Medical Definition of Psychedelic

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Psychedelic: 1. Hallucinogenic, distorting perception and awareness.
2. A drug such as LSD or mescaline that has hallucinogenic properties.
The word psychedelic was coined by the British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond (1917-2004) who introduced Aldous Huxley, author of "Brave New World," to hallucinogenic drugs. Dr. Osmond proposed the term, "psychedelic," at a meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1957. He said the word meant "mind manifesting" and called it "clear, euphonious and uncontaminated by other associations." (If one follows the rules for combining Greek roots, the word should be psychodelic, not psychedelic.)

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Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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