A narcotic is traditionally a term for a drug with psychoactive properties that has a sedative effect, reduces pain, and dulls the senses. Narcotic is most commonly used to refer to opiates like heroin, morphine, and other opiate based drugs.

The term narcotic is also used in a legal context to mean a psychoactive substance that is prohibited or restricted by the government.

For example, marijuana and LSD are not narcotics in the traditional sense but are classified as such by some states.

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History of Psychology
History of Psychology