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Which Types of Hallucinogens Are Most Addictive?

Some hallucinogens are considered to be nonaddictive as they do not cause drug-seeking behavior, dependency, withdrawal symptoms, or compulsive abuse which are some of the main effects associated with addiction. However, other hallucinogenic drugs do cause these issues and can be highly addictive. Here is a list of some of the common hallucinogens from most to least addictive.

PCP

According to the NIDA, “PCP is addictive––its repeated abuse can lead to craving and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior, despite severe adverse consequences.” If someone abuses PCP regularly, addiction can set in very quickly and cause many problems for the individual. Regular PCP abuse and PCP addiction can cause:

  • Toxic psychosis
  • Craving
  • Dependence
  • Violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Homicidal and suicidal tendencies
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain
  • Dangerous behavior

Someone who is addicted to PCP will need help from medical professionals to fight their addiction and will likely experience effects like memory loss and flashbacks which will persist after they stop abusing the drug.

Ketamine

Ketamine can also be an addictive substance. Someone who takes the drug on a regular basis might find themselves performing dangerous actions in order to get more. The NIDA also states, “There have been reports of people binging on ketamine, a behavior that is similar to that seen in some cocaine- or amphetamine-dependent individuals” which is a strong sign of the possibility for ketamine addiction.

Types of Hallucinogens

PCP, Ketamine, DXM, and Salvia are all types of hallucinogens.

There have been reports of ketamine addiction and also that the drug causes dependence and tolerance, which often go hand-in-hand with addiction in conditions caused by drugs of abuse.

DXM

DXM is a synthetically produced substance which is similar to codeine and used in over-the-counter cough syrups. Although codeine and DXM are similar, they are not related and DXM is sometimes used as a hallucinogenic drug by abusers (where codeine is and is abused as an opioid).

According to the DOJ, “While studies indicate that DXM is not addictive, some former DXM abusers report experiencing cravings for the drug.”

Salvia

Salvia divinorum is an herb that is a member of the mint family and can cause strong, short-term hallucinations when chewed, brewed into a tea, or otherwise abused. Although it is often abused by people looking for this effect, there isn’t much research on it or on its potential addictiveness. The NIDA Teen states, “It’s not clear if using salvia leads to addiction” and that further testing is needed.

Nonaddictive Hallucinogens

Most of the commonly-abused hallucinogens are actually considered to be nonaddictive by the medical community. These drugs, for the most part, only cause tolerance as one of the signs of addiction, but this can be reversed after several days of abstaining. They do not cause drug-seeking behavior, cravings, or dependence in most of the studies which have been documented.

These drugs are:

  • Peyote
  • Psilocybin
  • LSD

This is not to say that these drugs are safe; they can still cause many dangerous effects. But, with the information we have currently, the most addictive hallucinogenic drugs are believed to be PCP and ketamine, respectively.

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