LSD, also known as acid is a psychedelic drug known to creating vivid hallucinations and alternating the perception of reality as we know it. But do you know how it actually affects your brain and body? Lysergic acid diethylamide was first made synthetically in 1938 from fungi that grew on rye, a food grain. But it was in the year 1943 when the inventor of the substance, Albert Hofmann accidentally got some of the fungi on his mouth and thus became the first person to ever experience the psychedelic effects of LSD a.k.a. acid. After this incident, further research took place in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But as the recreational use of the drug became widespread, the drug was declared illegal under the banner of a schedule 1 drug. As a result, its research as a drug was stalled in the United States of America.
While other drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and hash are measured in terms of grams, LSD is measured in micrograms. How much you ask? A single dose LSD is measured at 0.00025 grams, that is, 1/100,000th of a gram or 1/10th of the mass of a grain of a sand.
That is how strong LSD actually is and thus is used in such small quantities.
The LSD drug interacts with a number of receptors situated in the brain. These receptors are dopamine receptors, glutamate receptors, adrenergic receptors, and serotonin receptors. Among these, the most interactive and influenced are the serotonin receptors and especially the serotonin 5H2TA receptors. When LSD hits the receptor, it does so in an unexpected angle and this causes the receptor to fold and form a lid. This lid eventually traps the LSD inside and fires constantly causing the much talked about psychedelic effects. After this constant firing of the serotonin receptors takes place, the receptor is sucked back inside the brain cells in order to degrade the trapped LSD in order to stop the hallucinations. But the degrading can take up to 12 hours or even more, depending on the dose of the LSD consumed.
There have been recent developments in the study of LSD. Through modern techniques like the neural imaging technique, it is seen that the parts of our brain behave in certain ways when LAS is consumed. This especially involves the visual cortex of the brain.
There is also decreased blood flow in the default mode network. The default mode network is the part of the brain that is highly active when one is daydreaming or not focusing on the outside world. The is region is highly connected to each other and is highly interactive in nature. This correlates to strong changes in consciousness. These changes are characterized by ego dissolution, which is often defined as a feeling when the boundary that separates you from the rest of the world and its people, dissolves. This feeling brings you closer to yourself, others around you and the natural environment.
A recent study regarding the effects of LSD has shown some new advancements in research. When a group of twenty people received 75 micrograms of LSD, they experienced increased openness and optimism with a boost in imaginative and creative aptitude, two weeks after the administration.
These results have made researchers believe that LSD can be efficiently utilized as a remedial drug for patients with life-threatening illnesses and death anxiety. Doctors found out that 12 months of constant treatment with LSD, patients had reduced anxiety and increased the quality of life.
This is the reason why the trend of micro-dosing is catching up so quickly. Micro-dosing is basically when the patient is given a tenth of the actual recreational dose of LSD in order to experience heightened creativity, alertness, and energy, that too without the psychedelic and hallucinating effects of the drug.
However, micro-dosing is still under a lot of fire as it is a relatively new practice. Although LSD is not considered as an addictive drug and is way less dangerous than other drugs in its category, like heroin and cocaine, there is still room for scientific data and research for proving once and for all that LSD can be used for positive medical treatments. The contradiction arises when data regarding experienced hallucinogen users having bad trips of psychosis come up. Psychosis is not something you would want to have if you are looking for a positive outcome from LSD usage. These so-called ‘bad trips’ cause panic attacks and irrational fears among the individuals who consume LSD. Although documented data is limited, it is enough to present a case against the practice of LSD micro-dosing.
Another drawback of the LSD drug is that it may cause flashbacks of hallucinations even months after the use of the drug. In these situations, the person would feel the effects of hallucinations even when he or she is not under the influence of LSD.
The widespread perception that LSD causes people to have psychosis and suicidal tendencies is total nonsense. It is rather an overstated fact. According to a survey done in the continental United States, not one individual who has had done psychedelics in their life had experienced suicidal tendencies, depression, or any symptoms of psychosis. But at the same time, the study that supports the positive effects of the drug is still new and needs more work on a wider spectrum.
The conclusion is very blurry as the final word still remains in the hands of the user himself/herself. But to be on the safer side, it is advised that LSD is not misused until further studies support its benefits as a recreational drug. But again, it is just an advice.
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