What Is LSD?

What is LSD?

LSD is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen. The psychedelic drug can cause visual hallucinations and change a person’s mood, emotions and perception. Because it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, LSD is illegal in the United States.

Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as “acid” or LSD, is a psychedelic hallucinogen that produces changes in perception, sense of time and space, and emotions. LSD is active at very small doses (around 20 micrograms). The drug is most commonly taken orally, in the form of tablets, droplets, or most commonly blotter paper that is absorbed on the tongue and swallowed.

Because is is typically delivered on small pieces of paper, it is difficult to independently assess what is an average dose. This is compounded by the fact that different individuals react to LSD differently. It is important to know that taking too much LSD can lead to feelings of dissociation and alienation. Research indicates that for most individuals, 20 micrograms of LSD is so small that it provides minimal euphoric effects.

what is lsd

What Is LSD Liquid?

  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is a hallucinogenic drug discovered in 1938. It was first ingested by the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, on April 19th, 1943.
  • LSD is most often absorbed into small pieces of paper called “blotter,” but it can also be found in liquid form. It is almost always consumed orally.
  • LSD is extremely powerful. A typical dose is between 100 and 200 micrograms (mcg), which is such a small amount it is essentially invisible. This makes it extremely difficult to measure. A single square of blotter or drop of liquid usually contains a typical dose, but may contain much more.

Known as “acid” and by many other names, LSD is sold on the street in small tablets (“microdots”), capsules or gelatin squares (“window panes”). It is sometimes added to absorbent paper, which is then divided into small squares decorated with designs or cartoon characters (“loony toons”). Occasionally it is sold in liquid form. But no matter what form it comes in, LSD leads the user to the same place—a serious disconnection from reality.

LSD users call an LSD experience a “trip,” typically lasting twelve hours or so. When things go wrong, which often happens, it is called a “bad trip,” another name for a living hell.

what is lsd

How Is LSD Abused?

LSD, also called acid, is a white or clear crystal that is most commonly sold on the street as a tablet or capsule. The odorless drug can be crushed into a powder, dried on gelatin sheets, added to sugar cubes or dissolved in water.

In powder or liquid form, the drug can be inhaled or injected. Powdered LSD can also be compacted into small balls known as microdots.

In liquid form, the substance can be transferred onto an absorbent paper called blotter. The paper is usually divided into tabs, which are small single-dose squares. Acid tabs or pills contain 20 to 80 micrograms of LSD. They can be swallowed, licked or chewed.

How Long Does LSD Stay In Your System?

When a person takes LSD orally, the gastrointestinal system absorbs it and channels it into the bloodstream. Once the drug is in the bloodstream, it travels to the brain and other organs, such as the liver. The liver breaks down LSD into different chemicals.

Researchers experience many challenges when detecting LSD in human tissue samples. People only ingest small amounts, so detection methods need to be very sensitive.

LSD is also unstable, and the liver breaks it down rapidly. The time that LSD is detectable in the tissues is restrictive, so doctors need to analyze the samples quickly.

Some researchers have attempted to develop detection methods for the byproducts of LSD. However, the amounts of these substances that remain in the tissues are still very low.

Urine

When a person takes LSD orally, the liver transforms it into inactive compounds. In 24 hours, a person excretes only about 1% of LSD unchanged in the urine.

Researchers can use various methods to detect LSD in urine samples, but these techniques are not readily available. Most routine urine drug tests will not detect LSD.

Two techniques that researchers can use to detect LSD in urine are liquid-liquid extraction and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectroscopy (UHPLC-MS/MS).

Studies have demonstrated that some inactive byproducts of LSD are present in urine at concentrations 16–43 times higher than LSD. Researchers are uncertain how these findings can help detect Acid use, however.

Blood

Doctors can also use liquid-liquid extraction and UHPLC-MS/MS to detect LSD in blood samples.

In a recent study, researchers took 13 blood samples within 24 hours of administering LSD. They kept the samples at below freezing temperatures and analyzed them within 12 months.

The researchers could detect Acid in samples taken up to 16 hours after administration in all the participants who had received 200 micrograms (mcg) of LSD.

In those who had received 100 mcg of Acid, the researchers could detect the drug in samples taken up to 8 hours after administration.

The amount of detectables in the samples decreased over time in both groups. In the group who had received 100 mcg of Acid, the researchers could only detect the drug in 9 out of 24 samples after 16 hours.

These detection methods are highly sensitive and specialized, and they may not be readily available to doctors.

Hair

Hair samples are useful for detecting drugs that a person used a long time ago. They are also useful when blood or urine samples are unavailable.

Depending on the drug, researchers can estimate the time and duration of ingestion by analyzing the hair’s growth rate and the position of the drug’s evidence on the hair shaft.

Research from 2015 looked at three documented cases of it traces in human hair samples. The amount  in the samples was between 1 and 17 picograms per milligram.

However, the researchers performed these tests on hair treated with LSD, rather than from hair samples of people who had taken the drug.

One major challenge that researchers have when using hair samples to detect LSD is that the drug is active at very low doses. If a person had to take a higher dose to feel any effect, the drug might be easier to detect.

There is very spare data on LSD in hair samples. Researchers are even unsure whether the drug is stable and detectable in these samples.

A negative result from a hair sample does not mean that the person has not taken LSD. Pubic hair samples, however, may have been contaminated with LSD from urine.

Other tissues

Researchers have analyzed tissue samples in mice that had received intravenous injections of LSD. They found LSD in the blood, brain, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, thymus, lungs, and salivary glands.

Autopsy reports may also be able to detect in humans. The journal Forensic Science International published findings from three autopsy reports that included LSD.

According to the researchers, this was the first analysis and its inactive compounds in human brain tissue. They found evidence of it in brain tissue samples, but it was not the cause of death in any of the cases.

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