Designer Drugs: Mental effects

Last modified: Saturday, 30. May 2009 - 3:03 pm

Known to many as the “hug drug” or the “feel good” drug, MDMA reduces inhibitions while enhancing sensitivity to sound, light, and touch. The mixed effects of stimulant and psychedelic peak after approximately two hours and may continue for up to six hours. The drug lowers inhibitions, increases mood sensitivity, and gives club-goers energy to dance well into the morning hours. People say they are friendlier, happier, and “more connected” to music and to other people when on the drug.
Like MDMA, recreational users of 2C-B say the drug greatly heightens their appreciation of and sensitivity to music and say that it greatly enhances the enjoyment of dancing. At higher doses (15-20 mg), recreational users report heightened tactile sensations and profoundly altered states of consciousness.
GHB is another drug reported to have MDMA-like effects. Some people report positive mood changes and an increased appreciation for music, dancing, and talking while on the drug. Slurring of speech, giddiness, and mild incoherency are also common. Some users of GHB report heightened tactile sensitivity, relaxation, and sexual arousal.
Users of ketamine report the immediate effect as a non-localized numbness all over the body, altered vision, muffled hearing, and a floating sensation. Many people, after using the drug once, will not knowingly use it again. At higher doses, ketamine leads to out-of-body experiences with a pronounced hallucinatory state. Users liken the effects to an intense religious experience and an out-of-body sensation. Visions of angels and empathic beings are not uncommon.
Stimulants such as methamphetamine give users an intense sensation, called a rush or flash, that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Oral or intranasal use produces a euphoric high, but not a rush. Some report that they feel “superhuman” after losing a night or two of sleep while binging on the drug. People also report feeling unusually sharp or in control. Wanting to prolong the high and delay the inevitable crash is emblematic of the drug’s addictive character.
Individual responses to PCP at low and moderate doses are varied. Many people, after using the drug once, will not knowingly use it again. Others seek it because they claim the drug makes them funnier, more insightful, and gives them feelings of invulnerability. Users generally progress from feeling detached, distant, and removed from their immediate surroundings to a surging sense of power and strength. Others report prominent body-image distortions (enlarged or detached head and limbs) against a background of depersonalizing numbness and a sense of profound isolation.
The mental state considered by many to be the hallmark of PCP intoxication, the recurring delusion of superhuman strength, has prompted people to snap handcuffs and, unarmed, attack large groups of people or the police. The pronounced analgesic effects of the drug have fed delusions of immortality, causing people to jump from windows or cliffs. Such extreme and bizarre behavior is often accompanied by gruesome self-mutilation or violence against innocent bystanders. Hospitals have recorded nonviolent people pulling out teeth and attacking family members in reaction to paranoid delusions.
Recent experiences can have a substantial effect on the mental effect of 2C-B use on the user. Physically or psychologically unsettling events in the days before a “trip” can blossom into more serious distress and trauma while using the drug. Some users have described hallucinations that are debilitating in their intensity and that are looked back upon as the most terrifying drug-related experiences of their lives.

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