Exploring the Relation Between LSD and Serotonin in the Brain
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is one of the most potent mind-altering chemicals
known to man. It is a synthetic hallucinogen that is derived from lysergic acid, a chemical found
which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains ("LSD"). LSD was
accidentally discovered in 1938 by German scientist Albert Hofmann, who discovered the
psychoactive hallucinogenic properties of the drug by absorbing a small amount through his
fingertips during a routine synthesis of lysergic acid (Albert Hofmann Foundation).
LSD can be administered a number of ways. The most popular method has been orally
through paper, sugar cubes, on a piece of gelatin, or by pill. It can also be administrated
intravenously or intramuscularly; however, the effects are the same as if taken orally with a
slightly quicker onset. The average dose of LSD used by humans is about 100-200 micrograms.
The intensity of the experience is proportional to the size of the dose, though the duration of the
trip seems to stay the same at higher doses. A dose of around 500 micrograms is likely to
produce a total, but temporary, breakdown of the usual ways of perceiving self and world. The
effects of the drug begin within one hour and generally last 8-12 hours. At about 3-5 hours into
the trip, the user experiences what is generally known as the peak (Galanter, Kleber 143).
Though LSD produces somatic effects such as dizziness, weakness, tremors, dilation of
the pupils, brachycardia (slower heart beat), hypotension, hyperglycemia, nauseau, and
paresthesias (numbness or tingling), the drug is primarily taken for its perceptual and
psychological effects. Distortions of perspective, euphoria, visual hallucinations with changes in
shape and color, altered perception of time, heightened environmental stimulation, and
impairment of reason and...