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Dissociatives are a class of hallucinogen, characterised by a distorted sense of perception and feelings of disconnection/detachment from oneself and the environment.
They are assumed to work by interfering with or blocking signals from the conscious mind to parts of the central nervous system, hence the feelings of disconnection between mind and body often experienced when researching with dissociatives.
Most dissociatives sold on the RC market today are in the chemical class arylcyclohexylamines, which are composed of an amine moiety and an aromatic ring attached to a cyclohexane ring. Dissociatives in other classes are currently in development – specifically for the German market – though whether they are suitable for research is yet to be seen.
Dissociatives vary in the level of sedation vs stimulation they incur in the user. 2-FDCK (subjectively the closest RC dissociative to ketamine – a common general anesthetic), for example, is generally known to have a strong sedative effect, particularly at higher doses, presumably because it works primarily as an antagonist of NMDA receptors.
Towards the other end of the spectrum, DMXE – known for its stimulating and euphoria inducing properties – is generally thought to act as not only an NMDA antagonist but also as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI). Other dissociatives, such as PCP, have been shown to increase levels of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex in rats. Essentially, the pharmacological effects of dissociatives are both varied and complex, so be aware of this when conducting research with them!
At very high doses ( what constitutes a “high dose” is obviously relative to the individual chemical), users often experience what is referred to as a “[insert dissociative name here]-hole”. This is generally characterised by a total loss of control over motor skills, a complete sense of disconnection from oneself – i.e ego-death – and often leads to out-of-body experiences. Some users find this experience distressing while for others, reaching the “hole” is the main purpose of their research.
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