Psychodelic Drugs Essay Research Paper Psychodelic Drugs

Psychodelic Drugs Essay, Research Paper Psychodelic Drugs Alcohol 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

Psychodelic Drugs Essay, Research Paper

Psychodelic Drugs


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


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

the withdrawal.

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

their crashes.

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

operating machinery.

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

early 1970s.

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.

Warning Signals

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

or addiction:


?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


State Laws

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

the license.

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

97′ Internet