Overload

LSD

Category: Actions

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Carla Mascaro

I originally placed LSD  within the medicines category.  It is a pharmaceutical and has been used quite extensively by psychiatrists and psychotherapists.  Again, we have this tricky definition to contend with - when is a pharmaceutical a drug and when is it not?

But after having collected a significant number of observations, it became clear that the use of LSD, in the right setting, with help and using LSD manufactured under safe conditions so that it is 'pure', has provided people with spiritual experiences they would have received no other way.  The egotistical, the vastly intellectual, the memory and fact freak, the materialist, the people with the 'big I am' problems have no earthly chance of ever seeing anything via gentler ways.  If you deem yourself 'clever', then LSD may be your only entry into the spirit world.  It is not safe, but it appears to be sure.  So it is now an 'action' on the site. 

LSD-25 is the laboratory nickname given to the formidably titled indole d-lysergic acid-diethylamide tartrate 25.  Also called Delysid.  It is a  semisynthetic  psychedelic drug of the ergoline family.  The 25 in the name indicates that it was the 25th in a series of analogous compounds synthesised in the Sandoz laboratories.  Although occasionally called lysergic acid, this is incorrect, as this is actually the name of an antecedent compound which has no psychotomimetic properties.  A long series of lysergic acid derivatives were made, some are completely inactive and none matches LSD for potency.  It shares some of its chemical structure with other so called psychedelics such as psilocybin and DMT.

LSD is sensitive to oxygen, ultraviolet light, and chlorine, especially in solution.  There is no point attempting to dissolve LSD in water.  Chlorine destroys LSD molecules on contact; even though chlorinated tap water contains only a slight amount of chlorine, the small quantity of compound typical to an LSD solution will likely be eliminated when dissolved in tap water.  LSD’s potency, however, may last for years if it is stored away from light and moisture at low temperature.

A blotter

Because the dose is so very key from the safety point of view and doses are tiny,  some way is needed of easing their administration, thus the doses are often sold in little press packs called in slang terminology ‘blotters’ on a substrate such as absorbent blotter paper, or alternatively on a sugar cube, or in gelatin.  In pure form LSD is a colourless, odorless, and mildly bitter solid.

Background

LSD is classified as a ‘psychedelic’.  As long ago as the 1960s Dr Humphry Osmond wrote the following about psychedelics.......

Carla Mascaro

A review of the clinical effects of psychomimetic agents – Dr Humphry Osmond

Our increasingly excellent physical health, with the steady elimination of both acute and chronic infections, ..... our diet, rich in protein and especially B complex vitamins …. – all of these, combined with a society whose whole emphasis is on material possession in a brightly lit and brilliantly coloured synthetic world, will make spontaneous experiences of the sort I have mentioned even fewer.  As we grow healthier and healthier, every millimeter that we budge from an allotted norm will be checked.
I believe the psychedelics provide a chance, perhaps a slender one, for homo faber, the cunning ruthless, fool hardy, pleasure greedy toolmaker to merge into that other creature whose presence we have so rashly presumed, homo sapiens, the wise, the understanding, the compassionate, in whose fourfold vision art, politics, science and religion are one.  Surely we must seize that chance

In some literature, LSD is also referred to as an 'ego buster'.

Ergot

LSD is derived from ergot.   Ergot itself contains no lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) but instead contains ergotamine, which is used to synthesize lysergic acid LSA,  an analog of and precursor for synthesis of LSD. Ergot is, in turn, derived from a black fungus - the Ergot or ergot fungi - a group of fungi of the genus Claviceps that grows on rye and related plants.  It contains alkaloids that can cause ‘ergotism’ in humans and other mammals who consume grains contaminated with its fruiting structure.

Lysergic acid

Ergot’s long history of medicinal use led to attempts to characterize its activity chemically. This began in 1907 with the isolation by G. Barger and F. H. Carrin of ergotoxine, so-named since it appeared to exhibit more of the toxicity of ergot than its therapeutic qualities.
With the isolation of ergotamine in 1918 by A. Stoll came the first therapeutic use of isolated ergoline alkaloids.  With the determination of the basic chemical structure of the ergot alkaloids in the early 1930s, an era of intensive exploration of synthetic derivatives began.
The ergot sclerotium contains high concentrations (up to 2% of dry mass) of the alkaloid ergotamine.  It also contains other alkaloids of the ergoline group that are biosynthesized by the fungus.  Ergot sclerotia naturally contain some amounts of lysergic acid.  In effect therefore, lysergic acid is a chemically synthesised derivative of ergot.

These days, Lysergic acid is made by alkaline hydrolysis of lysergamides like ergotamine, or from ergine (lysergic acid amide, LSA), a compound that is found in Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor) and Hawaiian baby woodrose (Argyreia nervosa) seeds.  There is also LSA in Rivea corymbosa.  

LSA has a vasoconstricting effect meaning that anyone with a bad heart or atherosclerosis risks death from consuming LSA containing plants or substances.  If blood is restricted going to the brain, hallucinations will result, but so will brain damage.  These two facts are why LSA is a Controlled substance.

Discovery

 

The history of the discovery of LSD can be found in the entry for Dr Albert Hoffman.

Legal then illegal

LSD was heavily investigated initially for its properties, during which time its use was legal.  It was investigated for psychiatric and medical purposes as well as more unpleasant uses.  The CIA spent a great deal of time experimenting with the drug on ‘volunteers’.
In 1963 the Sandoz patents expired on LSD and in the same year, the US Food and Drug Administration classified LSD as an ‘Investigational New Drug’, which meant new restrictions on medical and scientific use.
Around this time several people, including, Timothy Leary, and Al Hubbard, began to advocate the consumption of LSD as an aid to psychotherapy. As a consequence, LSD also became central to the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. At this time LSD was used in psychiatry for its perceived therapeutic value, in the treatment of alcoholism, pain and cluster headache relief, and to enhance creativity. Some psychiatrists believed LSD was especially useful at helping patients to "unblock" repressed subconscious material "The root of the therapeutic value of the LSD experience is its potential for producing self-acceptance and self-surrender," [by forcing the user to face issues and problems in that individual's psyche].

Misuse of LSD, however, produced a backlash and on October 24, 1968, possession of LSD was made illegal in the United States. The last FDA approved study of LSD in patients, ended in 1980, while a study in healthy volunteers was made in the late 1980s. Legally approved and regulated psychiatric use of LSD continued in Switzerland until 1993.   As of 2014:

The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (adopted in 1971) requires its parties to prohibit LSD. Hence, it is illegal in all parties to the convention, which includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe. However, enforcement of extant laws varies from country to country. Medical and scientific research with LSD in humans is permitted under the 1971 UN Convention

 

Street sales

Meyler’s side effects of psychiatric drugs
A significant problem in street purchase is the uncertain quality and likely impurity of the material obtained

Having created a demand, the illegalisation of LSD simply moved sales of the drug onto the streets and into clubs and bars.  The illegal status of LSD means that the drug bought in the street can be impure or a mixture with other unidentified drugs or not LSD at all.  This has led to hospital admissions and deaths.

Prohibit a substance which was once freely available, legal and had known pleasurable effects and since the market has been created and will continue, it will be satisfied by whoever is able to manufacture the substance in whatever conditions they have available and under no controls.  And because there is money to be made, and the activity is criminal it will attract the criminal fraternity, leading to violence and street battles for sales territory

Effects

 LSD is experienced in stages.

Initial onset

At first there is a gradual onset of physical symptoms, beginning anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours after the physician or user administers LSD by injection or orally. 

 

If the gap between sessions is not kept at several days [or preferably weeks!] a form of tolerance develops,  but as long as a large time interval is kept between administrations, the time taken for onset  is largely in relation to the unconscious resistance by the person to the drug. 

Next stage

 

Once the drug starts to take effect, the next stage sets in.  There is the possibility at this intermediate stage for there to be nausea.  It is worth adding however, that the nausea can be a psychological reaction, not a physiological reaction and is a form of 'purge' physically and mentally:

Exploring Inner Space – Jane Dunlap
The violent nausea recurred and I felt that a great river of vomitus the size of the amazon was gushing through my mouth.  It contained the flushings of every toilet of an entire metropolis.  Its revolting taste and odour overpowered me and the retchings seemed to tear my stomach apart.  Yet I could not vomit enough or in great enough volume

 According to Stoll and others, the first noticeable changes to appear in the individual under LSD are physiological ones.  Pupil dilation, a deepening and slowing of respiration, tremors, and ataxia occurred regularly in their observations.  These symptoms were occasionally accompanied by dizziness, headaches and sweating. 

With the exception of pupil dilation and ataxia, however, the physiological changes which occur are not as consistent as stated here.  Some people experience an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate, some a decrease.  Respiratory changes can be an increase, a decrease or breathing may remain constant .  The body temperature can range from feeling cold with actual chills to feelings of warmth accompanied by fever, or no change at all.  Visual images can be blurred, dimmed or heightened.  In one case history, vision was so heightened the person was able to read a newspaper at 30 feet.

Body sensations are described as ranging from a tingling of the skin to intense pain in which the individual's entire being is centred on the painful organ, or it can product a loss of sensation in various sections of the body to feelings of being completely outside the body with no sensation at all.

There is thus no such thing as a typical LSD experience or typical LSD symptoms, about the only thing one can say is that consistently, LSD does not act like an anaesthetic, the person remains conscious throughout, alert, and relatively compos mentis.

The stage for visions

 

After the initial effects of discomfort, the real effects of the drug begin to take place and last for around about 6 hours.   An LSD session can last for well over 8 hours in total.   During this time, if the person keeps their eyes closed, this stage is marked by vivid visions.  If, on the other hand, he keeps his eyes open and looks around him, the walls 'breathe', colours in paintings become very rich and paintings can come alive, textures become accentuated, shapes change, faces morph between the person themselves and the faces of people the person knows, or may morph into carton characters or archetypes.  There is high emotion.  The overall effects actually last about 12 hours but the most intense occur in the first 7 or 8 hours.

The tailing off period

Even after the session is over , you need to recognise that the effects of the drug can last for some time …… in some people it can lead to permanent psychosis.

Long term effects

 

Unlike many of the drugs that give you spiritual experience, LSD is not a sedative or a hypnotic and as such you are far more able to understand [if this is the right word] or at least take in what is happening and benefit and learn from it.
What marks out LSD seems to be that it if the LSD was pure and the dose controlled and low, it leaves some people with a lasting positive legacy – similar in some people to that obtained in near death experiences or other equally profound experiences [those from profound love making for example].
The sensitivity, the empathy, the heightened emotions all stay. 
Overall there seems to be a softening of character, and a move towards a more artistic and creative self, but it does not have to mean you lose your ability to reason or invent, all it means is that you have probably become a more balanced person!!

If the LSD was not pure, or you overdose or overuse the drug, it leads to brain damage.

Method

 

The following is not advice, it is for information and is from available literature.  I have no direct knowledge of LSD as I have never taken drugs.

Suitability - According to the research I have been able to find, LSD is only suited to certain people - in simplistic terms those of a 'left brain' disposition.  In effect, people who are of high intellect but low empathy, compassion, creativity, imagination or emotion.  'Right brained' people and similar sensitives, can be permanently damaged by LSD and become psychotic.  More details are provided in the science section - follow the LINK

Administration - LSD is typically delivered orally.  In its liquid form, it may also be administered by intramuscular or intravenous injection.

Exploring Inner Space – Jane Dunlap
I was usually comfortable when lying down but weak and shaky if I attempted to rise.  When LSD is taken by mouth, it leaves an unpleasant chemical taste, somewhat alleviated by chewing gum.  Hunger pangs, exaggerated by the LSD, sometimes become severely painful.  Cumulatively the feelings are sufficiently unpleasant to assure that the drug would not be worth taking unless the rewards were great

Dangerous combinations - LSD should generally be the only drug taken.  The following with LSD are considered dangerous.

Do not take LSD if you are on any form of antidepressants, especially the tricyclic antidepressants.  Do not take LSD if you are taking lithium salts [reports have attributed seizures and one death to the combination of LSD with lithium].  MAOIs are also reported to reduce the effects of LSD and there is a danger of overdosing.

Dose - LSD has remarkable clinical properties.  Though most drugs are prescribed in milligrams, or thousandths of a gram, LSD-25 is measured in micrograms, or 'gammas', which are millionths of a gram.  As little as 10 to 20 gammas may produce physiological reactions in human beings and 50 to 75 gammas will usually produce psychological reactions such as visual images both hallucinations and visions.

The nature of the LSD experience – Dr James Terrill
The dosages have ranged from 50 to 200 micrograms, with the most frequent dosage being 100 micrograms....

Tolerance - Tolerance can build up.  This can indicate brain damage from overdose.  It is usually impossible to take LSD over successive days, without having to push the dose to dangerous levels……………

Isabel H, Miner EJ, Logan, CR. - Psychopharmacologia 1959;1:109-16
Psychedelics such as LSD-25 and psilocybin-containing mushrooms demonstrate very rapid tachyphylaxis. In other words, one may be unable to 'trip' two days in a row. Some people ….. may not be able to negate tachyphylaxis at all until a period of several days has gone by

or even longer. I think a real warning needs to be issued here about what you are affecting – this is your higher spirit you are calling and you run the real risk of permanently damaging or losing access to your higher spirit – a situation that could lead to despair of monumental proportions.  DO NOT MESS WITH THIS DRUG, treat it with respect and leave weeks rather than days between use, treat every session as a sacred act.

Dr Robert S Davidson - tolerance to LSD builds up rapidly and it does not consistently result in a pleasant experience

 

 Antidotes - Chlorpromazine is marketed in the United States as Thorazine and elsewhere as Largactil.  Thorazine has also been used by some LSD users to reduce the effects of a so-called "bad-trip." This use was noted by Albert Hoffman in his book LSD, My Problem Child: "The mental effects of Delysid can be rapidly reversed by the i.m. administration of 50 mg chlorpromazine." Some LSD users also use the drug to "shut their head off" in order to sleep during the tail effects of a trip. Thorazine when used for sleep under these circumstances reduces the racing thoughts attributed to LSD use, which is similar to the effects Thorazine holds over manic thoughts.

A Psychedelic Experience – Alan Watts
Elkes found that both chlorpromazine and sodium amytal antagonised LSD

Letting go - One factor above many others that appears to be key to success with using LSD and that is that you have to let go – let the drug take control.  If you don't, it will either not work or you will have a very very hard time fighting a battle with it.  You – your will, your ego or whatever you like to call it – your current personality is otherwise in battle with the composer and the composer will win, but in a way that may prove utterly traumatic for you.  Having chosen this route, having agreed to take the drug, it is as if there is now an unwritten agreement that you are now in the figurative hands of your composer.  But for someone with a strong will and who likes to be in control – either the logical soul or the control freak, then the battle can provide real terror.....

The nature of the LSD experience – Dr James Terrill
If the subject is very concerned about maintaining control or fighting the effects of the drug, the experiences can be frightening sometimes terrifying

 Attempting other activities - Despite the fact that some people believe they have become geniuses on taking LSD, future leaders of the country, saints and so on, the evidence seems to point to the fact, the person is better avoiding doing anything which requires even half a brain

The Beyond within – Dr Sidney Cohen
Intellectual functioning as measured by the ability to perform well on intelligence tests is worsened.  Every investigator, including myself, found that under LSD, abstract reasoning, recall and arithmetical ability were impaired.  In view of the subjects’ frequent comment that thinking processes were accelerated, the reduced IQ scores seemed paradoxical.  It should be remembered, however, that motivation to perform and attention to the task are important factors in test performances.  Both were markedly reduced in all our subjects.

'Right brain' activities, observing/perceiving, painting, music etc, however, improve.

How it works

Physically

Some scientific information on how it is thought LSD works physically can be found in the science section- LSD-25.

Functionally

Functionally LSD appears to mount a direct attack on the ego, but more importantly it also stimulates the composer - the 'dream making' function directly . 

References and further reading

 

The photos on this page are by Carla Mascaro.  Carla was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She obtained a degree in anthropology from the Catholic University of Campinas in 1984 and in Journalism at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo in 1987.  She currently lives in Italy.  Carla is a photo-journalist but also dedicated to photography as an art form. Her aim is to produce images that cover the full spectrum from semi-realistic up to almost surreal.  She can be contacted via this link.

Website links

The EROWID entry for LSD.     

Other references 

-        Hofmann, Albert. LSD My Problem Child: Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism and Science (1983)

-        Grof, Stanislav. LSD Psychotherapy. (April 10, 2001)

-        Marks, John. The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control (1979

-        Roberts, Andy. Albion Dreaming: A Popular History of LSD in Britain (2008), Marshall Cavendish,U.K,

-        Stevens, Jay. Storming Heaven: LSD And The American Dream (1998)

Nina Graboi – Four score and LSD
The room is in darkness except for candles on the small shrine.  I narrow my eyes.  The flame is a long narrow strip that throws sparks which seem to dance to the sound of Iasos’s Elixir.  Today is my eightieth birthday, I have taken LSD to celebrate

 

Observations

 

The following observations include quite a number from a book by Dr Robert Masters and Dr Jean Houston

Masters and Houston were two psychotherapists/psychoanalysts who used drugs, principally LSD, in order to evoke buried memories or enable a person to understand themselves. 

They recorded some of the results in  The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience  from which I have extracted a few pertinent  observations.

 

Related observations