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LSD Facts | side effects history & prevention
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A dissociative drug similar to PCP (see PCP) but with milder respiratory depression, less confusion, irrationality and violent behaviour. Long-term effects are unknown.

Commercial and Street Names

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) Blotter, cid, boomers, sunshine, doses, hits, microdot, sugar cubes, tabs, trips, or named after the image on the blotter paper.

The DEA has additional street terms for LSD and psychedelics.

Description of LSD and Psychedelics

Manufactured from lysergic acid, found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is usually applied to “blotter” paper (paper that is perforated into small squares). The squares or “tabs” may be coloured or have images printed on them. Liquid LSD is a clear liquid, usually in a small container, tube or flask. LSD can also be found in thin squares of gelatin or applied to sugar cubes. Gelatin and liquid can be put in the eyes. LSD is taken orally.

LSD on blotter paper

LSD capsules contain bright-coloured powder to attract young people. Source: DEA

Coloured LSD applied to sugar cubes.

Effects of LSD and Psychedelics

Effects are felt within an hour and can last 2 to 12 hours. Colours can appear brighter, objects more sharply defined. Changes in perception of time and distance. Body may feel light or heavy. Impaired short-term memory. Extreme mood swings. Physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. Drug-induced confusion can cause accidental death.

Long-term effects of some LSD users include sudden flashbacks, recurrence of certain aspects of a person’s experience without the user having taken the drug again. LSD users may manifest long-lasting psychoses such as schizophrenia or depression. Not considered addictive.

Sources: DEA; NIDA InfoFacts, LSD, May 2006

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General Information on LSD and Psychedelics

Acid Trips and Chemistry (1999) is a compilation of information on LSD including what an acid trip is like, how LSD was discovered, what factors influence a trop, etc. Cam Cloud.

Psychdelics Encyclopedia (1993) includes the history of hallucinogenic drug use and the effects of LSD and other hallucinogens. Peter Stafford

History and LSD and Psychedelics

The psychedelic movement in the 1960s as well as important research and  writings on LSD from notables such as Aldous Huxley and Albert Hofmann are included in this section:

Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond (1994) is a complete social history of LSD and the counterculture it helped to define in the sixties. Includes information on how LSD was researched by the CIA as a possible espionage weapon during the 1950s. Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love: From Flower Power to Hippie Mafia: The Story of the LSD Counterculture (2007) documents a group of idealists called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love who considered LSD a way to improve the quality of life. Stewart Tendler, David May

Change Your Brain (2001) tells the story of Leary’s early LSD research at Harvard. Leary was a proponent of reprogramming the brain with psychedelics instead of conventional psychotherapeutic approaches. Timothy Leary

The Doors of Perception – Heaven and Hell  (1954, 1956) are two books from the author of Brave New World, which became essential for the counterculture during the 1960s. Aldous Huxley

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1999) is an account of the hippy subculture and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. Tom Wolfe

High Priest (2nd Edition) (1995) chronicles 16 LSD-induced experiences of such notables as William S. Burroughs, and Aldous Huxley. Timothy Leary

I Have America Surrounded: A Biography of Timothy Leary (2006) is a biography of Timothy Leary. John Higgs

LSD: My Problem Child (2005) is a translation of the book from noted psychiatrist, Albert Hofmann.

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (1995) is a how-to manual created by Timothy Leary on how to control “bad trips” when taking LSD. A historical piece that reflected the inner debate within the psychedelic counter-culture. Timothy Leary

Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (1998) is a history of LSD and its influence on US culture. Jay Stevens

Timothy Leary: A Biography (2006) profiles the transition of Timothy Leary from Harvard psychologist to the symbolic leader of the 1960s psychedelic movement. Robert Greenfield

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out (1999) is a collection of essays and poems written by Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary

Your Brain Is God (2001) is a collection of essays written by Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary

Religion and LSD

Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (2002) explores the common purpose of both Buddhism and the use of psychedelics: altered consciousness and transformation. Allan Hunt Badiner (Editor), Alex Grey (Editor)

Research and LSD

LSD: Still With Us After All These Years : Based on the National Institute of Drug Abuse Studies on the Resurgence of Contemporary LSD (1998) is a epidemiology study on the resurgence of the drugs LSD during the 1990s. William J. Glass and Leigh A. Henderson

For research information conducted by Timothy Leary refer to the History section.

Treatment and LSD

The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on LSD Dependence: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age (2002) is for clients who have made education and Internet-based research part of their treatment plan. Information is also useful to doctors, caregivers and other health professionals. Icon Health Publications

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General Information on LSD

The Basics: LSD (February 2005) provides basic information on LSD. Addiction Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).

d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (January 2013) Drug Enforcement Administration.

Impaired Driving and LSD

LSD – Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets (April 2004) is a detailed fact sheet on effects of LSD use, particularly on performance and driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Research on LSD

For additional research on LSD refer to the Ecstasy, Other Club Drugs, & Other Hallucinogens section provided by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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General Information on LSD

LSD This is an educational video that describes four stages of the experience that LSD produces when consumed.

Drug Control and LSD

LSD: Insight or Insanity (1968) is a government film on the harmful effects of LSD.

History of LSD

Timothy Leary Interview About LSD

Research on LSD

How LSD Substitutes Real Life Experience distinguishes between subjective and objective (real) meaning. Youth, a leading psychiatrist asserts, are vulnerable to resorting to subjective meaning. Dr. Viktor Frankl.

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