Drug Effects - Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD
LSD is a semi-synthetic drug made of lysergic acid. Also
known as Lysergide or LSD-25, it is a colourless, tasteless,
odourless, crystalline substance which is soluble in water or
alcohol. The street name for LSD is Acid. Common illegal forms
of LSD include -
- blotter paper;
- mini tablets (‘microdots’);
- capsules; and
- gelatine sheets.
LSD is listed in Part III of
Schedule 2 of the South African Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act,
1992 (Act No 140 of 1992) as an Undesirable Dependence-
Producing Substance. However, from a pharmacological
point-of-view it is not considered as being dependence
The effects of LSD
The effects of LSD strongly
depend on the mental state of the user and the circumstances in
which the drug is used. Therefore, the same dose can produce
good and bad ‘trips’ in the same person, depending on the
circumstances in which the drug is used.
The sought-after effects of LSD are -
changes in mood an sensory
‘mind expansion’ as a key to
quasi-religious transcendental experiences; and
effects similar to those
associated with Ecstasy-type substances: feelings of empathy
and increased sociability.
The possible short-term effects of LSD are -
a distorted perception of
depth, time, and the size and shape of objects;
hallucinations (that is,
stationary objects appear to be moving) (Generally the user
knows that these effects are unreal; true hallucinations are
heightened senses (sight,
sound and touch);
psychological or emotional
effects such as anxiety, depression, dizziness,
disorientation and paranoia;
physical effects such as
dilated pupils, lowered body temperature, nausea, vomiting,
profuse sweating, rapid heart rate; and convulsions;
LSD use increases a person’s
risk of injury, especially when the person drives a car, or
performs other complex tasks such as operating machinery.
The possible long-term effects of LSD are -
a growing tolerance to the
drug, which disappears quickly after use of the drug is
flashbacks (that is,
short-lived, intense re-experiences of part of a previous
trip) which can occur days or even months after the last
dose has been taken, leading to disorientation, anxiety and
prolonged anxiety and
depression after use of the drug is stopped.
The physical dangers of the
long-term LSD use are unknown.
Terminology and Information on
Drugs, Revised Edition, United Nations Office for Drug Control
and Crime Prevention, New York, 1999.
Merck Index, 13th Edition, Merck
& Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station NJ, 2001.
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