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Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Definition

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as "acid," belongs to a class of drugs known as hallucinogens, which distort perceptions of reality. LSD is the most potent mood- and perception-altering drug known: doses as small as 30 micrograms can produce effects lasting six to 12 hours.

Purpose

In the United States, LSD has no accepted medical use and its manufacture is illegal.

Description

LSD is produced synthetically from a fungus that grows on rye grass. This odorless, colorless, and slightly bitter-tasting chemical is generally ingested orally and absorbed from the gastrointestinal system. Manufacturers commonly distribute LSD in small squares of absorbent paper soaked with the drug, which users chew and swallow. Use of LSD and other hallucinogens by secondary school students has decreased since 1998, but has increased among older teens and young adults attending dance clubs and all-night raves, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

LSD alters perceptions by disrupting the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin, although precisely how it does this is unclear. Studies suggest LSD acts on certain groups of serotonin receptors, and that its effects are most prominent in two brain regions: the cerebral cortex and the locus ceruleus. The cerebral cortex is involved in mood and perception, and the locus ceruleus receives sensory signals from all areas of the body. Natural hallucinogens resembling LSD, such as mescaline and psilocybin, have been used in social and religious rituals for thousands of years.

After its discovery in 1938, LSD was used experimentally to treat neuroses, narcotic addiction, autism, alcoholism, and terminally ill cancer patients, and to study the mechanisms of psychotic diseases like schizophrenia. Nearly 30 years after its discovery, manufacture, possession, sale, and use of LSD was restricted in the United States under the Drug Abuse Control Amendment of 1965.

LSD's effects generally begin within an hour of taking the drug and last for up to 12 hours. The drug is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, and circulated throughout the body and to the brain. It is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine about 24 hours after ingestion. Physical effects of LSD may include loss of appetite, sleeplessness, pupil dilation, dry mouth, salivation, palpitations, perspiration, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, and anxiety, as well as increased body temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

The major effects of LSD are emotional and sensory. Emotions may shift instantaneously from euphoria to confusion and despair, and users may feel as if they are experiencing several emotions simultaneously. Colors, smells, and sounds may be highly intensified, and time may appear to move very slowly. Sensory perceptions may blend in a phenomenon known as synesthesia, in which a person sees sounds, or smells colors, for example. Users may have out-of-body sensations, or may perceive their body has changed shape or merged with another person or object.

Precautions

Unlike cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, alcohol, and nicotine, LSD is not considered addictive, but it is considered dangerous; users are at risk for several short- and long-term side effects. LSD's effects are unpredictable and may vary with the amount ingested and the user's personality, mood, expectations, and surroundings. Users may experience enjoyable sensations on some "trips," and terrifying feelings of anxiety and despair on others. Most LSD-related deaths stem not from the LSD's physical effects on the body, but from the panicked reactions ensuing from intense LSD-triggered illusions.

Side Effects

Two long-term effects are associated with LSD use: psychosis, and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), also known as "flashbacks." The exact causes of these effects, including the mechanism by which LSD may cause them, is unknown. Chronic hallucinogen users or individuals with underlying personality problems are most vulnerable to these effects, but individuals with no history of psychological disorders have also experienced them. LSD-induced psychosis may include dramatic mood swings, loss of cognitive and communication skills, and hallucinations. Flashbacks generally involve seeing bright flashes, or halos or trails attached to moving objects after the LSD "trip" has ended. Flashbacks can last a few seconds or even several hours.

KEY TERMS

Acid Common street name for LSD.

Cerebral cortex Brain region responsible for reasoning, mood, and perception.

Hallucinogen A drug that distorts sensory perceptions and disturbs emotion, judgment, and memory.

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) The recurrence of LSD effects after the drug experience has ended.

Locus ceruleus Brain region that processes sensory signals from all areas of the body.

Neurotransmitter Chemical compound in the brain that transmits signals from one nerve cell to another.

Serotonin A neurotransmitter that modulates the actions of other neurotransmitters in the brain.

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the number of LSD-related hospital emergencies is low compared to those related to cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other illicit drugs. One reason for this trend may be that LSD currently sold on the black market is less potent than in the past. LSD dose strengths tend to range from 20 to 80 micrograms today, compared to 100 to 200 micrograms reported during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Interactions

LSD flashbacks can be spurred by use of drugs such as marijuana. Preliminary evidence suggests serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac and Zoloft may also exacerbate the LSD flashback syndrome.

Resources

PERIODICALS

Aghajanian, G. K. and G. J. Marek. "Serotonin and Hallucinogens." Neuropsychopharmacology 1999: 16S-23S

ORGANIZATIONS

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. 11426 Rockville Pike, Suite 200, Rockville, MD. 20852. (800) 729-6686. http:\\www.health.org.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. P.O. Box 30652, Bethesda, MD. 20824-0652. (888) 644-6432. http:\\www.drugabuse.gov.

U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. 2401 Jefferson Davis Highway, Alexandria, VA 22301. (888) 644-6432. http:\\www.usdoj.gov/dea.

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"Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lysergic-acid-diethylamide-lsd

LSD

LSD


LSD is the abbreviation for lysergic acid diethylamide, a synthetic hallucinogenic drug discovered by Albert Hofmann in 1938. By disrupting the action of serotonin in the brain, LSD produces markedly abnormal behavior, including psychotic episodes that can last anywhere from hours to several days. The drug is usually administered through the tongue, although it can be absorbed through any of the mucous membranes.

Medical experimentation with LSD began in the 1950s, soon after the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Sandoz Laboratories began legally manufacturing the drug. Early investigators included Oscar Janiger, a Los Angeles psychiatrist who administered LSD to approximately 1,000 volunteers between 1954 and 1962, and Timothy Leary, a Harvard psychology professor, who experimented with LSD during the early 1960s. Leary administered the drug to Harvard students, helping to spark an interest in it on college campuses around the nation. Like Janiger, Leary also gave the drug to a number of celebrities. Harvard fired Leary in 1963, but he continued his experiments and advocacy of what had come to be called psychedelic drugs. While the United States government had initially sponsored covert investigations into the utility of LSD for the military and other agencies, in response to mounting public concern and a Senate inquiry, the government outlawed LSD in 1966.

LSD moved rapidly from medicinal to recreational use. Interest in the drug was greatly stimulated by accounts of celebrities, including the actor Cary Grant, and artists who reported remarkable psychological insights and transformations after using LSD. The drug was touted as an aphrodisiac and as a chemical adjunct to the "hippie" movement. It was widely distributed through illegal channels during the 1960s to those eager to follow Leary's siren call to "turn on, tune in, drop out." When LSD was outlawed by most countries and abandoned by legal pharmaceutical manufacturers, any early promise it had as a therapeutic drug was lost in a wave of bad experiences associated with its illegal use and unregulated production.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Lee, Martin, and Bruce Shlain. Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. New York: Grove Press, 1985.

Montagne, Michael. "LSD at 50: Albert Hofmann and His Discovery." Pharmacy in History 35 (1993): 7073.

Stevens, Jay. Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 1998.

Ulrich, Robert F., and Bernard M. Patten. "The Rise, Decline, and Fall of LSD." Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 34 (19901991): 561578.

Loren Butler Feffer

See also Counterculture ; Substance Abuse .

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"LSD." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"LSD." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lsd

LSD

LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide (lī´sûr´jĬk, dī´ĕth´ələmĬd, dī´ĕthəlăm´Ĭd), alkaloid synthesized from lysergic acid, which is found in the fungus ergot (Claviceps purpurea). It is a 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, lysergic acid diethylamide, 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. The danger of LSD is that its effects are unpredictable, even in experienced users.

History

LSD was developed in 1938 by Arthur Stoll and Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemists hoping to create a headache cure. In 1943 Hofmann accidentally ingested some of the drug and discovered its hallucinogenic effect. In the 1960s and 70s it 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.

Bibliography

See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

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lysergic acid diethylamide

lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) (ly-ser-jik ass-id dy-eth-il-ay-myd) n. a hallucinogenic drug, formerly used to aid treatment of psychological disorders. Alterations in sight, hearing, and other senses occur, psychotic effects, depression, and confusion are common, and tolerance to the drug develops rapidly. Because of these toxic effects, LSD is no longer used clinically.

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LSD

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) Hallucinogenic drug, causing changes in mental state, sensory confusion and behavioural changes, resulting from the drug blocking the action of serotonin in the brain. First synthesized in the 1940s, LSD was made illegal in the UK and USA in the mid-1960s.

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"LSD." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lsd

lysergic acid diethylamide

lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) A chemical derivative of lysergic acid that has potent hallucinogenic properties (see hallucinogen). It occurs in the cereal fungus ergot and was first synthesized in 1943. LSD acts as an antagonist at serotonin receptors.

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"lysergic acid diethylamide." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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LSD

LSD • abbr. lysergic acid diethylamide, a synthetic crystalline compound, C20H26N2O, that is a potent hallucinogenic drug.

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"LSD." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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LSD

LSD, LSB Abbrevs. for least significant digit, least significant bit. See least significant character.

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lysergic acid diethylamide

lysergic acid diethylamide: see LSD.

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"lysergic acid diethylamide." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lysergic-acid-diethylamide

LSD

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LSD

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LSD

LSD League of Safe Drivers
• Computing least significant digit
• Lightermen, Stevedores, and Dockers
• lysergic acid diethylamide (hallucinogenic drug)

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LSd

LSd (or £Sd) symbol for Sudanese pound (monetary unit)

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