Citation: Anatoli Smorin. "Not My Silver Bullet: An Experience with LSD (exp115532)". Erowid.org. Aug 5, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115532
LSD – Not My Silver Bullet
This report is part of an eight-report collection. The collection consists of a summary report
that is retrospective and generalized in nature as well as seven [of which this is one] more detailed chronicles of my experiences with various chemicals used intentionally for work or study enhancement. Each report documents a single substance used for thirty days. The idea was to give each material a chance to show its strengths and weaknesses. The summary report has shorter descriptions and comparisons of my experiences with each material, as well as links to the other full-length experience reports for each substance.
I consider myself to be well versed in the realm of substance use. Previous experiences include opiates, stimulants and psychedelics spanning over more than a decade. A fair amount of my substance usage history includes novel research chemicals often in less than common combinations.
The LSD used in my experimenting was sourced form a respectable vendor and the same batch from which I had tried previously in small, medium, and large dosages. I trusted the 255 micrograms per tab I began with. I dropped one blotter into 35 ml of agave-based ethanol [40% ABV]. This was stirred and shaken every thirty minutes for the first five hours, then left overnight until the morning when the same agitation schedule was resumed for the two hours prior to the first ingestion. The resulting solution was 7.3 ug/ml of LSD. All of the volumetric processes were performed with clean and freshly calibrated syringes.
It should be noted that all of the LSD dosages were administered orally; I did not hold the liquid in my mouth at all before swallowing.
I did not have any tolerance to LSD coming into the beginning of my month of using the substance.
This report was written using extensive notes as well as audio recordings taken during the experience.
My history of using LSD is substantial. Over more than a decade I’ve explored the substance from truly imperceptible micro-dosing all the way up to galaxy destroying megadoses. I began my month of LSD on the cusp between micro-doses and “mini-doses”. To clarify the difference: to me, a micro-dose is one that is too small to allow any discernible effects to be detected. A mini-dose is the smallest dosages at which I feel threshold effects.
As I progressed through my program of LSD, I found my “sweet-spot” dosage to be firmly on the mini-dose side of the fence. Several months prior to my documented thirty days I played around to narrow my ideal dosage range. During the ‘pre-season’, I could not find anything positive resulting from micro-dosing. Like taking a daily vitamin, it might have been good for me, but I didn’t notice it correlating to enhanced performance in any form whatsoever. It was easy to decide that what I was searching for was a tangible boost in my mental abilities during both work and non-work activities. In a similar fashion I ruled out dosages above twenty micrograms. These became too intense, particularly during the peak of the experiences, to be appropriated for the variety of work scenarios that might arise.
Study Dosage Timeline
My ingestion schedule was as follows:
Day 1/30: 7.14 micrograms
Day 2/30: Off Day
Day 3/30: Off Day
Day 4/30: 8.568 micrograms
Day 5/30: Off Day
Day 6/30: Off Day
Day 7/30: Off Day (Sunday and I forgot to dose)
Day 8/30: 11.424 micrograms
Day 9/30: Off Day
Day 10/30: Off Day
Day 11/30: 5.7 micrograms
Day 12/30: Off Day
Day 13/30: Off Day
Day 14/30: 8.568 micrograms
Day 15/30: Off Day
Day 16/30: Off Day
Day 17/30: 14.28 micrograms
Day 18/30: Off Day
Day 19/30: Off Day
Day 20/30: Off Day
Day 21/30: Off Day
Day 22/30: 12.852 micrograms
Day 23/30: Off Day
Day 24/30: Off Day
Day 25/30: 12.852 micrograms
Day 26/30: Off Day
Day 27/30: Off Day
Day 28/30: 12.852 micrograms
Day 29/30: Off Day
Day 30/30: Off Day
Timeline | Duration Details
While the onset, duration, and intensity varied depending on dosage, what I had eaten that day, my mood, and a myriad of other factors, I constructed the summary below to describe when I felt certain types of effects on an “average” day.
T + 00:00
Pretty straightforward – this is when the dose was swallowed.
T + 00:15 – T + 00:40
During this timespan I typically felt the first alerts of the substance. Generally this presented as a light bristling or tingling sensation on the inside of my scalp. Often this physical hint was accompanied by a light influx of mental energy and a minor, but noticeable increase in color saturation. I typically didn’t find any increased mental abilities in the realms of focus or creativity at this point.
T + 01:00 – T +03:00
This is when the LSD would really settle in and present the most pleasant and productive effects. I found that with these mini-doses I didn’t distinguish significant differences throughout this timeframe. Until the peak was reached, this stretch of the experiences typically felt the same. The same was good; mathematical and data related knots untied themselves like a properly rolled ball of yarn, rather than the tangled mess they might have appeared as if I was sober. Roadblocks several steps ahead of my current progress on work tasks presented themselves more clearly and sooner than normal, allowing swifter and more elegant solutions to complex data analysis challenges. I generally sat up a little more straight, was always on the verge of cracking a smile, and was excited, rather than dreadful, when work related email or message alerts blinked on my screen.
T + 03:00 – T + 04:30
Challenges sometimes arose during this section of the experience timeline; when the LSD was at peak intensity. On several occasions I experienced light anxiety here. Concern would fester if I received surprise requests for my attendance to a meeting. I felt the swelling effects and worried they would continue to progress to an uncontrollable trip. Despite knowing this would not happen, given my controlled and rationalized dosages, I was always glad when I passed through this phase of the experience and could detect the beginning of the decline.
T + 04:00 – T + 06:00
As the intensity started to descend I felt relief. The worry of overdoing my dosage, however irrational, disappeared and led me back into a state expanded creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness. Similar to the come-up, I didn’t differentiate between the beginning of the comedown and its midsection.
T + 05:00 – T + 07:00
This is the real beginning of the end. Positive effects dwindle considerably at the beginning of this time range and towards the end I usually would struggle to discern off-baseline from sobriety.
T + 07:00 + ...
At this point I’m usually beginning to become tired. The energy of the LSD is all but gone and if I have a lot of work left to do, I might be tempted to have a cup of coffee or at least take a brisk walk to try and ignite a second wind. On the Shulgin Rating Scale I’d be dwindling below a ± for sure.
Expectations | Hopes | Concerns Going In
I was hoping to break up some of the monotony and mitigate the short temperedness that I’ve been experiencing at work lately. I thought I might benefit from some additional energy as well. There are a lot of accounts that credit micro-dosing for increased creativity. This wasn’t something I was expecting to occur for myself. The only concerns I had were centered around the potential of being too intoxicated; too confused and mentally scattered during the workday to comfortably function.
Hands down, the positivity, which became an obvious trend early on in the mini-dosing trials, was the front runner among the reasons why I enjoyed using LSD during work. Amidst my experimentation, I didn’t find that the LSD amplified my natural emotions as it seems to do during more recreational excursions. To clarify this; the LSD in these mini doses was not just a mood magnifying glass. On larger doses, I’ve found that LSD would sometimes make a good mood great but also a bad mood calamitous. Thankfully these relatively small doses, for the month I documented, only pushed me in a positive direction. Decent days rose-up into markedly enjoyable days. On the flip side, frustrating coworkers suddenly didn’t seem so frustrating. The LSD pushed me to not only be more patient in these scenarios, but to sometimes even find humor within the ludicrous high-pressure environments that can exist in corporate finance. My sober self can spiral in these types of situations; getting more and more upset over increasingly smaller items of frustration. This is one of my least favorite things about how my personality interacts with my work. Having the LSD combat my natural negative reactions on these days was wonderful. I tried to take mental photographs of these moments, write some things down; in the hopes of bringing this ability back into my sober days. I never had much luck with these integration attempts.
During the month of LSD dosing, I found myself, far more often than usual, stopping to admire a small beauty of everyday life. Dust particles dancing in a beam of sunlight, the crispness of the air when I took my dogs outside for a walk; things that are easily glanced over, but when paid attention to, are really quite beautiful. Even a quick glance out the window from my desk often rendered a sense of appreciation and wonder at the natural charming elegance of the world.
It should certainly be noted that the “rose tinted glasses” effects were not silver bullet solutions that made work perfectly smooth and everything easy. They merely increased appreciation and slowed me down a bit. By no means did the LSD cut away stress completely. A challenging day at the office would crush the quiet moments of admiration like a steel-toed boot stomping down upon the rose lenses spectacles.
Least Favorite Aspects
I don’t have many direct complaints about the LSD’s effects during these mini-dosed days.
The comedown sometimes left me feeling a little bummed out from the fact that I seemed to use up all my increased abilities on work. During the day I’d think about productive projects and hobbies, but by the time work ended, I’d be drained of energy. A non-dosed baseline for me can sometimes feel tired and exhausted from the days mental exertion, but this is a special sort of weary. My physical brain itself felt tired and worn out, like the synapses and pathways have been working too hard. I rarely had a strong second wind on the LSD dose days during which I could be productive late into the night.
Similarly, on workdays that ran long, past ten or twelve hours, my energy and motivation were completely tapped out by the end. This was more noticeable than if I had done the whole day sober.
Even the small amounts of LSD seemed to negate the effects of alcohol. My typical evening beers didn’t produce as much of the familiar relaxation and buzz on days I dosed. There was no decrease in desire to drink – only a diminished enjoyment when partaking.
Neutral Aspects | Additional Commentary
Despite my familiarity with LSD, adapting to being on the substance on a regular basis at work took some getting used to. There were instances when something would come up at, like an unexpected interaction with a boss or a fire drill scenario, where I felt hindered by the LSD rather than aided. Typically this would present itself as a slight dilation of time and mild confusion, which were both unpleasant when trying to recall the details of logic and decisions made in the past relating to complex data files. Even if the negatives were momentary, it made me question if the mellow benefits were worth it.
The visual effects were very minimal during my mini-dosing days. Occasionally I found myself admiring a shaft of sunlight sparkling with dust or some other natural beauty; pleasantly distracted. I never got to the point of breathing or patterning in my visual field. Some minor color saturation and visual noise were present during most dosages.
My appetite was slightly suppressed on about half of my mini-dose days. Unlike with a higher dosage, this effect only lasted until shortly after the peak of the day’s intensity. I usually ate a light breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and granola within half an hour of my LSD ingestion, either before or after. I wouldn’t feel hungry again until mid afternoon which was usually T + 05:30 or later. This delayed lunch schedule wasn’t unpleasant or inconvenient. I’m susceptible to getting hangry; angry when hungry, but this never happened while on the LSD.
- Starting weight: 187 lbs
- Ending weight: 185 lbs *not related
- Heart Rate Notes: Nothing noteworthy – no slowing or hastening either on a regular basis or during any singular incident.
- Sexual Effects: None noted.
- Sleep Effects: I didn’t have any issues, but I never ingested later than 11 AM. No change in dream recall or subject was detected.
- Creativity: Absolutely boosted, particularly during the first few hours after ingestion. Interestingly, I did not achieve these boosted problem solving abilities at the peak intensities of slightly smaller dosages. I had to reach the middle to high range of my mini-dosing and only then, during the come-up, did I unlock the ability to find unique solutions to complex problems that I think would have taken me longer to achieve without the LSD. Thinking multiple steps ahead and seeing upcoming roadblocks was regularly mentioned in my daily notes.
- Focus: I can’t say I got a high degree of enhanced “laser-focus” during this month’s trial. There was the occasional day were I felt sucked in, so a few hours would drift by and I was immersed in my work to the point that I would was pleasantly surprised when I checked the clock. There wasn’t any days where multiple hours passed and I’d have severely incorrectly guessed the passage of time like can happen on more classic ‘recreational dosages’.
- Social Effects: No overtly positive effects stood out in the month of micro and mini dosing I documented for this project. It is noteworthy that all of my working relationships were taking place on text and video chat formats due to COVID-19‘s disruptions to office workplaces.
There were a few instances where I felt confused, overwhelmed, and nervous about my intoxication. A pressure would build in my mind, an itch almost; one that couldn't be scratched. Struggling, unable to shake this unpleasant sensation would be distracting as I interacted with co-workers. It would typically become more manageable once the stressor of interacting with others was removed, but sometimes it lingered until the LSD’s effects left me completely. These feelings were accompanied by the thought that: “I can make it through, but this is making my day more difficult.”. The juice didn’t seem worth the squeeze.
I chose to divide this section into portions of time because after reviewing my notes at the end of the month, the most distinct patterns of mood changes were correlated to specific timelines. The comments below held true for nearly all of the LSD dosage days.
- Mid Experience: Overall, a sheen of positivity; an elevated mood, was present from the onset onwards through the majority of the experience. I felt more excited about taking on tasks and interacting with difficult coworkers. Every day seemed more like opportunities than a dreary to-do list.
- Come-Down: Towards the end of the work day, as the effects disappeared, I was almost always completely drained.
I was more tired than I would have been if I’d gone through the day sober. This exhaustion was physical and mental. My “normal” evenings are often productive. I write, play pool, do chores, or any number of things that need to get done. On the LSD mini-dose days, I found that I watched more Netflix, lounged around, and procrastinated far more often.
- Next Day(s): I didn’t find much difference in my mood on “off days” at the beginning of the month and the end of the month. There wasn’t any cumulative effects, positive or negative, from the regiment. I sometimes, about 30% my notes informed, I experienced a light afterglow the morning after my dosages. This was a sense of relaxation; a calmness. Stress took longer to set in than an average sober day. After a few hours, at the most, this sensation dissipated entirely. Interestingly, this glow returned on the morning of the second “off day” about 10% of the time. Besides these “waking up on the right side of the bed” type feelings, I didn’t note any other significant “day after” effects.
The only common thread about the month spent on LSD that falls into the purview of “physical effects” was a constant thread in my commentary of catching a chill. My toes and fingers already suffer from poor circulation, this was exacerbated by the small dosages of LSD. A slightly heavier set of wool socks and a thicker chamois shirt on dose days were usually enough to eradicate the chills.
Please keep in mind the below commentary is limited to the handful of interactions between my micro and mini doses of LSD. Most of the secondary substances were taken at least halfway through the experience of the primary substance, LSD.
- Cannabis: I combined cannabis, typically through an oil pen vaporizer, in almost every stage of the LSD experiences at one point or another throughout the month. These cannabis dosages were always of a light variety; 2-5 medium sized hits at a time. The addition of cannabis exponentiated all the LSD’s effects. Whatever I was feeling was expended upon; good moods became an exhilarating rush, a creeping concern swelled into legitimate paranoia. Adding cannabis was a roll of the dice, but one I could usually control the outcome of by avoiding cannabis if I felt even the tiniest bit nervous or on edge.
- Alcohol: I did not enjoy this combination. I was not able to enjoy the sedating buzz of alcohol as much as I normally would. I could consume more booze than normal and feel the effects far less. Other than this, no notable synergies were found.
- Ketamine: On a few occasions I used ketamine and/or esketamine in the evenings of the mini-dose days. I didn’t find any potentiation or interaction between the LSD and the ketamine. Essentially, it was not a “combination” when I did this; there was no difference compared to if I had done the ketamine entirely on its own.
- MDMA: Twice in this month I ingested MDMA. One instance was a light dosage in the morning to accompany the LSD and the other was a medium dosage taken for recreational purposes on a Friday evening of an “on day”. The smaller combination was 45 milligrams, which I insufflated just after swallowing the days LSD. This intensified the LSD’s effects, particularly and not surprisingly, in the aspects of motivation and energy. The mental effects of the LSD, specifically confusion, were softened or pushed to the background by the positivity from the stimulant. I did not find significant desire to re-dose the MDMA or move in a more recreational direction as I might have with MDMA on its own. The larger dosage, 145 milligrams taken orally, was taken at about T + 11:00 from the LSD dose. I felt no interaction between the two substances in this instance. The MDMA experience was far stronger than the LSD and once it began, any faint reminder of the LSD was erased.
Outcome | Summary | Takeaways
I only had two instances where I felt the LSD was truly detrimental or uncomfortable. These were days that I pushed the dosage upwards slightly, hoping for a lighter workload paired with increased effects.
I only had two instances where I felt the LSD was truly detrimental or uncomfortable. These were days that I pushed the dosage upwards slightly, hoping for a lighter workload paired with increased effects.
Unfortunately, things arose, and I was forced into some fast-paced emergency tasks around the peak of the substance’s effects. This was my own self inflicted risk, gambling on the unpredictability of work.
Looking back at the month of using LSD comprehensively, I found the material interesting, useful at times, but not the silver bullet, end all-be all, that many other people report it to be. The magical moments where I recognized that I was zooming past roadblocks, solving logical mazes as though I had a key to all the shortcuts were seriously enlightening. This is what I imagined, in a perfect world, scheduled mini-dose LSD would be like every time, all the time.
Unfortunately, these enlightened moments were not a regular occurrence, in fact, they were far from it. Not even once per day, perhaps once every three days. While miraculous and extremely interesting as to how and why these occasional moments of clarity occurred, they were offset by a significantly larger quantity of times where I felt either very little effects or noteworthy negative effects. For me personally, this month was novel, useful, but not something I’m interested in making a part of my long term routine. Since the month ended, I mini-dosed on a handful of occasions, but usually these have been weekends; days when I wanted some extra pep in my step, and didn’t have any chance of being pulled into unexpected stressful situations. Having control over the setting of the experience seemed to alleviate many of the negatives I experienced with these small doses of LSD. Unfortunately this simply is not possible for me and my work situation, leaving LSD as a mediocre fit into my work regimen.
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