Psychoactive – meanings and definitions

Psychoactive refers to substances or drugs that affect how our brain works and cause changes in awareness, perception, moods, thoughts, consciousness, behavior, or feelings.

When speaking of psychoactive (or psychotropic) substances, we refer not only to things like nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, or marijuana but also to specific pain-reducing medicines.

Illegal drugs and substances such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, and LSD also fall in the category of psychoactive substances.

So psychoactive drugs are substances that affect our mental processes when we take them into our system. They influence or affect our cognition.

Psychoactive substances do not necessarily imply that they are dependency-related, but usually, the term is related to substance abuse or drug use.

We can distinguish four main groups of psychoactive substances or drugs, narcotics (including opioids and cannabis), hallucinogens, stimulants, and depressants.

Psychoactive or psychotropic applies to chemical substances that influence or change our mental state as they affecting the way our nervous system and brain work. Using these substances leads to intoxication and this is usually the main reason why people take them.

So Psychoactive Substances are drugs that, when taken into our system, can result in distorted perceptions and mood changes.

Synonyms for “Psychoactive” (adjective, noun) and “Psychoactive Substance” (noun)

  • consciousness-altering drug
  • consciousness-expanding
  • crazy
  • designer drug
  • dronabinol
  • drug
  • euphoriant
  • experimental
  • freaky
  • hallucinatory
  • hallucinogen
  • hallucinogenic
  • hallucinogenic drug
  • psychotropic
  • kaleidoscopic
  • mind-altering drug
  • mind-bending
  • psychedelic drug
  • mind-blowing
  • mind-expanding
  • mind-changing
  • multicolored
  • psychoactive drug
  • psychotomimetic
  • tetrahydrocannabinol
  • THC
  • trippy
  • wild


  • dysphoric
  • generic drug
  • antagonist
  • brand-name drug
  • synergist