LSD, the archetypal psychedelic
(literally “mind-manifesting”) drug
, is a semi-synthetic chemical first derived in 1938 by Albert Hofman from the alkaloids of ergot, a grain fungus. LSD was initially heralded as a breakthrough in psychiatry and research into mental illness until LSD “escaped” from the lab and came to be used recreationally during the nineteen sixties. LSD was eventually made illegal in 1967.
First synthesized by Albert Hofman in 1938 LSD is the archetypal psychedelic (literally “mind-manifesting” or “-revealing”) drug. LSD is a semi-synthetic chemical derived from ergot alkaloids which are produced by a fungus which grows on rye. LSD was initially heralded as a breakthrough in psychiatry and research into mental illness until LSD “escaped” from the lab and came to be used recreationally during the sixties. LSD was eventually made illegal in 1967.
According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use in the United States, less than 1% of 12-17 year olds (0.9%) say they have tried LSD at some time in their lives. This was down from 1% in 2009, 1.1% in 2005, and 2.7% in 2002 (though higher than 0.8% in 2007). The number of people 12 yrs or older who were current users of hallucinogens
was lower in 2011 (972,000 or 0.4 percent) than in 2010 (1.2 million or 0.5 percent), 2009 (1.3 million or 0.5 percent), and 2002 (1.2 million or 0.5 percent).
In a 1998 survey in the UK 11% of those aged 16-29 said they had tried LSD at least once.
Colloquial names for LSD are many and vary between countries and geographical regions. Often they simply refer to the design on the blotter. Some of the more common ones include:
Alice, Hits, Angel Tears (specifically for liquid), Bart Simpsons, Big D, Blotter, Chief, Cid, Cupcakes, Domes, Doses, Dots, El Cid, Ellis Day, Flash, Fluff, Ghost, Haze, Headlights, Instant Zen, L, Lucy, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Leary’s, Microdots, Owsley’s, Pane/Windowpane, Sacrament, Strawberrys/Strawberry Fields, Sunshine, Sugar, Tabs, Trips, and Zen.
[top]Ways of administration
Most people swallow blotter LSD. LSD blotter can also be taken sublingually (allowed to rest under the tongue for 15-20 minutes). Liquid LSD is generally dropped straight onto the tongue (or onto sugar cubes which are then eaten). Liquid acid has also been reported to be administered by dropping in the eye. LSD can also be taken intravenously (although this is uncommon). LSD is absorbed through the skin and so “thumb-prints” (dipping thumb in bag of crystal LSD/liquid LSD) are another means of dosing.
LSD cannot be smoked as it is destroyed by heat.
[top]Typical doses forLsd
Threshold (dose at which effects first noted): 20micrograms (mcg) of LSD
Light (sometimes called a “museum” dose): 25-75mcg of LSD
Common: 50-150 mcg of LSD
Strong: 150-400 mcg of LSD
Heavy: 400 + mcg of LSD
The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They may vary dramatically from one person to another based on a variety of factors such as body chemistry, age, gender, physical and emotional health, etc. The effects of LSD also depend on the amount taken; the user's personality, mood, and expectations; and the surroundings in which the drug is used.
After oral ingestion of LSD duration of onset is typically 20-60 minutes but can be as long as 90 minutes.
Plateau effect is 3-6 hours
Coming down is 3-5 hours in total
After effects last 2-5 hours
Total duration of an LSD trip: 6-11 hours (sometimes longer)
[top]Effects of Lsd
The importance of set and setting
cannot be over-emphasized when taking psychedelics: Set is the expectations a person brings with them. Setting is the environment that a person is in. Set includes expectations about the drug's actions and how the person will react. Setting includes the social and physical conditions that the individuals take drugs
within. It is widely accepted that set and setting are the most important determinant of experiences with psychedelics, while the drug only plays the role of a catalyst or trigger.
Mental. The mental effects of psychedelic drugs are often impossible to define or put into words. It is also important to emphasize the extraordinary variation between different trips. It can involve alterations to patterns and processes in thought, memory & emotion. What these alterations will amount to in a particular trip will depend on the mind of the person. The mental effects involve an alteration of the mind. There are many kinds of alteration, and many kinds of mind.
Visual. The visual hallucinations of psychedelics are usually distinguishable from reality - they are recognisable as hallucinations. Especially at low and moderate dosages. The hallucinations are usually not perceptions of illusory objects, but a distorted perception of real objects you are seeing. The colors may glow, be enhanced, or change. The shape of the object may appear to change. The effect is comparable to the distortion created by hot air causing rippling of the air when it rises. Everything may shimmer and ripple, as if underwater.
Auditory. Hallucinations in sound perception is common. This can involve the alteration of sounds, such as giving them echo or changing what location they come from. Sometimes users can hear sounds which are not there. There is a strong effect on music appreciation, which can range from sublime and transcendent to alien and strange or even scary.
Tactile. Hallucinations of the touch perception. This can include: buzzing euphoric waves common to many drugs, pins and needles like sensations, feeling the air against your skin as if it were a liquid, vibrating, pulsing, undulating, being swayed by unseen forces or by being in sync with the 'energy in the room'.
[top]Positive effects of Lsd
Increase in energy, increase in associative and creative thinking, mood lift, increased awareness and appreciation of music, increased awareness of senses (smell, taste etc), closed and open-eye visual hallucinations/illusions. Perceptions are altered. People may notice that the walls of the room are "breathing" or that motionless curtains appear to be moving. Senses appear to mix: A LSD user might see music, taste colors, or hear visual stimuli (synesthesia). Some people report changes in perception of self and the universe producing profound and life-changing spiritual experiences.
[top]Neutral effects of Lsd
General change in level of consciousness, Increased salivation and mucous production (may cause coughing), Pupil dilatation, Increase in body temperature (very rarely LSD has been reported to cause hyperthermia
), Change in perception of time, unusual or rapidly changing thought patterns or emotions, Slight increase in heart rate and blood pressure, Facial flushing, Goosebumps.
[top]Negative effects of Lsd
Anxiety, Muscular tension (including jaw tension and teeth grinding), Dizziness, Confusion, Increased perspiration, Nausea, Over-awareness (and over-stimulation as a result) of sensory stimuli, Fear, Panic, Paranoia and unwanted and overwhelming feelings.
[top]Different Uses for Lsd
LSD has been used for many different purposes over the years. Originally LSD was used in psychiatric research as a means of inducing an “experimental psychosis” as it was thought that the LSD state was analogous to schizophrenia. Much research was done in the 50’s and 60’s in attempts to prove or disprove this hypothesis. Of particular interest was “blocking” the psychotic state by administration of drugs, as this was seen as a promising development in the treatment of mental illness. However it became increasingly obvious that the LSD-induced state had many specific characteristics clearly distinguishing it from schizophrenia and this approach was abandoned by the majority of researchers.
LSD experiences were recommended as a tool for the training of psychiatrists, psychologists, medical students, and psychiatric nurses. The LSD sessions were advertised as a short, safe and reversible journey into the world of the schizophrenic. It was thought that a psychedelic experience could increase the subject's ability to understand psychotic patients, approach them with sensitivity, and treat them effectively.
This early period of LSD research brought important new insights into the nature of creative processes and the psychology/psychopathology of art. It was also an important impetus in the development of theories about the psychology/psychopathology of religion.
Clandestine research was also undertaken during this period by various government agencies worldwide, who were seeking to utilise the effects of LSD (and other hallucinogens) as “truth serums” and interrogation tools. LSD was also investigated as a chemical weapon. Much of this LSD research remains classified, however an excellent overview is provided by: “Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD, the CIA, the Sixties and Beyond” by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain.
Perhaps the most important area of LSD research was experimental psycho-therapy, this was first postulated by Condrau in 1949. In the early fifties several researchers independently recommended LSD as an adjunct to psychotherapy, which could deepen and intensify the therapeutic process. The pioneers of this approach were Busch and Johnson and Abramson in the US; Osmund and Hoffer in Canada; Sandison, Spencer and Whitelaw in the UK; and Frederking in West Germany. Over the next 30 years or so hundreds of papers were published on the use of LSD in psychotic illness, as a treatment for alcoholism, and other addictions, as a treatment for depression and as an adjunct in personality and sexual disorders. Much of the research seemed to indicate that LSD-assisted psychotherapy could reach certain categories of psychiatric patients usually considered poor candidates for psychoanalysis or other forms of therapy.
By 1966 LSD was available on the streets. Publicity generated by Timothy Leary
and Richard Alpert
’s research and subsequent firing from Harvard, and a “Life” cover story entitled “LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Drug That Got Out of Control” contributed to Sandoz recalling the LSD it had previously distributed and withdrawing funding for LSD research. LSD was made illegal in California on 10/06/66 and was federally scheduled in the US in 1967.
Whilst many people do take LSD for purely recreational value, others use LSD for spiritual purposes and self-exploration.
There have been several attempts made to incorporate LSD into religion as a sacrament (and thus avoid prosecution for use, as with the Native American use of peyote
). In 1966 Arthur Kleps founded the Neo-American BooHoo Church which preached the sacramental use of LSD. Although ultimately unsuccessful he fought a long court-case to have his religious beliefs in LSD recognized and protected. Also in 1966 Timothy Leary founded the League of Spiritual Development which depicted man as God and LSD as the sacrament. Another LSD Church was The Brotherhood of Eternal Love (see the history of LSD).
Humans quickly metabolize LSD into the inactive 2-oxo-3-hydroxy LSD and 2-oxy-LSD, the former being the main LSD metabolite in humans. LSD's elimination half-life
is 3.6 h. Nor-LSD, LAE, 2-oxo-LSD, 2-oxy-3-hydroxy-LSD, 13- and 14-hydroxy-LSD, lysergic acid ethyl-2-hydroxyethylamide (LEO), and trioxylated LSD are all excreted in human urine.
effects are known to be mediated by the 5HT receptors, and LSD has a very complex pharmacology in the serotoninergic system. It binds with relatively high affinity to many 5HT receptor types: 5HT-1a, 5HT-1b, 5HT-1d, 5HT-2a, 5HT-2c, 5HT-5a, 5HT-6 and 5HT-7
There are two types of psychedelic drugs that, despite their molecular differences, seem to share a common mechanism of action: The serotonin
-like indoleamines group, to which LSD, psylocybin and DMT
belong, and the catecholamine-like phenthylamines, in which group mescaline
Molecular structures of the phenthylamine mescaline (up) and the indoleamine LSD (down)
This, however, doesn't necessarily mean that all these are involved in the psychedelic effects of the drug, and to find out just which have the most relevance, one only needs to compare the affinities of indoleamine psychedelics (LSD, DMT, psylocibin...) with those of phenthylamine psychedelics (mescaline, TMA
Such a comparison reveals that there are two receptor subtypes they have in common: The 5HT-2a and the 5HT-2c subtypes, of which they are agonists, and the affinity of various compounds to these two receptor subtypes is closely correlated with their psychedelic potency.
Furthermore, a study by Vollenweider and his collegues, using the indoleamine psylocybin, showed that drug-induced hallucinations were dose-dependently blocked by risperidone and ketanserin, both of which are antagonists of the 5HT-2a receptors. It's important to note that haloperidol, a D2 but not 5HT-2a antagonist failed to prevent the hallucinogenic effects of psyolcibin.
But this doesn't answer the most significant question: How does agonism at these receptors lead to the bizzare psychedelic effects of these drugs on the brain?
Although research on this area is limited, electrophysiological studies suggest the locus coerulus, a dense cluster of norepinephrine-containing neurons that is responsible for most noradrenergic projections to the forebrain is deeply involved in said effects.
The locus coerulus also recieves and integrates input from all other major sensory systems and sends information to various areas of the cortex, including the sensory cortex.Psychedelic drugs decrease spontaneus firing of locus coerulous neurons, while paradoxically enhancing their excitation by sensory stimulation.
A reduction of neuronal firing accompanied by an enhancement of sensory responsiveness means that the locus coerulus, in the presence of LSD, is more sensitive to sensory input. This may be the underlying mechanism for the genesis of hallucinations, as well as other effects attributed to psychedelics.
(mg/kg) (as the freebase)  :
Mice : 46 intravenously
Rat : 16.5 intravenously
Rabbit : 0.3 intravenously
|Synonyms:|| (4R,7R)-N,N-diethyl-6-methyl6,11-diazatetracyclo[7.6.1.02,7.012,16]hexadeca-1(16),2,9,12,14-pentaene-4-carboxamide, lysergamid, lysergic acid diethylamide, lysergide, N,N-Diethyllysergamide, N,N-diethyl-D-lysergamide, D-lysergic acid diethylamine, LSD-25, lysergsaüre diethylamid|
|Molecular Formula:||C20H25N3O, [C20H25N3O]2.C4H6O6.[CH3OH]2 (D-tartrate, solvated by methanol)|
|Molar mass:||323.42 g/mol, 861.03 g/mol |
|CAS Registry Number:||50-37-3|
|Melting Point:||80-85℃, 198-200°C (D-tartrate, solvated by methanol)|
|Boiling Point:||no data|
|Flash Point:||no data|
|Solubility:||Freebase very soluble in acetone, chloroform, ether, methanol ; soluble in water ; slightly soluble in hexane . D-tartrate soluble in water, methanol; insoluble in chloroform, ether, hexane |
|Additionnal data:||no data|
|Notes:||Freebase aspect : pointed prisms; crystallized from benzene. D-tartrate aspect solvated, elongated prisms crystallized from methanol |
[top]Reagent test results of Lsd
|Reagent || color produced|
|p-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde || violet|
|UV light (360 nm) || blue fluorescence|
|UV light (254 nm) || blue fluorescence|
LSD blue fluorescence turns yellow when LSD is oxidized.
LSD is a remarkably non-toxic drug, with few (if any) adverse physical effects. The estimated LD50
(dose at which 50% of subjects die) for humans is estimated at 12,000-14,000mcg LSD. There are reports in the literature of individuals ingesting 40,000mcg of LSD and surviving unscathed.
There have been NO recorded fatalities as a result of LSD intoxication alone. All deaths have been associated with poly-drug use or accidents as a result of intoxication. LSD has rarely (and controversially) been implicated in suicide. There are some reports of hyperthermia syndromes with LSD, but again these have only been reported with doses of LSD in vast excess of normal.
Even when used repeatedly over long periods of time LSD is not addictive and there is no withdrawal
syndrome on discontinuation of use. However if LSD is used daily for several days tolerance to its hallucinogenic effects will build up, meaning a user requires larger doses of LSD to achieve the same result. This tolerance disappears if LSD is abstained from for several days. Cross-tolerance to mescaline and psilocybin
Other than accidents, acute dangers of LSD are limited to a person being unable to cope with the thoughts and feelings engendered by the trip. Sometimes people can enter confusing and frightening states, with time loops and distortions which they feel unable to deal with. This is colloquially known as a “bad trip
” (see the wiki
for more information on this). Although frightening for a LSD user this is a temporary state that very rarely requires medical intervention.
As with any drug LSD can exacerbate pre-existing mental health problems, including depression. Some LSD users have experienced what is clinically referred to as “LSD Psychosis”, a schizophrenic-type disorder that appears to have been triggered by the drug. However, in careful analysis of LSD psychosis patients, it appears that those who have strong family histories of major psychosis or psychopathology are more vulnerable than those who do not.
In a survey of five-thousand individuals who had used LSD a total of twenty-five-thousand times, Cohen (1960) found 1.8 psychotic episodes per thousand ingestions, 1.2 attempted suicides, and 0.4 completed suicides -- figures consistent with the those of the general population, which means that psychotic episodes could not be attributed to LSD.
A 1967 study reported that LSD could cause chromosomal breakage, but this has subsequently been disproved by numerous other studies. A review of
“Flashbacks” associated with hallucinogen
use are often referred to in sensationalist news articles. The term refers to a transient recurrence of disturbances in perception that are reminiscent of those experienced during one or more earlier “trips”. The person must have had no recent hallucinogen use and must show no current drug toxicity. The symptoms cannot be attributable to a general medical condition and cannot be better accounted for by another mental disorder. They are otherwise referred to as “Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder”. The frequency of flashbacks is controversial with quoted figures in the literature ranging from 15-77%!
The Tryptamine class of chemicals includes both naturally occurring, synthetic, and semi-synthetic drugs built on the base skeleton “Tryptamine”. The important structural distinction of the tryptamine class of chemicals is their approximation to the neurotransmitter
serotonin. These drugs are mostly of the type commonly referred to as hallucinogens. Some of the drugs included in this class are the ubiquitous LSD, the less well-known but very powerful drug DMT, the active chemical in psychedelic mushrooms psilocybin, and a host of other drugs. Most of these drugs and their various structural isomers were given center stage in Shulgin
’s book Tihkal (Tryptamines
I Have Known And Loved), which chronicles both the synthesis and effects of a variety of tryptamine drugs.
The tryptamines, like most other drugs, are often easily synthesized when the appropriate direct precursor is readily available. In most cases this is, unfortunately, not a reality. As a result the synthesis can become a laborious process. One of the tryptamines, namely LSD, is one of the most misunderstood of the synthetic drugs. The synthesis of LSD is surrounded by as much legend and myth as with reality. The chemical lysergic acid diethylamide is actually not as difficult to synthesize as most of the folklore suggests. The synthesis is beyond the abilities of most dope “cooks”, that sorry breed which strives only for a “recipe” for a drug, with no desire to learn about what they are actually doing, and no appreciation for the art of synthesis. Yet the production of LSD is only a moderately difficult task for an average chemist.
Other naturally occurring tryptamine drugs are also of great interest. These include DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, Psilocybin, Psilocin
, and ibogaine
. While most of these drugs are commonly and easily extracted from plant material, their direct and total syntheses are also exceedingly interesting. The chemical psilocybin is one of the most common hallucinogens available throughout the world, and has been used by various cultures in spiritual and religious ceremonies throughout the centuries. DMT and 5-MeO-DMT share the second distinction with psilocybin, though they are far rarer as street drugs. The second has been available as a “research chemical
”, and as a result is far more common than its parent drug DMT.
A class of almost purely hallucinogenic drugs, the tryptamines are revered, and in some cases considered almost sacred, chemicals. The synthesis of LSD will likely remain the most sought after “holy grail” of most enterprising street chemists. The synthesis of a host of the other before mentioned chemicals will make a welcome addition to the repertoire of any dedicated drug chemist. These syntheses, as well as the syntheses of a variety of other tryptamine drugs, are available in our links pages. Remember, as always, to make sure that you understand the legal status of the various chemicals, as well as the reality of the repercussions for violating laws pertaining to these chemicals, before considering taking any action toward the synthesis of any of these drugs. Stay safe, and free.
In its pure form LSD is a white, odourless crystalline powder that is soluble in water.
LSD comes in a variety of forms, but is virtually always taken orally. LSD is most commonly found as small squares of paper called blotter (full sheets of paper are decorated with artwork, perforated, then soaked in liquid LSD solution and dried). The blotter is generally divided into small squares. Each square (approx ¼ inches) represents a LSD dose or hit. Recent testing data shows that this usually varies from 20-80 µg LSD. This is considerably less than the levels reported during the 1960s and early 1970s (when LSD was more commonly available in pill form) when the dosage of LSD ranged from 100 to 200 micrograms, or higher.
There is no practical way of knowing the exact dose of LSD without knowing the chemist who dipped the blotter. Adjacent tabs will usually contain very similar levels of LSD
Other forms of LSD include small pills (microdots), gelatine sheets (window pane), liquid, which can be dropped onto sugar cubes, and powder. There is little testing data on these forms of LSD, although some reports put the average microdot at 50mcg LSD and the average window pane at 50-150mcg LSD. Liquid LSD is uncommon and is generally (but not always) diluted to ensure that 1 drop equals 1 dose.
LSD is degraded by exposure to heat, light, oxygen and moisture. Optimal storage conditions exclude these. Recommended is wrapping in tin-foil to exclude light, storing in an air tight container with a desiccant bag and then in the freezer.
[top]Orange Sunshine and The Brotherhood of Eternal Love
In 1966 a biker gang from California, lead by “Farmer” John Griggs held up a Hollywood producer at gunpoint and stole his stash of Sandoz LSD. After taking the acid they appear to have experienced some sort of epiphany, and began to experiment with psychedelics and mysticism. In the summer of 1966, John Griggs travelled to Millbrook and met Timothy Leary who urged Griggs to form his own church.
The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, consisting of 30 original members was formally established in October 1966, 10 days after LSD was made illegal in California. The groups stated objective was: “to bring the world to a greater awareness of God through the teachings of Jesus Christ, Buddha, Ramakrishna, Babaji, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mahatma Ghandi, and all true prophets and apostles of God, and to spread the love and wisdom of these great teachers to all men… We believe this church to be the earthly instrument of God’s Will. We believe in the sacred right of each individual to commune with God in spirit and in truth as it is empirically revealed to him”.
As part of this new religion, LSD was used as a communal sacrament. To support the emerging religion they opened a shop, selling “hippie paraphernalia” in Laguna Beach, California. However the shop did not provide the necessary income for its intended purpose, which was to purchase land for the church.
Subsequently the Brotherhood started dealing drugs: Initially they smuggled Marijuana
from Mexico, however over a few years they developed a smuggling and distribution network that reached to Afghanistan. They also sold LSD produced by Owsley in San Francisco.
In late 1967 Owsley was arrested and supplies of LSD dried up. The Brotherhood made contact with Owsley’s former assistant Tim Scully in 1968, along with another chemist, Nick Sand who had previously served as chemist to Arthur Kleps’ Neo-American BooHoo Church. By June 1969 Sand and Scully had produced an estimated 10 million doses of high quality LSD.
In the summer of 1969, at a rock concert in Anaheim a member of the Brotherhood appeared wearing a T-Shirt reading “Orange Sunshine Express” scattering pills of Sand and Scully’s LSD around him. “Orange Sunshine” was born. It is estimated that 100,000 doses of LSD were given away that day.
Orange Sunshine quickly reached mythical status: Timothy Leary (who had moved to the West Coast following the disintegration of the Millbrook community in 1967) endorsed Orange Sunshine over other brands of acid and gave public lectures on the theme of “Deal for Real: The Dealer as Robin Hood”, claiming that psychedelic drug users had an obligation to distribute drugs, to pay tribute to brotherhoods, or groups of men. It was said that Orange Sunshine was different to other LSD because of cosmic influences and special karma. It was put forward that it was not just selling drugs but enabling people’s existence and spiritual development.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s Orange Sunshine spread worldwide, reaching Goa, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Israel and Mecca. The Brotherhood had developed a reputation as spiritual crusaders.
However by the summer of 1969 cracks were starting to appear: Griggs died after an overdose of PCP
and a teenage friend of Timothy Leary’s daughter was found drowned in a pond at the Brotherhood commune with traces of LSD in her system. Members of the Brotherhood were jailed on marijuana charges. After Griggs’ death the approach to distribution became more competitive and less focused on the founding sentiments of the church. Additionally, the supply of Orange Sunshine LSD was dwindling and they had lost their contacts for raw materials.
Scully left the Brotherhood in 1969, shortly after a man named Ronald Stark appeared at the Brotherhood Ranch. Stark became the Brotherhoods chemist, producing an estimated 20kg of LSD between 1969 and 1971. He also subsequently became its banker, channelling money through a bank which had originally been set up by the CIA, as a front for covert narcotics
and money laundering operations. Stark was a mysterious figure, with worldwide contacts, he claimed to know spies and was suspected of being involved with the CIA (and the project later to be revealed as MK-ULTRA). In 1971 he shut down his European LSD manufacturing operation, having claimed to have been “tipped off”.
In 1972 the Brotherhood was busted, and Stark ended up with most of the Brotherhood’s property and money in his name. This was shortly after The Weathermen aided Timothy Leary in his escape from jail (with funds provided by the Brotherhood).
Stark was jailed in Italy in 1975, and received several visitors from the US and British consulates. He was freed in 1979.
For further info: “Acid Dreams: the Complete Social History of LSD, the CIA, the Sixties and Beyond” Martin Lee and Bruce Schlain.
From the mid 1970’s blotter has been the most available form of LSD. There are likely two main reasons for this: Firstly, after LSD was made illegal in the US (in 1967) mandatory minimum sentencing was introduced. Sentences were determined by the weight of the substance with which offenders were caught. If someone had LSD on a sugar cube weighing 1g then the sentence was the same as for an individual caught with 1g of crystal LSD (representing approx 10,000 LSD doses rather than just 1)! . The move to lightweight LSD blotter therefore reduced sentences. Secondly: There were many high profile busts in the late 60’s and early 70’s, during which pill presses were seized, LSD blotter was therefore more convenient for many to make.
Over the years “Blotter Art” has developed as a field in its own right, with images ranging from multiple repeats (so each trip has a complete image), to complex images spanning a whole sheet. Images have typically been psychedelic in nature, or relied heavily on cartoon images. Occult and religious symbols have also been widely used. There is also a distinct sub-category of satirical Blotter Art, including images such as “Gorby” and “FBI”. This imagery originally served as an identifier of different batches of LSD, a form of “trademark”.
There are distinctions within Blotter Art. Some iconic images have been circulating since the 70’s (Eg: Hofmann’s, Eye of Horus, Knights of Malta) other art work is dubbed “Vanity Blotter Art”. This is art as a collectible and has never been dipped.
The original collector and originator of the scene is Mark McCloud, a San Francisco artist (and former Art Professor). Initially his collection was based on street prints, which have subsequently been exposed to UV light to destroy the LSD. In 2000 McCloud was charged with “conspiracy to manufacture and distribute LSD”. The DEA claimed that having 30,000 Blotter Art sheets in his possession meant that he was supplying chemists and wholesalers. This was his second arrest (the first was in 1991). In both cases he was acquitted. It is estimated that he spent more than half a million dollars on his defence.
It is important to realise that although Blotter Art is now un-dipped, selling it (or giving it away) and claiming it contains LSD is STILL an offence.
Blotter Art can reach high prices, particularly when signed by prominent figures from the psychedelic movement. In 2004 MAPS
(the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
) received almost $20,000 as a result of sales of Blotter Art signed by Albert Hofmann
As a result of the growing popularity of the art-form, and high prices generated, Blotter Art is sometimes counterfeited. Another concern is the reproduction of copyrighted images without the consent of the artists.
Famous Blotter Art artists include: Mark McCloud, Thomas Lyttle, Stevee Postman. Alex Grey’s images also often appear.
LSD is a controlled substance 21 CFR 1308.11
The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic
Substances (adopted in 1971) requires its parties to prohibit LSD. Hence, LSD is illegal in all parties to the convention. The convention came into force on August 16th 1976. Currently 175 nations are party to this treaty convention.1971.en.pdf
In the US LSD is a schedule I substance. It is illegal to manufacture, buy, possess or distribute LSD without a DEA License. LSD is deemed to be schedule I because it meets the following criteria: LSD is thought to have a high potential for abuse; LSD has no legitimate medical use in treatment; and there is a lack of accepted safety for LSD’s use under medical supervision. (LSD prohibition does not make an exception for religious use.) Lysergic acid and lysergic acid amide, LSD precursors, are both classified in Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act. Ergotamine tartrate, a precursor to lysergic acid, is regulated under the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act.
In the UK LSD is a Schedule I/Class A drug. It is illegal to buy, sell or possess LSD without a Home Office issued license.
In Canada LSD is a Schedule III substance: Without authorization, it is illegal for anyone but the police to be in possession of LSD. Authorization is granted only to qualified laboratory and research personnel conducting approved clinical and experimental investigations. Possession of such a substance has a recommended sentence on indictment of 3 years. Trafficking: 10 years. Importation/Exportation: 10 years. Production: 10 years.
LSD is controlled and illegal to possess without a license in Russia. There have been news reports recently which hint at a possible change in the law.
The cultivation, manufacture, possession, use and supply of hallucinogens is illegal throughout Australia as is their importation. Drug laws in Australia
distinguish between those who use/possess hallucinogens and those who produce/traffic.
In New Zealand LSD is a schedule I/Class A drug. As such it is deemed to be: “A drug which poses a very high risk of harm”.
In Germany, LSD was banned in 1967 according to the regulations of the opium
law. Today, LSD is listed among the not marketable and not prescribable substances of the anesthetic law, which means all contact and association with the drug is forbidden for the public.
Nov 16th 1938: Albert Hofmann, a chemist working for Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, synthesis LSD for the first time.
April 16th 1943: Albert Hofmann accidentally experiences LSD for the first time. He reports seeing “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscope-like play of colours”.
April 19th 1943: “Bicycle Day” Albert Hofmann intentionally ingests 250mcg of LSD
1947: First scientific article on the mental effects of LSD published by Werner Stoll in the Swiss Archives of Neurology.
1949: Max Rinkel brings LSD to the US and starts work on LSD in Boston. Nick Bercel starts work on LSD in Los Angeles.
May 1950: First paper about LSD appears in the American Psychiatric Journal, by Robert Hyde. The focus of the article is to create a “model psychosis”.
1951: The CIA begins “Operation Bluebird” to investigate mind control techniques using LSD. This subsequently evolves into MK-ULTRA in 1953. 1951: Al Hubbard first tries LSD.
1952: Charles Savage publishes the first study on the use of LSD to treat depression.
1953: First LSD clinic opened in the UK under Ronald Sandison
1953: MK-ULTRA underway. In November a CIA employee, Frank Olson, who had unwittingly been given LSD commits suicide by jumping out of a window in New York.
1953: Humphrey Osmond begins treating alcoholics with LSD
1954: Aldous Huxley
takes mescaline for the first time. “The Doors Of Perception” is published.
1955: Aldous Huxley takes LSD for the first time. “Heaven and Hell” is published. 1955: First scientific conferences on LSD (and mescaline) take place in Atlantic City and Princeton. Mid 1950’s: First recreational use of LSD recorded, among Los Angeles medical community.
1957: Humphrey Osmond coins the word “psychedelic”
1958: Al Hubbard sets up the first private Canadian clinic to use LSD for therapeutic purposes.
1959: First international conference on LSD therapy. Sponsored by the Josiah Macy Foundation and chaired by Paul Hoch.
1959: Allen Ginsberg takes LSD for the first time.
Aug 9th 1960: Timothy Leary ingests magic mushrooms for his first psychedelic experience. He subsequently establishes the “Psychedelic Research Project” at Harvard.
1960: Ken Kesey volunteers for government sponsored psychedelic drug experiments.
1961: Al Hubbard publishes “The Use of LSD-25 in the Treatment of Alcoholism and Other Psychiatric Disorders”
1962: Timothy Leary takes LSD for the first time. Leary conducts the “Good Friday Experiment”.
1962: Congress passes new drug safety regulations. The FDA designates LSD an “experimental drug”.
1962: First LSD related arrests.
1963: LSD first appears on the streets as liquid on sugar cubes. First stories On LSD appear in the mainstream media.
May 1963: Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert are fired from Harvard. Leary sets up a psychedelic centre at Millbrook.
Nov 1963: Aldous Huxley dies after allegedly receiving his last request: An iv injection of LSD, administered by his wife Laura.
1965: Drug Abuse Control Amendments passed by Congress make illicit LSD manufacture a misdemeanour.
Feb 1965: Owsley Stanley first succeeded in synthesizing crystalline LSD. First reported distribution starts in March in San Francisco at $2 a trip. Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters begin holding Acid Test Parties.
Jan 1966: The Merry Pranksters hold a 3 day LSD party called “The Trips Festival”
1966: Ron and Jay Thelin open “The Psychedelic Shop” near the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets in San Fransisco.
March 1966: Life Magazine runs a cover story entitled “LSD: The Exploding Threat of the Mind Control Drug That Got Out of Control”
April 1966: Millbrook is raided and Timothy Leary arrested on possession of marijuana charges.
April 1966: Sandoz recalls the LSD it had distributed and withdraws funding for work with LSD.
Oct 6th 1966: California enacts a law making LSD illegal.
Jan 16th 1967: First “Human Be-In” held in San Francisco
1967: Paul McCartney admits in an interview that the Beatles have taken LSD.
Summer 1967: “The Summer of Love” in San Francisco. Acid- Rock emerges as a musical genre. Jan 17th 1968: Lyndon B Johnson mentions LSD in his State of the Union address. The US government makes possession of LSD illegal.
1969: The first “home-grown” UK acid lab was discovered. Quentin Theobald and Peter Simmons were prosecuted.
1969: In August the Woodstock festival takes place in New York and members of the Charles Manson cult commit the Tate-LaBianca murders (allegedly influenced, in part by LSD).
Summer 1969: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love produce and distribute an estimated 10 million doses of “Orange Sunshine” LSD (as pills).
Dec 1969: The Rolling Stones Altamont concert ends in tragedy as 4 concerts-goers are killed. Feb 1970: Timothy Leary jailed for possession of a joint. Sept 1970: Timothy Leary escapes from prison with the aid of “The Weathermen” The escape is funded by the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
1970: An estimated 2 million Americans have used LSD. June 20th 1970: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Doc
Ellis pitched a “no-hitter” game whilst under the influence of LSD.
0ct 27th 1970: The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is passed in the US. Most known hallucinogens are placed in Schedule 1.
1971: Windowpane LSD first appears
1971: UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances schedules LSD as a class A drug. All UN countries implement this into their drug laws or create their first drug laws. LSD is banned virtually world wide.
1972: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love busted.
1973: Timothy Leary captured in Afghanistan and jailed again in the US.
1975: End of last formal LSD research programme.
1976: Blotters emerge as the most commonly available form of LSD.
1976: Timothy Leary released from prison.
Late 1970’s: Availability of LSD falls, due to a combination of negative publicity about potential side-effects (the majority misleading or blatantly false) and a combination of law enforcement and governmental controls.
1978: “Operation Julie” in the UK breaks up one of the largest LSD manufacturing and distribution networks in the world at that time.
1979: Albert Hofmann publishes “LSD: My Problem Child”
1986: MAPS: The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is founded.
1988:The Psychedelic Movement re-emerges with the “Second Summer of Love”. Raves and all-night “Acid House” parties are however mainly fuelled by MDMA
rather than LSD.
1988: Permission granted in Switzerland for the use of LSD in psychotherapy by several specialists in private practice.
1993: Permission to use LSD withdrawn in Switzerland.
1993: The Heffter Research Institute
founded to support and promote investigation into the medical uses of psychedelic hallucinogens.
1995: Dr. David Nichols publishes an essay entitled “A Scientist Reflects on the Discovery and Future of LSD”
Feb 2000: MAPS comment that case-reports of LSD and Psilocybin being efficacious in the treatment of Cluster Headache should be scientifically investigated.
2000: Discussions about the use of LSD and Psilocybin use for Cluster Headaches initiated on various internet forums.
2000: The UK government was advised in The Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by the Police Foundation in March 2000 that LSD should be transferred from Class A to Class B (recommendation 8). This advice was ignored.
2001: Psychotherapy study on the use of LSD in Cancer patients submitted to the FDA. Protocol was placed on Clinical Hold by the FDA requesting changes in the study design and a review of previous work in this area. No date has yet been set for the resubmission.
2004: MAPS announce development of a randomised, dose response study of Psilocybin and LSD in people with Cluster Headache. They hope that this will be the first study to renew human research with LSD.
April 2005 In the UK Drug activist Casey Hardison is sentenced to 20 years in jail for producing 145.000 doses of LSD. Casey Hardison defense is the right on cognitive liberty: the right to alter ones own psyche. At the time of writing this case is pending and will be decided on the EU supreme court. Your support is needed. See here
June 2005: Editorial published in the British Journal of Psychiatry entitled “Can Psychedelics Have a Role in Psychiatry Once Again”
April 2006: Editorial published in The Lancet entitled “Reviving Research Into Psychedelic Drugs”
Sources: Erowid, Lycaeum, MAPS, The Heffter
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