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Are Hallucinogens Legal?

Hallucinogenic mushrooms in the natural environment.  

Most hallucinogens are not legal. There are a few legal hallucinogens, but they can be problematic. So-called “legal highs” are actually the source of many emergency room visits. Furthermore, due in part to the fact that they are easier to procure, teenagers are more likely to abuse legal hallucinogens. Teen substance abuse problems may then develop.

Medical Use of Legal Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens, generally, are illegal. However, specific laws vary from country to country. For example, LSD is deemed to have no medicinal value by the United States government. Yet, in Switzerland, LSD is being studied for its anti-anxiety properties when combined with psychotherapy. There are, however, a few hallucinogenic drugs that are legal within the United States. They remain legal for their medicinal values and include:

  • Dimenhydrinate: Better known as Dramamine, is an over-the-counter drug used to treat motion sickness and nausea. It is a combination of two drugs: diphenhydramine and 8-Chlorotheophylline. The dimenhydrinate high consists of feelings of euphoria and hallucinations. There is a set Dramamine dosage for kids but many teens who abuse the drug will exceed the safe dose.
  • Diphenhydramine: or Benadryl, is an antihistamine sold over the counter for allergic responses. In large doses, the drug causes hallucinations and mild euphoria (known as a diphenhydramine high). It is commonly abused by teens because it is so easy to get ahold of. Due to this ease of access, Benadryl abuse by teenagers has become increasingly popular.
  • Dextromethorphan: or DXM, is the active ingredient in regular, non-prescription cough syrup. In small doses, it is an effective cough suppressant. In large doses, it is a dissociative anesthetic. The hallucinations associated with the dextromethorphan high are more like those experienced with classic hallucinogens like psilocybin mushrooms or LSD. Fatal overdosing on DXM though is a possibility. This is why laws with have been put in place to prevent teens from drinking cough syrup.

Most Hallucinogens are Illegal

Why are most hallucinogens illegal? Most hallucinogens (like LSD, peyote, and psilocybin mushrooms) are illegal because the federal government has classified them as a Schedule I controlled substance. This classification means they have no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. Yet other hallucinogens, like DXM and diphenhydramine, are not scheduled at all, yet clearly have a high potential for abuse.

Hallucinogenic Drug and Mental Health Treatment

Teens, in particular, are susceptible to abusing hallucinogenic drugs, especially if it seems legal. Addiction can result from that drug use. Teen drug rehab is available and parents can seek hallucinogenic drug treatment if their teenager develops an addiction.

If you believe your teenager is abusing hallucinogenic drugs, know that help is out there and that you are not alone. Evidence-based treatment for teenagers is available at Next Generation Village. Contact us today to learn more about our personalized teen drug treatment methods.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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