Tolerance and Dependence

Tolerance to the effects of hallucinogens develops rapidly. In fact, a high degree of tolerance can be produced after as few as three to four daily doses of drug. Generally, the abuser self-imposes the requirement for a 2- to 3-day drug-free period before another drug session. Additionally, there is a tremendous degree of cross-tolerance between the hallucinogens, so other LSD-like hallucinogens cannot be abused during the drug-free period either. One danger with the stimulant subclass of hallucinogens is rapid development of tolerance to some of their effects while the stimulatory properties remain and produce various side effects. Despite the apparent overlap of effects with stimulant drugs, however, there is no cross-tolerance with the CNS stimulants such as amphetamine.

There are no observable physical withdrawal signs during drug abstinence, nor is there a tremendous craving for drug during the drug-free period. Therefore, clearly no dependence is attributed to the hallucinogens. Though there is an abuse potential with this class of drug, and individuals express drug-seeking behavior, there does not seem to be the magnitude of craving found with other drug classes, such as the CNS stimulants.

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