Addictive Drugs - LSD

by: Mike Miller

Growing up the image I had of LSD is that if you ever took it you could go completely crazy! Of course this was the 1960s and 1970s – about the time the drug reached its popularity.

You don’t hear too much about people addicted to LSD. Do you know why? Because of most popular drugs in our culture, LSD is one of the least addictive drugs. This is the third in a series of blogs looking at addictive drugs.

In the last entry in our addictive drugs series we looked at the least addictive – ecstasy. This is not to say that these drugs are not both illegal and dangerous, rather that the chemical substance is not highly physically or psychologically addictive.

What Is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide, abbreviated LSD, also known acid, is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed and open eye visuals, an altered sense of time and spiritual experiences, as well as for its key role in 1960s counterculture. It is used mainly as a recreational drug and as an agent in psychedelic therapy. LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose, although in rare cases adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety or delusions are possible.

How Addictive Is it?

The addictive potential of a drug varies from substance to substance, and from individual to individual. Dose, frequency, pharmacokinetics of a particular substance, route of administration, and time are critical factors for developing a drug addiction.

An article in The Lancet compared the harm and addiction of 20 drugs, using a scale from 0 to 3 for physical addiction, psychological addiction, and pleasure to create a mean score for addiction. A score of 3 means the substance is highly addictive.

So how does LSD score? With respect to physical dependency, LSD is the least addictive of the top 20 used and abused chemical substances with a score of 0.3. It also was the least addictive psychologically as well with a score 1.1.

Bad Side Effects

Although there have been no documented human deaths from an LSD overdose, LSD may temporarily impair the ability to make sensible judgments and understand common dangers, thus making the user more susceptible to accidents and personal injury. It may cause temporary confusion, difficulty with abstract thinking, or signs of impaired memory and attention span that would be consistent with brain damage.

Despite its lack of addictive quality, there is no doubt this is not a safe drug. To learn more about LSD or other drugs you can take a drug awareness class or online drug class.