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.
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"
3) "LSD Information"
(1995) from internet newsgroup: alt.drugs.psychedelics
5) "LSD: A total Study"
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)