Many hallucinogens occur naturally, including psilocybin ('magic mushrooms'), DMT (dimethyltryptamine), datura and mescaline (from the peyote cactus).
Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical found in some kinds of mushrooms. It belongs to the same chemical family as LSD, so its effects are quite similar. While the psilocybin mushroom is native to Mexico, other kinds of magic mushroom grow in other parts of the world and there are several species growing wild in Australia.
It is dangerous to pick and eat wild mushrooms because it is difficult to distinguish edible mushrooms from their poisonous lookalikes. Poisonous mushrooms can cause stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea, while some can cause permanent liver damage, respiratory failure, unconsciousness and even death. Symptoms can take up to 40 hours to develop.
DMT is a powerful hallucinogenic drug found in certain plants in the West Indies and South America. Its chemical structure is very similar to that of psilocybin. In Australia, most DMT bought on the street is synthetic. It can, however, be found in the bark of a number of commonly occurring trees as well as a number of other plants. In its pure form it is a crystal, though on the street it is usually found in powder form.
Use the following websites to find information about specific drugs, including their long and short term effects, how they are used, legal status and information on mixing drugs.
Journal articles are a good source of explanations and discussions of drug and alcohol issues. There are several eresources with links to journal articles available in the State Library.