In this series we are going to be talking about drug myths or drug misconceptions (some drug truths too). We all have heard the drug myths and misconceptions before. Even people who haven’t used drugs have probably heard a few of them. The drug myths and misconceptions, truth are, you know, the stories like George Washington smoked weed, and that Ecstasy puts holes in your brain etc. (those will be looked at in later posts.) Whatever the substance and whatever the story we are here to finally get the truth out about it all!
This is drug myths debunked: LSD.
(Disclaimer: As we “debunk” myths we are not saying you should use these substances or saying that these substances are safe to use. This is merely a fun and factual article. Substance abuse in any way regardless of what is true and what isn’t, can be dangerous.)
In this entry; I am going to be spitting the truth about one drug that has one of the biggest myth archives to date: LSD.
And let me just say this: Everything you think you know about LSD wrong.
I don’t know where half the myths came from I just know I have heard a lot of them when it comes to LSD. I have heard the stories about strychnine, how it stays in your spine, that if you take more than 7 hits you are clinically insane, about getting bad acid, and so much more. I am here to get the truth out! It is time the smoke and mirrors about LSD were removed. Let’s get started:
What is LSD?
LSD (Lysergic acid diathylamide) is an illegal drug first made by Sandoz, a Swiss drug manufacturer, in 1938. The story goes that Albert Hofmann, a young chemist working for Sandoz, first stumbled upon LSD-25 (so named because Hofmann tried 24 derivatives of fungus that grew on rye (ergot) before coming to the drug we have now) hoping it would help stimulate the respiratory and circulatory systems. Then, 5 years later, after shelving the project, he produced the drug again and this time he took 250 micrograms, believing that such a dose would have minimal effects, if any at all. In fact, LSD is very active even in small doses. Feeling dizzy, Hofmann decided to leave work on his bicycle, unwittingly going on the first LSD trip. LSD is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug. It’s most common form is that of ‘blotter papers’ – small squares of paper that have been dipped in LSD. LSD can also come in the form of a powder or crystal, a liquid, gelatin squares, laced on a sugar cube, or a small pill. LSD is also known as acid.
Here are the myths that have come about since then:
LSD contains strychnine: FALSE
Anti-drug educators frequently told their students some varying story with the theme of getting strychnine poisoning. For example, that strychnine is commonly sold as a cheaper substitute for LSD by unscrupulous drug dealers; that strychnine is a byproduct of LSD synthesis; that the body produces strychnine as a result of LSD being metabolized; or that strychnine is used as a preservative to prevent the otherwise natural, rapid decomposition of LSD, allowing it to be stored; or that strychnine is somehow necessary to bond LSD to blotter paper. None of this is true. Ever since the anti-drug crusades this story has been perpetuated to the point where even the drug users themselves believe it and have continued perpetuating it. In reality, most hallucinogens cause some degree of mental or physical discomfort after the “trip” is over. This is an indirect effect of the drug, not strychnine or any other adulterant.
The truth about strychnine: Strychnine itself is one of the bitterest substances known. The bitter taste can be detected at 1 part per million, which is well below the toxic level that causes adverse effects (this means you would know it was in your acid). The dangerous dose of strychnine is too high(big) to be contained in a blotter square and be fatal or cause even adverse effects; even if the entire square were composed of the poison it wouldn’t cause adverse effects. But strychnine has been discovered mixed with LSD on very rare occasions but it has also been found mixed with other drugs. In a few samples recovered by law enforcement agencies, any substance with strychnine were found in murder or attempted murder investigations where someone was being specifically targeted for poisoning, and not associated with recreational LSD use.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles stands for LSD: FALSE
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was the title a drawing, by Lennon’s son Julian. The drawing is of his friend Lucy Vodden, in the sky, with diamonds. Whether young Julian was taking acid at the time is up for debate.
LSD stays in your spinal fluid: FALSE
This legend may have its foundation in the fact that chronic LSD use can result in flashbacks and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder or HPPD. There remains no consensus regarding the nature and causes of HPPD or flashbacks. That’s beside the point though, LSD physically remaining in the body for months or years after consumption has been discounted by experimental evidence. Although the body does store some toxins in fat tissue, and residues of some drugs and toxins can be found in spinal fluid, LSD is not among these. LSD is metabolized by the liver, and has an elimination half-life of around 2.5 to 4 hours, and is insoluble in fats.
Aldous Huxley Took Acid The Day He Died: TRUE
Aldous Huxley, famous promoter and icon of hallucinogens such as LSD, mescaline, peyote as well as the author of “The Doors of Perception” and “A Brave New World” did in fact take acid on the day he died.
Baseball Legend Dock Ellis Once Pitched a No-Hitter Under the Influence of LSD: TRUE
Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. (March 11, 1945 – December 19, 2008) was an American professional baseball player. A pitcher, Ellis played in Major League Baseball from 1968 through 1979 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and New York Mets. In his MLB career, he had a 138–119 win-loss record, a 3.46 earned run average, and 1,136 strikeouts. Ellis threw a no-hitter on June 12, 1970. He later claimed that he accomplished the feat under the influence of LSD. Ellis was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game in 1971. That year, the Pirates were World Series champions. He also had a substance abuse problem, and he acknowledged after his retirement that he never pitched without the use of drugs. After going into treatment Ellis remained sober and devoted the remainder of his life to counseling drug addicts in treatment centers and prisons. He died of a liver ailment in 2008 at the age of 63.
A person who has used LSD more than seven times is automatically declared legally insane: FALSE
The same claim is often suggested with large doses, the difference being that the person is considered psychotic only for the duration of the trip. An extension of this legend is that a person who does LSD more than “X number of times” is permanently disqualified from the military as a result of being “legally insane,” a version which was likely inspired by wishful thinking of drug-using draft dodgers in the 1960s. However, no such law exists, at least not in the United States.
Caught with LSD you get manslaughter charges or attempted murder charges: FALSE
No state or federal law allows for a seller of illegal drugs to be charged with that crime under any relevant legal theory. This myth may have origins in stories about long prison sentences for possession or sale of LSD, that may have been comparable to sentences given to those convicted of murder.
Man permanently thinks he is a glass of orange juice (or becomes an orange) on LSD: FALSE
Another common legend, again dating back to the 1960s, was that a man who took LSD went insane and permanently thought that he was a glass of orange juice. Because of this, he could never bend over, slept upright and did not make any sudden movements. Alternative versions sometimes have the man thinking he is a glass of milk or a whole orange. Another version of this myth states that the man believed he had become an orange, and was afraid he would be ‘peeled’ by his friends
You can get “bad” LSD: FALSE
A “bad trip” is easily caused by an expectation or fear of ill effects, which may later be blamed on “bad acid”. This legend was made famous at the 1969 Woodstock festival, when concert-goers were warned to stay away from “the brown acid”, which was allegedly bad. One possible reason people believe that they had “bad acid” could be because they were simply sold a much higher dose than usual, which is not uncommon due to the inherent lack of quality control of illicit drugs. The stronger the dose, the stronger and potentially more anxiety-provoking the trip can get. Drugs described as LSD in the 1970s occasionally actually contained PCP, amphetamine, or other drugs that have quite different effects from LSD. There are now many research chemicals (DOB, 2C-I, DOI, 25I-NBOMe etc.) that can be nearly indistinguishable from real LSD before use, and can be easily confused with “bad acid”.
And that’s it for now! Hope you enjoyed finding out how little you actually knew about LSD.
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