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Facts & Myths About LSD

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  • 0:01 What is LSD?
  • 1:33 How is LSD Used?
  • 2:48 What are the Effects of LSD?
  • 5:02 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Ashley Dugger

Ashley is an attorney. She has taught and written various introductory law courses.

LSD is a powerful hallucinogenic drug. Though it's been around since the 1930s, some LSD drug facts aren't well understood. This lesson explores some of the popular myths regarding LSD.

What Is LSD?

Many people associate LSD with the 1960s 'hippie' movement, but LSD has actually been around since the late 1930s. Even though it's been around for quite some time, the drug is sometimes not very well understood. Let's take a look at some of the most common thoughts about LSD and separate the facts from the myths.

Let's start with the origins of LSD. It's a hallucinogenic street drug formally known as lysergic acid diethylamide. Many people believe LSD is a naturally-occurring drug, but that's not exactly true. LSD is manufactured using ergot, which is a fungus that naturally grows on certain grains, such as rye. However, LSD is a synthetic drug, meaning it's an artificial compound made in a lab.

LSD was developed to serve as a medicine, but researchers never established a medical use for the drug. Its hallucinogenic qualities were discovered by accident by the developing chemist. At first, he suspected he'd absorbed some of the LSD through his skin, but studies later showed LSD must be ingested in order to cause hallucinogenic effects.

How Is LSD Used?

LSD comes in many different forms, all of which involve the user putting the LSD in his or her mouth and swallowing the drug. LSD solution is colorless and odorless. Besides being sold as a liquid in small bottles, it's sometimes sold as microdots. These are small pills, tablets, or capsules.

Some people mistakenly believe LSD comes as stamps, stickers, or kid-friendly transferable tattoos. Instead, it's sometimes distributed using blotter papers. The LSD is commonly applied to small sections of absorbent paper, which the user then places in his or her mouth. LSD is occasionally applied to other vehicles as well, such as sugar cubes or small pieces of gelatin.

Each section, or piece, contains just enough LSD to equal one dose. Note that a dose of LSD is typically only a few micrograms, which is the same measurement as only a few grains of salt. Doses are sometimes called 'trips' because LSD induces hallucinations, or intense distortions in the user's perceptions of reality, that can last around 12 hours.

What Are the Effects of LSD?

The effects certainly depend on the amount taken, but note that there is no known maximum dose of LSD. In other words, experts are unaware of any fatalities due solely to a toxic level of LSD. However, some users have experienced fatal accidents while using LSD.

Also unlike many other drugs, LSD is not considered to be physically addictive. This refers to the human body's dependence on a drug to the point that the body cannot function without it. When a physically dependent body stops using the drug, the body will experience withdrawal effects, such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, and overall pain. These physical symptoms tell the body it needs more of the drug in order to function.

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