|Our secret stash of|
|Highs and lows|
LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD-25, is a semi-synthetic psychedelic drug that is derived from ergot alkaloids, which occur naturally in some plant diseases that infect rye, Achnatherum robustum ("sleepy grass") and other grains. The substance can bring about changes in the human nervous system in such small quantities that it was not, at first, believed possible (threshold dose is 50 micrograms).
"LSD" comes from the German name, "Lysergsäure-diethylamid." The 25 in LSD-25 refers to the fact that it was the 25th in a series of ergot derivatives made by Albert Hofmann. LSD is also an acronym for the pre-decimal British money system, for limited slip differential, and for low-speed diesel, none of which can make a weekend last eight days. So, if you are wondering why Manfred Mann did a song entitled "LSD", yup, it's about money.
 Mode of action
LSD acts on the human nervous system by rapidly crossing the blood-brain barrier and binding to a host of receptors including most serotonin (5-HT) receptor subtypes and all dopamine receptors subtypes, with the serotonin agonism (especially the activation of the 5-HT2A receptor) being strongly linked to psychedelic activity. Serotonin receptors modulate mood, cognition, learning, consciousness, and sensory input. LSD mimics the effects of serotonin by providing an alternate algorithm of processing sensory stimuli. One theory is that hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin reduce the neurological filter in one's brain which is responsible for providing one with information that would be practical for use. When this filter, or reducing valve, is decreased, information is allowed to flow more freely.
Although it was initially experimented with as a drug with potential psychiatric and/or military uses, including the study of psychosis hence LSD was considered a psychotomimetic, its recreational use quickly became more significant. This was partly a result of some of the "test subjects" in University research programs reporting that some of what they experienced was, well, something they wanted to do again. As soon as the government found out that people were using it to have "fun", it was made illegal.
The U.S. government's CIA also experimented briefly (the infamous MKULTRA program) with using it as a truth serum, among other things, but gave up when the results on the subjects proved to be too unpredictable for government work. They later switched to other drugs such as prozac.
While it can be used purely "recreationally", as in, "oh, man, I'm so high my face is melting -- and so is yours", it has also been used by many in more positive, although still amateur, pursuits. These include seeking greater insight into life's mysteries, greater understanding of our oneness with life, intense contemplation of the hidden meanings on Beatles and Pink Floyd album covers, intensive creation of Pink Floyd albums, a more developed sense of humor (i.e. uncontrollable laughter at everything), inspiration for audiovisual special effects via watching the trippy effects from moving your handses around... and the always important speculation as to why Jimi Hendrix needed to be excused in order to "kiss this guy".
 Effects on performance
In theory LSD should be a performance-reducing drug; however, in 1970 All-Star Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis managed to deliver a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres under the influence of acid. Steve Jobs also claimed that Microsoft would be, all in all, a more interesting software company if Bill Gates had ever done acid.
On the other hand, if you were already in outer space like a lot of rock stars were in the 1960s, doing LSD several times a day by having one's "friends" spike everything one ate and drank was sufficient to create several permanent LSD casualties such as Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd.
 Street names
- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
 See also
- Albert Hofmann
- Jerry "Captain Trips" Garcia
- Aldous Huxley
- Timothy Leary
- Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass)
- John Lennon
- Robert Anton Wilson
- Terrence McKenna
- New Left
- Ken Kesey
- Other ways of knowing
- Kool-Aid drinker
- Hunter S. Thompson
- ↑ Or £SD - pounds, shillings, and pence. For some reason the abbreviation refers to a Latin translation (Librae, solidi, denarii) rather than their English names.
- ↑ No Hitter
- ↑ "I wish him the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger." Steve Lohr. "Creating Jobs." The New York Times Magazine, 1997-01-12.