3.8 Hallucinogens (see also 4.8)

"In a dream-like state with closed eyes, (the daylight appeared unpleasantly bright), I noticed a continuous stream of fantastic images, bizarre shapes with an intense kaleidoscopic play of colours. "
Albert Hofmann 1943.

Hallucinogens are naturally or synthetically derived substances, which have a strong effect on people's senses, consciousness and perception. The combination of hallucinogens with other drugs or alcohol has unpredictable effects and therefore is dangerous.

On April 16, 1943, the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, was forced to finish work in his laboratory early and go home. in his own words, he "suddenly became very uneasy and dizzy". The reason More or less by coincidence, Hofmann had 'munched' on his own discovery: LSD.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a semi-synthetic substance, which is derived from a natural fungus. LSD is odourless, colourless, and tasteless.

How is LSD used?

LSD is mostly sold as a paper trip: An edible piece of paper of about half a square centimetre, containing extremely small quantities of liquid LSD. A standard trip only contains 50 to 100 micrograms of LSD, (a microgram is 1/1 000th milligram).

How does LSD work?

LSD starts working after about 30 minutes to one hour. After that, the user is completely submerged in his own world. A world, which spontaneously sees objects changing form, in which music can be seen and colours can be smelled. The room seems as large as a dance hall. You sit and think you're standing. You stand and think you're flying. The trip progresses in waves with a peak after two to six hours. After 12 to 24 hours, the effect of LSD tapers off.


Months or even years after a trip, flashbacks may occur. During a flashback, the user relives a part of the trip, without actually having taken LSD. A flashback
can last from only a few minutes to several hours.

How can you tell LSD use in prison?

LSD users seem detached from the outside world. LSD can sometimes lead to some type of anxiety psychosis, which is coupled with heavy sweating and fear of dying, (bad trip). Individuals do not become aggressive from using LSD, they rather become friendly and amicable.

Dubious CIA methods

Hofmann's invention of LSD quickly aroused the interest of the CIA. During interrogations, individuals were given LSD without their knowledge in the hope that the trip would evoke a confession,

Mushrooms are among the oldest 'tripping' substances known to men. The Indians of Middle- and South America have been using them for centuries already, because they supposedly prove helpful in their contact with the gods. The mushroom's 'magical' effect is caused by psilocybin, an active substance which is found in more than twenty different mushroom types. The most known are the 'Mexican' , 'Balinese' or 'Hawaiian' mushrooms and the pointed 'Liberty Cap', which grows in Northern temperate zones throughout the world. In Europe, certain types are found In the wild, others are cultivated.

How are mushrooms used?

Mushrooms are eaten fresh as well as dried. The effect is stronger when the mushrooms are dried. It is also possible to make tea from mushrooms. Four to twelve milligrams are sufficient for one 'trip'.

How do mushrooms work?

A 'mushroom trip' is similar to an 'LSD trip' but milder. 'Bad trips' occur less frequently with mushrooms than with LSD. The effects can be felt for three to five hours with a peak in the first two hours.

How can you tell mushroom use in prison?

in general, the effects of mushroom use are barely noticeably to outsiders. The use does not lead to aggressive behaviour. Mushroom users are harder to address on their behaviour.