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Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD, LSD-25)

Are there long term effects, both physical and emotional, of LSD?

Research has been limited on LSD since the 1960s, so there is no definitive answer to this question. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that in 2007, over 22 million individuals (9.1% of the population) in the U.S. reported LSD use during their lifetime.

Is LSD dangerous to one’s health?

Again, there’s very little research. One study in the 1960s described adverse drug reactions in a controlled clinical setting as less than 1%, with other patients experiencing enhanced psychotherapeutic benefit. As with the use of any consciousness-altering substance, the individual might undertake dangerous activities leading to injury, not realizing the risk and his/her lessened ability to deal appropriately with the danger. It’s possible that individuals with pre-existing psychiatric conditions are more likely to have adverse psychedelic reactions (APRs).

Are there medical benefits to LSD?

Again, research has been limited. In the 1950s, research in Canada indicated that LSD might improve the outcome for treatment of alcoholism. More recently, studies are underway to examine whether LSD has the potential to reduce end-of-life anxiety for cancer patients.

How is LSD synthesized?

LSD is a synthetic derivative of ergot. It’s patterned on the ergot molecule and synthesized chemically. It was the 25th in a series of experiments conducted at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals by Albert Hofmann in the 1930s.

How does LSD differ from other hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs?

LSD is a very specific and powerful serotonin 1A receptor agonist that alters the sensory mediating system in the brain. Sensory input, e.g. vision, sound, is altered when it enters the nervous system, and may lead to synesthesia, where one sensory modality, e.g. sound, translates into another, e.g. color.

What are the negative effects of LSD?

The effects of LSD are, above all, unpredictable. LSD can produce a chemically-induced psychosis. When individuals react adversely to LSD, they experience sensory alterations that they may find frightening due to the variance from known reality. They know that something is different, so they may feel as though they are losing their minds, or going crazy. The effects of LSD vary with the individual, dosage, purity of the drug, the environment in which the drug is consumed and experienced, and many other factors. A group of individuals may take the same dosage of the same batch of LSD, and have very different experiences, ranging from ecstatic to horrifying. Some individuals may experience what are called flashbacks well after the experience, and often these are exacerbated by the use of other psychoactive substances such as marijuana and alcohol.

Also, LSD is a controlled substance, the possession of which is a felony. Arrest is generally thought of as a negative.

Is there anything else that most people don’t know about LSD and its effects on the brain?

LSD is the most powerful psychoactive substance on a per dose basis in all of human biology, and has been used for valuable spiritual and therapeutic pursuits. However, it can also lead to acute short term and long term adverse psychological reactions. It’s best used with a carefully controlled dose, set and setting, under the care of an experienced guide.

Online Resources

The Albert Hofmann Foundation


Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)