For someone who has never taken a psychedelic drug it can be difficult to imagine what it’s like. You’ve probably heard of melting walls, tasting colors or kaleidoscopic vision. Such pronounced hallucinations are typically the outcome of high doses of LSD or psilocybin. In moderate doses, however, the effects are more subtle. Colors appear more vivid and patterns may morph slightly, but users usually don’t see things that aren’t actually there.
On TV and in movies, psychedelic experiences are often misrepresented or exaggerated. Looking for more realistic examples of common dose effects I found this photo depicting what someone might see while looking at an otherwise normal patch of grass.
Hallucinogenic vision by Chelsea Morgan
It’s still grass, but the colors are amplified and the individual blades of grass seem to compose geometric shapes, maybe you can even detect objects or faces.
The higher the dose, the more intense the hallucinations. The following image demonstrates a visual experience one may get from a slightly higher dose of LSD:
Visual acuity enhancement by StingrayZ
In any case, visual effects are just one aspect of the psychedelic experience. Psychedelic drugs create an altered state of consciousness that I like to describe as interpreting reality in a different way. Others have described it as seeing the world through the unbiased eyes of a child. But if you ask ten other people, you’ll get ten other answers. So, let’s hold the subjective descriptions aside for a moment and look at a quantified model of altered states of consciousness.