LSD safety

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Posted by Flash ( on December 17, 2001 at 15:37:25:

In Reply to: LSD and such posted by hub on December 17, 2001 at 13:20:30:

Let's just debate harmless for one moment. Is LSD physically harmful? Well the safety ratio is better for LSD than for caffiene, apsirin, paracetomal, and nicotene. That is a fact. All substances are toxic to some extent if taken at a sufficiently high dose, even water and oxygen can be harmful. In the grand scheme of things LSD is less harmfull than many other substances we consider to be harmless.

To follow on from this, let's just look at it's effective dose for treating CH. This is typically around 20-60ug. The reported lethal dose (in 50% of subjects) for LSD are 46, 16.5, 0.3 mg/kg iv for mice, rats, and rabbits, respectively. These doses were by iv - it takes a lot more than that ingested orally to kill. In general the lethal dose in mg/kg drops as the animal gets larger. However some species are more or less sensitive to a substance than others. In monkeys the LD100 (where all the subjects died) for LSD was 5mg/kg. This indicates that primates may be less sensitive to LSD than other animals, such as elephants (LD50=0.1mg/kg). The estimated LD 50 for a human is somewhere in the region of 25ug/kg orally, then it would take at least 12mg to kill the average human. The only known death from LSD poisoning was in the region of 320mg. Another person was exposed to 40mg and survived. The CH dose is 0.020 - 0.060mg. A heavy dose is 0.4mg. To put this into perspective it is likely to cost somewhere in the region of a couple of grand to kill oneself with LSD. The reason that LSD is considered safer than many other substances is because of vast difference between a normal dose, and a fatal one. It is far easier to kill oneself drinking coffee, or taking paracetomal, than taking LSD... and that's putting the issue of availability to one side. Both those cases of LSD poisoning I mentioned were examples of industrial exposure.

So to summarise, the only person likely to have the necessary 100+ hits of acid to commit suicide is a drug dealer. Not something that anyone is likely to do by accident.

My sources for this:

Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose by Haddad Winchester page 459

Psychedelics Encyclopedia (3rd Edition), p.70 Peter Stafford

It has been established that LSD may induce psychosis in supseptable individuals, but typically this only occurs at moderate to heavy doses. There is no risk of psychosis occuring at 20-60ug of LSD.

Pradhan and Hollister (p103) stated that fewer than 1 per 1000 experimental LSD subjects, and fewer than 2 per 1000 patients who ingest LSD, suffer psychotic reactions lasting longer than 48 hours. Approximately two-thirds of those who do suffer such reactions present a history of psychopathology prior to drug use (11). LSD is often taken in a last-ditch effort to solve and impending crisis which has proven refractory to other attempts at solution (46). If the drug does not help symptoms may worsen, but not because of the LSD.

The very low doses of LSD also make it virtually to add any adulterant in sufficent dose to have any effect. Just make sure that the LSD you take does not weigh substantially more than your intended dose. In other words if someone sells you a pill the size of a paracetomal, then that's way too big, and therefore unlikely to be LSD. If it comes on a piece of paper 5mmx5mm then risk of being poisoned is negligible.

No offense Hub (for all I know you may work in a mental hospital located next to an LSD plant), however I take most of the tales I've heard about people coming to harm on LSD with a pinch of salt. The reason being I've never met anyone with this particular affliction. In my experience it has always been people with no experience of a particular substance that encounter these casualties. Also I have never been supplied with contact details, or the personal history of any such casualty. I do not doubt that they exist. According to the data above, if everyone took moderate doses of LSD, then less than 0.2% of the population would be even slightly afflicted, and 2/3rds of those would have a history of mental problems, the majority of the remaining 1/3rd are probably people who would develop a history of mental illness without taking LSD. I am unable to locate figures for the number of people that have "eaten a gun", but they do exist - in very small numbers. The liklihood is that those same people also drank alchohol and/or coffee and/or smoked and/or masterbated, but you didn't rate those as being directly attributable. Proportionally there are fewer cases of LSD psychosis than alchohol psychosis.

With all due respect, the point I'm trying to make is that LSD has been given an unfairly bad rep. Bad trips are common - extremely so, but for 99.8% of the population that is the worst than might happen. Most people have puked after drinking too much, at least once... isn't that just another form of 'bad trip'?

In highlighting the positive aspects of LSD, and psilocybin (which has an equally safe and impressive record), we must first overcome all the bullshit that's out there. There is no requirement to warn people about the dangers of LSD. The rep of LSD is already worse than everything bar anthrax and plutonium for fucks sake:) There is certainly no requirement to exaggerate the dangers. If anything people should be told the truth... and in all honesty the truth of the matter is that LSD is extremely safe.


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