What are hallucinogens? This term was originally coined because of the notion that these substances produce hallucinations, an effect, however, that they do not ordinarily elicit, at least at typical dosages. Thus, that name is a misnomer. Today, unfortunately, hallucinogen appears almost to have become a catchall category, often representing pharmacological substances ranging from cannabinoids and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists to anticholinergic agents, ecstasy (MDMA; 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), and many others. The common theme of all these classes of pharmacologically active substances is that they alter consciousness, often in dramatic and unpredictable ways, and in high doses may produce delirium, true hallucinations, loss of contact with reality, and in some cases death.
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