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How Hallucinogens Affect Your Senses

illustration shows neurotransmitters communicating over a synapse

Your brain controls all of your perceptions—the way you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. How does your brain communicate with the rest of your body? Chemical messengers transmit information from nerve cell to nerve cell in the body and the brain. Messages are constantly being sent back and forth with amazing speed.

Your nerve cells are called neurons, and their chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters. When neurotransmitters attach to special places on nerve cells (called receptors), they cause changes in the nerve cells.

This communication system can be disrupted by chemicals like hallucinogens, and the results are changes in the way you sense the world around you.