Psychedelics are substances that induce changes in mood and sensory perception. Sometimes, when people ingest psychedelics, they feel like they have expanded their minds. Psychedelics typically act on serotonin receptors in the brain. At high doses or when misused, psychedelics may induce hallucinations.

Psychedelics include substances like:

  • DMT
  • Ketamine (a medical anesthetic)
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Mescaline
  • Methyl?enedioxy?methamphetamine (MDMA)
  • Psilocybin

For centuries, Indigenous peoples have used hallucinogenic plant medicines for religious and medicinal purposes. These substances also have a history of abuse as illicit drugs.  Modern research has shed light on the medical use of psychedelics in smaller doses and controlled settings to treat various mental health conditions, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and addiction.

Are Psychedelics Safe?

Not too long ago, psychedelics were regarded as dangerous and addictive substances. However, in the early 2000s, Johns Hopkins University ignited interest in using psychedelics therapeutically. Researchers published a paper detailing how a single dose of psilocybin had positive effects endured for months among study participants.

Today, researchers are excited by the possibilities that psychedelic treatments hold for those with treatment-resistant mood disorders and substance addiction. In addition, the stigma around psychedelics is fading, and scientists now believe that, when used in a proper setting at therapeutic doses, psychedelics show minimal risk of abuse or dependence.