Ergot, a grain fungus which grows on rye is the source of lysergic acid and Dr. Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist synthesized LSD from it. It has been used in the past as a drug for legal psychedelic therapy, now it is a recreational drug and several groups which practise meditations or psychonautics. It is also there where many young people come together for parties or music performances.

LSD has both properties, it was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis and the youth movement of 1960s has taken the drug as recreational drug, resulting its ban. Finally, Dr. Hofmann conceded that LSD can be dangerous in the wrong hands and it is even today, everywhere available. It was a great blow to him because he called his LSD as the medicine for the soul. As a chemist he is right but for weak human beings it is simply a drug to enjoy and we know he suffered a lot in this respect. When I met him in 1993, he was 85 years old at that time, I could understand his feelings.

How do you have contact with him?

It is a small story; I was in the 2nd year of B. Sc. Chemistry in Theyagarajar College, Madurai and after dinner we used to on the grass in the campus and talk about everything. On that day we had lecture about LSD, I told my friends how wonderful it would be to meet such a great scientist and that was in 1966. In 1993 our association in Germany honoured Dr. Albert Hofmann for his 85th birthday and I was so happy to meet him. It was end of April, the spring started and the sun rays were becoming slowly strong. In the queue of 350 persons to congratulate him I was the last because I wanted to talk to him a little. I stood in front of him, his shining eyes look at me, after the congratulations he asked me, young man why do you honour me, I’m the man who brought sleepless nights to forensic scientists and clinical toxicologists around the world. I replied him, "you are right, it is only because of that we honour you", and told him about my talk with my friends in Madurai. With a smile in his lips, he told "it is chemistry which binds us wherever we are".

Why sleepless nights?

LSD is abused in very small amounts and it is very difficult to find in blood or in urine; you need special instruments, well trained staff and the estimations are time consuming. Blood or urine or hair has the most complicated matrix and to separate the drug from this is very difficult. Even today more than 90% of the laboratories have no adequate instrumentation to estimate it and it is always a headache for doctors, laboratory chemists and even the administrative officers.

Dr. Hofmann has achieved a lot and deserves this honour and for the man made problems we are fighting, this is our duty. If you go through the book written by him, “LSD, my problem child”, we can read the original notes from his research as well as his sufferings from the abuse of LSD. Luck and unluck are lying so close together and we have no chance to select always.

The liquid form of LSD could be injected but the solid form is absorbed in sugar cube or gelatine or blotter paper, that is why we must be careful with stickers used to sold in front of the schools in Western countries.

We have so many designer drugs in the market, why the people prefer LSD? I asked the same question to me in 1996, started collecting data and talked to several young men who use it. Designer drugs are easy to get everywhere, also cheap but the problem is, he was silent for a minute and told, ecstasy is good in discos or rave parties, but it kills the pleasure with his girl friend, switched to LSD and things are good between them. Others also confirmed his words.

It is only 20 to 30 micrograms = millionths of a gram are enough to produce the psychotropic effect in human beings. In this minute amount, you must believe its presence because you cannot see it and you cannot touch it also.

The effects of LSD last from 6 to 12 hours and include:

• Euphoria
• Fever
• High blood sugar
• Increased heart rate
• Pupil-dilation
• Jaw clenching
• Sweating
• Increased saliva and mucus production
• Sleeplessness
• Numbness
• Trembling
• Nausea

Trip is the name used commonly for the psychological effects of LSD and it varies much from person to person, depending on his mood and the dosage. Some users report a significant change in their personality and life perspective and this is the foundation for the therapeutic usage.

The psychological symptoms are an experience of kaleidoscopic, radiant colours, coloured pattern behind the eyes or the loss of a sense of identity.

What is a flashback?

Many LSD users experience flashbacks, recurrence of certain aspects of a person’s experience, without having taken the drug again. A flashback occurs suddenly and may occur within few days or more than a year after the LSD use. Bad trips and flashbacks are part of the LSD use.

What are the street names of LSD?

The street names include:

• Acid
• Blotter
• Cid
• Lens
• L
• Lime acid
• Loony toons
• Lucy in the sky with diamonds
• Tri

There are almost more than 100 different street names are there for LSD.

Say No to drugs always...