Posts Tagged ‘ LSD

Non-LSD Ergoloids

The research chemical market is based on the philosophy of tweaking existing recreational molecular backbones, yet compounds based on LSD appear to be few and far between. There is nothing at all preventing the existence of exotic research chemicals based on the ergoloid backbone, and in fact several are known that have significant recreational potential based on academic studies. The interesting fact is that none of them appear to have hit the market in significant volume. Perhaps this is simply the result of watched precursors and more elaborate synthesis routes than established products, but experimentation by the research chemical market seems rather lackluster based on the reputation of the parent drug and possible potential.

There are some who argue that experimentation of this nature has been ongoing, but has been executed through entirely different distribution channels – namely the LSD black market. Certain blotter prints have been distributed with something that could pass for LSD but seems different to experienced tastes. This particular variant has been described as a sort of neo-LSD that appears more euphoric, more visual, shorter acting, and less “spiritual” with the accompanying decrease in potential for anxiety.

One suspected blotter print is the 1906-2008 Hoffman Oms. This is not a esoteric print with limited circulation. It celebrates the life of Albert Hofmann, who lived from 1906 to 2008 and was the first to synthesize and consume LSD. It is part of a larger recurring blotter art series that is consistently widely distributed and well received, and as such appears to originate from the depths of the notoriously secretive LSD black market.

Sufficient suspicions were raised about the contents of this blotter to instigate a GC/MS test.

Initial evaluation seemed to bear out the hypothesis that these results reflected a novel and interesting compound closely related to LSD, perhaps lysergic acid 2-butyl amide (LSB) or lysergic acid 3-pentyl amide (LSP). These early interpretations of the GC/MS results were challenged however.

sec-LSB gives an almost indistinguishable MS to actual LSD, so I doubt it’s that. It’s not the N-(3-Pentyl) derivative [..] as well[.]

I personally have not a clue what this is — the fragment for d-Lysergic acid diethylamide, LAMPA or sec-LSB is always at 324, yet here we have 326 (the only one that comes to mind is deuterated-LSD which is usually 327). The huge peak at 72 is suspicious and the initial peaks at 44/58 as well (small substituted amines?).

296-208 is usual fragment for N-Et-LSD and a peak adjacent to 209 is present
310-209 characteristic of nor-LSD/nor-iso-LSD

So, you’re missing quite a bunch of the normal peaks but you have what might be degradation products or side impure product present, but it seems pretty inconclusive.


Unfortunately it appears that no clear conclusions can be drawn. The blotter cannot be positively identified as LSD, but it also cannot be identified as a closely related compound or even as a completely different psychedelic compound. These blotters were clearly active in man, and displayed a psychedelic character very close to LSD. The major issue is lack of comprehensive test results, as GC/MS analysis is not easily available. Even if these tests are conducted, the data is not typically shared widely. It seems likely that these problems will become more manageable as technology progresses.

It is very likely that closely related compounds to LSD have been synthesized and tested in man. The precursors are available, the skills are out there, and the desire exists. Whether these exotic relatives of the world’s most famous psychedelic remain limited to a select few or have been surreptitiously released on a wider scale to a mostly unaware public remains to be seen.

Bluelight Forum > Focus Forums > Psychedelic Drugs > The Big & Dandy Non-LSD Ergoloids Blotter Thread.

Clarifying the Confusion Regarding LSD-25

The following article was published in the mid-1960s as an attempt to provide an educated response to the increasing hysteria about LSD use in the popular media of the time. It proposes a model of responsible psychedelic use through an understanding of the experience itself, factors affecting the experience, and typical routes of misuse.

An edited version follows, and a link to the original paper may be found at the end of the post.

In recent months, both the lay and medical press have been filled with warnings about the dangers and harmful effects of the hallucinogenic agents such as LSD-25, mescaline and psilocybin. These warnings have risen in response to flagrant misuse of the substances by illicit operators using black-market materials for parties and “kicks,” and by irresponsible investigators who, enthralled with the remarkable possibilities of these chemicals, have sponsored and encouraged their widespread use under improperly controlled conditions without medical supervision.

In view of the substantial promise which even a cursory study of the work of the leading investigators in this field reveals, it is puzzling that there should be so little acceptance of the usefulness of the hallucinogens. Following are probably the outstanding reasons:

1) Lack of understanding of the drug experience: The hallucinogens (more properly called psychedelic agents when used to explore new understanding of the mind) open up dimensions of consciousness with which few therapists are familiar. The heightened sensitivity and enhancement of sensory modalities, the reliving of events in time and other dimensionless phenomena, and the oft-reported profound philosophic and universal experiences, tend to lie outside the therapists’ conceptual frame of reference. By denying these experiences, or attempting to restrict the experience to his own theoretical framework, the therapist can produce great conflict in the subject, and cause him to reject important parts of the experience or force him into delusional solutions.

2) Lack of knowledge of factors affecting the experience: Contrary to the belief of many investigators, the hallucinogens do not produce experiences but inhibit repressive mechanisms that ordinarily operate and simply allow subjects to explore the contents of their own minds. The nature of his exploration will depend on a) the mental content, the subject’s individual personality, conditioning, attitudes, values and beliefs; b) his preparation for the experience, which determines in part how he will use the opportunity; and c) his environment during the experience, which very appreciably affects how he will deal with the material he touches on and the opportunities afforded. Most investigators now agree that preparation and setting profoundly affect the subject’s experience, and the presence of supportive, understanding, accepting companions is essential to a comfortable and rewarding session.

3) Misuse of the hallucinogens: Unfortunately, the dramatic appeal of the psychedelic experience has attracted many elements of the community–the “beatnik” crowd seeking new experiences or escape from the established and the humdrum, the unsavory elements sensing an opportunity to expand narcotic traffic, and persons genuinely seeking greater knowledge. There are included many unstable persons seeking a ready solution to their difficulties, which has led to flourishing black-market trade in the psychedelics, as well as widespread, uncontrolled clandestine usage, in settings that afford little in the way of safeguards. It is from precisely such illicit usage that has come the bulk of the reports of harmful outcomes.

Even professional investigators have sometimes used these substances improperly, which undoubtedly accounts for the absence of support for research in these fields. Such misuse includes:

Inadequate preparation: If the nature of the experience and the factors affecting it are not properly understood (as mentioned above), then the subject is unlikely to be in a frame of mind to take full advantage of the exploration the experience affords.

Improper support to subject: A clinical or judgmental attitude or too ready a desire to analyze or interpret the patient’s experience will inhibit the experience seriously and may cause grave discomfort. The impact of the therapist holding conceptual views that do not encompass what the patient is experiencing has already been discussed.

Too frequent use of LSD: Regardless of the content of the experience and whether or not it is interpretable, every exposure of the deep layers of the mind produces material which must then be assimilated and integrated by him into his personality structure. This takes time, and can only be done in the process of facing life experiences. To have LSD experiences one on top of another can so swamp the psyche with data that dissociation is the inevitable result. The object of any educational experience is to produce data for more successful living, and to adulterate one with additional data before it has been properly assimilated not only distorts all the data, but can result in great confusion.

Improper handling of patients: By not understanding the powerful subjective states experienced under LSD, uninformed therapists or companions can wreak considerable havoc. Subjects left alone can sometimes become quite frightened, or can escape and commit harmful acts. Those permitted to drive while still experiencing imagery are dangerous to themselves and others. Insensitive companions who do not detect the extremely hostile or destructive feelings of the subject may not be ready with restraints when necessary.

Improper dosage: Subjects vary appreciably in their sensitivity to LSD, and in the rigidity of the intellectual defenses to be penetrated. Consequently, the dosage must be adjusted to the individual patient. Under-dosage leads to an unsatisfactory experience, where the patient is unable to break through to a satisfactory resolution of his problems. Far more dangerous is pronounced overdosage, where subjects may be driven into ranges of experience for which they are not prepared or willing to accept, so that they may become considerably unbalanced as a result of the experience.

Overenthusiastic response: Just as damaging as the ignorant and inept administrators of these drugs are those who have become so enthusiastic about them that they have lost their sense of rational judgment. It is not unnatural for those who have had the privilege of experiencing profound philosophic, perhaps even spiritual, truths to be elated about them. But by the same token, it would appear that the more one has learned about the nature of things, the greater is one’s responsibility to society. And it seems only natural that the greater one penetrates beyond the habitual frames of reference, the more time and work and effort is required to assimilate such profound truths into one’s daily life. Apparently there are those who having discovered a fairly simple way to stand on those great pinnacles of knowledge, choose to return to them frequently and enjoy them rather than to go to the effort of readjusting their personalities to be in line with the new truths discovered. The consequences of these repeated high dosages seems to be the twofold result of deteriorated judgment and impaired perception and communication on the usual level of operation. The ability to work creatively within the structures of society seems lost, and inflation and feelings of omnipotence, followed by revolution or withdrawal from society are likely.

By far the greatest damage has been caused by the illicit use of the hallucinogens. Lay interest has been great, both through fascination with the exploration of new experience and knowledge, and as a means of fulfilling special self-interests. Black market usage of LSD is widespread, and becoming an ever greater problem. The most effective counter-measure to improper and uninformed use of these agents is forward and aggressive medical leadership. Should the intense public interest in these substances as new avenues to increased self-understanding and general knowledge prove justified, then the medical profession has an obligation to see that all factors concerning the use of these substances are well known, and that the proper circumstances for their use be well defined and provided.

In summary, there is substantial evidence that many avenues may be opened up by research with the psychedelics, both in developing new treatment methods and improving the understanding of the human mind. Hazards can be reduced to negligible considerations through informed use. In addition, proper medical knowledge is urgently needed to curtail widespread illicit use. In view of these factors, it is hoped that more intensive investigation of these powerful new tools will take place.

Savage, C., and Stolaroff, M.J. Clarifying the confusion regarding LSD-25. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 140, No. 3. 1965.

Bicycle Day

While researching lysergic acid derivatives, Dr. Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD on November 16, 1938. The main intention of the synthesis was to obtain a respiratory and circulatory stimulant. It was set aside for five years, until April 16, 1943, when Hofmann decided to take a second look at it. While re-synthesizing LSD, he accidentally absorbed a small quantity through his fingertips and serendipitously discovered its powerful effects. He described what he felt as being:

… affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.”

Three days later, April 19, 1943, Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 miligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann’s condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote.

“… little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …”

The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery. A psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses, Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally.

LSD in the FBI Vault

The FBI Vault provides an interesting view of previously confidential documents.

They include a heavily redacted collection of documents regarding the Grateful Dead.

The Frank Sinatra file includes a newspaper clipping where Roger Corman discusses his LSD experience.

Psychedelics in the Public Consciousness

Google Ngram is a very interesting project which measures the frequency of the occurrence of words in a large body of books published over the last several hundred years. This can be considered somewhat as a measure of public awareness of a certain term, so let’s use it to see how various prominent psychedelic compounds (mescaline, LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA) have risen and fallen in the public consciousness from 1900 to 2000.

The first thing we see is that psychedelic compounds as a whole are a very new concept, entering popular usage only in the middle of the 20th century with knowledge becoming more widespread in the 1960s. The word LSD has an almost overwhelming frequency of use, reflecting the intimate association of the drug with the popular concept of the psychedelic experience. Switching this out for “lysergic acid diethylamide” should allow us to compare relative trends with other psychedelic compounds due to decreased frequency while still maintaining a sensible relation to the original term.

This normalizes the dataset somewhat.

Mescaline had been used for thousands of years until it was first isolated and identified in 1897. It slowly grew in the public consciousness until Aldous Huxley’s 1954 work The Doors of Perception thrust the compound into the mainstream.  
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) was first consumed by Albert Hofmann in 1943, initially introduced to the market as a psychiatic drug in 1947, and its potential became more clear with corporate and government experiments during the 1950s including the infamous Project MKULTRA. High potency and its positive character led to efficient distribution and widespread use in the 1960s.  
Psilocybin is another ancient compound with sacramental use spanning thousands of years. Vice President of J.P. Morgan and amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson travelled to a remote village of Mexico on a rumor that their religion included ingestion of mushrooms. In 1957, he published an article in Life magazine entitled Seeking the Magic Mushroom that did for psilocybin what Huxley did for mescaline.  
MDMA was first synthesized in 1912, but it languished in obscurity until the mid-1970s when Alexander Shulgin, then at University of California, heard from his students about unusual effects of the amphetamine derivative. In 1978 he and David Nichols published the first report on the drug’s psychotropic effect in humans and its use spread among the psychiatric community as an adjunct to therapy. MDMA used in a recreational context was first reported in gay nightclubs in the Dallas area in the early 1980s with usage peaking during the 1990s rave scene.  

Other trends become apparent when we separate our observations geographically. While the opportunity to do this is necessarily limited due to language restrictions, we can compare American English usage with British English usage quite easily from 1950 to 2000.

We can see that MDMA citations peaked in the mid 1990s in American English as the British rave scene made noise in North America, but the trend faded in the US while use continued to climb in British English.

Effects of LSD on Troops Marching

Rich Remsburg works as an archival image researcher on documentaries for PBS, National Geographic, the History Channel, museum exhibits and independent films. While working on a documentary on the history of biological warfare he came across a clip detailing US Army research in LSD and its effect on troops marching. Transcript:

US Army Chemical Corps
Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland

These film records do not necessarily denote official Army doctrine. They cannot be obtained from the US Signal Corps.

A typical drill seargeant orders his men to fall in. The squad, composed of volunteers for the test, responded like well trained soldiers, immediately and without question. On the drill field the men obeyed his commands accurately and with precision. A second drill seargant assumed command. He put the squad through its paces capably. This man also proved to be an able drill seargant, giving precise commands.

Two hours later, the squad all except the [first] drill seargant are drugged with LSD and again were ordered to fall in. The response was not the same. The squad leader thought it was not necessary for him to dress right. There was much laughter as the group attempted to give expression to inner emotions. This elation was group supported, and an individual who was seperated from the group would show severe disturbance. Notice the volunteer who salutes several times. Five minutes later a severe depression [of the saluting volunteer] convince the medical officers to end his participation in this test.

Response and reaction to the [first] drill seargant who did not receive LSD were as before. But in marching, the drugged squad, although starting fairly well, gave a sluggish and ragged performance. After a few minutes, the men found it difficult to obey orders, and soon, the results were chaotic.

The second drill seargant, who had performed effectively earlier in the day, was now given command of the squad. He too had received LSD and he no longer was an effective leader. When an officer ordered the leader to drill the squad, he responded with “You want a drill? You drill ’em!”. Ordered to leave the field, he refused to go. In answer to a direct question, he said he was capable of drilling the men and was instructed to do so. Minutes later, it was evident that he was unable to carry out his orders, and he was escorted from the field.

We have seen some of the effects of LSD. What effect would it have on a vital operation? Further research is required to give us that answer.

[cut to a Nike Ajax missile battery readying for launch, typically placed around population centers and strategic locations such as long-range bomber bases, nuclear plants, and ICBM sites in the late 1950s]

A far better explanation for why LSD is currently Schedule I under the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances than I have heard to date.

Alterations in the Nocturnal Sleep Cycle Resulting From LSD

The mechanics of the unique psychedelic mindstate remain tantalizingly unclear, but there are several interesting clues. For instance, LSD enhances REM sleep associated with dreaming. During a typical night, we experience about four or five periods of REM sleep, increasing in duration toward the end of the night. During REM sleep, the activity of the brain’s neurons is very similar to the activity during waking hours, but the body is paralyzed and cannot move. It was dubbed “paradoxical sleep” when it was first discovered, as this brain activity seemed to indicate that the subject was not sleeping at all.

A subject was observed during a normal sleep cycle of approximately seven hours, which was interrupted briefly one hour after she fell asleep in order to administer a placebo or 30ug of LSD. First, the inactive placebo was given. Her progression through the four stages of sleep may be seen in the top graph, with periods of REM sleep indicated by the dark black bars. We can see that most of her REM sleep occurs during lighter Stage 1 sleep.

While the initial REM episodes a half hour or so after waking are similar, after 30ug of LSD the second REM episode occurs much earlier and lasts almost three and a half times longer than the corresponding REM episode after placebo. Many more micro-REM episodes lasting only ten to twelve seconds burst into sleep for several hours after the LSD has taken effect.

In general, LSD can prolong the first or second REM episode and cause these REM micro-bursts, but only if given in low doses immediately before sleep or one hour after sleep begins. Doses that are too high simply cause the sleeper to awaken as they are about to transition to REM sleep.

Joseph N. Muzio, Howard P. Roffwarg, Edward Kaufman, Alterations in the nocturnal sleep cycle resulting from LSD, Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, Volume 21, Issue 4, October 1966, Pages 313-324.

The Neurobiology of Psychedelic Drugs

An excellent review paper has appeared in Nature Reviews: Neuroscience entitled “The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders”. Here’s the abstract:

After a pause of nearly 40 years in research into the effects of psychedelic drugs, recent advances in our understanding of the neurobiology of psychedelics, such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin and ketamine have led to renewed interest in the clinical potential of psychedelics in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders. Recent behavioural and neuroimaging data show that psychedelics modulate neural circuits that have been implicated in mood and affective disorders, and can reduce the clinical symptoms of these disorders. These findings raise the possibility that research into psychedelics might identify novel therapeutic mechanisms and approaches that are based on glutamate-driven neuroplasticity.

As a result, Nature has decided to highlight some related reading in their Blog Focus: Hallucinogenic drugs in Modern Medicine and Mental Health with four great articles.

The secret history of psychedelic psychiatry Highlighting the early advances of Dr. Humphrey Osmond and other pioneers of psychedelic psychotherapy.
Serotonin, Psychedelics and Depression
Investigates the relationship between the action of psychedelics and current theories of depression, both which rely on the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Ketamine for Depression: Yea or Neigh?
Investigating the potential of the NMDA antagonist ketamine as a breakthrough treatment for depression.
Visions of a psychedelic future
A Western scientist’s experience with the psychedelic brew ayahuasca.