The word psychedelic was coined in 1957 by British born, Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Humphry Osmond. He combined the Greek words “psyche” meaning "mind or spirit" and “delos” meaning "manifesting." The dictionary definition of the verb manifest is "to become clear or apparent" which is congruent with many reports of deep personal insight and creative epiphany gained by using psychedelics like psilocybin, LSD, mescaline, & Di-Methyl-Tryptamine.
Although the word 'Psychedelic' is a mere ~60 years old, these substances have been safely used by human beings for at least the last 10,000 years, possibly much longer. Ancient societies such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Meso-american cultures revered the mind-expanding and spiritually charged experiences that these compounds produce, and all of these cultures believed that Psychedelics were a means of communication with "The Gods".
In the modern day psychedelics are typically used in one of two contexts; either recreational use, or therapeutic use. While they can hold significant benefit to mood and overall mental well-being when applied in a medicinal or therapeutic fashion, the altered and some would argue enhanced state of consciousness elicited by psychedelics is an experience that nearly anyone can benefit from. The reason why a psychedelic experience is often referred to as a “trip” is because taking a high dose of a psychedelic produces an intense, immersive experience during which things like time and your "normal" sense of self are forgotten, or seem of little importance.
The effects of psychedelics can vary subjectively based on numerous factors, like your choice of substance, body weight, mind-state, and even your expectation of what the experience will entail. Common effects which are analogous between most psychedelic substances can include euphoria, confusion, hysteria (laughing fits) synesthesia, altered thought process, altered sense of time, sensory enhancement, visual hallucination, spiritual or mystical feelings of unity and connectedness, out-of-body experiences, and even contact with 'entities'.
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