Lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD, is probably the most
widely known and most commonly used hallucinogen in the U.S. On the
street, LSD is known as Acid, Cid, Trips, L, Doses, Vitamin L or Paper.
Probably the best known and most widely used of the psychedelics, LSD in
its base form, is a liquid. By the time it reaches the street, however,
it can take a variety of forms. The liquid is most often applied to
small squares of blotter paper usually decorated with artwork or designs
and perforated. Other forms include pills, gelatin shapes (known as
window pane), liquid and sugar cubes.
Albert Hofmann discovered LSD in 1938 in Basel, Switzerland while
researching blood stimulants. No research on LSD was conducted until
five years later when Hofmann accidentally ingested LSD for the first
time. Between 1943 and 1960, hundreds of academic papers were written on
LSD. Because of its structural similarity to a chemical present in the
brain and the similarity of its effects to certain aspects of psychosis,
LSD was, for a time, used as a research tool to study mental illness.
During the 1950s, the U.S. government conducted experiments on unwitting
participants in an operation code-named Project MK-Ultra.
The drug is believed to have first appeared on the
street in the U.S. in 1963 and by 1966 the mainstream media began
recognizing the widespread use of the LSD. It was also in 1966 that LSD
was made illegal in California, in 1967 the Federal government banned
the substance. Use of the drug waned somewhat after its initial
popularity in the 1960s, but LSD made a comeback in the 1990s.
A typical dose of LSD is between 50 and 150 micrograms. A single dose of
most blotter paper contains somewhere in this range, though this varies
depending on the source and there is no way for the average user to
determine the strength of a piece of blotter other than by word of
mouth. A single drop of liquid can contain a huge amount of LSD,
depending on how it was made, but is generally diluted so that one drop
is a single medium dose.
Sold by the single dose, blotter LSD sells for $2 to $25. Captive
markets such as raves generally produce high prices while in larger
cities and between friends, it is often sold at cheaper prices. Less
common forms of LSD sell for somewhat higher prices ($8-10 for a single
hit), and as with most substances, the price is lower when bought in
bulk. Sheets of 100 hits (blotter) generally range from $1-$2 per hit.
An LSD trip generally lasts from 6-12 hours, depending on the dose. The
effects will begin to be felt 20-30 minutes after ingestion and the
“peak” of the trip occurs about 2 hours after taking the drug.
At the onset of an LSD experience, there is a vague feeling of
anticipation and increased energy as well as an undefined feeling that
something is different.
As the effects gain strength, a general change in sensory perception
occurs. This can include non-specific mental and physical stimulation,
pupil dilation, closed and open eye patterning and hallucinations,
changed thought patterns, feelings of insight, confusion, extreme mental
clarity, paranoia and quickly changing emotions. LSD is powerful
psychoactive and recent experiences, especially dramatic ones, can have
a substantial effect on a trip. Physically, or psychologically
unsettling events in the days before an LSD trip can blossom into
distress and trauma during a trip.
Physical Dependence: None
Psychological Dependence: Moderate
Source: The Merck Manual: Sixteenth
Edition, published 1992
LSD is a mild to moderately habit-forming substance with no physical
addiction. It should be noted, though, that virtually any substance can
be addictive, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the user. It
is a generally accepted notion among treatment professionals that the
addiction, whether physical or psychological, is the problem, not the
specific substance. Below are some treatment programs that may be useful
for LSD users as well as others:
- Narcotics Anonymous
- http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/ (This is an online edition of Dr. Hoffmann’s memoirs)