A Guide to Recreational Drugs

A Guide to Recreational Drugs

What Are Considered ‘Recreational Drugs?’

What Are Recreational Drugs?

Merriam-Webster defines a recreational drug as “a drug (such as cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamine) used without medical justification for its psychoactive effects often in the belief that occasional use of such a substance is not habit-forming or addictive.” Recreational drug use, similarly, is known as the use of drugs for leisure or pleasure. Essentially, drugs are considered recreational when people use them to achieve a ‘high’ or feel pleasurable effects rather than to solve a medical problem.
woman sitting at a kitchen counter looking at drugs
Some recreational drugs can also be used medically (such as marijuana, which is sometimes prescribed to relieve anxiety or pain in the body), but others (like cocaine) are illegal, don’t have any medical purposes, and are only used recreationally or illicitly. Some, like mushrooms, can even fall somewhere in the middle.

Examples of Recreational Drugs

Some recreational drugs are believed to be rather harmless by the general public, while others can be extremely addictive and cause severe consequences. Here are some examples of what can be considered as “recreational drugs:”
  • Cannabis (marijuana)
  • Synthetic cannabis
  • Mushrooms
  • LSD
  • Cocaine
  • MDMA (Molly, ecstasy)
  • Amphetamine
  • Alcohol
  • Methamphetamine
While these drugs are all very different, they can all be considered recreational because people may decide to use them socially. MDMA, for example, is called a “club drug” or a “dance drug” because it is mainly used at a club or in a party atmosphere. LSD and mushrooms, on the other hand, are psychedelics that are usually used in outdoor/natural spaces and in a smaller group of people.

What Are the Effects of Using Drugs Recreationally?

The effects of recreational drugs depend primarily on the drug you’re using and the quality of the substance. While illegal drug use is not encouraged, it’s important to do research on a drug you’re thinking about using before taking it so you know exactly what to expect.

The main effects of using recreational drugs are developing a higher tolerance, becoming physically dependent, or forming an addiction to a substance or multiple substances. All recreational substances also have some sort of impact on the brain. This is where the “high” sensation comes from.

Many recreational drugs are known to increase the levels of a chemical in the brain called dopamine, which can create feelings of euphoria.

Dangers of Recreational Drugs

Obviously, drug use can lead to addiction down the line. Addiction comes with its own set of effects and consequences, depending on the particular substance. Additionally, all of the drugs above have the potential for causing overdose. Overdose, if not treated quickly, may lead to coma, death, or severe health complications.

Also, especially in the case of club drugs, you never know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a recreational drug. You may know what is supposed to be in the drug, but some recreational drugs can be laced with dangerous illicit substances without you even knowing.

Treatment for Recreational Drug Use

Treatment methods for drug use and addiction may include therapy, medications, support groups, and more. Those who become addicted to any of the recreational substances above are encouraged to seek treatment and enroll in an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program. To learn more about recreational drugs and to gather information on drug and alcohol treatment, contact our team of drug abuse and treatment specialists by calling 267.209.7313.


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