If you enjoy orgasms, you might enjoy the effects of LSD or “acid”. Acid simulates the effects of serotonin, endorphins and many of the other chemicals in your brain that make you elated and pleasured. It increases the pathways between sensory areas in your brain, meaning you can sometimes quite literally see sounds or listen to the feelings your skin receives. Though it can’t be explained neurochemically, acid trippers often report feeling a mix of dreamy beneficence and sage-like wisdom – along with complete control of mental and physical faculties. In simple terms, it feels amazing, encourages thinking and makes you love everyone.
LSD is non-toxic. Unlike alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis, LSD doesn’t damage your body. A drinking session is worse for your brain than concussion, and smoking will make you die early, but LSD will only leaving you feeling a little bit tired and worn out the next day. In fact, despite the widespread availability of acid in the 60s (when it was legal), there has never been a case of confirmed overdose. It’s a shame, then, that it has a street name as destructive and corrosive as acid.
First synthesised in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, LSD was ignored because it didn’t produce the response they were searching for in rats. Years later, when Hoffman absorbed a little bit through his skin, he felt “funny and slightly intoxicated”. The next day, he gave himself what he thought would be a small dose and rode his bike home. On the way, he believed that he was able to stop time and that Albert Einstein was running alongside him. Even though he was startled by what was happening, he’s said in various interviews that he had never felt better in his life. In his 1980 book on LSD, he describes it as “medicine for the soul”.
Many drugs take a gram or two to be effective. Generally, tabs – little squares of blotter paper which have been soaked in LSD – contain only 100-200 millionths of a gram each. One tab is enough to send someone off on an intense trip of euphoria and hallucinations, lasting up to 12 hours. Due to its incredible potency, LSD is not something to be taken lightly: it’s usually an all-day (or all-night!) affair.
Addiction is a destructive, overpowering and awful side effect of many drugs; illicit and otherwise. As it happens, LSD is physically non-addictive. Heroin and nicotine, for example, both hurt an addict until he satisfies his cravings. It doesn’t take long with those drugs before the user is truly dependent. LSD is as addictive as, say, the television – the only thing compelling you to do it again is that you want to, and not that you need to.
Ironically, most of the scientific research done on LSD was sponsored by the US Army and the CIA in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Project “MKULTRA” was a decade-long attempt to find a drug which could act as a mind-control device, at one point receiving 8% of the CIA’s sizeable budget. One of the thousands of test subjects was Ken Kasey, author of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”. With his friends, Kasey stole large stores of acid and drove around the USA in a psychedelically coloured bus. They called themselves the “Merry Pranksters” and gave LSD to anyone who’d try it.
Because it’s so potent, producing a huge quantity of doses requires only a small amount of chemicals. As such, LSD is cheap. If you measured it in the extent to how strongly it affects you, and how long it lasts for, there is nothing that compares in price. Unfortunately for Australians, most of our acid is manufactured overseas. However, a few friends could go on a very interesting journey (or “trip”, if you will) for the cost of a case of Coronas.
Even though acid produces extreme euphoria, its astounding potency needs to be respected. It affects different people in different ways, and the environment and circumstances in which you do LSD shape how your trip will turn out – each one is unique. A bad trip can come about as the result of being in scary, ugly or angry situations – the love and acceptance you feel for those around you brings down mental barriers, which is both a blessing and a curse. You feel incredible empathy with other people, but it can be distressing to feel someone else’s pain and frustration.
Ensure that you are doing LSD in a place where you’re comfortable, with people that you love (or at least like!) and who are happy. Music is a delight to listen to – make a playlist of your favourite songs, but also try to play some you wouldn’t normally listen to. Anything moving or colourful will attract your attention, try renting a book of art from the library or watching the iTunes visualiser while you listen to music. If you play an instrument or draw or paint, you’ll find your skills won’t leave you and it can be wonderful to play or create even simple things.
Acid has had a big impact on pop culture because of what it can do for creativity. The Beatles were adamant advocates, and their song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” captures beautifully the dreamy, vibrant world of a trip. Paul McCartney in particular believed it “opened his eyes” and was humanity’s best chance of “ending famine, war and poverty”. Aldous Huxley, author of “Brave New World”, wrote two whole books on the subject of psychedelics and had his wife inject him with acid on his death bed. Other proponents range from Hunter S. Thompson to The Doors to Stephen Fry! Unlike, cocaine or heroin, LSD is a drug which celebrities don’t seem to regret taking.