Hallucinogens

Teen double image

Question 1

The word “hallucinate” comes from the Latin words meaning:

Yup! No wonder some people refer to hallucinating as “tripping”. Hallucinogens powerfully affect the way our five senses work and change our impressions of time and reality.

The influence of hallucinogens does make your brain lose control of how you perceive the world. In fact, senses seem to get crossed—giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. However, the word “hallucinogens” doesn’t come from “to slip”. 

In some people, hallucinogens can cause drowsiness, but this is not the correct answer.

Hallucinogens can disrupt how the brain works, but this isn't the correct answer .

Question 2

MDMA and MDA cause neurons to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. This can cause which of the following?

Ulcers are medical conditions in which sores form on a sensitive lining, such as the stomach. Ulcers aren't caused by the release of serotonin.

Correct! Serotonin neurons have a role in lots of things, such as mood and sleep. MDMA and MDA can disrupt the function of these neurons and alter behavior.

Although gingivitis is a disease, it is caused by poor dental hygiene. While serotonin doesn't play a role in whether you get gingivitis, we just wanted to remind you to keep up the good brushing.

Gray hair is not caused by the neurotransmitter serotonin, but your parents may get gray hair if you abuse MDMA, MDA or any illicit drug.

Question 3

LSD and PCP can change the way that neurons communicate, which can cause changes in how you sense the world around you. Which of the following is used by neurons to communicate?

Right! Chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, send information from nerve cell to nerve cell in the brain and body. These speedy couriers trudge through wind, hail, sleet, and snow to deliver your nervous system messages on time!

No, chromosomes carry the genetic code (genes) for the production of neurotransmitters, but they themselves are not used by neurons to communicate.

Nope. Morse code is a system of communication that consists of either long and short sounds or dots and dashes to transmit messages over long distances. It is not used by neurons to communicate.

Nope. Although, the computer system you're accessing these questions on is kind of like a brain. The computer network around the world does constantly send messages back and forth with amazing speed, much like your brain and body.

Question 4

Some hallucinogens are natural. However, many hallucinogens are chemicals that don't occur in nature. Can you identify some of these man-made chemicals?

Correct! Lysergic acid (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP) are powerful hallucinogens that aren't found in nature. The effects of these drugs are unpredictable: they can alter your senses, affect your moods, or cause vivid hallucinations.

While mescaline is a potent hallucinogen, it is found in nature. Mescaline comes from a cactus called peyote.

Nope—gasoline is an inhalant, not a hallucinogen. But it is a chemical you should be wary of.

No, serotonin is a neurotransmitter, not a hallucinogen. But hallucinogens can affect neurons that contain serotonin.