A psychedelic mushroom in the forest.
A psychedelic mushroom in the forest. (AI generated image)


Psychedelics, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, are consciousness-altering drugs that interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, potentially triggering spiritual or therapeutic experiences, but also posing significant risks.

  • Psychedelics are drugs, typically derived from plants or fungi, that significantly alter consciousness and perception.
  • They function by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain, especially the 5-HT2A receptor, causing changes in thoughts, feelings, and sensory perception.
  • Notable examples are LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and mescaline, each varying in effects, duration, and intensity.
  • They can trigger spiritual or therapeutic experiences, but also pose risks like psychological distress, risky behavior, and worsening of existing mental health issues.
  • It's crucial to note that the use of psychedelics is often illegal and should be approached with caution due to their unpredictable effects.
  • πŸ“œ
    Historical Use of Psychedelics: Psychedelics have been used by various cultures throughout history for religious and healing purposes. Their use dates back to ancient times, with evidence of their consumption found in prehistoric art and archaeological sites.
  • πŸ’Š
    Psychedelic Drug Types: There are several types of psychedelic drugs, including LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), DMT, and mescaline. Each of these substances has unique effects, but they all alter perception and cognitive processes in some way.
  • 🧠
    Mechanism of Action: Psychedelics work by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. This interaction alters perception, thought processes, and mood, leading to the characteristic psychedelic experience.
  • 🩺
    Psychedelic Therapy Potential: Recent research has shown that psychedelics may have therapeutic potential for treating a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. However, more research is needed to fully understand their efficacy and safety.
  • 🌌
    Spiritual Experiences: Many people report profound spiritual experiences while under the influence of psychedelics. These experiences often involve feelings of unity, interconnectedness, and transcendence, and can have lasting positive effects on well-being and life satisfaction.
  • ⚠️
    Risks and Side Effects: While psychedelics can have positive effects, they also carry risks and potential side effects. These can include psychological distress, dangerous behavior, and negative physical effects such as nausea and increased heart rate.
  • 🌍
    Legal Status Worldwide: The legal status of psychedelics varies greatly around the world. In some countries, certain psychedelics are legal for medical or religious use, while in others they are strictly prohibited.
  • πŸ”¬
    Future Research Directions: There is a growing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics, and research in this area is expanding. Future studies will likely focus on understanding the mechanisms of action, optimizing therapeutic protocols, and exploring potential risks and benefits.
Tech professional in Silicon Valley using psychedelics for creativity.

Interesting & Controversial

Tech professional in Silicon Valley using psychedelics for creativity. (AI generated image)
  • 🎨
    Psychedelics and Creativity: Psychedelics have been linked to enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities. Famous figures like Steve Jobs and Francis Crick have credited psychedelics for some of their most groundbreaking ideas. However, the relationship between psychedelics and creativity is complex and not fully understood.
  • πŸ§ͺ
    Microdosing Phenomenon: Microdosing, or taking small amounts of psychedelics, has become a trend among professionals seeking to boost productivity and creativity. While anecdotal reports suggest benefits, scientific evidence is still limited and more research is needed.
  • πŸ’»
    Psychedelics in Silicon Valley: Silicon Valley, the hub of the tech industry, has seen a surge in the use of psychedelics. Many tech professionals use these substances as tools for enhancing creativity, problem-solving, and personal development.
  • πŸŒ…
    Psychedelic Renaissance: We are currently in the midst of a 'psychedelic renaissance', with renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of these substances. This has led to a surge in research and the development of new treatment protocols.
  • 🌌
    Psychedelics and End-of-Life Anxiety: Psychedelics have shown promise in alleviating end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill patients. Studies suggest that these substances can help individuals come to terms with their mortality and improve their quality of life.
  • 🌠
    Mystical Experiences and Psychedelics: Psychedelics can induce mystical experiences, characterized by a sense of unity, transcendence, and ineffability. These experiences can have profound and lasting effects on individuals' spiritual beliefs and life satisfaction.
  • 🧠
    Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity: Recent research suggests that psychedelics may promote neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections. This could have implications for the treatment of various mental health conditions.
  • 🐾
    Psychedelics in Animal Kingdom: Interestingly, humans are not the only species to consume psychedelics. Animals, including dolphins and certain types of deer, have been observed consuming psychedelic substances in the wild, although the reasons for this behavior are not fully understood.
Albert Hofmann's Accidental Discovery of Psychedelic Effects.

Interesting facts

Albert Hofmann's Accidental Discovery of Psychedelic Effects. (AI generated image)
  • 🌍
    The use of peyote, a naturally occurring psychedelic, has been traced back over 5,500 years in Native American cultures.
  • 🎨
    The Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was heavily influenced by the band's experiences with LSD.
  • πŸ§ͺ
    Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who first synthesized LSD, accidentally discovered its psychedelic effects when he absorbed some through his fingertips.
  • 🐬
    Dolphins have been observed passing around the pufferfish, which releases a toxin that has a known hallucinogenic effect.
  • πŸ„
    The world's largest psychedelic drug trial, conducted by Imperial College London, reported that two doses of psilocybin were as effective as the conventional antidepressant escitalopram.
  • πŸ“š
    Aldous Huxley, author of "Brave New World," was administered LSD on his deathbed, as per his request.
  • 🌡
    The San Pedro cactus, native to the Andes mountains, has been used for its mescaline content in traditional Andean medicine for over 3,000 years.
  • 🧠
    The term "psychedelic" was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond and means "mind-manifesting," reflecting the belief that these substances can unlock previously inaccessible parts of the brain.
Neuroplasticity under the influence of psychedelics.

Myth Busting

Neuroplasticity under the influence of psychedelics. (AI generated image)
  • 🧠
    Myth: Psychedelics Cause Brain Damage β€” There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that psychedelics cause brain damage. In fact, some research suggests that they may promote neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections.
  • πŸ‘οΈ
    Myth: Permanent Hallucinations from Use β€” While some users report experiencing 'flashbacks' or brief, spontaneous recurrences of psychedelic experiences, these are typically rare and not permanent. The condition known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), characterized by persistent hallucinations, is extremely rare.
  • πŸšͺ
    Myth: Gateway to Harder Drugs β€” There is no evidence to suggest that the use of psychedelics leads to the use of harder drugs. In fact, some studies suggest that psychedelics may help in the treatment of addiction to substances such as alcohol and opioids.
  • πŸ’‰
    Myth: Instant Addiction Risk β€” Unlike substances such as opioids or nicotine, psychedelics are not considered to be physically addictive. While psychological dependence can occur, it is relatively rare.


How are psychedelics synthesized?
Psychedelics are synthesized through complex chemical processes that often involve the conversion of precursor substances. For instance, LSD is synthesized from lysergic acid, which is derived from a fungus known as ergot.
Can psychedelics cause psychosis?
While psychedelics do not directly cause psychosis, they can trigger latent mental health issues in individuals predisposed to conditions like schizophrenia. It's also possible for users to experience temporary psychosis-like symptoms during a "bad trip."
What is the lethal dose of LSD?
The lethal dose of LSD is not definitively known due to its extremely high potency and low toxicity. However, it's estimated to be around 10,000 to 20,000 micrograms - far beyond the typical recreational dose.
Are there natural sources of DMT?
Yes, there are natural sources of DMT. It is found in a variety of plants and animals. For instance, it's present in certain species of the Acacia tree and the Psychotria viridis shrub.
How does microdosing affect health?
Microdosing, the practice of taking small amounts of psychedelics, is reported to have various effects on health. Some users report increased creativity, productivity, and improved mood. However, scientific research on its long-term effects is still limited.
What is the history of psychedelic prohibition?
The history of psychedelic prohibition began in the mid-20th century, largely in response to the counterculture movement and associated drug use. In the United States, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified many psychedelics as Schedule I drugs, indicating a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

"When you study natural science and the miracles of creation, if you don't turn into a mystic you are not a natural scientist."

Albert Hofmann

Discoverer of LSD

Curious for more?


Cannabis, a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant, is used for medical and recreational purposes, offering therapeutic properties but also potential risks like dependency and cognitive difficulties.

Read further…


Dopamine, a crucial neurotransmitter, regulates pleasure, motivation, movement, and emotional responses, with dysfunctions linked to Parkinson's, addiction, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.

Read further…

Science of Addiction

Science of Addiction" explores how substance abuse alters the brain's structure and function, emphasizing the role of genetics, environment, and development in addiction, and the importance of comprehensive treatment and prevention strategies.

Read further…

Science of Addiction

Explore other sources

  • πŸ“–
    Book: "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan β€” A deep dive into the history, science, and therapeutic potential of psychedelics.
  • πŸŽ₯
    YouTube Channel: PsychedSubstance β€” A channel dedicated to safe and educational content about psychedelics and other substances.
  • 🎧
    Podcast: "The Psychedelic Salon" hosted by Lorenzo Hagerty β€” A podcast featuring talks and interviews about the use, history, and future of psychedelics.
  • 🎞️
    Movie: "DMT: The Spirit Molecule" β€” A documentary exploring the effects and potential of DMT, a powerful psychedelic.
  • 🌐
    Website: MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) β€” A research and educational organization that aims to raise awareness and understanding of psychedelic substances.
  • πŸ“–
    Book: "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide" by James Fadiman β€” A comprehensive guide to safe and therapeutic use of psychedelics.
  • πŸŽ™οΈ
    Interview: "Joe Rogan Experience #1035 - Paul Stamets" β€” A fascinating discussion with mycologist Paul Stamets about the potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
  • 🎧
    Podcast: "The Third Wave" hosted by Paul Austin β€” A podcast that explores the many aspects of psychedelics, from microdosing to psychedelic therapy.