The term psychedelic is derived from the Greek words ψυχή (psyche, “soul, mind”) and δηλείν (delein, “to manifest”), hence “mind manifesting”, the implication being that psychedelics can develop unused potentials of the human mind. The word was coined in 1956 by British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; the term was loathed by American ethnobotanist Richard Schultes but championed by American psychologist Timothy Leary.Psychedelics are a hallucinogenic class of psychoactive drug whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary states of consciousness via serotonin 2A receptor agonism.Most psychedelic drugs fall into one of the three families of chemical compounds: tryptamines, phenethylamines, or lysergamides. These chemicals all activate serotonin 5-HT2A receptors, which modulate the activity of key circuits in the brain involved with sensory perception and cognition, however the exact nature of how psychedelics induce changes in perception and cognition through the 5-HT2A receptor is still unknown.Psychedelics have a long history of use in traditional medicine and traditional religion, for their perceived ability to promote physical and mental healing. In this context, they are often known as entheogens. Native American practitioners using mescaline-containing cacti (most notably peyote, San Pedro, and Peruvian torch) have reported success in treating alcoholism, and Mazatec practitioners routinely use psilocybin mushrooms for divination and healing. Ayahuasca, which contains the potent psychedelic DMT, is used in Peru and other parts of South America for spiritual and physical healing as well as in religious festivals.
Main article: Psychedelic microdosing
Psychedelic microdosing is the practice of using sub-threshold doses (microdoses) of psychedelics in an attempt to improve creativity, boost physical energy level, emotional balance, increase performance on problems-solving tasks and to treat anxiety, depression and addiction.The practice of microdosing has become more widespread in the 21st century with more people claiming long-term benefits from the practice.
The most common long-term effect of psychedelic use is the ‘flashback’. Flashbacks are a re-experience of the drug and can occur days, weeks, months and even years later.Flashbacks can be triggered by the use of other drugs or by stress, fatigue or physical exercise. The flashback experience can range from being pleasant to causing severe feelings of anxiety. They are usually visual and last for a minute or two.
Using psychedelics with other drugs
The effects of mixing psychedelics with other drugs, including alcohol, prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines, are often unpredictable.
Mixing psychedelics with stimulant drugs increases the stimulant effects and can further increase heart rate and place the body under extreme stress. Stimulants can also increase anxiety which can lead to a negative experience.
Combing psychedelics with depressant drugs such as alcohol may further reduce coordination and increases the chances of vomiting. Alcohol may also decrease the effects of the psychedelic.
Sometimes you can experience a ‘bad trip’, which is frightening and disturbing hallucinations. This can lead to panic and unpredictable behaviour, like running across a road or attempting suicide.
If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you are likely to experience negative effects of psychedelics.