Brain & Drugs 

Psychedelic Drugs

Drugs that produced unusual experiences have been called “psychedelics” or “hallucinogens”. Deeply imbedded in the nature of consciousness is the ability of the brain to project an internal event into the world outside. Indeed, in the final analysis, all events internal and external are brain events. If a person takes a known psychedelic agent, LSD, he or she expects to have unusual experiences and will report these experiences appropriately as, for example, an “acid trip.”

The term “altered states of consciousness” became popular to describe the affects of some of the more interesting psychotropic drugs. A more precise term would be “altered contents of consciousness”. LSD can take you on a fascinating “trip” which consists of a continuous stream of new and different contents of conscious. LSD is a powerful mind-exploration tool for the experienced meditator who is familiar with his or her usual contents of consciousness streaming by during meditation practice. A hallucination is an experience originated within the brain that is similar to or indistinguishable from an experience originating from outside the brain.

If a psychedelic chemical is produced in the brain or is present as an unknown entity in food or drinks, then the unusual experiences will be reported as real experiences, happening out there in the real world. One theory of "schizophrenia" is that unknown psychedelics act on the brain to cause psychotic mind activity. Drugs used to treat this “illness” counter the brain disturbance created by endogenous psychedelic chemicals.

Psychedelic drug use flourished in the 60’s in the US and Canada, along with rock and roll, folk music and protests against racial discrimination and the Vietnam war. LSD was popular in the sixties with researchers who were excited about the therapeutic possibilities of a drug that “opened the doors of perception and the gates of heaven and hell.” For many, LSD was a deep and spiritual drug that appeared to be a key to understanding brain function. Research into the action of LSD in the brain revealed a profusion of activity that defied easy understanding, however. LSD research was outlawed and psychedelic use subsided in the 1970’s and 80’s only to increase again in the 1990’s.

I am convinced that the diagnosis of schizophrenia may act against the best interests of patients. Schizophrenia is a term that can be applied such a variety of brain dysfunctions, that the focus should be on discovering the root cause of the brain dysfunction and not this antiquated diagnosis. Drug use and abuse is so prevalent among teenagers that any brain dysfunction (aka mental illness) in an adolescent might be attributed to drug use until proven otherwise. If not drug use, then the cause is eating too much of the wrong food and exercising too little.

Cannabis (marihuana) is perhaps the most available and widely used psychoactive plant. It contains the psychoactive drug, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the best case, THC induces mild euphoria, feelings of general well-being, relaxation with increased appreciation of humor, music and food with increased sensuality and creative or philosophical thinking. In the worst case, disorientation, memory deficits, paranoia, agitation, and anxiety produce bad experiences and antisocial behaviors. Cannibis use can produce any and all the symptoms of psychiatric illness. Combine cannabis with other drugs, malnutrition and punk rock, you can reproduce all the major mental illnesses in the psychiatric textbook.

Other natural psychedelics include LSD (ergot fungus), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), LSA (Morning Glory Seeds) and Ayahuasca found in teas brewed from plants containing dimethyltryptamine and harmine. Synthetics such as MDMA (ecstasy), 2C-B (nexus), DOM (STP), and 5-MeO-DIPT (Foxy Methoxy) are common street drugs. LSD and psilocybin are based on tryptamine. Mescaline and 2C-B. are based on phenethylamine. Psychedelic effects include sensory distortions, such as the warping of surfaces. 2C-B produces dose sensitive effects: a small dose causes a disconnection from “reality”. Empathogens are phenethylamines such as MDMA and MDE that induce feelings of openness, euphoria, empathy, love, and heightened self-awareness. MDA (unlike MDMA) is neurotoxic.

Alkaloids of the ergoline family produce a variety of compounds that can be psychoactive or have medicinal value. Ergine was discovered by Albert Hofmann working at Sandoz laboratories where ergot alkaloids became big business. Hofmann administered new compounds to himself to assay psychoactive effects. A 500 microgram dose by injection led to a tired, dreamy state, with an inability to maintain clarity of consciousness. After a short period of sleep theses effects ended. Ergine is a precursor to LSD, and is listed DEA schedule III drug in the United States. Hoffman was the first to synthesize LSD and appreciate its psychedelic effects. Some drugs derived from ergot alkoaloids are Bromocriptine, Cabergoline, Ergine, Ergonovine, Ergotamine, Lysergic acid, Lysergol, LSD, D-Lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide, Lisuride, Methergine, Methysergide, Pergolide.


  • You are viewing the Brain Drugs at Alpha Online. Understanding the human brain is essential to become a well-informed, modern citizen. Stephen Gislason MD, the author of the Human Brain, is a physician-writer who is good at making complex subjects more understandable. This is a book with important ideas, so be prepared to read and then keep the book as reference.
  • Alpha Online is a Division of Environmed Research, founded in 1984 at Vancouver, BC, Canada. Online Since 1995. Alpha Nutrition is a trademark and a division of Environmed Research Inc. 

     Download The Human Brain as an eBook


    All Alpha Education and Persona Digital books, eBooks and Starter packs are ordered online. Prices are listed in Canadian Dollars.
    US $ cost is lower depending on the daily dollar exchange rate. Physical shipments by the Post Office are available to all destinations in the USA and Canada.
    We are located in Sechelt, close to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. eMail: alphaonline@nutramed.com

    Brain Rescue Starter Pack

    This starter pack includes the Alpha Nutrition Program, the Human Brain in Health and Disease and one 500 Gram jar of Alpha DMX. There are a host of clues that link the food supply to mysterious and threatening neurological diseases. We suggest that a prudent person suffering early brain-dysfunction symptoms would be wise to pursue vigorous, thorough diet revision at the earliest opportunity. Because some brain dysfunction compromises judgment learning and motivation, family members, friends and professional advisor often have to initiate diet revision and provide the right direction and support.

    Order Brain Rescue Starter Pack


  • Order Persona Digital Books

    Click the Add to Cart buttons on the left to begin your order for printed books from Alpha Online (mail delivery to US and Canada).
    Download eBooks
    Click the Download button to order eBooks (PDF file) for download. Click book title (center column) to read topics from each book.

    Print Book" Read Topics Download
    Human Nature
    The Good Person
    The Puzzle
    Sound of Music
    Surviving Humans
    Language & Thinking
    I and Thou
    Emotions & Feelings
    Neuroscience Notes
    Human Brain
    Children & Family
    Intelligence & Learning
    Religion 21st Century

Further reading: Neuroscience Notes, Intelligence and Learning, Language & Thinking

Persona Digital

Persona Digital Books is the publisher of The Human Brain, Neuroscience Notes, Intelligence & Learning and related books.