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What is LSD?
LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide), commonly called "acid,"
was discovered in 1938 and is the most powerful known hallucinogen
- a drug that radically changes a person's mental state by distorting
the perception of reality to the point where, at high doses,
hallucinations occur. Although it is derived from a fungus that
grows on rye and other grains, LSD is semi-synthetic. It is
chemically manufactured in illicit laboratories, except for
a small amount which is produced legally for research.
What does LSD look like and how is it used?
LSD, commonly referred to as "acid," is sold on the
street in tablets, capsules, and, occasionally, liquid form.
It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste and
is usually taken by mouth. Often LSD is packaged in capsules,
tablets, or solutions, or spotted on to gelatin sheets or pieces
of blotting paper, with each square representing one dose.
What are the effects of LSD?
A) The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the
amount taken; the user's personality, mood, and expectations;
and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the
user feels the first effects of the drug 30 to 90 minutes after
and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical
signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once
or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a
large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations.
The user's sense of time and self changes. Sensations may seem
to "cross over," giving the user the feeling of hearing
colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and
can cause panic.
refer to their experience with LSD as a "trip" and
to acute adverse reactions as a "bad trip." These
experiences are long - typically they begin to clear after about
first are physical effects including: numbness; muscle weakness
and trembling; rapid reflexes; increased blood pressure, heart
rate, and temperature; impaired motor skills and coordination;
dilated pupils; and, occasionally, nausea and seizures. One
of most noticeable signs is laughter, often at things that aren't
particularly funny and often uncontrollable.
changes in perception, thought, and mood occur shortly after
the physical effects. These may include:
What are the side effects of LSD use?
The side effects of LSD are: dilated pupils, higher body temperature,
increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite,
sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.
LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings,
fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death, and despair
while using LSD. Some fatal accidents have occurred during states
of LSD intoxication.
LSD users experience flashbacks (visual images ranging form
formless colors to frightening hallucinations), without the
user having taken the drug again. A flashback occurs suddenly,
often without warning, and may occur within a few days or more
than a year after LSD use. Flashbacks usually occur in people
who use hallucinogens chronically or have an underlying personality
problem; however, otherwise healthy people who use LSD occasionally
may also have flashbacks. Bad trips and flashbacks are only
part of the risks of LSD use. LSD users may manifest relatively
long-lasting psychoses, such as schizophrenia or severe depression.
It is difficult to determine the extent and mechanism of the
LSD involvement in these illnesses.
Is LSD addictive?
users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time.
LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce
compulsive drug-seeking behavior as do cocaine, amphetamine,
heroin, alcohol, and nicotine. However, like many of the addictive
drugs, LSD produces tolerance, so some users who take the drug
repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the
state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This
is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability
of the drug.
What are the slang terms used for LSD?
Common nicknames for LSD are: a, acid, animal, barrels, battery
acid, beast, Big D, black acid, black star, black sunshine,
black tabs, blotter, blotter acid, blotter cube, blue acid,
blue barrels, blue chairs, blue cheers, blue heaven, blue microdot,
blue mist, blue moons, blue star, blue vials, brown bombers,
brown dots, California sunshine, cap, chief, chocolate chips,
cid, coffee, conductor, contact lens, crackers, crystal tea,
cubes, cupcakes, d, deeda, domes, dots, double dome, electric
Kool-Aid, fields, flash, flat blues, ghost, golden dragon, goofy's,
grape parfait, green double domes, green single domes, green
wedge, grey shields, hats, Hawaiian sunshine, hawk, haze, headlights,
heavenly blue, instant zen, l, lason sa daga, LBJ, lysergide,
mellow yellow, mickey's, microdot, mighty Quinn, mind detergent,
one way, optical illusions, orange barrels, orange cubes, orange
haze, orange micro, orange wedges, Owsley, Owsley's acid, pane,
paper acid, peace, peace tablets, pearly gates, pellets, pink
blotters, pink Owsley, pink panther, pink robots, pink wedge,
pink witches, potato, pure love, purple barrels, purple flats,
purple haze, purple hearts, purple ozoline, recycle, royal blues,
Russian sickles, sacrament, sandoz, smears, snowmen, squirrel,
strawberries, strawberry fields, sugar, sugar cubes, sugar lumps,
sunshine, tabs, tail lights, ticket, trip, twenty-five, vodka
acid, wedding bells, wedges, white dust, white lightning, white
Owsley's, window glass, window pane, yellow, yellow dimples,
yellow sunshine, zen, zig zag man.
What is the extent of use of LSD?
Since 1975, MTF researchers have annually surveyed almost 17,000
high school seniors nationwide to determine trends in drug use
and to measure attitudes and beliefs about drug abuse. Over
the past 2 years, the percentage of seniors who have used LSD
has remained relatively stable. Between 1975 and 1997, the lowest
lifetime use of LSD was reported by the class of 1986, when
7.2 percent of seniors reported using LSD at least once in their
lives. In 1997, 13.6 percent of seniors had experimented with
LSD at least once in their lifetimes. The percentage of seniors
reporting use of LSD in the past year nearly doubled from a
low of 4.4 percent in 1985 to 8.4 percent in 1997.
1997, 34.7 percent of seniors perceived great risk in using
LSD once or twice, and 76.6 percent said they saw great risk
in using LSD regularly. More than 80 percent of seniors disapproved
of people trying LSD once or twice, and almost 93 percent disapproved
of people taking LSD regularly.
Almost 51 percent of seniors said it would have been fairly
easy or very easy for them to get LSD if they had wanted it.
Use by Students, 1997:
Monitoring the Future Study
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