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The Brain's Response to Hallucinogens

Sara in an airplane

Hi, my name’s Sara Bellum. Welcome to my magazine series exploring the brain’s response to drugs. In this issue, we’ll investigate the fascinating facts about hallucinogens.

Hallucinogens cause people to experience—you guessed it—hallucinations, imagined experiences that seem real.

The word “hallucinate” comes from Latin words meaning “to wander in the mind.” No wonder some people refer to hallucinating as “tripping.”

The “trips” caused by hallucinogens can last for hours. Parts of these trips can feel really good, and other parts can feel really terrible.

Hallucinogens powerfully affect the brain, distorting the way our five senses work and changing our impressions of time and space. When people use these drugs a lot they may have a hard time concentrating, communicating, or telling the difference between reality and illusion.