Erowid
 
 
Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Have Psychedelics Changed Your Beliefs
about Death or Dying?
Have you had a psychedelic drug experience that altered
your beliefs or understanding about death and dying?
Take the Johns Hopkins Survey about your experience!
Myth Debunking:
Is Strychnine in LSD?
by Erowid
v 1.1 (first published Jan 22, 1997)
Citation:   Erowid. "Is Strychnine in LSD?". Erowid.org. Jan 22, 1997. erowid.org/chemicals/lsd/lsd_myth2.shtml
MYTH ORIGINS
Looking into the origin of the strychnine rumor, some slim basis for it can be found. One report in the professional literature was by Sid Schnoll (Schnoll, SH & Vogel, WH (1971) New Engl J Med 284(14):791) who reported a positive thin-layer chromatography (TLC) result in a sample of LSD. TLC is a screening test only and not suited for definite identification. When Sid was contacted he said that, to the best of his recollection, the sample had only a trace of strychnine and that it was never confirmed with another method.

The other report of note comes from the popular press: Albert Hofmann's LSD: My problem child. In the book, Albert reported that strychnine had been sold as LSD powder, two people had ingested it and one had died. When contacted, Albert could not provide details of how he analyzed the sample presented to him or any information on the clinical course of these two people, but said that this event had occured in 1970 and that no toxicologic analyses had been performed on any clinical specimens. It should be noted that in this case, LSD was not involved. LSD was not adulterated with strychnine, but rather strychnine was represented as being LSD.

The first published reports of strychnine contaminated LSD predate 1970 and have of course persisted, even being enshrined in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.), despite the lack of any conclusive evidence.

See also Strychnine in LSD? from the Hyperreal Drug Archives, circa 1994.