Its effect is much shorter than that of
amphetamines, and occasionally the abuser may inject
or snort cocaine every few minutes in an attempt to
maintain a constant stimulation and prevent
depression experienced during withdrawal (come-
down). Overdose is very possible, often resulting in
convulsion and death.
The physical symptoms observed in the cocaine
abuser will be the same as those observed in the
The group of drugs that affect the central nervous
system by altering the users perception of self and
environment are commonly known as hallucinogens.
Included within this group are lysergic acid
diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, dimethoxymethyl-
amphetamine (STP), phencyclidine (PCP), and
psilocybin. They appear in several forms: crystals,
powders, and liquids.
The symptoms of hallucinogenic drugs include
dilated pupils, flushed face, increased heartbeat, and a
chilled feeling. In addition, the person may display a
distorted sense of time and self, show emotions
ranging from ecstasy to horror, and experience
changes in visual depth perception.
Although no deaths have resulted from the drugs
directly, hallucinogen-intoxicated persons have been
known to jump from windows, walk in front of
automobiles, or injure themselves in other ways
because of the vivid but unreal perception of their
Even though no longer under the direct influence
of a hallucinogenic drug, a person who has formerly
used one of the drugs may experience a spontaneous
recurrence (flashback) of some aspect of the drug
experience. The most common type of flashback is the
recurrence of perceptual distortion; however, victims
of flashback may also experience panic or disturbing
emotion. Flashback may be experienced by heavy or
occasional users of hallucinogenic drugs, and its
frequency is unpredictable and its cause unknown.
Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana,
is widely abused and may be classified as a mild
hallucinogen. The most common physical appearance
of marijuana is as ground, dried leaves, and the most
common method of consumption is smoking, but it can
be taken orally. A commercially prepared product of
the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydro-
cannabinol (THC), is dronabinol (Marinol R) available
in the U.S. as a controlled Schedule II drug.
Dronabinol is used for the treatment of nausea and
vomiting in chemotherapy patients. It may also be
useful in the treatment of acute glaucoma, asthma, and
nausea and vomiting from other chronic illnesses. The
individual response to the recreational use of
marijuana varies and depends on the dose, the
personality and expectation of the user, and the setting.
Unexpected ingestion, emotional stress, or underlying
psychiatric disorders can increase the possibility of an
After a single inhaled dose of marijuana, a
subjective high begins in several minutes and is gone
within four hours. Marijuana causes decreased pupil
size and conjunctivitis (reddening of the white of the
eye). Smoking marijuana can increase the heart rate
(tachycardia) for about two hours. It can slightly
increase systolic blood pressure in low doses and can
lower blood pressure in high doses. An increased
appetite and dry mouth are common complaints after
Social setting influences the psychological effects
associated with usual doses of marijuana smoking.
Smoking in a solitary setting may produce euphoria,
relaxation, and sleep. In a group setting, increased
social interaction, friendliness, and laughter or
giddiness may be produced. Subjectively, time moves
slower, images appear more vivid, and hearing seems
keener. High doses can cause lethargy, depersonali-
zation, pressured speech, paranoia, hallucinations, and
manic psychosis (imagining everything is wonderful
in a way that is out of reality).
Inhalants are potentially dangerous, volatile
chemicals that are not meant for human consumption.
They are found in consumer, commercial, and
industrial products intended for use in well-ventilated
areas. The vapors they produce can be extremely
dangerous when inhaled inadvertently or by design.
Substances in this category include adhesives
(synthetic glues), paint, wet markers, lighter fluids,
solvents, and propellants in aerosol spray cans, and air
Inhalants can be abused by sniffing