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LSD (for Chemistry Class)
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) LSD), a potent hallucinogenic drug, also called a psychedelic, first synthesized from lysergic acid in Switzerland in l038. Lysergic acid is a white odorless drug, a component of the mold of ERGOT. Ergot is a product of the fungus Claviceps purpurea. Th e bio-active ingredients of ergot are all derivatives of lysergic acid. LSD is a semi-synthetic derivative of lysergic acid. Thus LSD is an "ergot" - like substance. The drug evokes dreamlike changes in mood and thought and alters the perception of time and space. It can also create a feeling of lack of self-control and extreme terror. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) also goes by names like: acid, sugar, Blotter, Sugar Cubes, Blue Unicorn, Acid, Cid, Sid, Bart Simpsons, Barrels, Tabs, Blotter, Heaven ly blue, 'L', liquid liquid, Microdots, Mind detergent, Orange cubes, Orange micro, Owsley, Wedding Bells, windowpane, etc. LSD is very potent: the effective dose is measured in micrograms (ug) -- however, the lethal dose is literally thousands of times that, making the drug essentially non-toxic. LSD is non-addictive, and there have been only a few cases of possible overdose where people ingested extremely large amounts of the drug (Alan et al., 1978; Griggs et al,. 1977). LSD can be administered a number of ways, the by pill ; intravenously or intramu scularly. A standard dose with noticeable hallucinogenic effects is about 100-200 ug. The intensity of the trip is proportional to the size of the dose-- it is interesting to note, though, that the duration of the trip seems to stay the same at higher dos es (Freedman, 1984). Physical effects include drowsiness, dizziness, dilated pupils, numbness and tingling, weakness, tremors, and nausea. Transient abnormal thinking induced by LSD, such as a sense of omnipotence or a state of acute paranoia, can result in dangerous behavior. Long-term adverse reactions such as persistent psychosis, prolonged depression, or faulty judgment have also been reported following LSD ingestion but whether these are a direct result of ingestion is difficult to establish. Althoug h LSD is not physiologically addicting, the drug's potent mind-altering effects can lead to chronic use. In the 1960's LSD use was widespread among people who sought to alter and intensify their physical senses; to achieve supposed insights into the unive rse, nature, and themselves; and to intensify emotional connections with others. The drug has been tried as a treatment for infantile autism, for alcoholism, and to accelerate psychotherapy, but no medical use has been established. Non-medical use is ille gal in the U.S. The LSD experience is usually described as a 'trip' because it is like a journey to another place. This experience may be broken up into four different 'phases'. THE ONSET- Thirty minutes to an hour after being taken, colors appear sharper, moving objects leave traces behind them. Repeated patterns may be seen with eyes closed. THE PLATEAU-Over the second hour, the effects become more intense. Patterns are now visible with eyes open. Fantastic visions appear from nowhere-from shapes in smoke, to lines on the palms of the hand. THE PEAK- Time is slowed to a standstill. Trippers may feel they are in a different world. For some this may be profound and mystical, for others it can be very frightening. The sense of reality is altered-people may feel feelings of flight, or feel they can breathe underwater like a fish. THE COMEDOWN- Five or six hours after taking the drug the sensations begin to subside. After eight hours the trip is usually over, however some residual effects may remain until sleep. The psychedelic effects of d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-25 (LSD) were discovered by Dr Albert Hoffman by accident in 1938 when a small amount of the drug soaked through his fingers during a routine synthesis. He experienced an imaginative dream-like stat e for a duration of 2-3 hours (Hoffman,1983). Since then a great deal of work has been done attempting to document the health effects of LSD. In the 1950's and 1960's, LSD was used by psychiatrists for analytic psychotherapy (controversial analysis). It w as thought that the administration of LSD could aid the patient in releasing repressed material. It was also suggested that psychiatrists themselves might develop more insight into the pathology (the study of essential nature of disease) of a diseased min d through self experimentation. During the late sixties LSD became popular as a recreational drug. While it has been suggested that recreational use of the drug has dropped, a recent report on CNN claiming that 4.4 percent of 8th graders have tried it. LSD is considered to be one of, if not the, most potent hallucinogenic drug known. Small doses of LSD (1/2-2ug/kg body weight) result in a number of system wide effects that could be classified into somatic, psychological, cognitive, and perceptual categ ories. These effects can last between five and fourteen hours. Table 1: Effects of LSD  LSD can trigger underlying mental problems and produce delusions, paranoia, and schizophrenia-like states. It can also produce extreme anxiety states or panic attacks, not only while under the influence of the drug, but for some time after. LSD may also result in changes in the personality of the user. These are known as "Bad Trips" Bad trips are not cause of the LSD (proven through scientific testing) that he/she has taken (although it plays a part in exciting a part of your brain not normally used), t he bad trip deals more with the sub-conscious of the used. LSD doesn't create images, what it DOES do is it stimulates a part of your brain that usually isn't used and makes you see or feel things that aren't there. Anytime you stimulate a part of the bra in that isn't used you will have a percentage of error and bad things will happen, so that's what makes LSD so risky to take. There are a few reasons why its so dangerous, one; you don't know how much dosage the dealer gave you; two, you have little or no control over what you see. However if you are with somebody having a bad trip the best thing you can do for him/her is to lead them to a quiet room with no radical things in it and keep that person calm until the trip wears off, this is called "talking t hem down". It may be tedious but it could save the life of a friend or loved one. Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the incidence of paranoia and prevent depletion of the vitamin from the adrenal glands during LSD trips.(Hoffer & Osmonds "The psychedelic s") Central nervous system stimulants can be grouped into three major categories, Psychomotor stimulants (e.g. cocaine, amphetamines, nicotine, caffeine, metaphetamines, dextroamphetamines, methylphenidate, etc); convulsants and respiratory stimulants; and f inally psychotomimetic (hallucinogenic) stimulants, e.g. tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP). Hallucinogens quite simply involve all drugs that cause hallucinations. Also known as psychedelic drugs, psycoto mimetics have in common, the ability to alter sensory perception and normal thought processes. Psycotomimetics produce a mind state similar to psychosis [Psychosis is a major mental disorder in which the personality is very seriously disorganized and cont act with reality is usually impaired] and can evoke wide mood swings, time distortions and a phenomenon known as "syesthesia", where the senses are distorted to the extent that colors, for example, are perceived to be "tasted", and sounds "seen". While th e exact thing that produces the psychic effects of LSD is unknown at this time, it is believed that it's effect centers around it's influence at the serotonin receptor sites in the central nervous system. [Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemical messeng er between nerve cells] that is thought to be involved in sensory perception, sleep inducement, regulation of body temp. and mood control]. Many areas of the brain that are heavily influenced by these seretonin producing neurons are associated with the bo dy's visual and limbic systems. [the limb system is the portion of the brain that is involved with various angles of emotion and behavior] When nerves are activated by nerve impulse they normally release the neurotransmitter serotonin (neurotransmitters a re chemical substances that transmit nerve impulses (messages) from one cell to another in effect allowing them to transmit information throughout the body). Once released, the neurotransmitters cross a gap (known as a synapse) between the adjacent cells and bind with serotonin receptors. It is believed that LSD inhibits the presynaptic receptors of the serotinin producing neurons causing a decrease in the ability of serotonin to inhibit the post synaptic neuron. Also the effect of the LSD is that is allo ws "excitatory" neurotransmitters (normally subdued by the presence of serotonin) to influence the postsynaptic neuron and increases the possibility of uninhibited actions. More and more things are being learned through experaments concerning LSD, and as we conduct more tests the more we can understand about the drug itself, and the people who take it. References: 1) "Ethnopharmacology and Taxonomy of Mexican Psychodysleptic Plants" Jose Luis Diaz M.D. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs Vol. 11 (1-2) Jan-Jun 1979 2) "Erowid LSD vault" Website www.erowid.org/entheogens/lsd/lsd.shtml 3) "LSD Information" Website www.paranoia.com/drugs/psychedelics/lsd/" 4) "FAQ-LSD" (1995) from internet newsgroup: alt.drugs.psychedelics 5) "LSD: A total Study" Sankar (1975) 6) "Pharm Assist: The family guide to health and medicine" Interactive Multimedia CD ROM Software Marketing Corp. 1994 Phoenix AZ 7) "The LSD Story" Monroe, Judy, 1998 Current Health 2 1998 v24 n8 April-May p24(3)

 



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