Afterglow, or the afterglow phenomenon, refers to the feelings of general wellbeing that could follow an interaction with hallucinogenic drugs. Afterglow is the experience that comes after the “peak experience” brought about by a psychoactive substance. Afterglow effects can range from 24 hours to months after the hallucinogenic experience.

Sometimes, people describe afterglow as feelings of an overall positive mood. Other descriptions of afterglow include increased connection with others and personal transformation. Some say the afterglow feels like being cleansed or having a clean slate in front of you.

Afterglow is different and separate from the hallucinogenic experience itself. Afterglow doesn’t include changes in perception or hallucinations. Some people liken the effects of microdosing (taking small amounts of hallucinogens on a regular basis) to afterglow.

Afterglow commonly follows an experience with:

What Causes Afterglow?

Scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes the afterglow phenomenon. It’s possible that the metabolites of the psychoactive substance are still in your system for some time after treatment and could cause the afterglow effect.

Some research suggests the afterglow effect could be attributed to changes in your brain associated with memory and emotion brought about by a hallucinogenic treatment.

It’s also possible that the afterglow is simply a psychological phenomenon, brought about by a positive psychoactive experience.