What You Think is a Psychedelic Is Probably Wrong

What are psychedelics? Although we can point to common psychedelic drugs, such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms, actually defining what psychedelics are can be tricky.

This is partly because some drugs are considered psychedelics by some but not by others.

The term psychedelic has an interesting meaning that is worth exploring. While it is not clear if certain drugs are psychedelics or not, psychedelics are still characterized by unique properties.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelics are, to put it simply, substances that lead to a psychedelic experience.

Huxley and Osmond were writing letters to each other, trying to come up with a term to refer to this class of compounds. Osmond decided on the term psychedelic. 

The Meaning Of The Term “Psychedelic”

The literal translation of psychedelic, then, is “mind-manifesting” or “soul-manifesting”.

Alternative Terms

Let’s take a brief look at these other terms and how they contrast to the term psychedelic. This will further illuminate the wide-ranging potential of psychedelics.


Hallucinogen is a term some people may use to describe psychedelic compounds. It refers to substances that cause hallucinations.


Entheogen comes from the Greek words entheos (meaning “the divine within”) and gen (meaning “creates” or “generates”).

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