A mind is open with various colors coming out of it from dissociative drugs

The use of hallucinogenic drugs has continued to rise in recent years. 4.2 million people in the United States have reported using a hallucinogenic drug at least once in their lifetime in the year 2017. (1) A subtype of hallucinogenic drugs, known as dissociative drugs, is of particular concern.

Here we take a look at what dissociative drugs are and what the most popular dissociative drugs are in America.

What are dissociative drugs?

Hallucinogens are drugs that, as the name suggests, causes users to experience hallucinationsA woman enters a spiral after taking dissociative drugs and changes in their perception of reality. Hallucinogens are broken down into two categories: classic hallucinogens (such as LSD), and dissociative drugs.

Dissociative drugs get their name from their ability to cause the user to feel “detached” from their body, reality, or both. Many dissociative drugs are actually used legitimately in the medical world for anesthesia for their ability to produce these effects. (2)

What are the most popular dissociative drugs?


PCP (short for phencyclidine) is an anesthetic medication that acts as an NDMA receptor agonist. PCP is one of the most commonly abused dissociative drugs. PCP comes in many different forms illicitly, such as powder, crystal, tablet, capsule, and liquid forms.

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Over the years, PCP has developed countless street names, such as wet, shermans, angel dust, supergrass, zoom, dippers, and countless others. PCP is also used to lace other drugs, such as marijuana and MDMA. (3)


Ketamine is a rapid acting general anesthetic that is largely used in medicine currently. Not long after being developed, however, ketamine became a popular recreational drug. When used at sub-anesthetic doses (below what is normal for medical use), ketamine acts as a powerful dissociative drug.

Ketamine has developed several street names over the years, such as Special K, K, K-hole, Vitamin K, and countless others. Ketamine is typically insufflated, injected, or ingested. (4) (5)


Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a medication commonly used in various cough syrups, elixirs, and cold products. When taken at higher doses, dextromethorphan can cause hallucinations and changes in perception.

This is popularly known as “robo-tripping”, after the cough syrup Robitussin. (6) A 2008 study found that one in ten teenagers used DXM to get high at least once in their lives, showing how dangerous this drug is with youth. (7)

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is another popular dissociative drug that is commonly found in normal household items, such as whipped cream canisters. When intentionally inhaled, nitrous causes the user to experience a short dissociative high. Nitrous has the street names whippits, huff, rush, gluey, and others. (8)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017.htm#tab1-1A
  2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rrhalluc.pdf
  3. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/pcp.pdf
  4. https://www.drugs.com/pro/ketamine-injection.html
  5. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002204269502500407
  6. http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/dxm.asp
  7. https://www.ahchealthenews.com/2014/12/04/more-cases-of-cough-syrup-abuse/
  8. https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/inhalants