Explanations on the Three Most
Misunderstood Letters in the History of Science
Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated "LSD", is a derivative of lysergic acid which occurs in the alkaloids (nitrogen compounds) of ergot (permanent form of the ergot fungus) growing on cereals and grasses. Already in the microgram (the millionth part of a gram) area the colorless LSD crystals have a mind-altering effect. The threshold dose for slight bodily and weak psychic effects for most people is under 25 microgram; at techno parties the doses usually are 50 to 150 microgram; during the hippie area 300 microgram were prefered; within therapeutical frameworks up to 850 microgram are used. (A fatal LSD dosis for humans is not known.) On the black market LSD mostly is sold in the form of paper trips ("blotter acid" or "tickets"), or as micro tablets containing between 50 and 250 microgramm of the active substance.
After taking, LSD is absorbed by the body within one hour. Two hours later the LSD level in the blood – and with it its effect – is at a maximum. Generally the effect lasts about eight to twelve hours. Especially in the initial stage respiration, pulse rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar level can be heightened; sometimes dizziness and a dazed feeling occur. These bodily side effects are of a temporal nature, however, they rarely have a negative effect.
Like mescaline and psilocybine LSD belongs to the psychedelic (literally: "soul-opening") drugs. It differs from other psychoactive substances in many ways: even when used repeatedly over an extended period of time it is neither addictive, nor does it lead to any organic harm. The high it triggers is being experienced consciously. With it similar states may occur as they are experienced in meditative contemplation: the feeling of effusive joy, profound inner freedom, and all-embracing love – the being one with all creation and the world, the being free from limitations, being aware of another reality and the presence of God.
Those experienced with LSD also report that memories of certain events become much clearer, and the imagination extremely vivid; creativitiy and the capability to associate intensifies. For many people the experience with LSD is so profound and confrontative that any avoidance or suppression are almost impossible. By it, a constructive and creative potential is being released which can transform a neurotic, psychotic, or addictive behavior, and make a permanent connection with natural life energy possible.
An LSD trip doesn’t always turn out pleasantly, however. Risks are
- acute panic reactions, triggered by particularly intense alterations of perception, by the re-experiencing of suppressed traumatic experiences, or by working oneself up into a spiritual crisis.
- "flashbacks": about 15% of LSD users report that at least once drug effects return, even without taking LSD again.
- "being stuck": with psychologically unstable ("ego-weak" persons, for instance), alterations of perception, unpleasant hallucinations, and other mental disorders might occur, which can last for quite some time.
- psychological crises: now and then temporary depressions, or paranoid and schizophrenic behavior patterns occurred with people after having ingested psychedelica. Whether these present a purely pharmocological effect of hallucinogenic drugs is doubtful, however. Possibly the consumption of drugs induced the outbreak of a crisis which, sooner or later, would have become manifest anyway.
Whether LSD has such negative effects depends decisively on the personality structure of the person in question, of his or her predominant and momentary state of mind, and the environment. When all of these conditions are favorable there are (or such is the opinion of experienced users, therapeuts, and researchers) hardly any risks. Apprehensions as far as organic disorders, mutagenicities, and other bodily risks could not be scientifically confirmed.
"With other psychotropic substances like alcohol, nicotine, and opioids," American pharmacologist Robert Julien states in his standard work Drugs and Psychopharmaca, "more concern would be advisable."
(Harald Wiesendanger • Translation: Udo Breger)