Hallucinogens - Pharmacognosy



• Hallucinogens

• Types of hallucinogens

• Effect of hallucinogens


At the end of this lecture, students will be able to:

• Discuss about the types of hallucinogens

• Understand the effect of hallucinogens



May cause changes in:

• Consciousness

• Perception

• Thought

• Emotion

• Come from fungi, plants & animals (Colorado River Toad)

Hollister's criteria for hallucinogens

L. E. Hollister's criteria for hallucinogens:

• Cause changes in thought, perception, and mood

• Little intellectual or memory impairment

• No stupor, narcosis, or excessive stimulation

• Minimal autonomic nervous system side effects

• No addictive cravings

History and use of hallucinogens

• Long history of use, lots of research on in 1900’s

• Religious ceremonies – successful Native American Indians, Other groups

• Medicinal – not so successful

• Depression    


• Alcoholism     

• Drug addiction, Movement Cluster headaches, Recreational/Spiritual - 1960’s

Categories for hallucinogens

• Psychedelics

• Dissociatives

• Deliriants


• Greek derivation:

• ψυχή (psychê) mind, soul + δηλος (dêlos) manifest, reveal

• Reveals a hidden part of the mind or soul

• Perception-altering effects


• Lysergic  Acid  (LSD)  –  from  ergot  fungus  grown  on  petri  plate (originally on rye grain, morning glory seeds)

• Psilocybin – from mushrooms


• Pain relief, amnesia, catalepsy (no response to external stimuli).

• Derealization (perception that outside world is a dream) &/or

• Depersonalization (similar to out-of-body experience)


• Ketamine – immoblizer, used in animal research with anesthetics & analgesics, aka “date rape drug”

• Phencyclidine (PCP) – synthesized for use as anesthetic, now used recreationally, aka “angel dust” “KJ” “illy” or “wet”

• Dextramethorphan (DXM) – cough suppressant found in Robitussin, Mucinex DM, and Theraflu

• Nitrous oxide (NO) – used at dentist as analgesic/anesthetic, aka “laughing gas”


Unable to focus or control actions

• Confusion

• Delusion


• Diphenhydramine – Benadryl

• Dymenhydramate – Dramamine

• Uncured tobacco – high nicotine

• Atropa belladona – deadly nightshade plant

• Brugmansia – Angel’s trumpet plant

• Datura stramonium – Jimson weed

Unpredictable effects of hallucinogens

Sounds interesting, but:

• “Not all drugs produce the same effect and even the same drug can produce different effects in the same individual on different occasions.”

• So, you can’t necessary predict the outcome of taking a hallucinogen.

• Because they are illegal,quality and strength varies a lot

• In some cases, have long-termirreversible effects/brain damage

• Mescaline – from some cacti (ex: peyote), small amounts in some beans


“terato-” = monster

“-gen” = to make

• Substances that are toxic to some part of a developing embryo or fetus

• Common things that can harm fetal development

Nicotine and Cocaine:

• Both nicotine and cocaine are known to be addictive

• Developing fetuses become addicted too

• Both drugs constrict blood vessels

• This decreases oxygen delivery to the fetus

Results of Nicotine and Cocaine Use

• Low birth weight babies, because they didn’t get enough oxygen to grow

• Newborns going through withdrawal from drugs

• Most cannot adjust their own body temperatures

• Nicotine and other drugs can also cause “Neural tube defects”

• A neural tube defect is a problem with the formation of the brain and/or spinal cord

• The most common neural tube defects are spina bifida and myelomeningocoel

Some poisonous fungi when taken orally produce hallucinations

• Genera Amanita

• Genera Psilocybe

• Genera Gonocybe


• Produce hallucinogenic effect and are extremely toxic

• Amatoxins, bufotenine, phallotoxins, ibotenic acid

• Fly agaric –Amanita muscaria – mixture of isoxazole alkaloids isobetic acid and muscimol

• Within 2 hours the pharmacological effects starts with initial period of excitation followed by muscular twitches, a slow pulse rate, impaired breathing, delirium and coma

• Panther cap – A. pantherina

Mexican mushrooms

Species of Psilocybe and conocybe – P. mexicana, C. cyanopus

• Onset of symptoms is rapid – inability to concentrate and occurrence of hallucinogens

Active constituents – tryptamine derivatives – psilocybin and psilocin – compound related to serotonin

• Highest amount of psilocybin – PSILOCYBE CUBENSIS


Species - Lycoperda – constituents produce auditory hallucinations and a state of half sleep – ½ hr after consumption

Lysergic acid derivatives

• Lysergic acid and LSD (Diethylamide derivative) – non peptide portion of ergot alkaloids

Morning glory seeds

• Rivea corymbosa – seeds

• Ipomoea tricolor, I. purpurea, I. hederacea (Japanese morning glory)

• Peyote

• Certain cacti – proto alkaloids – hallucinogen property

• Cactus – Lophophora willaiamsii – peyote or mescal buttons – cactus stem – cut into slices of about 20-0 mm in diameter - mescaline

Alkaloids of peyole

Indian Hemp

• Cannabis sativa – European hemp

• Dried flowering and fruiting tops of cannabis sativa and C. indica

• Cultivation is regulated – many countries - license

• Hemp products – Ganja, Bhang, Charas

• Ganja – contains NMT 10 % of fruits, foliage leaves and stems

• Bhang – consists of larger leaves and twigs of both male and female plants – used in India for smoking with either tobacco or opium or datura

• Resin is scrapped off and forms ingredients of numerous smoking

Charas – obtained by rubbing the tops between the hands, beating them on cloths or carpets or by wearing leather aprons walk through the field

Constituents – cannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, cannabigerol and cannabichromene

Other higher plants

Nutmeg and mace – psychotropic agent – myristicin and elemicin

Parsley – apiol, dillapiol of dill – has similar compounds

Virola spp

• Family – myristcaceae

• Blood red bark resin – tryptamine – N, N- dimethyl tryptamine (DMT), 5 hydroxy – DMT, 5-methoxy DMT, 2-methyl-1,2,3,4 –tetrahydro-b- carboline

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