Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is one famous molecule—in many ways the archetypal psychedelic substance. Its fame is underscored by its wide recognition simply as “acid”. LSD and other psychedelics may be described as amplifiers or activators of mental processes, leading to heightened awareness of perceptions, thoughts, and feelings, as well as loosening of psychological defences. LSD is the diethylamide derivative of lysergic acid, the latter being the core structure of the ergot alkaloids, a group of chemicals produced by ergot fungus. As a component of the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, LSD was primarily explored in two different ways. So-called psycholytic therapy involved using smaller doses of LSD on a periodic basis as a component of ongoing psychoanalytic therapy, to loosen psychological defenses and facilitate exploration and processing of emotionally charged material. Psychedelic therapy used larger doses with the intention of producing ego dissolution and perhaps a full mystical experience. Microdosing is a term used in pharmacology to describe administration of miniscule doses of a drug, well below the threshold for therapeutic activity. A commonly used microdose of LSD is in the range of 5–10 µg.