LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the major drugs making up the hallucinogen class. LSD was discovered in 1938 and is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains
The substance was first synthesized in 1938 from lysergic acid derivatives. The pharmaceutical company studying it did not realize its potency until 5 years later, however, when a researcher accidentally absorbed a small amount through his hand and felt the powerful effects. This researcher took an LSD trip a few days later, which sparked great interest in the drug.
The first hope for LSD was that it could be used as a powerful psychiatric drug. It was used to try to replicate mental illnesses, as a way to study them. It was also experimented with to help with psychotherapy, to enhance creativity, and later to cure alcoholism. Many researchers jumped on the LSD bandwagon in the 1950′s and 60′s, hoping that this drug could provide breakthroughs in mental health treatment. Many patients were given the drug in experiments, and an estimated 400,000 people were actually prescribed the drug for treatment. However, no real medical use was found.
LSD, commonly referred to as “acid,” is sold on the street in tablets, capsules, and, occasionally, liquid form. It is odourless, colourless, and has a slightly bitter taste and is usually taken by mouth. Often LSD is added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper, and divided into small decorated squares, with each square representing one dose.
The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that the strength of LSD samples obtained currently from illicit sources ranges from 20 to 80 micrograms of LSD per dose. This is considerably less than the levels reported during the 1960s and early 1970s, when the dosage ranged from 100 to 200 micrograms, or higher, per unit.
LSD is not considered an addictive drug–that is, it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine do. However, LSD users may develop tolerance to the drug, meaning that they must consume progressively larger doses of the drug in order to continue to experience the hallucinogenic effects that they seek.
Short term effects of LSD
The effects of this drug are unpredictable.They depend on the amount taken, the user’s personality, mood, and expectations, and the surroundings in which the drug is used. LSD’s effects typically begin within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion and may last as long as 12 hours. Users refer to LSD and other hallucinogenic experiences as “trips” and to the acute adverse experiences as “bad trips.”
Effects on the Body
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
Effects on the brain
- Euphoria or even depression.
- Anxiety or panic attacks.
- Distorted sensory perceptions.
- Fear, anger or even violent behavior.
- Hallucinations in large doses.
LSD Long term effects
LSD is likely to cause a sort of undefinable feeling similar to anticipation or anxiety. There is often a slight feeling of energy in the body, an extra twinkle to lights, or the feeling that things are somehow different than usual. As the effects become stronger, a wide variety of perceptual changes may occur; non-specific mental and physical stimulation, pupil dilation, closed and open eye patterning and visuals, changed thought patterns, feelings of insight, confusion, or paranoia, and quickly changing emotions (happiness, fear, gidiness, anxiety, anger, joy, irritation)
LSD can precipitate strong, temporary changes in an individual’s experience of life and reality. Even in low doses, it is a powerful psychoactive that can be significantly affected by experiences, set and setting. Recent experiences, especially strong ones, can have a substantial effect on a trip. Physically or psychologically unsettling events in the days before an LSD trip can blossom into more serious distress and trauma while tripping.
The substance degrades thinking processes. In tests of alertness, memory, learning, and intelligence a group of marijuana users performed as well as nonusers of marijuana, while a group that had used both marijuana and MDMA did worse. MDMA causes persistent and even permanent organic changes in the brain. Grand mal brain seizures have been attributed to the substance. Brain damage observed in MDMA users is consistent and is related to how much drug has been used (size of dose and frequency with which the drug is taken). Psychological tests verify that persons with such damage have trouble remembering things that are seen and heard, although the brain damage has not been proven to cause the memory difficulty.
A Bad Trip…
At times, users have a frightening, unpleasant or disturbing experience when using LSD – this is known as a ‘bad trip’. This may involve hallucinations which can be emotionally upsetting to extremely uncomfortable physical sensations. During a bad trip, a user may experience exacerbated episodes of the physical effects which can lead to dehydration, shock or even result in paralytic states while the person ins conscious or episodes resembling catatonic states.
A bad trip may depend on the quality of the LSD used or the person’s tolerance to the drug. Mixing LSD with other narcotics or alcohol can also result in a bad trip. Even regular LSD users have bad trips occasionally and there is always the risk of criminal activities being perpetrated by the user or against the user during this period.