- Also referred to as psychedelic drug, psychedelic substance, hallucinogen, hallucinogenic drug, hallucinogenic substance, magicum, pseudo-hallucinogen, illusinogen, mysticomimetic, phanerothyme, psychotic, psychotomimetic, phantasticum, and eideticum. The term psychedelic comes from the Greek words psuchè (life breath, spirit, soul, mind) and dèlos (visible). It translates loosely as 'mind expanding' or 'mind manifesting'. It was introduced in 1956 by the British psychiatrist Humphry Fortescue Osmond (1917-2004) in a letter to the British-American writer Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963), who had suggested the term phanerothyme (which is now obsolete). All the above terms are used more or less interchangeably to denote a group of chemical substances which - in relatively high doses - have the potential to alter consciousness and to evoke phenomena such as hallucinations, *illusions, *sensory distortions, *delirium, loss of contact with reality, and sometimes coma and death. In 1979 the term * entheogen was proposed as an alternative for these terms, in an effort to reinstate the original spiritual connotations of substances like these in *mysticism and shamanism. A person intentionally employing psychedelics for the purpose of exploring the psyche may be called a * psychonaut. For a more detailed account of this group of substances, see the entry Hallucinogen. Apart from its use as a synonym for the term hallucinogen, the term psychedelic is also used to denote a subclass of the group of hallucinogens characterized by the ability to make manifest a hidden but real memory, wish, fear, or fantasy. In the latter sense, it is used in opposition to the terms * dissociative and * deliriant. Some examples of psychedelics in the restricted sense are LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. The term quasi-psychedelic is sometimes used to denote a substance with an (allegedly) low hallucinogenic potential, such as cannabis.ReferencesAaronson, B., Osmond, H., eds. (1971). Psychedelics: The uses and implications of hallucinogenic drugs. London: Hogarth Press.Nichols, D.E. (2004). Hallucinogens. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 101, 131-181.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.