Thursday, December 24, 2009

Explorer - Inside LSD

National Geographic Channel's EXPLORER: INSIDE LSD

National Geographic Channel's EXPLORER: INSIDE LSD puts this mysterious molecule back under the microscope. From psychedelics given to terminally ill patients, to reputedly the "world's purest LSD" administered in lab experiments, find out why some researchers believe this "trippy" drug could become the pharmaceutical of the future  enhancing brain power, expanding creativity and even curing mental illness.
Fifty years ago, psychedelics or "mind-manifesting" drugs like LSD were considered cutting-edge science. Within months of its accidental discovery in 1943 by Hoffman, free samples of LSD were arriving at the doorsteps of scientists and psychiatrists around the world to test its effects on everything from alcoholism to autism. Even the Central Intelligence Agency and the military dosed their own operatives to see if LSD could be weaponized for mind control. But this powerful hallucinogen became a street drug with a dangerous reputation, and it was eventually outlawed. Yet despite its illegality, an estimated 23 million Americans have taken LSD, and more than 600,000 try it each year.

Now, after more than three decades, cutting-edge science takes on psychedelics again. At Purdue University, pharmacology professor Dave Nichols is one of a select group with permission to manufacture and experiment with LSD. His team uses some of the purest LSD ever made to study its molecular structure and effect on the brains of rats, with intriguing results. EXPLORER: INSIDE LSD shows how after chronic dosing, Nichols' rats begin to avoid social contact and mimic schizophrenic behavior in humans. Nichols believes his study may shed light on the chemical mechanisms underlying mental illnesses, potentially leading to cures.

About LSD;
Lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD-25, LSD, formerly lysergide, commonly known as acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline and tryptamine families. LSD is non-addictive, non-toxic, and is well known for its psychological effects which can include closed and open eye visuals, synaesthesia, a sense of time distortion, ego death and profound spiritual experiences, as well as for its key role in 1960s counterculture. It is used mainly by psychonauts as an entheogen and in psychedelic therapy.

A single dose of LSD may be between 100 and 500 micrograms — an amount roughly equal to one-tenth the mass of a grain of sand. Threshold effects can be felt with as little as 25 micrograms of LSD.
Dosages of LSD are measured in micrograms (µg), or millionths of a gram. By comparison, dosages of most drugs, both recreational and medicinal, are measured in milligrams (mg), or thousandths of a gram. For example, an active dose of mescaline, roughly 0.2 to 0.5g, has effects comparable to 100 µg or less of LSD.
Typical doses in the 1960s ranged from 200 to 1000 µg while street samples of the 1970s contained 30 to 300 µg. By the 1980s, the amount had reduced to between 100 to 125 µg, lowering more in the 1990s to the 20–80 µg range.
Estimates for the lethal dosage (LD50) of LSD range from between 200 µg/kg to more than 1 mg/kg of human body mass, though most sources report that there are no known human cases of such an overdose. Other sources note one report of a suspected fatal overdose of LSD occurring in November 1975 in Kentucky in which there were indications that ~1/3 of a gram (320 mg or 320,000 µg) had been injected intravenously. (This is a very extraordinary amount, particularly when compared to the average LSD dosage of ~100 µg).Experiments with LSD were also done on animals; in 1962, an elephant named Tusko died shortly after being injected with 297 mg, but whether the LSD was the cause of his death is controversial
Wikipedia - LSD
The Mind-Benders: LSD and the Hallucingens, ca. 1970
Experimental Compound MER 17 (Frenquel) and LSD-25: Psychosis, 1955
Bad Acid   The Love Statue LSD Experience  LSD: Problem Child and Wonder Drug
Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. "The World of LSD"
The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet