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Why Do People Take Hallucinogens?


Updated March 07, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Why Do People Take Hallucinogens?
Answer: For centuries, hallucinogens have been used in many different cultures for a wide variety of reasons. Often they have been used in religious rituals or spiritual pursuits, to produce mystical "visions" or simply to induce detachment from reality.

In more recent years, hallucinogenic and dissociative drugs have been used for more mundane purposes - social or recreational use just for "fun." People also use hallucinogens to deal with stress, or to try to achieve what they believe is an enlightened state of mind.

Although presently not approved for such use, some hallucinogenic drugs have been scientifically tested to see if they might have therapeutic effects on patients suffering from conditions related to perceptual distortions, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dementia.

Back to: Hallucinogens FAQ


National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs." Research Report Series Updated January 2014

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