Drug preparations

While Hofmann describes 11 classes of hallucinogenic compounds which can be isolated from botanicals, by far the most common hallucinogen of abuse appears to be LSD.(14) Recently the serotonin-2A receptor has been shown to bind strongly to hallucinogenic drugs, and the drugs appear to act as partial agonists. (15) LSD is psychoactive in a single droplet of solvent. The drug is easily dissolved in an aqueous solution. Drops of the drug are placed on sugar cubes or blotting paper stamped with coloured cartoon figures to mark the drug's location. Sheets of the paper are then distributed, and the figures ingested. Injection is not necessary, and seldom used as a means of administration. Dosages commonly range from 25 to 100 pg. A hallucinogenic trip can occur after 75 pg. Other hallucinogens, such as dimethyltryptamine, must be injected. Common botanical hallucinogens include fungi and angiosperms (flower-bearing plants), of which approximately 100 are recognized to possess hallucinogenic properties. Ibogaine is derived from the root of the Tabernanthe iboga plant cultivated in Gabon and eaten as a rite of passage. Mescaline (trimethoxyphenylethylamine) is a predominant hallucinogen in the cactus Lophophora williamsii of the American Southwest. Strips of cactus are cut from the plant, dried, and eaten. Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain psilocybin and psilocin, which are phosphorylated hydroxylated congeners of dimethyltryptamine. Mushrooms are ingested for their effect, or brewed first and the broth consumed. Not all consumers respond identically. The American psychologist William James reported ingesting several dozen hallucinogenic mushrooms and only experiencing headache. Shulgin has synthesized and tested 179 phenylethylamines for hallucinogenic properties. Their effects on the human brain are complex and largely unknown.

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