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My excerpts from the LSD FAQ


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alt.drugs and related FAQs

These FAQs are also available via anonymous FTP in ftp://hyperreal.com/drugs/faqs, and the FTP collection may be slightly more up-to-date than this index.


READ THE MISC FAQ FIRST!!!! If it is in here it typically means that people on alt.drugs are totally sick of reading about it, there is little possibility that you can add anything new to the discussion, and you should carefully plow through any and all related material you can find on this site + others to determine if there really is anything unique you can add to the topic.


The Network Resources FAQ

Administrivia and Miscellaneous

Addresses: Addresses of companies and organizations
Bibiography: Drug-Related Books
Old Miscellaneous: version 0.9 of the alt.drugs FAQ
Miscellaneous: version 1.0, not ever finished (soon to be superseded).
New Miscellaneous: the new Misc FAQ
mind-l: the mailinglist for mindmachines, etc
rec.drugs FAQ
alt.drugs-is-dead FAQ


alt.hemp: from the newsgroup of the same name
Bongs and Pipes: bongs, pipes, etc
Gravity Bongs: gravity bongs
Growlights: for marijuana
Institute for Hemp: The organization promoting the commercial use of hemp
Marijuana Consumption: more stuff on bongs, pipes, eating, etc
Marijuana Eating: p.o. consumption of marijuana (butter, brownies, etc...)
Marijuana Law: state laws

Other Drugs

Absinthe: alcoholic drink from wormwood containing thujone.
Codeine: your friendly opiate
Dextromethorphan: aka Robitussin DM
Ecstasy: more rough draft and technical than the MDMA FAQ
LSD: lysergic acid diethylamide <-- good
LSD-Tattoo: the "Blue Star" Tattoo myth
MDMA: this is the "current" MDMA FAQ (HTML)
Morning Glories: LSA containing seeds
Natural Highs: Mushrooms, Cactii, MG, HBWR, Nutmeg, Datura <-- good
Natural Highs, Australia: Mushrooms, Ibogaine, Acacia (DMT), Cane Toads, etc
Nutmeg: spice from myristica fragrans
Opioid: Morphine and friends
Opioid Analgesics: Short list...
OTC Solvents: chemistry of them, and what they dissolve
Psychedelic Experience: background info on the psychedelic experience
San Pedro Potency FAQ: the trytamine-containing cactii
Smart Drinks: Smart Drinks and what is in them.
Synthesis: LSD, MDMA, etc...
Tryptamines: DMT, psilocybin, bufotenine, serotonin, etc...
W: Water (for the humor impaired, it's a joke)

LSD FAQ Excerpts



Several problems are associated with street drugs: their unknown purity and their unknown strength. Because of its extreme cheapness and potency, the purity of LSD in blotter form is not an issue: either it's lsd or untreated paper. The purity of powders, pills, and liquids cannot be assumed as safe. With regards to uncertain strength, the strength of hits these days is low, 100 micrograms or so. One should be careful and assume that the smallest square in a tiling of a sheet is a dose, even if a printed pattern covers several. An experienced person could judge the strength of a dose, and if it is assumed all doses on a sheet have been processed equivalently, those doses would be calibrated for others, much like anything else.

From _Psychedelic Chemistry_ by M.V.Smith, 2nd edition p 5: "There is a great deal of superstition regarding purification of psychedelics. Actually, any impurities which may be present as a result of synthetic procedures will almost certainly be without any effect on the trip. If there are 200 micrograms of LSD in a tablet, there could only be 200 mics of impurities present even if the LSD was originally only 50% pure (assuming nothing else has been added), and few compounds will produce a significant effect until a hundred to a thousand times this amount has been ingested. Even mescaline, which has a rather specific psychedelic effect, requires about a thousand times this amount."

Note that: 1) on a piece of paper, vs. a tablet, you can't even add significant amounts of adulterants 2) adulterants would cost, whereas blank paper will rip someone off just as well.

LSD itself has some "body-kinks" on some people some times. Nausea is one of them. its usually mild and transient. It also has speedlike (ie, adrenergic stimulation) effects, etc.

(It is common for the uninformed to harbor fears (e.g., about adulterants) instilled by ignorance and the current hysteria/propoganda. That's why this FAQ exists.)

[Referring to strychnine] 15 mg has been fatal, but a more typical fatal dose is on the order of 50mg. [Another post indicates 25 mg. as the LD50] 1 mg of strychnine orally probably has no observable pharmacological effects in a typical adult. [1 mg being ten times the effective dose of LSD, by the way.]

From: Handbook of Poisoning, 10th ed, R.H. Dreisbach, M.D., PhD, Lange Med. Pub. Co. Los Altos, Ca.: strychnine is lethal in 15-30 mg amounts to adult humans. (Pure nicotine is fatal at 40 mg./person; cyanide salts are fatal at about 100 mg./person) Strychnine causes death by respitory failure, via increased spinal reflex excitability.

Actually, I think the fact that PharmChem analyzed something on the order of 2,000 LSD samples between 1972 and 1979 and never found one with strychnine in it would be better. I'm going over all their data with a toothpick and I'll get back to you on exactly what I find. It looks like the percent of LSD with strychnine in it is, however, at least under .05%. More a little later.

According to Alexander Shulgin the difinitive answer is that strychnine is neither used in the synthesis, produced by the synthesis, or a possible contaminant of the synthesis. But just look at the structures of strychnine vs Lysergic acid/LSD/etc and you should be able to understand that readily.

From "The PharmChem Newsletter" (vol 3, no 3), 1973: Summary of Street Drug Results - 1973: "Of 189 samples of LSD quantitatively analyzed, the average dose was 67.25ug LSD. Of the 32 samples of alleged mescaline actually containing mescaline, [...stuff about mescaline and mushrooms deleted...] It is interesting to note the low incidence of deception among the less sought after psychotomimetics LSD and PCP."

Most likely "good" acid is N-acetyl-LSD (ALD-52) [according to _Psychedelic Encyclopedia_ it produces a smoother trip and is somewhat commonly found in analysis -- references to the latter were provided]. while "speedy" acid is LSD-25. You might want to inform her that those "speedy" effects are also commonly reported side effects of legal drugs which effect the 5-HT neurotransmitter system. And ditto on the potency issue -- you'd need mg quantities of strychnine to feel anything. And what you would feel (according to descriptions I've read) does not match descriptions of LSD "speed" effects. Most significantly because strychnine muscular effects tend to fade in & out, while LSD "speed" effects are typically reported as being consistent -- and there are other qualitative differences.

>Schnoll SH Vogel WH Analysis of "street drugs". N Engl J Med (1971 Apr 8) 284(14):791

>Brown JK Shapazian L Griffin GD A rapid screening procedure for some "street drugs" by thin-layer chromatography. J Chromatogr (1972 Jan 19) 64(1):129-33

There's a LA County analysis of street drugs I've got (Clin Tox ~1984 I think) that reports LSD as being more than 96% pure, or blank (If I remember correctly) -- the rest most likely is substitutes, but it wasn't reported in the analysis.

This is the PharmChem analysis of LSD from 1972 (vol 1, no 1) up to the time that the DEA no longer allowed them to make quantitative measurements (1974- vol 3, no 2 included). NOTE: NO STRYCHNINE! also note that PharmChem found a sample of Shrooms contaminated with Strychnine in 1972 (vol 1, no 7), and I would think it safe to assume that they also checked LSD for Strychnine.

Bad Trips

A person on LSD who becomes depressed, agitated, or confused may experience these feelings in an overwhelming manner that grows on itself. The best solution is to remove disturbing influences, get to a safe, comforting environment, and reassure the tripper that things are alright. It may comfort those who fear that they are losing their minds to be reminded that it will end in several hours.

Authorities are fond of administering injections of anti-psychotic drugs. Recovery in the presence of authorities, in hospitals or police stations, is not pleasant. Sedatives or tranquilizers such as Valium may help reduce panic and anxiety, but the best solution is calm talking. Some claim that niacin (an over the counter vitamin supplement) can abort a trip, but this may be due to a placebo effect (niacin produces a flushing effect).

Remember that odd bodily sensations are normal and not harmful.

From page 8 of Robert Anton Wilson's Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits

"The distinction between psycholytic and psychedelic doses of LSD is used in many scientific publications but seems to be ignored by popularizers who either preach the "LSD utopia" or warn of the "decline of the West." A psycholitic does, generally 75 or 100 - or at most 200 - micrograms, causes a rush of thoughts, a lot of free association, some visualization (hallucination) and abreaction (memories so vivid that one seems to relive the experience). A psychedelic dose, around 500 micrograms, produces total but temporary breakdown of usual ways of perceiving self and world and (usually) some form of "peak experience" or mystic transcendence of ego. "Bad trips" usually occur only on psychedelic doses."

The best review of this question is Rick Strassman's "Adverse Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs: a Review of the Literature" in _J. Nerv and Mental Disease_ 172(10):577-595. He writes:

The most common adverse reaction is a temporary (less than 24 hours) episode of panic --the "bad trip". Symptoms include frightening illusions/ hallucinations (usually visual and/or auditory); overwhelming anxiety to the point of panic; aggression with possible violent acting-out behavior; depression with suicidcal ideations, gestures, or attempts; confusion; and fearfulness to the point of paranoid delusions.

Reactions that are prolonged (days to months) and/or require hospitalization are often referred to as "LSD psychosis," and include a heterogenous population and group of symptoms. Although there are no hard and fast rules, some trends have been noted in these patients. There is a tendency for people with poorer premorbid adjusment, a history of psychiatric illness and/or treatment, a greater number of exposure to psychedelic drugs (and correlatively, a great average total cumulative dosage taken over time), drug-taking in an unsupervised setting, a history of polydrug abuse, and self-therapeutic and/or peer-pressure-submission motive for drug use, to suffer these consequences.

In spite of the impressive degree of prior problems noted in many of these patients, there are occasional reports of severe and prolonged reactions occuring in basically well adjusted individuals. In the same vein, there are many instance of faily poorly adapted individuals who suffer _no_ ill effects from repeated psychedelic drug use. In fact, it has been hypothesized that some schizophrenics do not suffer adverse reactions because of their familiarity with such acute altered states. Another possibility is that there individuals may be "protected" by possible "down- regulation" of the receptors for LSD, bu the (over-) production of some endogenous compound. _Individual_ prediction of adverse reactions, therefore, is quite difficult.

Major "functional" psychosis vs. "LSD psychosis"

A diagnostic issue dealth with explicitly in only a few papers is that of LSD-precipitated major functional illnesses, e.g. affective disorders or schizophrenia. In other words, many of these so called LSD psychoses could be other illnesses that were triggered by the stress of a traumatic psychedelic drug experience. Some of the same methodological issues described earlier affect these studies, but they are, on the averagem better controlled, with more family and past psychiatric history available for comparison.

Hensala et al. compared LSD-using and non-LSD-using psychiatric inpatients. They found that this group of patients was generally of a younger age and contained more characteristically disordered individuals than the non- LSD-using group. Patients with specific diagnoses with or without LSD histories were not compared. Based on their observations, they concluded that LSD was basically just another drug of abuse in a population of frequently hospitalized individuals in the San Francisco area, and that it was unlikely that psychedelic use could be deemed etiological in the development of their psychiatric disorders.

Roy, Breakey et al., and Vardy and Kay have attempted to relate LSD use to the onset and revelopment of a schizophrenia-like syndrome. A few comments regarding this conceptual framework seem in order, before their findings are discussed. The major factor here is that of choosing schizophrenia, or in the Vardy and Kay study, schizophreniform disorders, as the comparison group. There is an implication here that LSD psychoses are comparable, phenomenologically, to schizophrenia-like disorders, and that LSD can "cause" the development of such disorders. The multiplicity of symptoms and syndromes described in the "adverse reaction" literature should make it clear that LSD can cause a number of reactions that can last for any amount of time--from minutes to, possibly, years. I believe what

Online publications about the visionary state

Peter Stafford - The Psychedelics Encyclopedia


Online Publications:

Books and Other Literature

LSD, My Problem Child: Book by Albert Hoffman, discoverer of LSD, U.S. site.
LSD, My Problem Child: Finnish site.
E for Ecstasy: by Nicholas Saunders, U.S. site.
E for Ecstasy: German site.
The Ibogaine Story: by Paul DeRienzo et. al.
Marijuana Grower's Handbook: reproduces most of the book by Ed Rosenthal.
Programming And Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer: Author's Note and Second Chapter from the book by John Lilly, M.D.
The Psychedelic Experience: 'A manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, By Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., and Richard Alpert, Ph.D.', U.S. site.
The Psychedelic Experience: U.K. site.
The Psychedelic Experience: Finnish site.
Phenthylamines I have Known and Loved: Part 2: The Chemical Story, By Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin, U.S. site.
Phenthylamines I have Known and Loved: U.K. site.
Phenthylamines I have Known and Loved: German site.
Proemium: by Jonathan Ott, from Pharmacotheon, 'a comprehensive and readable treatise on drug policy reform'.
Millbrook: 'A Narrative of the Early Years of American Psychedelianism', by Art Kleps.
Drug Control in Canada: 'a legislative and chemical compedium'.
The Fitz Hugh Ludlow Hypertext Library: Texts focusing on pre-prohibition cannabis use in the U.S.; The Hasheesh Eater, Confessions of an Opium-Eater, and stories from The Arabian Nights and by Aleister Crowley, Louisa May Alcott, and more.


High Times: Neo-hippie drug culture magazine.
Newsletter of MAPS: The Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies.
HempWorld Magazine: mostly an advertisement, with some articles.
Cannabis Canada: 'The Magazine of Canada's Cannabis Culture'; with issues online.
Far Gone: Web-Zine with Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey interviews.