Lsd

Lysergic acid diethylamide is an alkaloid synthesized from lysergic acid, which is found in the fungus ergot (Claviceps purpurea). It is perhaps the most famous and well known hallucinogenic drug that intensifies sense perceptions and produces hallucinations, mood changes, and changes in the sense of time. It also can cause restlessness, acute anxiety, and, occasionally, depression. Although lysergic acid itself is without hallucinogenic effects, LSD, one of the most powerful drugs known, is weight for weight 5,000 times as potent as the hallucinogenic drug mescaline and 200 times as potent as psilocybin. LSD is usually taken orally from little squares of blotter paper, gelatin "windowpanes," or tiny tablets called "microdots." The period of its effects, or "trip," is usually 8 to 12 hours. Unexpected reappearances of the hallucinations, called "flashbacks," can occur months after taking the drug. The drug does not appear to cause psychological or physical dependence. It can cause psychological dependence in some individuals (Koesters, Rogers, & Rajasingham, 2002). The danger of LSD is that its effects are unpredictable, even in experienced users. These individuals may act in dangerous ways. This is termed behavioral toxicity.

History

LSD was developed in 1938 by Arthur Stoll and Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemists hoping to create a headache cure. Hofmann accidentally ingested some of the drug and discovered its hallucinogenic effect. On his ride home by bicycle, he began to experience the beginnings of what would be a 2-day-long nightmarish "bad trip."

In the 1960s and 1970s, LSD was used by millions of young people in America; its popularity waned as its reputation for bad trips and resulting accidents and suicides became known. In 1967, the federal government classified it as a Schedule I drug (i.e., having a high abuse potential and no accepted medical use), along with heroin and marijuana. In the early 1990s, it again became popular, presumably because of its low cost. It is produced in clandestine laboratories (Graeme, 2000).

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Anxiety and Depression 101

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