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LSD is one of the most commonly used 'psychedelic' or 'hallucinogenic' substances. It comes in a variety of forms, but is virtually always taken orally. Today, LSD is most commonly found in the form of small squares of paper called 'blotter' (full sheets of paper are decorated with artwork or designs, perforated, then soaked in liquid LSD solution and dried). Other forms include pills, gelatin sheets or shapes (pyramids, cubes, etc), liquid, liquid sugar cubes, and powder. Blotter is most common because it is easily produced, easily concealable and the format allows for few adulterant chemicals.
A standard dose of LSD for the past 20 years has been between 50 - 150 ug (micrograms). A single hit of most blotter paper contains somewhere in this range, though this varies depending on the source and there is no way for the average user to determine the strength of a piece of blotter other than by word of mouth. In the 1960s and 1970s, when LSD came primarily in pill form, the average single dosage unit was somewhat higher than it is with today's blotter, more often in the 200-400 ug range. A drop of liquid can contain a huge amount of LSD but is generally made so that one drop is a single medium dose.
Price #
Sold by the single hit of blotter, LSD sells for $3 to $10 per hit, though it sometimes ranges as high as $25 depending on where you purchase it. Captive markets such as raves generally produce high prices while friend to friend it is often sold at cheaper prices. Less common forms of LSD sell for somewhat higher prices ($8-10 for a single hit), and as with most substances, the price goes down if you buy in bulk. Sheets of 100 hits (blotter) generally range from $1-$2 per hit. One of the more novel things about the illicit LSD market is that within the LSD using community, it is somewhat common to give single doses away to friends and acquaintances at extremely cheap prices, if not free.
LSD is illegal in the United States (Schedule I) and in most other countries. It is also listed as Schedule I in the International Convention on Psychotropic Substances, an international drug control treaty.
d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a synthetic chemical derived from ergot alkaloids which are produced by the ergot fungus which grows on rye.
Pharmacology #
Pharmacology Summary Needed.
Production #
LSD requires an experienced organic chemist to produce. All useful synthesis methods begin with Lysergic Acid which is schudule III. It is produced in crystal form, primarily by a small number of knowledgeable chemists in fully equipped laboratories. The DEA speculates that it is produced mainly in the United States and Canada.
LSD was first synthesized in 1938 and discovered to be psychoactive in 1943. It became popular in the '60's and was made illegal to possess in 1968. It has been widely available on the black market since that time.
Terminology / Slang #
The Substance:
LSD (Lyserg-Saeure-Diethylamid in German); Acid; Cid; L; Blotter (on paper); Tabs (on paper); LAD; Doses; Trips; Microdots (small tablets).
The Experience:
Tripping; Flying; Frying.
In the beginning stages of onset, LSD is likely to cause a sort of undefineably feeling similar to anticipation or anxiety. There is often a slight feeling of energy in the body, an extra twinkle to lights, or the feeling that things are somehow different than usual. As the effects become stronger, a wide variety of perceptual changes may occur; non-specific mental and physical stimulation, pupil dilation, closed and open eye patterning and visuals, changed thought patterns, feelings of insight, confusion, or paranoia, and quickly changing emotions (happiness, fear, giddiness, anxiety, anger, joy, irritation).
Onset #
Depending on how much and how recently one has eaten food, LSD generally takes 20 - 60 minutes (though sometimes as long as 2 hrs) to take effect.
Duration #
LSD's total duration is normally considered to be around 12 hours from time of oral ingestion to end of the primary effects. The strong peak/plateu effects last around 6-10 hours. The complete range of effects last between 8 and 48 hours, depending on dose, with doses under 40 micrograms lasting much shorter than doses over 500 micrograms (very heavy). Most people report the primary effects last until 6-10 hours after taking between 50 and 500ug and most feel unusual, with difficulty sleeping, until 10-18 hours after first ingestion or until they have had a full night's rest and a meal. It is unusual, but well documented in scientific and experiential literature, for a small number of people to trip for 16-24 hours after a single dose of LSD, usually if they have an unusually powerful experience or took a heavy dose.
Visual Effects #
Visuals Summary Needed.
LSD can precipitate strong, temporary changes in an individual's experience of life and reality. Even in low doses, it is a powerful psychoactive that can be significantly affected by experiences, set and setting. Recent experiences, especially strong ones, can have a substantial effect on a trip. Physically or psychologically unsettling events in the days before an LSD trip can blossom into more serious distress and trauma while tripping.

It is important to be prepared for the possibility of encountering difficult or frightening mental states. There are many ways of minimizing possible dangers and trauma: by making sure to have others around for first time or high dose experiences, choosing carefully when and where to use a substance, taking a little time to prepare mentally for an experience with LSD by relaxing, having an intent for the experience, or by incorporating comforting and calming ritual into the preparation (clean the house, adjust the lighting, choose music that will go with the sort of experience you're looking for,etc) Using a 'sitter', a sober friend who's job it is to take responsibility for the surroundings can go a long way toward easing anxiety and ensuring that someone will be able to deal with any situation that might arise. It's amazing how confusing a ringing phone or a cop at the door can be to someone who is on LSD. The Psychedelic Crisis FAQ provides some information about how to handle difficult situations.
Contraindications #
  • Do not operate heavy machinery. Do Not Drive.
  • Individuals currently in the midst of emotional or psychological upheaval in their everyday lives should be careful about choosing to use strong psychedelics as they can trigger even more difficulty.
  • Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia or early onset mental illness should be extremely careful because LSD is known to trigger latent psychological and mental problems.
  • LSD can cause uterine contractions and could negatively impact a pregnancy.
Addiction Potential #
LSD is not physically addicting, and is quite unlikely to lead to psychological addiction in most people. Withdrawal effects following discontinuation have not been reported. As with most substances, a few people have reported becoming mentally habituated to LSD. There is a short period of tolerance after use. Using LSD two days in a row is likely to lead to a diminished experience the second day, though spaced 3 or more days apart, this effect is very small, and after 7 days, tolerance is nearly non-existent.
Long Term Health Problems #
Long Term Health Problems Summary Needed.
Risk of Death #
Risk of Death Summary Needed.
Erowid Basics pages are summaries of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, books, websites, and other resources. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but the field is complex and constantly changing. Information should always be verified through multiple sources.