The latest issue of The Psychologist has a fascinating article on why time can seem distorted after taking drugs.
The consumption of drugs and alcohol has long been known to warp time experiences. In his much-quoted book Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Thomas De Quincey (1821/1971) noted that opium intoxication resulted in distortions to the passage of time to the extent that he ‘Sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night; nay, sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time’.
Similar experiences were also reported by Aldous Huxley (1954) in Doors of Perception after consuming mescaline and LSD. Drug-induced distortions to time are not only experienced by renowned literary figures: a quick search of an internet drug forum will reveal that many drug users report similar experiences to De Quincey and Huxley following marijuana, cocaine and alcohol use.
The article notes that both the social context in which drugs are taken (e.g. drinking on a night out) and the pharmacological effects of the substances can each add their own ingredients to the time stretching or shrinking effects.
Link to article ‘High Time’ in The Psychologist.
(via Mind Hacks)