LSD


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LSD

or

lysergic acid diethylamide

(lī'sûr`jĭk, dī'ĕth`ələmĭd, dī'ĕthəlăm`ĭd), alkaloid synthesized from lysergic acid, which is found in the fungus ergotergot
, disease of rye and other cereals caused by the fungus Claviceps purpurea. The cottony, matlike body, or mycelium, of the fungus develops in the ovaries of the host plant; it eventually turns into a hard pink or purple body, the sclerotium, or ergot, that resembles
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 (Claviceps purpurea). It is a hallucinogenic drughallucinogenic drug
, any of a group of substances that alter consciousness; also called psychotomimetic (i.e., mimicking psychosis), mind-expanding, or psychedelic drug.
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 that intensifies sense perceptions and produces hallucinations, mood changes, and changes in the sense of time. It also can cause restlessness, acute anxiety, and, occasionally, depression. Although lysergic acid itself is without hallucinogenic effects, lysergic acid diethylamide, one of the most powerful drugs known, is weight for weight 5,000 times as potent as the hallucinogenic drug mescaline and 200 times as potent as psilocybin. LSD is usually taken orally from little squares of blotter paper, gelatin "windowpanes," or tiny tablets called microdots. The period of its effects, or "trip," is usually 8 to 12 hours. Unexpected reappearances of the hallucinations, called "flashbacks," can occur months after taking the drug. The drug does not appear to cause psychological or physical dependence. The danger of LSD is that its effects are unpredictable, even in experienced users.

History

LSD was developed in 1938 by Arthur Stoll and Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemists hoping to create a headache cure. In 1943 Hofmann accidentally ingested some of the drug and discovered its hallucinogenic effect. In the 1960s and 70s it was used by millions of young people in America; its popularity waned as its reputation for bad trips and resulting accidents and suicides became known. In 1967, the federal government classified it as a Schedule I drug, i.e., having a high abuse potential and no accepted medical use, along with heroinheroin
, opiate drug synthesized from morphine (see narcotic). Originally produced in 1874, it was thought to be not only nonaddictive but useful as a cure for respiratory illness and morphine addiction, and capable of relieving morphine withdrawal symptoms.
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 and marijuanamarijuana
or marihuana,
drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates.
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. In the early 1990s it again became popular, presumably because of its low cost. It is produced in clandestine laboratories.

Bibliography

See publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

LSD

(naval architecture)
(organic chemistry)

LSD

lysergic acid diethylamide; a crystalline compound prepared from lysergic acid, used in experimental medicine and taken illegally as a hallucinogenic drug
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