Drugs


LSD

LSD is a synthetic psychedelic, derived from ergot fungus, and the most powerful conscious-altering substance known to man.

Does of LSD are measured in micrograms (ug) or millionths of a gram. One ounce of LSD contains enough doses for 300,000 adults. Two suitcases of the stuff would be enough to dose the entire population of the USA.

LSD is colourless, tasteless and odourless and usually comes soaked into blotters - squares or sheets of paper decorated with kooky designs (sunflowers, strawberries, rockets etc).

Very rarely you may find it as small pills (or 'microdots'), gelatine sheets, or as liquid. Common during the 60s, these forms are super-rare now.

The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that the strength of LSD samples obtained currently from illicit sources ranges from 20 to 80 micrograms of LSD per dose. This is considerably less than the levels reported during the 1960s and early 1970s, when the dosage ranged from 100 to 200 micrograms, or higher, per unit.

Brands

A lot of mythology surrounds certain 'brands' of LSD. "Oh Sunflowers and Rockets are really powerful" you may hear. Dealers may claim their product is "200 micrograms".

In fact, since LSD degrades rapidly on exposure to light, air, and heat and the amounts involved are microscopic, you can never be sure how much LSD you are taking.

In the UK, LSD is class A drug. In the US, it is categorised under Schedule 1 along with magic mushrooms, cannabis, and heroin.

Effects

The LSD effect is described as a 'trip' because it is a long (8-12 hours) and powerful experience which takes you beyond normal perception and then back again.

Simply put, it profoundly alters and expands consciousness by loosening or - at higher doses- completely erasing the normal filters and screens between your conscious mind and the outside world.

With these filters down, more information rushes in. You sense more, think more, feel more. You became aware of things normally filtered out out by your mind, visual, auditory, sensory, emotional. The intricate details on surfaces, the richness of sound, the brightness of colours, and the complexity of your own mental processes.

At higher doses, the rush of information becomes a flood and your sense actually begin to merge and overlap (syntheasia) until you can see sounds or smell colours.

This information has been compiled from two sources: the decades of observation and study by psychiatrists in a clinical setting before LSD and other psychedelics were outlawed in the late 1960s; and books and anecdotal trip reports written by users.

The most important thing to realise is that no two trips are the same. The intensity and effects of a drug like LSD vary dramatically from person to person. If different people take the same amount in the same circumstances, each will have a distinctly different experience. If the same person takes LSD repeatedly, each experience is usually completely different in its flavour and content.

The nature of the psychedelic experience is strongly determined by set and setting. Set is your mindset (how you're feeling, issues in your life, your psychological makeup) when taking the drug; setting is where you are - that includes who you're with and how relaxed you feel. Dosage and previous experience with the drug also have a part of play.

Basically, if you take LSD, you will experience some or none of the effects on the following scale:

Baseline

how you feel before taking a drug

Off baseline

Very mild effect. Relaxation. Giggling. Like being stoned but with enhanced visual perception: colours may seem brighter, patterns recognition enhanced, colours and details more eye-grabbing.

Physically, a feeling of lightness and euphoria, and a slight tingling in the body. Energy. A sense of urgency. Music sounds better.

Plus one (+1)
Stronger visual hallucinations. Radiant colours. Objects and surfaces appear to ripple or breathe. Coloured patterns behind the eyes are vivid, more active. Moments of reflection and distractive thought patterns. Thoughts and thinking become enhanced. Creative urges. Euphoria. Connection with others, empathy. Ability to talk or interact with others however slightly impaired. Sense of time distorted or lost. Sexual arousal. "Flight of ideas" and "ambitious designs". You're tripping.

Plus two (+2)
Very obvious visual effects. Curved or warped patterns. Familiar objects appear strange as surface details distract the eye. Imagination and 'mind's eye' images vivid, three dimensional. Geometric patterns behind closed eyes. Some confusion of the senses.

Distortion rather than deterioration of mental processes. Some awareness of background brain functioning: such as balance systems or auditory visual perception. Deep store memory becomes accessible. Images or experiences may rise to the fore. Music is powerful and can affect mood. Sense of time lost. Occasional trance states. Paranoia and distortions of body image possible.

Physical symtoms may include: stiffness, cramp, and muscular tension. Nausea, fever, feeling of illness.

You're loaded.

Plus three (+3)
Lying down. Difficult to interact with other people and 'consensus reality' in general. You should really be somewhere safe.

Very strong hallucinations such as objects morphing into other objects. Tracers, lingering after-images, and visual echoes.

Intense depersonalisation. Category enscramblement. The barriers between you and the universe begin to break down. Connection with everything around you. Experiencing contradictory feelings simultaneously. Some loss of reality. Time meaningless. Senses blend into one. Sensations of being born. Multiple splitting of the ego. Powerful awareness of mental processes and senses. Lengthy trances often featuring highly symbolic, often mythical visions when eyes are closed. Powerful, and sometimes brutal psycho-physical reactions described by users as reliving their own birth. Direct experience of froup or collective consciousness, ancestral memories, recall of past-lives, and other mystical experiences. Ecstasy.

Music extremely powerful, perhaps overwhelming. Emotionally sensitivity increased (often massively). Crying or laughing, or both simultaneously.

Tremors, twitches, twisting movements, sweating, chills, hot flushes - all common.

You're out of it.

Plus four (+4)
A very rare experience. Total loss of visual connection with reality. The senses cease to function in the normal way. Total loss of self. Transcendental experiences of cosmic unity Merging with space, other objects, or the universe. Out of body experience. Ecstasy. "Entity contact". The loss of reality becomes so severe that it defies explanation. Pure white light. Difficult to put into words.

Come up

The effects begin to be felt between 20 minutes to two hours after ingestion. The first signs are a sense of euphoria and expectation, along with a tingling body feeling.

Once started, the effects usually take between 30-45 minutes to reach their peak.

It is common to feel some nausea during this stage. It can be reduced by having an empty stomach.

Peak

The peak effect lasts from two to five hours. A clear symptom is rich visual hallucinations. Colours seem more vibrant. Surfaces may ripple and shimmer. You may notice tiny details on objects. Music sounds richer and louder.

At the same time, you may feel blissful, have flashes of insight into yourself or the world, experience severe time-distortion, or feel yourself dissolving or see objects merging into one another.

Comedown

The trip wears off gradually after 8 to 12 hours, although you may continue to feel tender and altered until you get a full night's sleep.

After-effects

Physically you will feel tired and drained of energy right into the next day.

Psychologically, any insights or feelings you had during your trip will stay with you. A positive experience can give you a glow lasting hours, days, or even weeks afterwards. A negative experience - or 'bad trip' - can leave you traumatised for the same length of time. But it fades.

Dangers

LSD is remarkably non-toxic, has no known adverse physical after-effects, other than fatigue and a lingering sensation of mind-expansion.

However, LSD is a powerful mental amplifier. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, sick at the world, at the quality of modern television, at rampant consumerism, at life in general, do not take LSD

LSD's effects and your reaction to them are strongly determined by set and setting. Set is your mindset when taking the drug; setting is where you are.

The LSD effect makes you enormously sensitive to your environment. You should always be in a safe, comfortable environment, preferably with a friend you trust. The higher you fly, the safer must be the landing arrangements. Many users recommend being outside, in a beautiful setting in nature.

We cannot reinforce this enough: this is not a drug to be taken arbitrarily.

Bad trips

The most notoriou s peril from taking LSD is the 'bad trip' when the experience turns frightening and traumatic. You can find out more about bad trips and how to avoid them on our page here.

Of all psychedelic drugs, LSD probably has the highest potential for creating bad trips, thanks to its sheer power and the impossibility of judging the dose of street LSD. Also, LSD can bring buried and repressed unconscious material into conscious awareness. This can be traumatic and frightening if unexpected.

Most people who have experienced a bad trip do not touch the drug again. Experienced users and 'hard heads' accept that bad trips as part of the territory.

Dosage

Street LSD varies massively in quality. Heat, air and light all degrade LSD and there is no way of telling how much you're getting on a single blotter.

On average, today's tabs carry between 40 (low dose) and 150 micrograms of LSD (medium dose).

IMPORTANT: Always wait at least two hours before deciding the LSD is not working. The come-up period can take this long. Do not take another tab. You may well end up in a dimension not of your choosing.

don't do it alone
Tripping alone for the first time is not recommended. An experienced and trusted friend should either be your tripping partner, or should abstain and act as a sober sitter or guide to be around and help you if you get into troubled waters.

Be in a nice place

If you're going to trip, please do it in a pleasant and serene environment. No phone calls. No visitors. Be near to nature or surround yourself with attractive plants, pictures, fruit, and other such décor. Have a selection of beautiful music within reach to enhance the mood and help you relax.

If you are dosing with friends, ensure you all take the same amount, at the same time, in full view of everyone else. This will decrease any chance of paranoia and ensure you are all on the same level.

Flashbacks

Flashbacks or the random reliving of aspect of a psychedelic drug experience are often cited as a common side-effect of hallucinogenic drugs, especially LSD. Physicians now refer to this as a condition known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). HPPD only appears to manifest in a small percentage of (perhaps heavy) users.

The main symptoms are persistent 'visuals': trails, geometric shapes, flashes in the peripheral vision, after-images and halos around objects. It can last for weeks even years after the drug.

Addiction & tolerance

LSD has zero physical addiction potential. It is not physically addictive and it is not a drug that you will want to immediately do again.

However, as with many drugs, users can (and do) become psychologically dependent on LSD. Its pyrotechnic effects and dazzling high can become a distraction, perhaps even an escape from reality for some people. It can become very hard to function in "consensus reality" if you are taking LSD on a regular basis. That, by the way, is an understatement.

Tolerance
Builds up rapidly with LSD. The same amount the next day gives a noticeably diminished effect. This wears off after three days to a week. There is also some cross-tolerance with other drugs of the same 'tryptamine' chemical family (magic mushrooms, DMT).

 


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