Types of psychedelics

Psychedelics is a mind-altering drug that induces perceptual and cognitive changes. The term was coined in the 1950s to denote those substances which have hallucinogenic effects. Most psychedelic drugs are derived from tryptamines and phenethylamines, naturally occurring compounds found throughout plants (such as peyote).

There are many different types of psychedelics with varying psychoactive effects: below is a list of some of the more common psychedelic drugs.


Ecstasy is an entactogen that has chemical properties similar to those of mescaline, regarding l-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and other amphetamines. MDMA is the most widely used entactogen. It is popular and widely used in dance clubs, raves and house parties, especially among young people.


LSD is a member of the tryptamine family of psychedelics and has two important structural differences from most other tryptamines: it contains only indole, which gives it its characteristic color, and has a much lower free acid concentration than other tryptamines. LSD is also notable for its relatively quick onset, measured in hours compared to the halluci…


Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychedelic found in several species of cacti. It can be obtained by extracting the bark or root of peyote (Lophophora williamsii) or San Pedro (Echinopsis pachanoi). The most frequent source of mescaline is the San Pedro cactus, which produces as much as 45 percent of its weight in alkaloids. Mescaline can also be extracted from the peyote cactus. Because of its scarcity and unpredictable availability, peyote is difficult to cultivate, and has consequently been used mostly by Indians and Mexicans.Peyote contains approximately the same amount of mescaline as it does l-tryptamine (l-…


Psilocybin is a type of psychedelic that causes hallucinations and other effects similar to LSD. Although it is not a stimulant, psilocybin produces stimulating effects after the initial effects have worn off. Psilocybin has been used as an entheogen (to induce religious experiences), such as by the Mazatecs of Oaxaca in Mexico, who may have used it in spiritual healing rituals. It is also used in helping people come to terms with issues such as addiction and terminal illness. The nausea inducing effects of psilocybin parallel those of the stimulant amphetamine. Users are not overwhelmed by the experience, nor are they able to control…

Salvia divinorum

Salvia divinorum, commonly known as sage of the diviners, is a psychoactive plant that has been used for ritual purposes for at least 1,500 years. The species was first identified by Western science in 1899. Salvia divinorum contains a variety of potent hallucinogens and is one of several species belonging to the genus Salvia. The effects of salvinorin A in humans include auditory and visual hallucinations and an inability…

San Pedro cactus

The San Pedro cactus is a large and woody columnar cactus, also known as the giant or magic cactus. While not an actual species of cactus, the San Pedro has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of northern Peru and southern Bolivia for ritualistic purposes. The plant contains mescaline, a powerful psychoactive agent that has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. The name comes from Saint Peter (San Pedro in Spanish), after whom the Catholic feast…


DMT, N,N-dimethyltryptamine is a naturally occurring indole alkaloid found in plants and animals. It is a tryptamine, which means it contains a tryptophan residue bound to an amino group. DMT is mainly known for its hallucinogenic effects when smoked or vaporized and taken orally.

Psilocybin mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms are fungi containing the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin. They are most commonly found growing in the wild, in tropical and subtropical forests of the Americas. The psilocybin content varies between species and between grown specimens. The culinary use of psilocybin mushrooms is common in many parts of certain cultures; however, they are illegal or unregulated in other parts of the world and possession of psilocybin mushrooms carries heavy penalties.


Mescaline, a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid, is found in plants of the genus Psilotum L. (Apiaceae), such as the Mexican San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi). Its systematic position is not fully resolved, and some authorities scientifically place it in the family Cactaceae. It occurs in three isomeric forms: dextro-mescaline, laevo-mescaline and racemic mescaline.


LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as acid, is a psychedelic drug. Effects may include altered thoughts and feelings as well as visual and auditory hallucinations. Physical effects may include tingling sensations, loss of appetite, sweating, muscle spasms and trembling. Side effects include confusion if taken in too high quantities, paranoia (“bad trips”), dry mouth (xerostomia) or eyes (conjunctivitis). Larger doses may result in…