Chapter 12.0: Introduction to Cannabinoids and other Hallucinogenic and Dissociatives

Ch. 12.3: Key Terms

bath salts: a type of (questionably legal) synthetically produced hallucinogenic stimulants.

cannabinoid: any of the class of chemical compounds acting on cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (e.g., THC and CBD).

cannabis: label applied to cannabis sativa, indica, and ruderalis among the many types of plants in the cannabis family; often referred to as marijuana and typically distinguished from hemp based on its concentration of psychoactive substances (specifically, THC).

cannabis use disorder: a specific diagnosis in the DSM-5 and ICD-11 defined by a number of substance use disorder diagnostic criteria.

dextromethorphan (DXM): a cough suppressing ingredient commonly found in over-the-counter (OTC) formulations; when consumed in large quantities, potentially has hallucinogenic effects but this comes with significant side effect risks.

dissociative substances (dissociatives): a type of hallucinogen which, in addition to other psychoactive effects, produce a sense of detachment from one’s self/body or environment.

edibles: cannabis-infused products containing THC consumed by eating or drinking.

flashback (drug-related): the re-experiencing of a drug’s effects without having used it again and after the drug has been fully metabolized (no longer in the body); may occur long after the true drug effects have ceased. 

hallucinogenic substances (hallucinogens): a varied group of substances, natural or synthetic, with the potential for causing a person to experience a dramatically distorted reality (hallucination), usually in the visual or auditory sphere, but may also affect time sense, tactile sensation, and other mental functions.

hemp: low THC content cannabis sativa used for its material properties and possible medical applications rather than psychoactive characteristics.

K2: synthetically produced cannabinoid produced by spraying dried plant material with psychoactive chemicals; synthetic marijuana (see Spice entry).

ketamine: originally developed for use as an anesthetic, has significant dissociative and hallucinogenic effects; often considered one of the “club drugs.”

kratom: derived from leaves of a specific plant, it has some effects similar to opioids and stimulants, may also have hallucinogenic effects and is potentially addictive.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide): a synthetically produced, highly concentrated hallucinogen.

marijuana: a commonly used name for cannabis used for its psychoactive effects.

MDMA/ecstasy: synthetically produced hallucinogenic substance with stimulant effects; considered one of the “club drugs.”

mescaline (peyote cactus): hallucinogen derived from the peyote cactus and other similar species; may also be synthetically produced.

PCP (phencyclidine): originally developed for anesthesia, misused for its psychoactive (hallucinogenic) effects, it also may produce amnesia.

potentiating effect: when one substance increases the potency or effectiveness of another.

psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”): hallucinogenic substance naturally occurring in specific species of mushroom; over 100 species contain psilocybin at varying degrees of potency (

psychotomimetic: substance that, in the short-term, induces effects that mimic (imitate) a psychotic episode.

salvia divornum: a plant species with leaves that can produce hallucinogenic effects when chewed or drunk as tea.

Spice: synthetically produced cannabinoid produced by spraying dried plant material with psychoactive chemicals; synthetic marijuana (see K2 entry).

synesthesia: when one of the senses is perceived by another sense, such as sound being visual or something seen being heard; some versions associate objects with color, flavor, or scent (e.g., the letter A being red and the letter B as blue). 

telescoping: refers to accelerated rate of progression of substance use disorder symptoms/criteria often seen in women compared to men.

tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)/THC: the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

trip (tripping): an altered state-of-consciousness episode induced by use of an hallucinogenic substance.


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Introduction to Substance Use Disorders by Patricia Stoddard Dare and Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.