What Is LSD?
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetically manufactured mood-altering psychedelic drug. It belongs to a class of drugs called hallucinogens.
It is synthesized from naturally occurring lysergic acid, found in fungi like ergot, rye, and similar grains.
The drug’s discovery was purely accidental; however, it was widely used in the 50s for its anesthetic properties. Over the next decade, it became popular as a recreational drug, which people used to achieve a euphoric state, called a “trip.”
LSD is one of the most commonly abused illegal drugs in the United States. The intake of this psychoactive drug causes sensory changes and leads to visual hallucinations and altered spatial perceptions.
LSD drugs, usually taken orally, come in various forms – tablets, liquid, and capsules or gelatin squares. It is a slightly bitter-tasting, odorless, and white or clear substance. The chemical is also added to square blotter paper decorated with colorful images or cartoon characters.
Street names for the LSD drug include:
- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
- Window pane
- Back breaker
- Purple haze
- Blue heaven
- Yellow sunshine
LSD is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which is the topmost criminalized category. Lysergic acid diethylamide or acid is a psychedelic hallucinogen, which, when taken even in small amounts produces changes in time, space, emotions, and perception. Since it is commonly sold on blotting papers, there is no way to assess an average dose independently. Meaning, it is difficult to tell what amount of drug you are taking.
A very small dose, like around 20 micrograms, can also cause severe hallucinations. Besides, each individual reacts differently, which is why some people may take larger doses to experience the same level of euphoria others enjoy. In the process, some people end up having feelings of alienation and dissociation.
LSD Addiction Statistics
People from ages have been experimenting with hallucinogens found in nature, such as magic mushrooms.However, chemicals like LSD that are made in a lab pose more risks of dangers to the users.
LSD mechanism of action is that the drug takes control of the user’s senses, altering their perception of reality. Initially, going to this state of mind will feel much pleasurable, which is why users start craving more of the drug. Each intake is known as a “hit,” and the euphoric stage gets enhanced with prolonged use.
However, consuming heavy doses can lead to a “bad trip,” which can feel like a living hell. People go into a trance-like state where they do not know what they are doing. Reportedly, there were many instances when abusers committed crimes or attempted suicide in the lack of self-awareness.
While an LSD overdose may not be fatal, it still carries severe repercussions. Victims exhibit sudden bursts of anger, sadness, or anxiety. Their psychotic episodes can cause blackouts, seizures, and unpredictable behaviors, and they harm themselves or others.
Some Facts on Usage of LSD Drugs
LSD Has Therapeutic Uses
In the period between the 1950s and 1970s, many studies were conducted to determine the therapeutic benefits of LDS. It was used to evaluate the changes in behaviors and personalities of tens of thousands of patients.
Fully legal research programs analyzed the potential of the drug in treating various psychological illnesses and disorders like anxiety, depression, addiction, and several psychosomatic diseases. With careful monitoring and controlled usage of the drug, the patients were found to achieve relief from psychiatric disorders as well as remission.
For healthy people, too, LSD showed creative enhancement, spiritual and personal development. However, since people started abusing the drug, it was banned in 1970. Still, clinical research continued until the early 2000s.
LSD Produces Unpredictable Side Effects Compared to Other Drugs
LSD may be one of the least toxic drugs, with almost nonexistent risks of fatal overdose. However, risky behaviors can happen. Recent epidemiological studies for drugs used non-medically indicate that LSD and other psychedelics have a lower potential for aggravating mental health disorders or increasing suicidal tendencies among users.
That is not to say that there are zero adverse psychological reactions to LSD. However, the media stories cover sensational news articles that have people misattributing the involvement of LSD or exaggerate the doses taken.
Moreover, with LSD, the impact of the drug is not as predictable as opiates, sedatives, alcohol, or even prescription pills. The side effects and overdose risks are similar for anyone, under any circumstance. LSD adverse consequences vary with the individual’s state of mind, whether the drug is taken among trusted parties, the user’s psychological and physical condition, and many other factors that affect different persons differently.
LSD Induces Acid Flashbacks
Psychedelics are notorious to induce deep realization of subconscious thoughts and feelings. LSD, in particular, can bring forth your repressed memories and resentments towards life circumstances.
The drug can cause visual and spatial hallucinations that make you feel like your deepest, darkest fears have come true. It is true that for LSD use can be heaven for those who can achieve a transcendental euphoric feeling, but for others, a bad trip can be pure hell.
LSD prolonged usage causes Hallucinogen-Induced Persistent Perception Disorder, which may be the result of long-term changes in the brain pathways. About 4% of LSD users experience this disorder. Some parts of the drug experience come alive even after years after trying the drug once. They arrive without warning and impair the user’s normal functioning. Theoretically, experts believe that LSD drug consequences are stored in the body’s tissues when taken even in microdoses. The effects get released over time, making you re-experience altered sensations, delusions, and recollect lost memories.
This situation is called acid flashbacks, caused by LSD when you have triggering predisposition factors, such as:
- Chronic LSD use or any other hallucinogen in the past
- History of bad acid trips
- Use of prescription medication
- Marijuana or alcohol or the other intoxicants uses
- Pre-existing mental illness or personality disorder