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April 8, 1968

The Hallucinogens

JAMA. 1968;204(2):180. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140150084040

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The Hallucinogens is an unusually fine book. Packed with facts, it is beautifully organized, comprehensive, and authoritative. The authors, well-seasoned psychiatrists, are equally at home in research laboratories and in psychiatric wards.

The book transcends a simple description of the many hallucinogens. It draws not only upon an extensive survey of the literature for information but also upon the vast and highly personalized experience of the authors. It contains not only theoretical constructs but also detailed pragmatic instructions as to dosage and administration.

There are seven chapters, each replete with detail. The first chapter discusses the plant phenethylamines, the chief of which is mescaline. Significantly, the authors have isolated a group of patients called "malvarians" (so diagnosed by a special urine test and cutting across all nosologic categories) for whom drugs are much less effective than for nonmalvarians. Chapter 2 devotes 150 pages to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and includes