Different Types of Abused Substances

According to the World Drug Campaign, there are six different kinds of abused substances: cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, heroin and methamphetamines. It is important to have a basic understanding of these drugs, especially if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse.

Each drug comes with its own specific set of symptoms and addictive properties. While each user may be having different experiences, a change in behavior is the most common way to tell if someone is struggling with substance abuse. By being able to identify these characteristics, you might be able to help your loved ones get the substance abuse treatment that they need.


Marijuana is what cannabis most commonly referred to. This particular drug is usually smoked, but it can be taken in multiple forms. Side effects of this drug are relaxation and heightened senses. Marijuana has become extremely popular in recent years, with online retailers for the product surfacing in high number. There are also cannabis consulting companies making the sale of it even more mainstream. However, it is important to not that if too much cannabis is consumed, the user can become paranoid or psychologically addicted.


Coming in the form of a white powder, cocaine can be a powerful stimulant. Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed with other chemicals, in order to form small, rock-like pieces.

Usually cocaine is snorted, while crack is smoked. These drugs can put users into a state of euphoria, but only for a short period of time, as user’s behavior can become random and bizarre. Long-term users of these drugs can suffer serious health risks.


Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug and a stimulant. This drug is comprised of several substances, and is usually presented in the form of a tablet that is taken orally, though it can vary in shape and size. The use of this drug causes the user to have heightened empathy levels, and is often used at parties to increase the users’ experience. Like cocaine, ecstasy can cause major health issues if too much is consumed.


Most often referring to LSD, hallucinogens are a semi-synthetic drug made from acid. This drug is usually swallowed and can allow the user to experience hallucinogenic thoughts. Some users have terrifying experiences, thus leading to harmful, psychological effects.


Highly addictive, heroin is a drug that has the painkiller-like attributes. Generally, this drug is injected, but it can be taken in a number of ways. Users can either experience euphoria or feelings of distress. Because the substance is so addictive, users are likely to suffer long-term health issues associated with the drug.


This is also known as crank or crystal meth. Methamphetamine can come in the form of a powder or as crystals, which can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. The use of the drug can cause a state of euphoria as well, but can also give users a rush of energy. Due to this rush, the heart rate is elevated and can cause major, medical complications.

Though this list consists of several popular abused substances, there are other drugs that can become addictive, such as inhalants and prescription medications. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, you can seek therapy to start your path to recovery.