“My independence seems to vanish in the haze…” - John Lennon 1940-1980 (Help Lyrics from 1965)
“I believe that with the advent of acid, we discovered a new way to think, and it has to do with piecing together new thoughts in your mind. Why is it that people think it’s so evil? What is it about it that scares people so deeply, even the guy that invented it, what is it? Because they’re afraid that there’s more to reality than they have confronted. That there are doors that they’re afraid to go in, and they don’t want us to go in there either, because if we go in we might learn something that they don’t know. And that makes us a little out of their control.” - Ken Kesey (The Rise and Fall of LSD—1987)
In 1938, one of the most potent hallucinogenic drugs known to man was discovered and labeled lysergic acid diethylamide, shortened to LSD. It has no odor or color, and has very little taste other than a slightly bitter aftertaste. Taking LSD in order to get high is called “tripping” colloquially, although LSD is not considered to be an addictive drug. It is classified a Schedule I drug in the United States, and it is against the law to have, sell, make, or give away LSD without a license provided expressly by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Here are some other useful statistics related to LSD in the United States:
- Nearly 800,000 people admitted to using LSD in 2008, with ages ranging from about twelve to sixty years old.
- One-fifteenth of this number has tried LSD more than once.
- Although LSD is not addictive from a physical standpoint, people can crave the euphoria produced, so it is considered psychologically addictive.
- Many LSD users do not need medicine or rehabilitation to quit using the drug.
- Using LSD can cause flashbacks even years after you quit using it.
- Roughly two-thirds of LSD users claim to have started using the drug to escape the horrors of physical or sexual abuse as a child.
Interesting Information about LSD
Most of us see LSD as a hippie drug that went out with long hair and no bras, but it is interesting to note that this drug is once again gaining popularity, especially among the young people around ages twelve to seventeen. When it was first discovered in 1938, LSD was believed to be a viable treatment for a variety of mental illnesses, although it did not pass the experimental stage. It did not begin to gain popularity as a recreational drug until the 1960s, when people such as Dr. Timothy Leary began to teach about expanding the human consciousness.
It is true that LSD is not detectable in standard urine tests for drugs, but it can be detected through hair follicle testing for up to three days after use. It is present in urine for up to a day, but many standard drug tests do not test for the presence of LSD, focusing instead on drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroine, PCP, and meth. Standard drug tests are those most often used by employers and probation officers in most states, although a few states have transitioned to hair follicle testing for all drug tests.
Note: The term tripping comes from the length of time that a person is completely under the effects of the drug, usually eight to twelve hours. This length of time is consistent with the duration of a road trip, so the word “tripping” referred to the time lapse of the high.
LSD Benefits and Case Studies
Like many recreational drugs, in the beginning LSD was experimented with for medical use and potential benefits for mental problems. Although this idea was discarded completely during the 1970s, scientists today are beginning to study LSD for use as prevention against severe anxiety attacks related to a chronic illness or disease such as cancer. It is also being studied as a means of relieving pain from migraine or cluster headaches, with studies being conducted at the University of Harvard.
An alternative for LSD, BOL is a non-psychedelic drug with many of the same properties and a few of the same ingredients. 2-bromo-LSD is the drug used for most experimentation with LSD, especially for use to alleviate headaches. Other scientists are working to determine whether LSD may help stimulate creativity, even if it has been a while since the individual last used the drug.
Finally, LSD is among the medications and drugs included in clinical trials that determine effective replacements for long-term rehab for those who have not had success in dealing with other kinds of substance addiction. These scientists note that using one drug is sometimes an effective means of eliminating a different one, and as long as the drug’s addictive properties are more acceptable it can be a good choice when all else fails.
There are many side effects associated with an LSD trip, some which can be described as good and others that are definitely bad. They are:
|Feeling of euphoria||Tiredness|
|Escape from reality||Increasing inability to go back to reality|
|Enhanced senses (sight, sound, and touch especially)||Tingling body|
|Increased emotional awareness||Nausea|
|Visual hallucinations||Dilated pupils|
|Feelings of bliss||Higher body temperature|
|Lasting feeling of happiness, even days later||Increased heart rate and blood pressure|
|Flashbacks up to several years later (good trip)||Sweating|
|Does not have long-term effects on the human body||Dry mouth|
|Not physically addictive||Feeling of shakiness|
|Sensory overlap—hearing colors or feeling sounds||Rapid, intense mood shifts|
|Laughter—sometimes uncontrollable||Delusions (such as the ability to fly)|
|Thoughts may obtain deep meanings||Cloudy thoughts|
|Remembrance of memories, especially long-term memories, including those that were previously forgotten||Lasting feelings of fear or nervousness, result of a bad trip, up to several days or weeks later|
|Cannot overdose||Flashbacks up to several years later (bad trip)|
|Psychologically addictive for some people|
|Loss of motor coordination|
|Increased suicidal or homicidal thoughts|