Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
These ratings are my subjective opinion. It is based on years of first-hand experience with the substances and being in the psychedelic community. (Hover to see details)
My Personal Experience
I have had very mixed feelings about LSD throughout the years. It is a supremely complex substance with uncanny power. It demands the highest respect and care from the user. I believe LSD is the most sensitive to set and setting. It is the Lamborghini of consciousness-crafting. This also means it has the potential to be incredibly destructive, but has just as much potential for incredible creation.
In the early days of my LSD exploration, the wonderful newfound access to the rest of my brain always ended in frustration as the drug wore off. I would go from being the best version of myself back to standard insecure and limited self like nothing ever changed. Some part of me knew it shouldn’t have to be that way. It felt too natural to only be possible while the drug was inside me. This hunch quickly led to one other avenue of consciousness expansion, meditation.
Meditation led to more aware and lucid dreams, enhanced intuitive accuracy, and This was the beginning of my quest for integration. I discovered that you could actually reach LSD-levels of consciousness without LSD or any drug. After this revelation, I prioritized physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Every facet of my vitality contributed to greater degrees of integration.
The other invaluable lesson I learned throughout my travels was grounding. It’s a simple word, but carries profound meaning and responsibility. It’s also the key to unlocking the full potential of LSD (in my humble opinion). I did have to learn this the hard way, though. Before I started to take grounding seriously, beyond 300 micrograms, my mind began to stop making sense. It was like my brain was making more connections than I could follow. It often manifested as acute psychosis, delusion, or perturbing synesthesia. For example, several of my trips led me to believe something was true that was verifiably false. On multiple occasions, every sound that came through my ears was converted to seemingly random audible numbers. On the higher doses I would lose my sense of reality to the point of not believing in anything consequential. In other words, a risky situation with little potential for benefit.
Once I embraced a deeper practice of grounding, I could start to handle larger doses without sacrificing any of my sanity and with larger doses comes more potential for integration. Grounding is a broad term for developing harmony with the Earth. There are many facets of this, but some general themes are stability, security, and sustainability. Stability in managing the challenges of life, security in serving your basics needs, and a sustainable relationship with the world around you. Each of these has vast amounts of practical methods and skills that often take time to develop, but each one will anchor your high-dose LSD experience in the most pragmatic way.
As I said before, LSD demands the users utmost respect, especially in the higher doses.
Serendipitously synthesized by Albert Hoffmann in 1938, LSD came to be one of the most infamous of all psychedelics, in part due to its unparalleled potency and long-lasting psychedelic effects. A single gram of pure LSD can have 10,000 doses in it and taking just one of those will cause dramatic perceptual changes. Its uniqueness is also present in its unintentional creation. It was synthesized while researching a respiratory stimulant drug and then accidentally ingested by its creator, Albert Hofmann, who was the first ever to report on the profound effects .
LSD mystified and fascinated researchers prior to its severe restriction in 1971, as evidenced by the 2000+ published papers on it before research was shut down. Pre-prohibition research is not touted as the most rigorous body of scientific work, but it was more than enough to establish LSD could be used safely in controlled settings by people without pre-existing psychoneurotic disorders. Additionally, the efficacy as a treatment for certain psychological ailments was established as well. Despite the support from the scientific community, politically-driven scare-tactics and irresponsible recreational use were enough to bury it behind the world’s strictest drug laws. However, since then a new wave of research has reawakened scientific inquiry .
In 2006, a study on 53 cluster headache patients found the majority achieved both termination of symptoms and prolonged remission from this debilitating disease. Both psilocybin and LSD achieved these results in just one dose that no other known medication could replicate .
In 2014, a phase-1 safety and efficacy trial was conducted on subjects with anxiety associated with a life-threatening illness. The randomized, placebo controlled, double-blinded study found no acute or chronic adverse effects and a significant reduction in anxiety during a 12-month follow-up .
In 2016, British scientists studied fMRI scans on participants listening to music on LSD. Their findings of visual cortex and parahippocampal cortex functional connectivity confirmed subjective reports of mental imagery evoked by music .
That same year, scientists were able to correlate ego dissolution survey scores with increased global brain connectivity in fMRI scans . Most recently this year, scientists saw dendritic branches and spine growth in neurons dosed with multiple psychedelics. This is of particular interest in relation to the brain atrophy experiences in depression and post-traumatic stress , .
The inability for scientists to research this drug for so many decades has left many questions about what exactly is happening during the LSD experience. However, given the evidence of its ability to transform perception and potentially heal the mind, uncovering the truth about it carries significant urgency. The concerns about its safety don’t go unnoticed, though. The incredible potency combined with its water-solubility make it very easy for a person to ingest. If put in the wrong hands, dire consequences could result.
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