LSD is one of the strongest hallucinogens known today. It has been studied since 1943 and its potential is not studied fully yet. It has strong influence on human psychic, and besides unforgettable trip it can give and therapeutic potential it has, LSD can be dangerous and cause numerous mental disorders. Though it is illegal, LSD is still available and most of its takers are young people from 12 to 25 years. Psychedelic drug was “in bloom” in 1960-s and was promoted by one of the main the ideologist of the epoch – Timothy Leary. LSD has strong impact on the further development of the generation and formation of the culture.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) was found in 1938 by Swedish pharmacologist Albert Hofmann, but its hallucinogenic effect was discovered later – in 1943, when Hofmann made a self-experiment with the substance. Subsequent experiments with LSD revealed its potential and influence on human psychic.
LSD is taken orally and its effect is generally explained by its act on the serotonin receptors in two parts of a brain. The effect starts within 30-90 minutes and last till 12 hours. It is usually called a “trip” and has purely individual emotional effect. LSD also causes precautionary distortion of reality, including the senses of time, space, colours, sounds and others. It can also cause a transformation of shapes, can cause delusions and hallucinations. LSD may stimulate the creative process through the sharpened perception. It has given the push to the intensified development of visionary art, music and poetry in 60-s, and promoted the “widening of consciousness” which influenced the further development of the whole generation.
LSD has been successfully used for alcoholism treatment and showed positive results. Moreover LSD has strong pain-relieving effect and can be used with patients with cluster head-aches. Psychedelic drugs have therapeutic potential in treating some psychic disorders, including depression and schizophrenia.
After being invented, LSD was available with prescription, “it was intended to treat different kinds of psychological illness, such as schizophrenia”. In 1950 LSD reached the US and was widely studied and even “promoted to the public”. In 1965 information about LSD was widely published in medical journals and the researches were held very actively, but the government started to shut researches down the same year. In 1970 it was officially named “illegal”.
Despite some physical “discomfort” the drug may cause (dizziness, nausea, tremors, weakness etc.) the main danger long-term usage of the substance represent is psychic disorder - psychosis, depression, paranoid states, and “flashbacks”. “A “flashback” is the spontaneous and unpredictable re-occurrence of LSD visual distortions or emotional experiences during a previous episode of LSD use”. All of the above symptoms do not depend on the dose and can occur even after a single usage.
One of the main ideological inspirers of the psychedelic movement – Timothy Leary – formulate famous hippie slogan “Turn on, Tune in and Drop out”. As he explained it himself, turn on meant “become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them”, with the help of drugs; tune in meant to interact with the world, “externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives”; drop out meant “self-reliance, a discovery of one's singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change”.
LSD statistics shows that its takers are mostly young people from 18 – to 25 years and high school students. After the resurgence of LSD usage in 1990-s, it is dropping now. However, “9.7 percent of the population above the age of 12 has used LSD once in a lifetime”. 23 million of people in the USA have tried it, and 600 000 will try every year.
Among the lovers of psychedelics is also known method “smoking toad” method to “get high”. Some kinds of toads produce hallucinogen substances – bufotoxins. It is the parotoid glands that produce the stuff. Those secretions are dried and smoked as well as marijuana; the chemicals are being eliminated with the help of heat.
Peyote and Mescaline are the oldest psychedelics that have been used in religious practices by Aztecs and later by Native Americans, as it was believed that the substance helps to communicate with Gods and with the Great Spirit who created the universe. The cactus – peyote was believed to have been endowed with the divine power of the Great Spirit, which can be transmitted to a human, using it.
The set and setting of usage of a hallucinogen drug can be very important as it influences the kind of effect person might have. The term was first used by Timothy Leary. Set is the emotions and general state of mind of the person who takes the drug. Setting is the place – it can influence on how the person will react on the changes that he/she is experiencing while taking the drug. Moreover, setting is one of the key features in the therapy treatment with the help of hallucinogens.