LSD(Lysergic acid diethylamide)

LSD(Lysergic acid diethylamide) is the most potent & strongest hallucinogen ever known to man. small Quantity of LSD(25 microgram or 0.000025 g) is enough to cause hallucinations. LSD was first synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1938 from ergotamine, a chemical derived by Arthur Stoll from ergot, agrain fungus that typically grows on rye. It was synthesized by researchers seeking to create new medicine & first developed in lab of switzerland.
Hofmann discovered the psychedelic properties of LSD in 1943. It was introduced commercially in 1947 for various psychiatric uses, and it quickly became a therapeutic agent that appeared to show great promise. LSD is very potent, with 20–30 µg (micrograms) being the threshold dose.

                                                                                   Albert Hofmann

In the 1950s, officials at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) thought the drug might be applicable to mind control and chemical warfare, the agency's MKULTRA research program propagated the drug among young servicemen and students. The subsequent recreational use of the drug by youth culture in the Western world during the 1960s led to a political firestorm that resulted in its prohibition. Currently, a number of organizations—including the Beckley Foundation, MAPS, Heffter Research Institute and the Albert Hofmann Foundation—exist to fund, encourage and coordinate research into the medicinal and spiritual uses of LSD and related psychedelics.]New clinical LSD experiments in humans started in 2009 for the first time in 35 years.

Chemical & Physical Properties of LSD

LSD is tasteless, colourless, odourless & difficult to detect in body because it quickly metabolise in body due to small quantity. User experience hallucinations for 12 hours or so on.

Chemical Formula: C20H25N3O
Molecular weight: 323.43 g/mol
Synonyms: D-lysergic acid diethyl amide
                   N,N- diethyl- D- lysergamide

Melting point: 80–85 °C (176–185 °F)

(6aR,9R)-N,N-diethyl-7-methyl-4,6,6a,7,8,9-hexahydro indolo-[4,3-fg]quinoline-9-carboxamide

Effects of LSD on Human Body:

Side Effects of LSD on human body are still unknown & research is going on. Some of most common effects are:

  • First effect after 30-90 min of intake- pupils become dilated, body temperature decrease or increase, blood pressure & heart rate either increase or decrease.
  • Sweating or chills.
  • Often experience loss of appetite,wakefulness, sleepyness, dry mouth & tremors.numbness, goose bumps, nausea, numbness, weakness, hypothermia or hyperthermia, elevated blood sugar, jaw clenching, perspiration, saliva production, mucus production, sleeplessness, hyperreflexia,
  • Some users, including Albert Hofmann, report a strong metallic taste for the duration of the effects.
  • Visual changes or audio-visual hallucinations are most common.
  • physical reactions to LSD are highly variable and nonspecific, some of which may be secondary to the psychological effects of LSD
  • LSD user can become fixated on the intensity of certain colours.
  • Extreme changes in mood & intense terror.
  • Others experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death.

The worst part is LSD user is unable to tell which sensations are created by the drug & which are part of reality . If a person intake LSD once then he will feel the urge to keep taking more of drug in order to re-experience the same sensation and get use to it, but LSD is not considered to be addictive drug  by the medical community because Rapid tolerance build-up prevents regular use and cross-tolerance has been demonstrated between LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. This tolerance diminishes after a few days after cessation of use and is probably caused by downregulation of 5-HT2Areceptors in the brain.

LSD users may manifest relatively long-lasting psychosis or severe depression
Because LSD accumulates in the body, users develop a tolerance for the drug. In other words, some repeat users have to take it in increasingly higher doses to achieve a “high.” This increases the physical effects and also the risk of a scary hallucinations that could cause psychosis( example: schizophrenia etc)

“At the age of 16 I was introduced to a drug that I abused for over three years—LSD. What I was unaware of was the fact that LSD is the most potent hallucinogen known to man.
“The drug came on a small piece of paper no bigger than my index finger, called a blotter. Fifteen minutes after putting the paper on my tongue my entire body got hot and I began to sweat.
“Some other reactions that I experienced while on the drug included dilated pupils, nausea and ‘goose bumps.’ While high on LSD I felt like there was a huge distortion both in my mind and body. The visual changes as well as the extreme changes in mood were like some strange scary trip—one in which I felt like I had no control over my mind and body.”

LSD as a medicine

LSD has been used in psychiatry for its perceived therapeutic value, in the treatment of alcoholism, pain and cluster headache relief, for spiritual purposes, and to enhance creativity. However, government organizations like the United States Drug Enforcement Administration maintain that LSD "produces no aphrodisiac effects, does not increase creativity, has no lasting positive effect in treating alcoholics or criminals, does not produce a 'model psychosis', and does not generate immediate personality change."


Psychedelic therapy

In the 1950s and 1960s LSD was used in psychiatry to enhance psychotherapy known as psychedelic therapy. Some psychiatrists believed LSD was especially useful at helping patients to "unblock" repressed subconscious material through other psychotherapeutic methods, and also for treating alcoholism. One study concluded, "The root of the therapeutic value of the LSD experience is its potential for producing self-acceptance and self-surrender," presumably by forcing the user to face issues and problems in that individual's psyche.
In December 1968, a survey was made of all 74 UK doctors who had used LSD in humans; 73 replied, 1 had moved overseas and was unavailable. The majority of UK doctors with clinical experience with LSD felt that LSD was effective and had acceptable safety:
  • 56% (41) continued with clinical use of LSD
  • 15% (11) had stopped because of retirement or other extraneous reasons
  • 12% (9) had stopped because they found LSD ineffective
  • 10% (7) had stopped for unspecified reasons
  • 7% (5) had stopped because they felt LSD was too dangerous

End-of-life anxiety
Since 2008 there has been ongoing research in Switzerland into using LSD to alleviate anxiety for terminally ill cancer patients coping with their impending deaths. Preliminary results from the study are promising, and no negative effects have been reported.

Alcoholism treatment

Some studies in the 1960s that used LSD to treat alcoholism reduced levels of alcohol misuse in almost 60% of those treated, an effect which lasted six months but disappeared after a year. A 1998 review was inconclusive. However, a 2012 meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials found evidence that a single dose of LSD in conjunction with various alcoholism treatment programs was associated with a decrease in alcohol abuse, lasting for several months.

Pain management

LSD was studied in the 1960s by Eric Kast for pain management as an analgesic for serious and chronic suffer caused by cancer or other major trauma. Even at low (sub-psychedelic) dosages, it was found to be at least as effective as traditional opiates, while being much longer lasting in pain reduction (lasting as long as a week after peak effects had subsided). Kast attributed this effect to a decrease in anxiety; that is to say that patients were not experiencing less pain, but rather were less distressed by the pain they experienced. This reported effect is being tested (though not using LSD) in an ongoing (as of 2006) study of the effects of psilocybin anxiety in terminal cancer patients.

Cluster headaches
LSD has been used as a treatment for cluster headaches, an uncommon but extremely painful disorder. Researcher Peter Goadsby describes the headaches as "worse than natural childbirth or even amputation without anesthetic." Although the phenomenon has not been formally investigated, case reports indicate that LSD and psilocybin can reduce cluster pain and also interrupt the cluster-headache cycle, preventing future headaches from occurring. Currently existing treatments include various ergolines, among other chemicals, so LSD's efficacy may not be surprising. A dose-response study testing the effectiveness of both LSD and psilocybin was planned at McLean Hospital, although the current status of this project is unclear. A 2006 study by McLean researchers interviewed 53 cluster-headache sufferers who treated themselves with either LSD or psilocybin, finding that a majority of the users of either drug reported beneficial effects. Unlike use of LSD or MDMA in psychotherapy, this research involves non-psychological effects and often sub-psychedelic dosages.


LSD is considered an entheogen because it can catalyze intense spiritual experiences, during which users may feel they have come into contact with a greater spiritual or cosmic order. Users claim to experience lucid sensations where they have "out of body" experiences. Some users report insights into the way the mind works, and some experience permanent shifts in their life perspective. LSD also allows users to view their life from an introspective point of view. Some users report using introspection to resolve unresolved or negative feelings towards an individual or incident that occurred in the past. Some users consider LSD a religious sacrament, or a powerful tool for access to the divine. Stanislav Grof has written that religious and mystical experiences observed during LSD sessions appear to be phenomenologically indistinguishable from similar descriptions in the sacred scriptures of the great religions of the world and the secret mystical texts of ancient civilizations.


In the 1950s and 1960s, psychiatrists like Oscar Janiger explored the potential effect of LSD on creativity. Experimental studies attempted to measure the effect of LSD on creative activity and aesthetic appreciation. Seventy professional artists were asked to draw two pictures of a Hopi Indian kachina doll, one before ingesting LSD and one after.

-Article Written by Devesh Chaudhari

Source & References:


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