The use of drugs among Americans is rapidly rising. They can be bought and sold almost anywhere, from the streets to hallways of schools. A drug on the rapid rise from the 70’s is LSD. Some people attribute this to the fact it is extremely inexpensive, $2-4 a hit, the wrong belief by users that it is a safer drug than marijuana because it isn’t physically addicting. However, LSD is a hallucinogenic drug that is very dangerous, despite popular belief. LSD stands for Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. Lysergic acid is extracted from the fungus Ergot, and then left to crystallize until it is pure.
It was first accidentally discovered by Albert Hoffman in 1938 in Switzerland, who was searching for possible therapeutic uses of Ergot. Hoffman continued his experiments, but never came in contact with the crystals until1943. (LSD can be absorbed through the skin. ) Hoffman then sent LSD around the world to be tested and investigated to find medical uses. Lysergic acid deviates were found to relieve migraines and control postpartum hemorrhage because it causes veins to contract, but also caused gangrene of the limbs, and so further experimentation with the drug was abandoned.
In the late 50’s, however, LSD was used by the CIA as an interrogation drug for spies. However, it was proven to be unreliable and was later replaced with other interrogation drugs. LSD comes in the forms of crystals, liquids, tablets, gelatins, or blotting squares. The squares have designs on them such a flowers, dragons, shapes, animals, and cartoon characters to make them more attractive to young children. Often called acid, white lightning, stamps, microdot, and grateful dead, LSD is usually taken orally. There are 4 levels of experience an LSD user will go through.
The first takes place within 45 minutes of ingestion. The user begins to feel enhanced senses. Colors are brighter, sounds are more distinct, and a user may feel dizzy. The second level is the plateau. Between hours one and three, the user will “see” sounds and “hear” objects. This experience of a mingling of the senses is called synethesva. Patterns within material such as sweaters and blankets appear. A user may see figures within smoke from incense, or spend extended periods of time examining lines on the palm of their hand.
Clock time becomes distorted and slows almost to a stand still, whole minutes seem to pass like hours. Slight hallucinations may appear. The third stage from hours 4-7 is the climax. Colors are greatly magnified, while once familiar shapes distorted beyond recognition. The hallucinations become intense, and total unreal objects may appear. A user may go through a profound “mystical” experience where they find insight or enlightenment about themselves or the world around them. The fourth stage is the downfall where the drug wears off and the user re-enters the normal world.
LSD was very popular in the late 60’s for its properties of “realization”, transcendence, or the all-knowing effect that LSD often gives. But the use of LSD quickly faded because of it’s dangerous and harmful side effects. LSD causes depth distortion and impairs rational judgment, which often leads to accidents and injury. Often the user doesn’t realize they are injured until the drug wears off, and then the user usually doesn’t remember the accident. These negative side effects cause users to jump out of windows or run in front of moving cars.
And also because the source of LSD is unpredictable, a user may get a tainted dose, causing a severe panic attack resulting in the need to commit suicide to escape it. A user often has enlarged pupils, rapid heartbeat, nausea, chills and trembling, convulsions, extreme mood swings, fear of insanity or death, and severe anxiety. A user who uses high doses often may suffer permanent psychosis. Any user, even a first time user may suffer from flashbacks, where LSD, stored in the spinal cord discs, escapes and comes in contact with the brain.
The user may feel as if they were using the drug again for several minutes or less until the LSD wears off. No matter who uses it, LSD is a dangerous and illegal drug. The chances of injuring or killing one’s self should cause would be users to think again. The attraction to children can also be minimized by a watchful parent. LSD is a potent dangerous drug, that can cause permanent damage, such as long term personality changes, and can shatter the strongest hold on reality, and cause permanent insanity. No person can be fully responsible for their behavior while under the influence of any drug, and LSD is no exception.