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The ABC of LSD: Everything You Need to Know About LSD

  • 24 April 2024
  • Apr 2024
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LSD, also known as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, is a psychoactive substance first discovered in the 1930s. Since then, LSD has had a tumultuous history and found a place in popular culture. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history of LSD, its chemical composition, its effects on the brain, as well as the risks, safety considerations, and potential therapeutic applications of LSD.

History of LSD

The Discovery of LSD

The discovery of LSD occurred in 1938 by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. Originally, Hofmann developed LSD as a potential medication to support respiration. It wasn’t until five years later, in 1943, that he accidentally discovered the powerful psychoactive properties of LSD when he ingested a small amount of the substance and experienced an extraordinary alteration of consciousness.

Albert Hofmann was fascinated by the potential that LSD could offer and began to extensively research its effects. His discovery marked the beginning of an era of psychedelic research and interest in consciousness-expanding substances.

After its discovery, LSD quickly found its way into the pop culture of the 1960s. During this time, LSD was viewed as a means of expanding consciousness and exploring the psyche. It was consumed by many artists, musicians, and writers and was closely associated with the emergence of the hippie movement.

The use of LSD in pop culture led to a plethora of creative works inspired by the psychedelic experience. Musical albums, artworks, and literary pieces reflected the profound effects LSD could have on artistic expression. This cultural movement helped shape society’s perception of LSD and established its role as a symbol of freedom and self-discovery.

What is LSD?

Chemical Composition of LSD

LSD belongs to the group of psychedelic substances and is a synthetic compound derived from lysergic acid. The chemical structure of LSD resembles that of the neurotransmitter serotonin and acts on specific receptors in the brain.

LSD, also known as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, was first synthesized in the 1930s and later rediscovered in the 1940s by Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist. Hofmann found that LSD had strong psychoactive properties, leading to its use in psychiatry and later to its reputation as one of the most well-known psychedelic substances.

LSD, also known as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, is not only known as a standalone substance, but there are also various derivatives modified by additional chemical chains. These derivatives often function as prodrugs, which are converted into LSD in the body. Some of these include:

  1. 1cp-LSD (1-Cyclopropionyl-D-lysergic acid diethylamide)
  2. 1V-LSD (1-valeroyl-lysergic acid diethylamide hemi-L-tartrate)
  3. 1D-LSD (1-(1,2-dimethylcyclobutane-1-carbonyl)-lysergic acid diethylamide hemi-L-tartrate)
  4. 1T-LSD (N1-(thiophene-2-carbonyl)-lysergic acid diethylamide)

They are designed to be converted into pure LSD through metabolic processes. This allows for targeted modification of the pharmacological properties of LSD and opens up possibilities for alternative applications and research purposes.

How does LSD affect the brain?

The exact mechanisms of LSD’s effects on the brain are not fully understood yet, but it is believed to influence perception, thinking, and emotions by affecting serotonin receptors. This leads to the characteristic hallucinogenic effects of LSD.

Studies suggest that LSD also alters connectivity in the brain, particularly communication between different regions. This could explain why LSD experiences are often described as profound and transcendental, as they can induce altered perceptions of time, space, and self.

The Effects of LSD

Physical Effects of LSD

The physical effects of LSD can vary and depend on individual predisposition as well as dosage. Commonly reported physical effects include dilated pupils, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and a rise in body temperature. These bodily reactions occur because LSD affects the central nervous system and enhances the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. It can also lead to an increased need for movement, causing some individuals to experience a strong sense of restlessness during an LSD trip.

Psychological Effects of LSD

The use of LSD can be a fascinating journey into the depths of one’s own mind. Described with affectionate nicknames like “Alice” after the protagonist from “Alice in Wonderland,” LSD has the reputation of influencing self-awareness, time perception, and environmental perception. It is known for its ability to alter reality and expand consciousness, leading to increased creativity, an enhanced sense of connection, and a changed perspective on one’s identity. However, the effects can also evoke strong emotional experiences, ranging from profound euphoria to intense anxiety.

The experience with LSD is strongly influenced by the environment and mental state. A pleasant setting with supportive individuals can contribute to a positive experience, while a restless environment or negative thoughts can lead to a frequently mentioned “bad trip,” characterized by confusion, fear, and disorientation. Therefore, it is important to approach LSD with caution and respect for its potentially profound effects.

After ingestion, the effects of LSD typically begin within 30-60 minutes and can last up to 12 hours. It’s advisable to prepare for this duration by having enough food and other necessities to make the experience comfortable. The intensity of the effects can vary from person to person, depending on individual sensitivity and dosage. It’s also possible for a person’s sensitivity to change over time.

Some individuals experience increased creativity and a sense of connection with their environment under the influence of LSD. It can be helpful to prepare creative materials and playful activities to enrich the experience. It’s often recommended to spend time in nature and connect with the surroundings during the experience, as long as one feels safe. However, it’s important to plan for the end of the trip by having a sober tripsitter for support, ensuring a safe and positive experience. Integration is a crucial part and can take several weeks to months. Many people experience one of the most profound sensory and personality experiences of their lives, even if it occurred several decades ago. Notably, some well-known artists and musicians appear in the Netflix documentary “Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics” and share their experiences. Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, is also rumored to have experienced the profound power of LSD.

Risks and Safety Concerns

Long-Term Risks of LSD

While acute LSD effects typically diminish after a few hours, there are potential long-term risks that may occur with regular and intense use. These include persistent mental disorders such as hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) as well as possible psychological dependence.

It’s important to note that the long-term risks of LSD are not fully understood as research on this topic is limited. Some studies suggest that repeated LSD consumption may increase the risk of mental health issues, particularly in individuals with a family history of mental disorders.

Safety Measures When Handling LSD

If you intend to try LSD, it’s important to observe some basic safety measures. This includes knowing the exact dosage, refraining from consumption in uncontrolled environments, and having a sober and trustworthy individual as a companion.

The common way to ingest LSD is in the form of small paper squares known as blotters or tabs. These are soaked with a liquid containing dissolved LSD. It’s also possible to ingest LSD in pills, capsules, or liquid drops, but these forms are less common than taking blotters.

The typical dosage usually ranges between 50 and 200 micrograms. It’s also possible to take LSD in small amounts. Similar to microdosing with magic mushrooms and truffles, in these cases, 5%-10% of a normal dose is administered. The pioneer in microdosing research mentions a range of up to 30mcg. Anything beyond that cannot be considered a microdose. The benefits are likely similar to microdosing psilocybin: improved concentration and possibly a greater appreciation for life.

Other important safety measures include preparing a comfortable and soothing environment for the LSD experience, having water and snacks available for hydration and energy, and avoiding polydrug use as it can lead to unpredictable and potentially dangerous interactions.

LSD in Medicine

Potential Therapeutic Applications of LSD

Despite the controversies surrounding LSD, there continues to be interest in its potential therapeutic applications. Studies suggest that LSD could be used in psychotherapy to treat mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders.

The use of LSD in medicine has garnered significant interest in recent years as researchers explore the potential benefits of this psychedelic substance. The unique effects of LSD on the brain could help develop new approaches to treating mental illnesses. Some experts believe that LSD-based therapies could offer a promising alternative to conventional treatment methods.

Current Research on LSD in Medicine

Research on LSD and its medical potential is still in its early stages. However, there are various ongoing studies investigating the effects of LSD on the brain and psyche, as well as exploring potential applications in treating mental illnesses.

Recent findings suggest that LSD could not only be used in the treatment of mental disorders but also have potential benefits in addressing substance use disorders. Studies indicate that LSD-based therapies could help reduce cravings for substances such as alcohol or nicotine and counteract withdrawal symptoms.

LSD has several relatives, which include LSA, Yopo, Ololiuqui, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, and Morning Glory seeds

In the realm of psychedelic experiences, there exists a variety of compounds often referred to as the “LSD family.” These include substances like LSA, Yopo, Ololiuqui, Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, and Morning Glory seeds. While each has its own unique properties and traditions, they also share some notable similarities.

What sets them apart from other psychedelics like psilocybin or DMT is their chemical resemblance to LSD. These compounds, structurally similar to LSD, also belong to the ergoline class of alkaloids, to which LSD belongs. This structural similarity results in similar effects on the human brain as LSD. Ergoline alkaloids like LSA and ergine, as well as their derivatives found in plants like Hawaiian Baby Woodrose and Morning Glory, interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. This leads to changes in neurotransmitter activity, influencing perception, thinking, and emotional experiences similarly to LSD. Similarly, Yopo and Ololiuqui contain alkaloids like bufotenin and DMT, which also induce psychoactive effects through the activation of serotonin receptors.

While each of these substances has its specific effects and potentials, they share a fundamental chemical similarity with LSD, making them an intriguing group of compounds that act on the human brain in similar ways.

Another significant commonality among these substances is their origin in nature. They are often extracted from seeds, barks, or other plant parts that have been used by various cultures around the world for centuries for ritual and spiritual purposes. This connection to nature often reflects in the experiences associated with their use, as many report experiencing a deeper sense of connection with the natural world.

Furthermore, they are often intertwined with cultural and spiritual traditions that associate their use with rituals and ceremonies. These rituals serve to emphasize respect for the substance and create a safe and supportive environment for the experience. Similar to LSD, the effects of these substances heavily depend on the user’s environment and mental state, underscoring the importance of mindful and conscious ingestion.

Overall, LSD is a fascinating substance with a rich history and a wide range of effects. There are a lot more anecdotes, studies and important historical happening to tell, that we save up for a next article.
It’s essential to keep in mind the risks and safety aspects and to be aware that LSD and its analoges may not be suitable for everyone. If you wish to learn more about LSD, it’s advisable to gather comprehensive information about the substance.



The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post relies on various sources to provide accurate and reliable information. None of the information contained herein is intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis, and this information should not be construed as medical advice or recommended treatment. We make no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the content. Any liability for damages arising directly or indirectly from the use of this information is excluded. Changes and additions can be made at any time without notice. Please read our disclaimer for further information.

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