What is LSD?
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide or LSD, commonly known as Acid, is one of the most poorly understood drugs in the world. Its effects are so intense, mysterious and unpredictable, hence dangerous. It is a synthetic drug. A more accurate term would be semi-synthetic hallucinogen as it is derived from both natural and synthetic compounds. Unlike marijuana and opium which come from plants, LSD’s main ingredient is Diethylamide.
Diethylamide is part of a group of chemical compounds that are called amides. These types of chemical compounds are used in drugs because of their ability to bond with the molecules in the body, especially with the proteins. In the case of LSD, diethylamide allows LSD to bond with particular molecules of the brain, thus enabling the body to process the drug. The hallucinogenic effects come from lysergic acid that is found in the glory seeds and more commonly in ergot fungus called Clavica Pupurea that grows on rye and other grains.
A Brief History of LSD
LSD was discovered in the 1903s by a young chemist named Albert Hoffman. There was a research on the possible uses of the ergot fungus being conducted at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland. The researchers at the Rockefeller Institute in New York had already isolated the chemical compound that is found in the ergot fungus and named it as lysergic acid. The young chemist, Albert Hoffman at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals began to work with the derivatives of lysergic acid. His objective was to develop a strong stimulant that would act on the human respiratory and circulatory systems to help people with severe breathing troubles. In 1938, Hoffman came up with lysergic acid diethylamide and gave it the lab name, i.e. LSD-25 since it was the 25th compound he had synthesized in his series of experiments.
After experimenting LSD-25 on lab rats, Sandoz researchers concluded that it could not be used on patients with respiratory problems. Though Hoffman stopped his research, he returned to his experimentation with LSD-25 in 1943. In that process, Hoffman was contaminated with the drug probably via absorption of LSD through the skin of his fingertips. Hoffman reported a strange feeling of restlessness and dizziness. He described it as an intoxicated-like condition with a powerful imagination where he went into a dreamlike trance and visualized a play of colors. This effect wore off after 3 hours. To confirm the effects, he took LSD in small amounts a few days later. Again he had the same experience which confirmed his suspicions.
Details on LSD Intake: Orally, Injected or Inhaled
The manufacturing of LSD requires lab equipment and an experienced organic chemist. The actual product is colorless, odorless powder and is water soluble.
It can be consumed in liquid form by dropping directly in the mouth. It is also available in sugar cubes that can be ingested orally and also in small tablets called microdots. One of the commonly used forms of LSD is blotter, i.e. tiny squares of paper soaked in LSD liquid.
Generally, LSD is taken orally. Though it can be inhaled or injected intravenously via a needle, people do not use those methods since it has an incredibly high potency.
Effects of LSD, the Feeling of Fear and Paranoia
After consuming the substance, a person can experience the effects immediately, 30 minutes later or 90 minutes later. The onset and duration of the effects vary from person to person depending on their weight or whether they have an empty stomach or not. Generally, the effects last up to 10 to 12 hours.
Once ingested, LSD gets absorbed rapidly from the stomach and intestines into the bloodstream and then gets distributed throughout the other tissues of the body. According to researchers, it stimulates particular brain cells, hence producing the visual, psychological and sensory effects. Some people have reported feelings of fear and vulnerability or paranoia under its influence.
Whereas some people report sensing extreme euphoria and have serious insights into life and themselves. Several people have gone through hallucinations. Users have reported a perception of colors, smells, sounds, and other sensations. Often when all these sensations get mixed, it results in a phenomenon called Synesthesia. Researchers and users have said that the effects of LSD can last up to several hours, and no one feeling is constant throughout the experience. Users go through rapid mood swings in one single episode of LSD. They may encounter feelings of extreme happiness or severe depression.