Citation: Tristan Haze. "Use Caution When Dosing: An Experience with LSD (exp17624)". Erowid.org. Oct 28, 2002. erowid.org/exp/17624
I am a very experienced LSD user, and an avid reader of Erowid's reports. I am frequently surprised by the lack of clear and reliable information that my fellow psychonauts have had going into their first LSD experience, or in cases where ignorance has led to disaster. So, with this in mind, I wish to relate to you my own experience with an unknown source and potency of the drug, and why it is so very very very important not to leave these things to chance (unless, of course, you are keen to go mad).
The day in question started fairly normally -- it was a saturday in mid-summer, beautiful weather, I was in a good mood, and had most of the day at my disposal . . . so I decided to go down to the waterfront (the place in my town where it is most easy to pick up drugs on the street) to buy a vial of acid. This was mistake #1.
When I got down there, I almost immediately made contact with an older woman, perhaps 40 or 50, who claimed to have amber liquid in great quantities. Indeed, this was true -- she had a small makeup jar that was filled with probably 300 or more hits of the brown liquid (maybe a 1/4 cup of the stuff). She took my vial, a small binaca dropper, dipped it in, and sucked up probably 30 or 40 hits. She charged me only $20 for this, so I began to wonder if it was really acid at all . . . usually I paid more like two or three bucks a hit, and this worked out to about 50 cents each . . . but I bought it anyway and took off.
It was probably somewhere around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, at this point. I walked several blocks to the mall in downtown, and retreated in a public restroom to drop a few hits. I dropped 2, noted they tasted slightly of liquor, then left to walk the mall. This was mistake #2. People have told me before (and now I tell others) that you should ALWAYS drop only one, or even less, when you have bought a batch of unknown potency.
No more than perhaps ten or fifteen minutes later, I was in a software store, looking at video games, we a sudden, quickly-rising sense of panic and apprehension came over me. I began to think, 'Perhaps it was poison, or they mixed it improperly! I might be about to die!' I left the store immediately and sat down on a bench in the mall's atrium, trying to get my head straight. I remembered in the past that music had calmed me when I felt anxious on LSD, so I got out my CD player and tried to listen to acoustic guitar music, but even that was way too much. And I was freaking out because I was like 20 minutes into the trip -- not even close to the peak -- and I was already overwhelmed. Fortunately, even at this point, I was a fairly experienced solo tripper, so even with my mind out in space, my body was functioning on a basic survival sort of level.
I left the mall in a great hurry and walked to the nearest bus stop to catch a bus home. Had I known the story of Albert Hofmann's second (and intentional) trip, I might've described my feelings at this point as he did at the onset of his trip: 'extreme personal crisis'. Though I waited about 5 minutes, it seemed like an eternity. There were hundreds of people out on the streets, and every one of them seemed to be mutated or twisted in a unclear sort of way. The bricks that made up the sidewalk sent up half-visible smokily twisting versions of themselves, and stretched and bent about people's feet as they walked by.
Being on the bus was even more frightening. Though I knew all of this was in my head, it didn't take away the hallucinations of mad chattering that I was hearing, nor did it curb the panic that had risen and was still rising in me.
When I got off the bus, still some 10 blocks from my house, I was alarmed to find that in addition to the wild visual and auditory hallucinations, I was beginning to have difficulties in the physical realm as well. As I crossed the road (which too was frightening -- I had no trust in any of the drivers not to run me over, despite the fact that the stoplight was quite clearly red) the pavement began to feel as if it were slowly rolling and jumping up and down under my feet. Trees moved and waved in rapid, almost violent profusions of color and pattern, and I began to worry that I might be left completely mad from this trip, that my mind might never come back.
Once I got home, I lay down on my bed and attempted to center myself and meditate, get some kind of grip on reality, but my thoughts felt like energetic fluid, far too volatile to be controlled. I saw huge, swift blue slashes of lightning arcing and chasing across my ceiling. I went outside to smoke a cigarette, and found that the side of my house was flowing up and down simultaneously, much more rapidly than I was accustomed to on acid. Unreal, half-visible geometric boxes encased the smoke that rose from my cigarette, and I thought to myself, this is the true nature of LSD, a drug that must command great respect, not only for the wisdom it can uncover, but also for its power to drive the unprepared completely mad. It is a drug meant for those with great mental strength, and little fear of its ego-slaying properties.
I realized somewhere in my random mental wanderings out on that deck that half the reason I was freaking out was that I was alone. So, once again operating in survival mode, I called my friend A, and explained that I had take 2 hits of LSD, but that the effect I'd gotten was far more potent than I'd expected, and that I was in need of some companionship.
'Damn,' she said, 'You sound SO loaded.'
I agreed that this was in fact the case. She told me that she had to go to work, but would send my friend B over in a minute to watch over me. After I hung up with her, I felt better, knowing at least if I was going to go mad, I wouldn't be alone.
It seemed to take forever for B to arrive, but once he did, we put in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and sat down to watch. Oddly enough, though I was still grilling incredibly hard, once B was there, talking with a fellow LSD user (though he was completely straight at the time) and the comedic atmosphere of the movie combined to make me feel much better. At this point I would say I was having a good time again. B and I hung out for several hours that night, but when he went home at about 11 pm, I was still completely fried. I stayed up most of the night reading Greek myth and listening to Pink Floyd. I think I finally came down somewhere around noon the next day, but felt odd and slightly tweaky for a good week or so afterwards. Also, previous to this experience, I'd never really had any lasting after-effects from doing hallucinogens, but to this day I still see tracers and what I refer to as 'rainbow trash', a sort of static-like colorful profusion of afterimages that lightly sprinkle my vision. I understand that these are symptoms of HPPD, though they have never really caused me any particular problems, and they have subsided somewhat with time.
So, I say in conclusion, if you are going to do LSD, do it with a known source (hopefully a friend), do it in moderation (for the least after-effects and paranoia/fear), don't do it too often (can you imagine LSD getting boring? sounds unlikely but I've experienced it), and for God's sake don't do it anyplace you can't easily and quickly leave if things do start to go south. If you respect these things, LSD will respect you, and a wide world of knowledge, creativity, and self-discovery await.
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