Placebos are biochemically inert substances that are harmless in and of themselves. Biochemically, there are no side effects from placebos. However, when study participants take a placebo, believing it to be the real drug, they commonly experience the same side effects as many people experience when actually taking the real drug. This is an example of the power of the mind to make ourselves sick. Of course, if the mind is powerful enough to make us sick, it is also powerful enough to make us well.