Psychedelic drug

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A psychedelic substance is a psychoactive drug whose primary action is to alter cognition and perception. Psychedelics are part of a wider class of psychoactive drugs known as hallucinogens, a class that also includes related substances such as dissociatives and deliriants. Unlike other drugs such as stimulants and opioids which induce familiar states of consciousness, psychedelics tend to bend and twist the mind in ways that result in the experience being qualitatively different from those of ordinary consciousness. The psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as trance, meditation, yoga, and dreaming.

Contents

Origin of term

The term psychedelic is derived from the Greek words ψυχή (psyche, "mind") and δηλείν (delein, "to manifest"), hence "mind-manifesting", the implication being that psychedelics can access and develop unused potentials of the human mind.[1] The word was coined by Humphrey Osmond, loathed by Richard Schultes, but championed by Timothy Leary.[2]

Action

Psychedelics are thought to alter the brain's ability to prevent, select or filter certain perceptions, emotions, memories and thoughts from reaching the conscious mind, an idea first introduced by Aldous Huxley in his essays The Doors of Perception (1954) and Heaven and Hell (1956), later published both in one volume. These signals are presumed to originate in several other functions of the brain, including but not limited to the senses, emotions, memories and the unconscious (or subconscious) mind.[3]

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