Neurobiology of Hallucinogens: Introduction | Classical Hallucinogens: Classification | Classical Hallucinogens: Mechanism of Action | Hallucinogen-Related and Other Designer Drugs | Conclusion | Key Points | References | Suggested Reading
Hallucinogenic agents represent an old and very
large class of drugs. Nearly every major civilization throughout history
has had a preferred drug of abuse or mind-altering substance. In
some instances these have been hallucinogens or hallucinogen-related
agents or plant products. Various agents can produce hallucinogenic
episodes, and terms used to describe such agents include hallucinogens, psychotomimetics, psychedelics, inebriants,and intoxicants.
Many agents can be found in this general class of psychoactive agents.
More recently, certain hallucinogens have been included in the loose
collection of agents termed club drugs, party
drugs, or rave drugs.
It is clear, however, that membership in these latter categories
is not pharmacologically based and that most agents bearing this
appellation are not hallucinogens. Do agents as structurally diverse
as (+)lysergic acid diethylamide ([+]LSD),
phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; a constituent
of marijuana), amphetamine, and mescaline all produce the same (or
a common) effect? Do they all work via a common pharmacological
mechanism? Studies conducted over the past several decades indicate
they do not (see Glennon 2002 for a review).