Intro popular substances

Introduction into popular substances

Chems can be broadly divided into three groups:

  • Uppers (stimulants)
  • Downers (sedatives)
  • Trippers (mind-altering)


Uppers have a stimulating effect, provide high energy/focus and increase alertness and self-confidence. Use accelerates the heart rate, breathing and blood pressure, causes muscle and jaw tension (grinding teeth) and reduces appetite. Popular uppers include cocaine, crystal meth (Tina), 3-MMC/3-CMC, mephedrone and other designer drugs, speed, crack and ecstasy/MDMA.

Downers have a sedative, calming, relaxing, euphoric effect and reduce anxiety. Use slows heart rate, breathing and blood pressure, causes muscle relaxation and slows cognitive function. Popular downers include alcohol, cannabis, GHB/GBL, relaxants and sleep aids.

Trippers are psychedelic (mind-altering) drugs that greatly affect mood and perception. Use provides self-insight and enhances environmental perception, sometimes with religious or spiritual effects. Trippers slightly increase blood pressure and heart rate. Popular trippers include ecstasy/MDMA, LSD, magic mushrooms, truffles, ketamine and 2C-B.

Some chems fall into two groups, such as ecstasy/MDMA, which can have both a stimulant and psychedelic effect. Cannabis has a sedative effect (stoned) but can produce mildly stimulating physical effects and, in high doses, psychedelic effects. Alcohol is a downer but is mildly stimulating at low doses.


The effect of a substance depends on several factors. It can be divided into the type of substance (drug), personal condition (set) and environment in which the substance is used (setting).


Substance (drug)

The effect of a substance is co-determined by the:

  • Quality and purity (adulterants/fillers). Know what you are using. Have your drugs tested for free and anonymously at a testing service near you.
  • User experience (tolerance)
  • Frequency of use
  • Delivery method

User (set)

The effect of drugs may also be affected by personal circumstances. Personal circumstances include:

  • State of mind
  • Expectations
  • Physical condition
  • Clothing (hot/cold)
  • Food and fluid intake (before/during use)

Environment (setting)

The place of use can also influence the effect of the chem(s) taken. Environmental factors include:


  • Climate (cold, hot, humid)
  • Degree of crowding
  • Possible support (if something goes wrong)
  • Familiarity
  • Using alone or together (with acquaintances or strangers)

Methods of administration

here are several ways to take drugs. The method of use determines how quickly the drug kicks in and produces the desired effect.

  • Snorting: several minutes
  •  Swallowing (oral, food): 30–90 minutes
  • Smoking/chasing the dragon/freebasing: 7–10 seconds
  • Booty bumping/plugging/rectal: 15–20 minutes
  • Slamming/injecting:
    • intravenously (in vein): 15–30 seconds
    • intramuscularly (in muscle): 3–5 minutes

For more information on administration methods and techniques, see delivery methods.

Drug testing

lways have your drugs tested before using them. Testing lets you know exactly what the drugs contain and whether they contain too much of certain substances.

You can hand your drugs in at the testing service to have them tested. The drugs often need to be sent to the lab. It usually takes about a week to get the results. You have to call the testing service to receive the results, as drug testing is completely anonymous.

Click here for more information about drug testing and where to have your drugs tested in your area.