The psychedelic drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was misunderstood, ridiculed and cast from the world of medicine, proper treatments and practices. Quite shortly after its first synthesis it had been demonized and portrayed to be the drug to make you go crazy or commit suicide. But how did it gain such a bad reputation? As usual, due to influence and propaganda, millions have formed opinions about the drug without understanding its effects and benefits. More than likely, if you were to ask a random person today about LSD they’d look at you with an awkward eye. They surely wouldn’t know the drug’s ability to relieve anxiety, suppress alcohol/drug addiction and even reduce pain/fear of death in terminally ill patients. Now, I don’t mean to chalk LSD up to be the panacea for modern illnesses, but it does seem to have significant use in medicinal aid, and it hasn’t been allowed to reach its full potential.
Before we can submerge into the benefits of the drug, we should first recognize what it is and how it came about. With light research, you’ll find that LSD is typically described to be “one of the most potent, mood-changing chemicals” or “an extremely powerful hallucinogen” and those narratives do fit the drug but only to some degree. LSD, or Lysergic acid diethylamide, is derived from a chemical in rye fungus known as ergot (which also has a curious history in medicinal use and assistance in childbirth). It was not until 1938 that Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman experimented with the lysergic acid (ergoline alkaloids) in hopes to find a respiratory/circulatory stimulant, an analeptic. In short, Hoffmann was looking to synthesize a new pharmaceutical, and he did, it just didn’t have the effects he was fishing for.
Because of the complexity of the drug, the effects are different for everyone, without exception. As farfetched as it may sound, LSD is associated with life-changing and spiritual experiences. It can be hard to fathom that any substance could have that power, but we can count it as another benefit of the drug. Its effects can be divided into a few distinct categories though.
As the effects can differ from person to person, there isn’t always an exact or measurable response to the drug; however, there are a few primary physiological outcomes, being pupil dilation, reduced appetite, and alertness. The three of which are far more apparent than the others.
Other physical effects include but are not limited to:
- Hypothermia or Hyperthermia
- Elevated Blood Sugar
- Goose Bumps
- Heart rate increase
- Jaw clenching
- Saliva Production
- Mucus Production
Keep in mind that most of these effects depend on dosage, and Set and Setting. Physiological effects are secondary and can hardly be noticed next to the sensory and psychological planes of an LSD trip.
Now, this part is sure to either intrigue or discourage your involvement/opinion of the drug, and that’s okay. You are entitled to your opinion but at least know the facts, the truth. Within the Psychological impressions of LSD lie three divisions that cover positive, neutral and adverse effects.
- Increase in associative and creative thinking
- Closed and open-eye visuals
- Ego dissolution – click here for more detail
- Sense of unity and connectedness to other life forms
- General sense of euphoria
- Life-changing spiritual experiences
- Change in consciousness
- Lost track of time
- Lack of focus
- Unusual thoughts and speech
- Range of emotions
- Fear of death
- Overwhelming feelings
Keep in mind that at low to moderate doses, the positive and neutral effects are almost always to be expected. Although, as the dose increases, negative psychological effects begin to increase. This is informally known as a “bad trip.”
LSD is famously known to be a hallucinogen which often gets translated into, “it makes you see things that aren’t there.” but what truthfully happens after dosing with LSD is an increase in sensory perception. Many users report an enhanced appreciation for music, a sharper sense of smell and more developed sense of taste and a strong desire to touch soft items as well as other human beings via a sense of unity and connectedness to other life forms. Another unique property of both LSD is synesthesia, or when senses merge, as in hearing/tasting colors or seeing sounds.
Each of these effects, whether physiological, psychological or perceptual all vary and are dependent on the amount of LSD dosed and also an individual’s reception of the drug.
PSYCHIATRIC COMPLICATIONS & LONG TERM EFFECTS
Of course, the most pressing questions to answer after all are, Is LSD deadly? Are there long-term effects? Is it addictive? And truth-be-told, common knowledge about LSD would point to yes for every claim. However, I’m am delighted to expose the truth in that FUCK NO, LSD is not ever, ever, ever going to kill anyone, there’s no way or reason to overdose on it. There are NO LONG TERM EFFECTS, and you will NEVER gain a physical addiction to LSD. In fact, tolerance (the decrease in the responsiveness to a drug), develops with LSD after an average dose. You’d have to wait a full three days before the drug has the same effect it did initially. There is no substantial proof suggesting that any undesirable impacts of the drug are permanent. Studies and research are widely available online (you have to pick through the propaganda). Nonetheless, of the various studies and research experiments conducted on the drug, participants have found very few complications regarding the use of LSD. It is true that scientific research has been arrested on account of the drug’s illegality. Still, there is no conclusive data to suggest that LSD can elicit any mental health issue, latent or absent.
In 2015, an extensive study (~130,000 people) was conducted in the United States that found no association between psychedelic use and mental health disorders, psychological distress, suicidal thoughts, depression, and anxiety.
In any case, the medicinal benefits and spiritual advantages of LSD are genuine. Then, what are they? I spoke earlier about LSD’s power to relieve anxiety & suppress alcohol/drug addiction, two viable uses of the drug that so many Americans can benefit from. A study was conducted where researchers took 12 volunteers living with life-threatening illnesses, mainly terminal cancer, (all of them scored high on tests measuring anxiety, six were diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder.) they were divided into two groups—one to receive LSD and the other to receive a placebo. The experiment yielded excellent results, and at a two-month follow-up, the researchers found significant reductions in anxiety in the LSD group compared with the placebo group, reductions remained at the 12-month follow-up.
The nature of LSD is not nearly as ominous as it has been portrayed. The volunteers in that study were able to come to terms or find peace within themselves that wouldn’t have been obtained otherwise. It’s hard to explain the type of impact LSD has and how these emotional or spiritual breakthroughs can occur, but there is a video on YouTube that I think does a fine job of displaying the drug at work. In the documentary, Cheyenne, a man with Asperger’s Syndrome experiences a 700μg (700 micrograms) trip. It’s a joy to watch and comes close to capturing the essence of the drug & what it’s like to experience it. A real treat.