In part I of this article we briefly explained narcotic type drugs as well as stimulants. Today we will describe which are the hallucinogens type drugs alongside their effects.  We, parents have the responsibility to be up to date with what’s happening out there so we can be better equipped to help and advise our children.

  • Ecstasy/MDMA

MDMA acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic, producing an energizing effect, distortions in time and perception, and enhanced enjoyment of tactile experiences. Adolescents and young adults use it to reduce inhibitions and to promote: euphoria, feelings of closeness, empathy, and sexuality. In addition, other drugs similar to MDMA, such as MDA or PMA, are often sold as Ecstasy, which can lead to overdose and death when the user takes additional doses to obtain the desired effect.


MDMA use mainly involves swallowing tablets (50-150 mg), which are sometimes crushed and snorted, occasionally smoked but rarely injected. MDMA is also available as a powder. MDMA abusers usually take MDMA by “stacking” (taking three or more tablets at once) or by “piggybacking (taking a series of tablets over a short period of time). One trend among young adults is “candy dlipping,” which is the co-abuse of MDMA and LSD.

MDMA is considered a “party drug”. As with many other drugs of abuse, MDMA is rarely used alone. It is common for users to mix MDMA with other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana.

What does it look like: MDMA is mainly distributed in tablet form. MDMA tablets are sold with logos, creating brand names for users to seek out. The colorful pills are often hidden among colorful candies. MDMA is also distributed in capsules, powder, and liquid forms

Effects: MDMA mainly affects brain cells that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with each other, Serotonin helps to regulate mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. The risks for long-term or even permanent problems with memory and learning. Unwanted psychological effects include:  confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, sleep problems, and drug craving.

Street names: Adam, Beans, Clarity, disco Biscuit, E, Ecstasy, Eve, Go, Hug drug, Lover’s Speed, MDMA, Peace, StP, X, and XtC.

  • LSD

It is a potent hallucinogen that has a high potential for abuse and currently has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

What does it look like:  LSD is sold on the street in tablets, capsules and occasionally in liquid form. It is an odorless and colorless substance with a slightly bitter taste. LSD is often added to absorbent paper such as blotter paper, and divided into small decorated squares, with each square representing one dose.


Effects:  The physical effects include: dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. Users experience visual changes with extreme changes in mood. While hallucinating the user may suffer impaired depth and time perception accompanied  by distorted perception of the shape and size of objects, movements, colours, sound, touch and the user’s own body image.

It is possible for users to suffer acute anxiety and depression after an LSD “trip” amongst others psychological symptoms.

Street names: Acid, Blotter Acid, Dots, Mellow Yellow, and Window Pane.

  • Marijuana/Cannabis

Marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug, produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains over 480 constituents. Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint) or in a pipe or bong. It is also smoked in blunts which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, sometimes in combination with another drug. Marijuana is also mixed with foods or brewed as a tea.


What does it look like: Marijuana is a dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves from the Cannabis sativa plant. The mixture typically is green, brown or gray in color and may resemble tobacco.

Effects: When marijuana is smoked, the THC passes from the lungs and into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the organs throughout the body, including the brain.

In the brain the THC connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Many of these receptors are found in the part of the brain that influence: pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.The short-term effects of marijuana include: problems with memory, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination.

The effects of marijuana on perception and coordination are responsible for serious impairments in learning, associative processes, and psychomotor behaviour (driving abilities). Long term, regular use can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal following discontinuation as well as psychic addiction or dependence.

Clinical studies show that the physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of marijuana vary among individuals and present a list of common responses:

  • dizziness, nausea, tachycardia, facial flushing, dry mouth and tremor initially,
  • merriment, happiness, and even exhilaration at high doses,
  • disinhibition, relaxation, increased sociability, and talkativeness, enhanced sensory perception, giving rise to increased appreciation of music and art,
  • heightened imagination leading to a subjective sense of increased creativity,
  • time distortions,
  • illusions, delusions, and hallucinations are rare except at high doses,
  • impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and ataxia, which can impede driving ability or lead to an increase in risk-taking behavior,
  • emotional liability, incongruity of affect, dysphoria,
  • disorganized thinking, inability to converse logically,
  • agitation, paranoia, confusion, restlessness, anxiety,
  • drowsiness, and panic attacks may occur, especially in inexperienced users or in those who have taken a large dose,
  • increased appetite and short-term memory impairment are common.

Researchers have also found an association between marijuana use and an increased risk of depression, an increased risk and earlier onset of schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders, especially for teens that have a genetic predisposition. Short-term physical effects from marijuana use may include: sedation, blood shot eyes, increased heart rate, coughing from lung irritation, increased appetite, and decreased blood pressure. Like tobacco smokers, marijuana smokers experience serious health problems such as bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma.

Extended use may cause suppression of the immune system. Because marijuana contains toxins and carcinogens, the drug abusers increase their risk of cancer of the head, neck and lungs, and respiratory tract. Withdrawal from chronic use of high doses of marijuana causes physical signs including deadache, shakiness, sweating and stomach pains and nausea.  Withdrawal symptoms also include behavioral signs such as: restlessness, irritability, sleep difficulties, and decreased appetite.

Street names: Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Blunts, Boom, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Hydro, indo, Joint, Kif, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, and Yerba.

  • K2/Spice

K2 or “Spice” is a mixture of herbs and spices that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. The chemical compounds typically include HU-210, HU-211, JWH-018, and WH-073. K2 is commonly purchased in head shops, tobacco shops, various retail outlets, and over the Internet. It is often marketed as incense or “fake weed.”


Purchasing over the Internet can be dangerous because it is not usually known where the products come from or what amount of chemical is on the organic material. K2 products are usually smoked in joints or pipes, but some users make it into a tea

What does it look like: K2 is typically sold in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It is said to resemble potpourri.

Effects: Psychological effects are similar to those of marijuana and include paranoia, panic attacks, and giddiness. Physiological effects of K2 include increased heart rate and increase of blood pressure. It appears to be stored in the body for long periods of time and therefore the long-term effects on humans are not fully known.

Street names: Bilss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie, Spice, Zohai.

  • Ketamine

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. It is an injectable, short-acting anesthetic for use in humans and animals. It is referred to as a “dissociative anesthetic” because it makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment.

Ketamine can induce a state of sedation (feeling calm and relaxed), immobility, relief from pain, and amnesia (no memory of events while under the influence of the drug). It is abused for its ability to produce dissociative sensations and hallucinations. Ketamine has also been used to facilitate sexual assault.


Ketamine, along with the other ‘club drugs’ has become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and ‘raves. Ketamine is manufactured commercially as a powder or liquid. Powdered ketamine is also formed from pharmaceutical ketamine by evaporating the liquid using hot plates, warming trays, or microwave ovens, a process that results in the formation of crystals, which are then ground into powder.

Powdered ketamine is cut into lines known as bumps and snorted, or it is smoked, typically in marijuana or tobacco cigarettes. Liquid ketamine is injected or mixed into drinks.

What does it look like: Ketamine comes in a clear liquid and a white or off-white powder. Powered ketamine(100 mg to 200 mg) typically is packaged in small glass vials, small plastic bags, and capsules as well as paper, glassine or aluminium foil folds.

Effects: Ketamine produces hallucination. It distorts perception of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. A “Special K” trip is touted as better than that of LCD because its hallucinatory effects are relatively short in duration lasting approximately 30 to 60 minutes as opposed to several hours.


Flashbacks have been reported several weeks after ketamine is used. Ketamine may also cause agitation, depression, cognitive difficulties, unconsciousness and amnesia. A couple of minutes after taking the drug, the user may experience an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that gradually decreases over the next 10 to 20 minutes.

Ketamine can make users unresponsive to stimuli. when in this state, users experience: involuntary rapid eye movement, dilated pupils, salivation, tear secretions, and stiffening of the muscles. This drug can also cause nausea.

Street names: Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, Jet K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Special La Coke, Super Acid, Super K, and Vitamin K.

  • Inhalants

Inhalants are invisible, volatile substances found in common household products that produce chemical vapors that are inhaled to induce psychoactive or mind altering effects. Although  other abused substances can be inhaled, the term “inhalants” is used to describe a variety of substances whose main common characteristic is that they are rarely if ever, taken by any route other than inhalation.

inhalantsInhalants are breathed in through the nose or the mouth in a variety of ways, such as: “sniffing” or “snorting”,“bagging” — sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed or deposited inside a plastic or paper bag “huffing” from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth, or inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide.

Inhalants are often among the first drugs that young children use. About 1 in 5 kids report having used inhalants by the eighth grade. Inhalants are also one of the few substances abused more by younger children than by older ones.

What do they look like: Common household products such as glue, lighter fluid, cleaning fluids, and paint all produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled.

Effects: Inhaled chemicals are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Nearly all inhalants produce effects similar to anesthetics, which slow the body’s function. Depending on the degree of abuse, the user can experience slight stimulation, feeling if less inhibition or loss of consciousness. Within minutes of inhalation, the user experiences intoxication  along with other effects similar to those produced by alcohol. These effects may include slurred speech, an inability to coordinate movements, euphorism and dizziness.inhalants2

After prolong use abusers may feel drowsy for several hours and and experience lingering headache. Additional long-term use symptoms include: weight loss, muscle weakness, disorientation, inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, depression, and damage to the nervous system and other organs.

Street names: Gluey, Huff, Rush, and Whippets.

  • Steroids

Anabolic steroids are synthetically produced variants of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone that are abused in an attempt to promote muscle growth, enhance athletic or other physical performance, and improve physical appearance. Testosterone, nandrolone, stanozolol,methandienone, and boldenone are some of the most frequently abused anabolic steroids.


Steroids are ingested orally, injected intramuscularly, or applied to the skin. The doses abused are often 10 to 100 times higher than the approved therapeutic and medical treatment dosages. Users  typically take 2 or more anabolic steroids at the same time in a cyclic manner, believing that this will improve their effectiveness and minimize the adverse effects.

What do they look like: Steroids are available in: tablets and capsules, sublingual-tablets, liquid drops, gels, creams, transdermal patches, subdermal implant pellets, and water-based and oil-based injectable solutions.

Effects: In some individuals, steroid use can cause dramatic swings, increased feelings of hostility,  impaired judgment, and increased levels of aggression. When users stop taking steroids, they may experience depression that might lead to suicide.

Street names: Arnolds, Juice, Pumpers, Roids, Stackers, and Weight Gainers.

In the third and final part of this article, we will explain the Depressant type of drugs and some new drugs of concern. Also, we talk about what signs to look for, if you suspect your child of illegal drug abuse and what to do next.
Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at

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