Hofmann, working at the Sandoz Corporation pharmaceutical laboratory in
Switzerland, first synthesized LSD in 1938. He was conducting research
on possible medical applications of various lysergic acid compounds
derived from ergot, a fungus that develops on rye grass. Searching for
compounds with therapeutic value, Hofmann created more than two dozen
ergot-derived synthetic molecules.
LSD is sold on the
street in tablets, capsules, and occasionally in liquid form. It is an
odorless and colorless substance with a slightly bitter taste that is
usually ingested orally. It is often added to absorbent paper, such as
blotter paper, and divided into small decorated squares, with each
square representing one dose.
LSD is a Schedule
I substance under the Controlled Substance Act. Schedule I drugs, which
include heroin and MDMA, have a high potential for abuse and serve no
legitimate medical purpose. Its two precursors lysergic acid and
lysergic acid amide are both in Schedule III of the CSA. The LSD
precursors ergotamine and ergonovine are List I chemicals.
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acid, window pane, dots, mellow yellow
short-term effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount
of the drug taken; the user's personality, mood, and expectations; and
the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the user feels the
first effects of the drug within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion. These
experiences last for extended periods of time and typically begin to
clear after about 12 hours. The physical effects include dilated pupils,
higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure,
sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.
Sensations may seem to "cross over" for the user, giving the feeling of
hearing colors and seeing sounds. If taken in a large enough dose, the
drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations.
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users often have flashbacks, during which certain aspects of their LSD
experience recur even though they have stopped taking the drug. In
addition, LSD users may develop long-lasting psychoses, such as
schizophrenia or severe depression. LSD is not considered an addictive
drug - that is, it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior as
cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine do. However, LSD users may develop
tolerance to the drug, meaning that they must consume progressively
larger doses of the drug in order to continue to experience the
hallucinogenic effects that they seek.
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trafficking and abuse have decreased sharply since 2000, and a
resurgence does not appear likely in the near term. National-level data
regarding LSD availability (such as LSD seizures and LSD-related
arrests) show a sharp decrease since 2000. LSD seizures, for example,
decreased 100 percent from 2000 through 2005, and LSD-related arrests
decreased 84.9 percent from 2000 through 2004. Demand for LSD also has
decreased sharply since 2000, as reflected in national-level prevalence
studies. In fact, Monitoring the Future (MTF) and National Survey on
Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data show that rates of past year use for
LSD have decreased significantly for nearly every sampled age group.
Production of the drug also appears to be limited--with no reported
laboratory seizures in 2004--and controlled by a relatively small number
of experienced chemists. Moreover, LSD distribution appears to be very
limited in most areas of the country. As such, resurgence in widespread
LSD distribution is unlikely in the near term.
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is abused by teenagers and young adults in connection with raves,
nightclubs and concert settings.
Approximately 1.9% of eighth graders, 2.5% of tenth graders, and 3.5% of
twelfth graders surveyed as part of the 2005 Monitoring the Future study
reported lifetime use of LSD. Approximately 44% of eighth graders, 60.8%
of tenth graders, and 69.9% of twelfth graders surveyed in 2005 reported
that taking LSD regularly was a "great risk." Additional survey results
indicate that 5.6% of college students and 13.4% of young adults
reported lifetime use of LSD.