April 30, 2008

"At home, I lay down and sank into a not-unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination."

"In a dreamlike state I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours, this condition faded away."

Albert Hofmann, the man who discovered LSD
, has died at the grand age of 102.
"Before, I had believed there was only one reality: the reality of everyday life.

"Under LSD, however, I entered into realities which were as real and even more real than the one of everyday." He also "became aware of the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the plant and animal kingdom. I became very sensitive to what will happen to all this and all of us."
Reading those lines, does it not make you sad that LSD is illegal?


Michael_H said...

Far out.

rhhardin said...

If it doesn't increase combativeness, the hell with it.

Michael_H said...

Inna Gadda Da Vidda here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsIJDZT2lGo

Breakfeast with an acid flashback. Cool, man.

Screw the man, man. I'm skipping work today.

Ah shit. I am the man. I hafta show up.

Cato Renasci said...

I have mixed feelings on the illegality of LSD and similar psychotropic drugs.

Despite generally libertarian leanings on such matters, as a student in the late 1960s, I saw a dispiriting number of acquaintances who had bad experiences with LSD, some of whom were never right again. Kids I had known since we were toddlers who blew their minds out. Others, of great talent and promise, whose ambitions were lost and ended up living essentially marginal lives -- contentedly enough, I suppose, but without the light in their eyes and the intellectual curiousness I had known in them in high school.

It may be that the drug unhinges only those with a tendency to instability, but there are a larger number of people than one might like to believe whose stability is less firm than they might like or than they think.

I think it's fair to say that no one takes LSD (or other similar drugs) with the intention of having a bad trip or flipping out, but it does happen. One wishes there were a way to know how someone would react to the drugs and allow only those who will have positive reactions to use them. Failing that, I think I can live with LSD being illegal, even if I'm not happy about it.

Michael_H said...

Me and Sally went to Altamont to see the Stones, man. I had a '63 Dodge school bus. That summer I cut part of the top off and welded on the top half of a '53 Studebaker. Sally rode up there, thinking she was in a submarine.

We ran into Ken Kesey and he introduces us to Wavy Gravy. We rap about Leary and Kesey says "People don't want other people to get high, because if you get high, you might see the falsity of the fabric of the society we live in."

Heavy shit, man.

We saw the biker dudes kill that guy during the Stones concert. I didn't know it was real until three days later.

The bus broke down part way over the mountains. We left it in a parking lot in Leadville and hitched into Denver. Sally started crying and couldn't stop. She called her mother from Denver and Mom wired some money for a bus ticket home to St. Paul. The last time I saw her was in Denver. I heard a few years later that she went home, graduated from a community college and married an electrician.

I hitched back to Chicago, then to Madison. I did a semester at the UW then was drafted. Did 'Nam.

Things were different after that. I went back to school, graduated and went to work. I became the straight guy I used to laugh at.

Sometimes I miss the old life. Then I go golfing.

My true story.

Bob said...

LSD is the only recreational drug I've ever really wanted to try, but only if it was strictly controlled in a lab setting, for safety's sake.

What about you, Ann? You're the right age, did you ever indulge?

Sid said...

Hell no.

And that comes after great consideration over various parts of my life.

LSD and other drugs just do not fit into our social order and culture. Cato_Renasci stated part of this argument well. But the greater argument is that it just doesn't work. In our society as is, readily available drugs just do not work.

George said...

"Does it not make you sad that LSD is illegal?"

No, it does not make me sad that LSD is illegal.

Powerful drugs, whether they're mind-altering, blood-flow enhancing, cancer killing, sleep-inducing, or bowel-moving should be regulated (or banned) for people's protection because, as Cato above observes, many among us, particularly minors, are incapable of protecting themselves from harm, and even adults who profess to have sufficient self-awareness to use such substances wisely may themselves be overwhelmed by their toxicity. This is true whether we are talking about LSD or Ex-Lax.

Consider the testimonies of forensic chemist Ray Murray and Sgt. Friday, LAPD, who has in his 'custody' one Benjamin John "Blue Boy" Carver.

And, incidentally, it was Bill Ayer's Weather Underground that provided funds that made possible Timothy Leary's prison escape.

amba said...


Meade said...

"It may be that the drug unhinges only those with a tendency to instability, but there are a larger number of people than one might like to believe whose stability is less firm than they might like or than they think"

Those would be people who's brains are still rapidly developing - people under, say, forty.

LSD should be legal and available to older adults who could use an experience like Hofmann described, who are stuck in "the reality of everyday life" and would benefit in their twilight years from an awareness of the "wonder of creation" and the "magnificence of nature," people who, sadly, haven't learned to get that experience by walking over bridges in the fresh air and photographing flowers and puppy dogs and icicles. (I love the flower girl.)

Drew W said...

Not to suggest for a moment that I ever took LSD myself, but if I had ever done so, one of the worst things I could imagine would be for a trio of tripping college students to wander into the Cathedral Of St. John The Divine on a Saturday afternoon -- the better to stare at the late-afternoon sunlight streaming through its stained-glass windows -- only to hear some church sexton slam the cathedral’s mighty doors closed as he locked it up for the night. Fortunately, we -- I mean those hypothetical college students -- immediately made their presence known and dashed up to him to please let them out.

Meade said...

See what I mean? Brains not fully developed.

Pogo said...

According to UpToDate:
"A US study reported in 2006 found that lifetime LSD use (13 percent) was second only to Ecstasy use (14 percent) by young adults age 16 to 23 [2] . Use of LSD is associated with frequent heavy alcohol use and high-risk sexual behavior [3] , as well as criminal activity [2] .

The quality of the LSD-induced psychedelic state, or "trip," is influenced by the mood and environment of the user at the time of induction (set and setting). A "bad trip" can be caused by fear, anxiety, or anger at the time the drug is taken. The most significant characteristic of a bad trip is fear; most bad trips can be handled without medication by a friend, nurse, aide, or physician. It may be difficult at times to distinguish between a bad trip and an acute psychotic reaction."

And Dr. Drew (!) sez:
"There is no single source of information that outlines the long-term problems associated with LSD exposure. However, in my clinical experience, and I'm sure anyone who works in addiction medicine will agree with me, even moderate exposure to LSD is associated with potentially long-term mood disturbances.

What's so frightening about LSD is that for some, these mood problems develop 10 years after the exposure, and treating the problem then is extremely difficult. We've all heard about flashbacks, where people spontaneously experience an LSD trip years after taking the drug; but some users who take a large dose of LSD may also experience what's called post-hallucinogenic perceptual disorder. The person feels locked into a dream-like state long after they should have come down. It's extremely frightening for them, and they become depressed and panicky, and often end up with long-standing mood disturbances from that point on. Some of our members on drDrew.com have told us they have subtle, permanent changes (like a haze) in their vision.

LSD is a highly potent drug that permanently alters the way your brain functions. It happens in parts of your brain that aren't easy to identify, but trust me on this: the changes have very serious consequences. From what I've seen, after 30 to 50 hits of acid or one large dose, people cross the threshold to long-term problems."

So, other than that, it's fine.

somefeller said...

I'm not sure whether LSD should be legalized outright, but I am sure that the current policy of throwing nonviolent people in jail for years for possession of LSD or other psychedelics is a waste of lives and resources.

There was a really good article in the Washington Post recently about the renewed interest in the study of psychedelic drugs (mainly MDMA, not LSD) for clinical purposes. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has done a lot of good work worldwide in trying to open this topic up again, despite the general atmosphere of hysteria that arises anytime one talks about revising the drug laws.

Ann Althouse said...

Meade: "(I love the flower girl.)"

Great video, but couldn't they have positioned the camera to exclude that ceiling fan. Wow, man, I'm seeing tracks.

Original Mike said...

What Amba said.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This is the first time I've ever seen Dr. Drew attribute emotional problems to anything other than child abuse. Powerful stuff, this LSD.

Jennifer said...

There is no single source of information that outlines the long-term problems associated with LSD exposure.

Well, then I continue to believe a lot of what we're supposed to just "trust" the medical professionals on is BS. We had a lot of fun with LSD in high school. People always know someone who knows someone who was like totally fried man and thinks he's an orange! But, with a not a little use over a longish period of time by a lot of people, I personally never witnessed such a thing.

I'm sure over time it can dull and destabilize, but so can alcohol.

Original Mike said...

People always know someone who knows someone who was like totally fried man and thinks he's an orange!

You heard about that guy, too?

Original Mike said...

And where are my flashbacks? I was promised flashbacks!

somefeller said...

Use of LSD is associated with frequent heavy alcohol use and high-risk sexual behavior, as well as criminal activity.

Correlation does not equal causation. Also, it should be pointed out that use of LSD is by definition criminal activity under current laws, as is use of marijuana and other illegal drugs, and one wonders what the "criminal activity" being referred to here is, other than use of illegal drugs. I suspect not much, particularly given that LSD use is mainly a middle-class/affluent phenomenon. Last, high-risk sexual behavior (how is that defined?) may correlate with LSD use, but it really correlates with use of another drug - alcohol.

Also, Dr. Drew's yeomanlike work on Loveline and Celebrity Rehab notwithstanding, I share Paul Zrimsek's skepticism regarding his analysis on this topic.

bill said...

Bill Hicks:

The Beatles were so high, they let Ringo sing a couple of tunes. Tell me they weren't partying.

[singing]"We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine."[/singing]

We all live in a yellow submarine? Do you know how fucking high they were when they wrote that? They had to pull Ringo off the ceiling with a rake to sing that song.

Pogo said...

I think people who are dying should be free to use it.

The FDA banned Vioxx fer chrissakes, and all it did was slightly increase the risk of heart attack while helping people manage pain. It was a fair trade for some people, but now illegal.

Dr. Drew is somewhat of a new Puritan, but I agree with him in this: it is indisputable that some people seem to be permanently messed up by bad trips, whether by a large dose or repeated use.

It is known that for some people the psychotic state induced has become permanent. Whoo hoo. What fun. And y'all know how accomodating the police are to psychotic teens and 20s. Go try that in downtown Chicago, if you dare.

Some people skate by with no seeming permanent effects at all. The problem is you don't know who is at risk for permanent effects before trying it, so is it worth it if you won't know until you try it?

What would you tell your own 20 year old child? I'm a skeptic about those risks, son. Go ahead, it's probably OK?

I dunno, but that seems pretty cruel.

somefeller said...

The problem is you don't know who is at risk for permanent effects before trying it, so is it worth it if you won't know until you try it?

That is the key problem, and why I don't think I'd favor its general decriminalization, as I would marijuana. However, I can see controlled use of the drug under the care of professionals, after some psychiatric testing to screen out those who have preexisting psychiatric disorders, would be a good thing for many people. (Adult people.) And as I stated before, whatever the problems are with LSD, they aren't worth throwing otherwise non-violent and non-criminal people into jail over.

Jennifer said...

Pogo, the thing is that all I've ever heard is that it is "common knowledge" that some people have permanent effects. Who and where are these people? Admittedly, I haven't done significant research (other than field testing). Generally, it seems the research that attempted to prove it caused psychological damage has been discredited. But sure if I actually saw indispituable evidence of permanent effects I would accept that there were risks involved.

Bissage said...

It is a well-established fact that L.S.D. stands for “Lindsay and her Spouse in Diamonds.”

Kids, just say no!

dbp said...

Mixed feelings: It is to mental and emotional health what excercise is to physical health. It helps most people to be more healthy. Some small fraction of people are harmed or even die from partaking in excercise and some small fraction of LSD users become less mentally healthy than they were.

It is too bad really, that the majority who could benefit (or at least enjoy) the experiance have to break the law to do so. We live in a society that seems pretty risk adverse, more than it should be in my view.

Pogo said...

Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd. 2003 Mar;220(3):176-8.

Persisting visual hallucinations and illusions in previously drug-addicted patients.Gaillard MC, Borruat FX.
Hôpital Ophtalmique Jules Gonin, Lausanne, Switzerland.

CONCLUSIONS: Flash-back phenomena are frequent amongst LSD abusers. They rarely occur at long times after the last intake (20 years in the present case); when they do so, precipitating factors are often present (ethanol, medication, anesthesia). Such phenomena reflect the cortical dysfunctions that can be induced by illegal substances.

Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2002;39(2):92-9.
Flashback and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder: clinical aspects and pharmacological treatment approach.
Lerner AG, Gelkopf M, Skladman I, Oyffe I, Finkel B, Sigal M, Weizman A.
Lev Hasharon Mental Health Medical Center, Pardessya, POB 90000, Netanya 42100, Israel.

One unique characteristic of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and LSD-like substances is the recurrence of some of the symptoms which appeared during the intoxication after the immediate effect of the hallucinogen has worn off. This recurring syndrome, mainly visual, has not been clearly understood, appreciated or distinguished from other clinical entities by clinicians. The terms Flashback and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) are used interchangeably in the professional literature. Flashback is a usually short-term, non-distressing, spontaneous, recurrent, reversible and benign condition accompanied by a pleasant affect. In contrast, HPPD is a generally long-term, distressing, spontaneous, recurrent, pervasive, either slowly reversible or irreversible, non-benign condition accompanied by an unpleasant dysphoric affect. Flashback and HPPD appear to be part of a vast and broad spectrum of non-psychopathological and psychopathological states reported by hallucinogen users.

Paul Snively said...

Althouse: Reading those lines, does it not make you sad that LSD is illegal?

Oh, hell no.

Look, let's make one thing perfectly clear, all right? LSD doesn't reveal new realities to you, or any other such 60s hippy-dippy inanities. What it does is seriously fuck with countless millenia of evolution that have resulted in the most amazing spectacle the universe has ever produced: the human nervous system. The human nervous system perceives phenomena, interprets them, and—here's the best part—is able to make judgments about what is happening, plan ways to respond to what is happening, compose two things that do exist, e.g. "gold" and "mountain" into something that does not, "golden mountain" (thank you, Umberto Eco) and—without any additional chemical assistance whatsoever—get completely lost in some aspects of perception/response/planning that we loosely label "pleasure." Ask the tantricists about how far that path extends.

People who mess with this highly-tuned machinery are damned fools, and you can quote me on that.

Pogo said...

Neurocase. 2001;7(5):423-32.
Amnesic syndrome and severe ataxia following the recreational use of 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'ecstasy') and other substances.
Kopelman MD, Reed LJ, Marsden P, Mayes AR, Jaldow E, Laing H, Isaac C.
Neuropsychiatry and Memory Disorders Clinic, University Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, King's College, St Thomas's Campus, London SE1 7EH, UK. michael.kopelman@kcl.a.cuk

A 26-year-old woman suffered disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and a brief respiratory arrest following recreational use of 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; 'ecstasy'), together with amyl nitrate, lysergic acid (LSD), cannabis and alcohol. She was left with residual cognitive and physical deficits, particularly severe anterograde memory disorder, mental slowness, severe ataxia and dysarthria. Follow-up investigations have shown that these have persisted, although there has been some improvement in verbal recognition memory and in social functioning. Magnetic resonance imaging and quantified positron emission tomography investigations have revealed: (i) severe cerebellar atrophy and hypometabolism accounting for the ataxia and dysarthria; (ii) thalamic, retrosplenial and left medial temporal hypometabolism to which the anterograde amnesia can be attributed; and (iii) some degree of fronto-temporal-parietal hypometabolism, possibly accounting for the cognitive slowness. The putative relationship of these abnormalities to the direct and indirect effects of MDMA toxicity, hypoxia and ischaemia is considered.

Stopped breathing. Now stupid and falling down all the time. Talk about fun!

Pogo said...

Addiction. 1993 Oct;88(10):1327-34Adverse consequences of lysergic acid diethylamide.
Abraham HD, Aldridge AM.
Department of Psychiatry, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111.

The continued endemic use of hallucinogenic drugs, and of LSD in particular, raises concern regarding their short and long term adverse consequences. The epidemiology of LSD abuse is reviewed suggesting an increase in LSD use among the young as the prevalence rates for other substances continues to fall. Evidence supports the association of LSD use with panic reactions, prolonged schizoaffective psychoses and post-hallucinogen perceptual disorder, the latter being present continually for as long as 5 years. Evidence does not support claims of genetic disorders arising from hallucinogens. In light of the foregoing, current data confirm earlier findings of long lasting psychopathology arising in vulnerable individuals from the use of LSD. A hypothetical long term molecular mechanism of adverse effects is proposed.

I'll stop now.

Jennifer said...

Hmmm...that first post gives pause for thought, Pogo.

The second...? She was doing exctasy, acid, pot AND alcohol. I mean seriously. How are you going to separate one out and say it should be illegal because if you put your brain on a drug stew it causes problems?

Michael_H said...

It has always been about the drugs. The 60s were fueled by weed, hash, speed and LSD. Those who didn't take drugs got blasted on alcohol, which was their drug of choice. The music was great, but all in all, it was a by-product of the drug culture.

For some, the 70s and 80s were fueled by coke. The late 80s, the 90s and the early 00s were fueled by money, and by good wine and booze, the kind that cost money.

It's nearly the '00teens and for many it's still about the drugs. Not weed or hash or LSD anymore, but still drugs.

I have a hit of synthroid every morning, followed by a tab of aspirin. They're drugs, they're legal. Two days without synthroid and I crave a hit that will make me feel 'normal' just as bad as a stoner craves a toke.

I've met people who are anti-drug, including myself after the birth of my children. We all condemn the use of illegal drugs, while medicating with legal drugs, beer, wine, booze, caffeine and smugness.

Ask most who came of age in the 60s this question: If you were in the nursing home, family was far away and visits were few, would you want a hit of LSD once in a while to help the day?

Most would say yes, I believe.

Re: brain damage. I have two degrees, started my own companies (2X), grew both, sold both, retired early. Happy life, happy family, many friends.

Pogo said...

Jennifer said...
She was doing exctasy, acid, pot AND alcohol. I mean seriously. How are you going to separate one out...

Absolutely correct.
The problem is that you can't.
No one will ever do the definitive study to find out, either.
So what to do?

Legalize it all and give the advice that some permanent problems can occur when used alone, more likely in conmbination, so you takes your chances as you see fit.


People do this sort of stuff constantly. I'd be fine with it if there were money and staff available to permanently care for the disabled who arise from such an experiment, but there isn't.

Alcohol is well understood. Pot pretty well understood. Everything else? Not so much.

What would you have your own child do? Clearly, making it illegal hasn't made it unavailable. Making it legal might increase its use somewhat (or alot, who knows?) Is that a good risk to take?

I have very mixed feelings here, my libertarianism fighting with anti-libertinism.

If we were content to let the wastoid rejects die in the streets after they screwed up and did too much, fine. let em have it. But no, you'll want me to pay for it all, take care of them for the rest of their lives. Won't you? You can't just let them starve underfoot, can you?

Because that's what happens to a few. Shit, just walk down the Magnificent Mile in Chicago and see the wonderful effects of drug and alcohol abuse every block, holding their cardboard sign out, palm outstretched.

Jennifer said...

You're making your own opposition argument, Pogo. The only way to fairly raise money to pay for the drug addled is to tax the shite out of drug sales. Legal drug sales.

I appreciate the legwork you've done here, but I need to do some further research. These conclusions are implying that these are every/all type results. I know that to be untrue. So, are we talking about a good chunk of people who suffer serious after effects? Or, are we talking about a minute percentage?

Also, whether or not I would be happy with my children doing something is not a litmus test for legality in my mind. There are plenty of things I'd prefer they didn't do that I don't believe should be outlawed.

Original Mike said...

"...but those who torment us for our own good will will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience"
--C.S. Lewis

Vincent said...

You people can argue about whether it should be legal all you like.

There's nothing you can say or do that is going to stop me from touching the wonder of the world under LSD's guiding hand.

The chemical is too extraordinary, too completely different from everything else, for someone who has never taken the trip to say anything worthwhile about it.

You can't appreciate the beauty of the mind that the chemical unlocks until you're there.

Pogo said...

I am not arguing to keep these illegal.

I am saying I don't know what to do.

The drug wars have been terribly destructive. I'd prefer to decriminalize most of it.

Making them legal won't help much because it is very unlikely you'll find a legitimate manufacturer willing to bear the risk of side effects. hell, Vioxx got sued away. What do you think will happen to Cannabis by Mercke?

So will the government make it all, just like it sells lottery tickets.

We can call it Soma.

P. Rich said...

Paul is on the mark. In effect, we all live in a virtual reality, one that is constructed for us by our brain based not just on selective, partial time-lagged inputs from our various sensors but also on the immediate condition of the processing device itself. Chemically alter the latter and the effect is distortion, not a "new reality" or some such bilge.

Jennifer, the basic problem with assessing the long-term effects a drug such as LSD (and many others) is that of being unable to conduct controlled testing, with humans, of a potentially destuctive substance, over a sufficiently long period of time. Some relatively benign drugs intended for treatment reveal negative side effects after years on the market following years of testing. And they were not viewed from the beginning as harmful.

John Lynch said...

LSD will eventually drive you mad. It takes a while, but most people eventually stop using it. They see that they're going to go crazy.

By my age there are a lot of people who've done it, but aren't doing it anymore.

For the larger drug war implications, LSD is pretty minor compared to cocaine, meth, and marijuana. I do think it should stay illegal. It's just too powerful. Weed doesn't make you go insane.

cardeblu said...

"Reading those lines, does it not make you sad that LSD is illegal?"

Not really. As many times as I took acid during my impetuous youth (ages 15-21), I never really did hallucinate. Oh, I saw the strobe effect of colors and the tracers, but I never ever saw sounds or heard colors, as it were. It was fine, fun and funny for the first few hours of every trip, but the supposed strychnine that it was laced with would eventually cause stomach cramps, and my jaw would ache from smiling and laughing so much. After about 6-8 hours, it was just tiring. Never did LSD-25, so maybe that was the problem. I also never had a bad trip nor knew anyone who did. I was even on it once while in school (HS) and once while with my entire family (parents, grandparents, cousins). No one suspected a thing.

So, again, I'm not too sad that it's illegal. Now, 'shrooms on the other hand.... ;)

William said...

Abbey Hoffman, the best known evangelist of Albert Hoffman, was a manic depressive. His judgement was impaired and that impaired judgement left him to believe that chronic and acute drug abuse was a liberating experience. He committed suicide. His biography would be a cautionary tale, but it has been edited to express a cautionary tale about the excesses of the US government. When I was young, the theory was that the govt lied to us about drugs. In my maturity I think that Abby Hoffman and Hunter S. Thompson were the ones who were full of shit. I had a friend who was on Ectasy. He fell asleep while smoking and died. More people have died from drug abuse than died in Vietnam. The popularizers of this behavior should be held in the same regard as Robert McNamara.

Michael_H said...

"More people have died from drug abuse than died in Vietnam. The popularizers of this behavior should be held in the same regard as Robert McNamara."

At least we still have cigarettes, which have killed more people than Viet Nam, illegal drugs, and a host of other causes. They remain legal because fed, state and local governments make a whopping big pile of tax revenue from the sale of tobacco, all the while decrying the use of tobacco.

Government is the enabler for tobacco use. No accountability for the elected officials who continue to allow its production, manufacture, distribution, sale and use.

Arrest the guy who has three tabs of (insert name of illegal drug here), but don't bother the guy who has three cartons of Luckies.

Cedarford said...

I wait for the grim tales of the dire effects of alcohol on certain people to explain why that drug should be banned. Beer, a glass of wine, a single cocktail - has started millions on the road to death and perdition.

The artistic class has always had substantial numbers, many among the most famous and accomplished, sought some variety of intoxication. Heroin and jazz, smack pot coke and jack daniels fueling some of the best music of the 70s and 80s. Opium and poetry.

Seems to me we need informed consent, and with LSD a certain class of artists and neurological researchers and mental health MDs permitted to use it in their explorations, research, patient treatment.

Not for legality to the general public, but licensed, like pot should be for certain medical afflictions. Not the idiocy of "zero tolerance everywhere!!" with a gang of jack-booted fascists (the DEA) armed with vast powers to destroy the lives of people in what are basically harmless activities.

Pogo said...


I would agree except for one thing:

Who would take the legal risk of manufacturing the stuff?

Ladder makers get sued all the time. Hard to believe lawyers wouldn't salivate at the chance to sue for every conceivable LSD side effecft.

vbspurs said...


Pogo said...

" LSD side effecft"

Lack of caffiene side effect.

somefeller said...

Who would take the legal risk of manufacturing the stuff? Ladder makers get sued all the time. Hard to believe lawyers wouldn't salivate at the chance to sue for every conceivable LSD side effecft.

Fair point. But, as you can see, ladders still get made, despite the lawsuits. If the money is there (which means, if it is something people really want), then the producers will emerge, and act accordingly. Let the market decide. Also, if we are talking about small-scale use of the drug in a supervised circumstance (as Cedarford and I are suggesting), the issues of informed consent, waivers, insurance and skeptical juries should take care of a lot of the risk.

Simon Kenton said...


I'd have voted different a mere 35 years ago. But an old high-school friend began to do acid. He started with the 25 and 50mcg tabs. Later he was doing 1200 mikes at a time and mixing with other drugs, though I don't suppose he could count by then or could decide to take them, in the way that you or I decide to do things. He began wandering the town, falling asleep in stores, eyes blasted, murmurring quietly to you when you met him. The police would pick him up, but they would quickly let him go because they couldn't stand to see him lap water from the toilet.

Pogo can perhaps comment, either to concur or to contravert, but my layman's impression is that when you have destroyed the higher functions of the cerebrum and cerebellum, the functions governed by the medulla tail off. This fellow died at about 24; there was no particular "cause of death;" he just took a week or so to shut down. Nothing of the 'him' that we knew in junior high and high school was left in there, or had been for years.

Like some here, I have libertarian tendencies, but I would have a very hard time as a father celebrating the libertarian rights of one of my kids and the person who provided the drugs, to engineer the like death for my child.

Pogo said...

Well said, Simon.

LutherM said...

Perception and reality -
look at http://www.boppin.com/poets/ferlinghetti.htm

As for a video, try

somefeller said...

Simon, that's an awful story and I'm not trying to trivialize it, but how exactly is that different than situations in which a promising young man grows up to be the town drunk and dies in an alley somewhere, or where he doesn't become the town drunk but wraps himself around a telephone pole after driving drunk back from a party? We allow lots of drugs to be legal, knowing fully well that there will be lethal consequences in some (or even many) cases of the people who use those drugs. There has to be more to the analysis than that to justify the banning of certain drugs, and by extension, the imprisonment of certain drug users.

Jeremy said...

You're right that there's some hypocracy in our drug laws, but my take is that this is kind of an experiment. As a society we don't want to ban everything and we don't want to allow everything so we've drawn an imaginary line in the sand and said "Here but no further!" It's just tough luck for the guy that gets his jollies from LSD but not nicotine.

And we're trying out this experiment. Outlawing alcohol didn't work out so well. But legalizing it and restricting age/use/etc hasn't brought alcohol-related problems (abuse, DUI deaths, crimes) to an acceptably low level. So something's bound to be done about it.

Right now we're not exactly outlawing tobacco, but we're heavily restricting the when and where and taxing the dilly out of it and social stigma/pressure is marginalizing users. We'll see how that goes.

I don't think anyone thinks there's a perfect solution to society dealing with mind-altering drugs. Our experiments are in a state of flux.

Revenant said...

Somefeller's right. It isn't a question of whether or not bad things can happen to you if you take LSD. Bad things can happen if you eat a lot of fried foods, too.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Shit, just walk down the Magnificent Mile in Chicago

Don't do that! When you get to the end of it you'll be on LSD.

Revenant said...

And we're trying out this experiment. Outlawing alcohol didn't work out so well.

We've been "trying out this experiment" for three times as long as we tried prohibition, with even worse results.

Synova said...

There was a documentary on television just last weekend about the psychotropic drugs used by shaman (what is the plural of that, shamen?) in the Amazon and LSD in Europe and the States. The "other reality" thing is just silly, no matter how much a person on a trip or having a shaman directed religious experience feels like they're seeing other realities. They aren't.

What was quite interesting is that the promoters, PhD's and whoever at places like Harvard who were giving the stuff to students *AND* who promoted it as therapy for violent criminals, seemed to buy into this seeing real reality thing, other realities.

The experiments on criminals reminded me of hearing about a prison run by Christians (my brain wants to guess it was in Philadelphia) who, because *they* found great spiritual meaning in solitary contemplation decided that the most wonderful thing they could do to criminals rehabilitation was to put them in solitary confinement for years upon years.

The similarity to these smart guys trying to fix violent criminals by inducing spiritual insight seemed, to me, to be significant.

Revenant said...

What was quite interesting is that the promoters [...] seemed to buy into this seeing real reality thing, other realities

The sensation of connecting to the divine, or to something bigger than yourself, is reportedly a powerful one. It leaves a lot of people completely convinced that they really HAVE connected with something.

Some chemicals induce that feeling. It is not surprising that those who have such experiences come to see the drugs as a way to connect to a higher reality.

blake said...

Of course, the purpose of LSD is to induce temporary insanity. With the subject rendered insane, you can lock him up in an institution and strip him of his rights.

This is the ultimate irony of the counter-culture: It was a tool of The Man himself. You think that "bad LSD" at Woodstock was an innocent mistake?

Or am I the only one here who's heard of MKULTRA?

montana urban legend said...

A lot of pro-authoritarian sympathies running through this thread, I see.

Dangerous drugs are one thing, but given the government's interest in targetting something as non-toxic as weed, I wonder if that's the kind of disingenuous authority you want in charge of making nominally illegal something that will always be readily availabe.

Best Onion headline: War Over. Drugs Win.

As for the majority of Schedule I substances that can actually kill or maim you and the responsibility borne by those who deal them, one of the smartest lawyers I know has a better answer than the ridiculous drug war: Establish a standard of strict liability. Our FDA gives us a false sense of security that the government can guarantee and decide on matters of our safety when it comes to what you put into your body. At least until some of the stuff they approve of ends up killing a few people too.

Strict liability makes so much more sense, at least to those of us who wouldn't let matters of science and safety be blurred by the moralizers currently in charge of the enterprise and much of the discussion on it.

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