuana of the
Heavy use appears to interfere with brain cell functioning, producing
problems with sequencing ability, time sense, depth perception, memory storage,
and recall. Chronic heavy users sometime demonstrate apathy, loss of energy,
confusion, and memory problems.
Long-term use of THC is also associated with lower sperm counts in males
and alterations in sperm shape and mobility. In women, irregularities in
menstruation and ovulation occur. Pregnant women who are heavy marijuana smokers
have higher levels of miscarriages, still-births and genetic disorders.
Marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke.
Laboratory studies have shown pre-cancerous cellular changes in the lung tissue
of long term users.
Signs That The Chemical Has Taken Control
The following symptoms and behaviors, when related to chemical use
(including alcohol, of course), indicate that a person has seriously
overindulged. Beyond this, these symptoms could indicate a more serious problem
?Accidents or injuries ?Nausea and vomiting ?Mysterious bruises ?Gastritis ?
Blackouts (cannot remember something while drinking) ?Passing out
(unconsciousness) ?Emergency room visits
?Academic failure/poor work performance ?Missing classes/absenteeism from work ?
Not living up to one’s potential ?Difficulties with deadlines or procrastination
?Impotence ?Sexual assault ?Inability to resist unwanted sexual advance ?
Engaging in sexual activities that are contrary to values
?Loss of self-respect ?Mood swings ?Panic and unexplained fears ?Depression ?
Property damage ?Paranoia ?Fights and arguments ?Social isolation and withdrawal
?Problems with legal or college authorities ?Causing emotional pain to friends
or loved ones
?Sneaking drinks or drugs or using alone ?Hiding bottles/drugs ?Consuming more
than intended ?Inability to predict how much one will consume ?Using again right
after sobering up ?Using to relieve anxiety, insomnia, pain or depression ?Using
to feel more confident in social situations ?Spending substantial amounts of
money on alcohol and drugs ?Preoccupation with next high ?Centering one’s
recreational activities around chemicals ?Family members or friends expressing
concern about one’s drinking or other drug use ?Feeling annoyed or angry when
one’s chemical use is discussed ?Inability to carry out an intention to “cut
The following chart describes the penalties for POSSESSION of key drugs
(the schedules are more inclusive) according to the Federal Drug Schedules:
Max. Prison Time Max .Fine SCHEDULE # Class
Heroin, LSD, other hallucinogens marijuana, others 10 years
$100,000 SCHEDULE II Class C Felony Methadone, morphine, amphetamines cocaine,
PCP5 years $100,000 SCHEDULE II Class A Misdemeanors
Non-amphetamine stimulants, 1 year $2,500 SCHEDULE IV Class C
Misdemeanors some depressants1 Valium-type tranquilizers, some less potent
depressants 30 days $500 SCHEDULE V Violation Dilute
mixtures, compounds with small amounts of controlled drugs None $1,000
Delivery of less than five grams or possession or less than one ounce of
marijuana is a violation. established mandatory evaluation, education and
treatment services for those under 18 years old. If services are successfully
completed, the charge will be dropped.
Alcohol is an illegal drug for those under 21 years of age. For a driver
under 18 ANY detectable amount of alcohol (above .00 BAC) is grounds for losing
That pretty much sums it up for psychodelic drugs. I hope this proved to
you that if you use a psychodelic drug that you should stop, unless it is alchol
because it is not as bad as LSD, pcp, or anything you have to inject or snort.
So I sign out with I hope you learned something, I mean you had to you could’ent
have know all of this information.
Name Year Type
Microsoft Encarta 96′ Encyclopedia
Dartmouth collage 95′ Brochure White House