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Myths and misconceptions about LSD

Psychedelics have been a topic of fascination, study, and, at times, controversy. Among the most widely known and discussed psychedelics is Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Over the years, tales about its effects and dangers have proliferated, not all of which are rooted in fact. With the resurgence of interest in psychedelics for therapeutic potential and the increasing number of studies being conducted, it’s essential to separate fact from fiction. In this piece, we debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions about LSD.

LSD stays in your spinal cord forever

Reality: One of the oldest and most persistent myths is that LSD accumulates in the spinal cord and can cause flashbacks years later. In truth, LSD is metabolised relatively quickly and exits the body within days. The notion of “flashbacks” is more complex.

While some individuals do report sudden, unexpected recollections of their experiences, these are not caused by the physical presence of the drug in their system.

LSD use causes chromosome damage

Reality: Initial studies in the 1960s suggested that LSD might cause genetic damage, leading to widespread alarm. However, later and more rigorous research showed that LSD does not cause genetic mutations in the way previously thought. As with all substances, moderation and care are vital, but the earlier fears about chromosome damage have been largely discredited.

LSD is a sure-fire route to “madness”

Reality: While it’s true that taking LSD can be intense and provoke anxiety or paranoia in some people, the idea that it induces long-term psychosis in otherwise healthy individuals is overstated and another one of the myths that surround LSD.

Most negative experiences, often termed “bad trips”, are temporary.

However, for those predisposed to mental health conditions, LSD might exacerbate or trigger symptoms, which underlines the importance of a safe and informed approach to its use.

Microdosing LSD is entirely risk-free

Reality: Microdosing, or taking sub-perceptual amounts of a substance, has become trendy, especially among those seeking enhanced creativity or improved mood.

While preliminary findings suggest potential benefits, the long-term effects of consistent microdosing remain under-researched.

As with any drug, there are potential risks, and it’s essential to approach microdosing with caution and awareness.

All LSD experiences can be controlled

Reality: While mindset and setting play significant roles in shaping an LSD experience, it’s a fallacy to believe that one can fully control the trip’s outcome.

The drug interacts with individual brain chemistry, and experiences can be unpredictable.

This is why safe environments and, when possible, experienced guides or “sitters” can be invaluable.

LSD is highly addictive

Reality: LSD does not fit the profile of addictive drugs.

It doesn’t cause physical dependence, and users don’t display the same compulsive drug-seeking behaviours associated with substances like cocaine or opioids.

Moreover, frequent use tends to decrease effects, discouraging regular consumption.

However, like anything that alters perception and mood, it’s possible to develop a psychological attachment.

Natural psychedelics are safer than LSD

Just because a substance is natural does not automatically make it safe.

For instance, psilocybin mushrooms and peyote cacti are natural sources of psychedelic compounds, but they can also produce adverse reactions or be toxic in large amounts.

Safety largely depends on dosage, individual reactions, and context, rather than the origin of the substance.

Myths surrounding LSD conclusion

In conclusion, as research into LSD and other psychedelics continues, it’s crucial to approach the topic with a discerning mind, informed by science rather than hearsay.

Understanding the true risks and potential benefits of LSD will allow for a more honest and open dialogue, moving us away from age-old myths and closer to the realm of fact.


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