Disclaimer: I don't care much for LSD's effects personally. The one time I tried it was so unpleasant it actually marked the last time I took any psychedelic. I fixated on the banality of social interaction, death & other unpleasant thoughts. Just when I thought the misery was ending I was struck with a bolt of painful diarrhea as the 'cid apparently reached my large intestine, causing all kinds of havoc. I made about 8 trips across the festival grounds in the scorching August sun to the Port-O-Potties until a friend gave me some Imodium to end my suffering.
Still, I find reading about psychedelics like LSD fascinating. The typical response to acid is waves of electrified bliss & an expanded consciousness streaked with visual hallucinations like fractals & colorful distortions. It leaves users in awe of their surroundings much like a child experiencing the world for the first time. A bad trip, on the other hand, can cause immense feelings of fear coupled with dark & frightening hallucinations & negative thoughts. My "bad" trips don't ever include fear or panic...just a depressed mood & physical fatigue. I always turn inward on psychedelics & find myself not wanting to be social whatsoever which is just a magnification of my normal personality.
LSD's history is as colorful as the hallucinations it causes. After the government experimented with it on unsuspecting volunteers under the MK-ULTRA program, it leaked out into the general population via Ken Kesey & other brave psychonauts where it began to be synthesized in clandestine labs on a gigantic scale. Acid was actually legal in California for the first half of the 1960s, during which time Owsley Stanley & his apprentice Tim Scully made the bulk of the street acid taken by hippies. Their White Lightning batch contained 270 micrograms & was produced at their rented house in Point Richmond, California. Owsley claimed it to be 99.9% pure. They pumped out more than 300,000 tabs of this batch before LSD was banned in '66 in California & they moved their lab to Denver, CO, across the street from the Denver Zoo.
Owsley "Bear" Stanley (left) & Tim Scully
|Hendrix taking Monterey Purple at Monterey Pop Festival|
Of course things wouldn't remain hunky dory forever.
Stanley & Scully had synthesized a new amphetamine-based psychedelic called "STP" ("Serenity, Tranquility, Peace") in their Denver lab around this time that was sold at the Golden Gate Park Summer Solstice Festival of 1967. (The drug was actually a discovery of Alexander Shulgin called DOM). In small doses of 2-3mg, this substance produces physical stimulation & visual hallucinations lasting many hours. But the 5,000 tablets produced by Stanley & Scully contained a whopping 20mg & were responsible for a rash of disastrous bad trips. Worse, the drug takes a long time to kick in so some people took even MORE than the 20mg & ended up freaking completely out or injuring themselves. The media attributed some of these "bad trips" to LSD which brought more bad press to the drug. Owsley Stanley was also arrested for drug manufacturing around this time.
In 1968, another eager young apprentice named Nicholas Sand joined the duo, purchasing a farmhouse in Windsor California & setting up a huge acid lab with Tim Scully. There, they churned out over 3.6 million tablets of high-dose 300 microgram LSD hits dubbed Orange Sunshine, which became their most famous 'brand' ever. This batch was name-dropped on Saturday Night Live & was well-known in other pop culture circles for years to come.
|Nick Sand's Orange Sunshine (268ug) tabs|
Even as the idealistic 1960s drew to a dark close with the disastrous Altamont Free Concert, Manson Murders & Kent State shootings, LSD remained a staple of the drug culture. Unfortunately, more addictive substances like cocaine, heroin & meth began to eclipse the popularity of "hippie" drugs like pot & psychedelics. Speed Freaks overtook the Haight Ashbury district & there was a backlash against the whole youth counterculture not only by older generations but by many young people themselves. As early as 1967, the Diggers organized a march called "The Death of Hippie" in which they carried a coffin down the street & chanted:
|"Speed Kills" ad (late '60s/early '70s)|
However, as one last testament to the Golden Age of peace, love & freedom, a cargo plane flew over a rock concert in 1970, dropping thousands of packets of Orange Sunshine to cheering crowds below. The Brotherhood of Eternal Sunshine's mission to turn on the world was complete. What the world chose to do with their gift was up to them.
To this day LSD is among the top 10 most popular street drugs at any given time. It can be found at concerts & festivals like Coachella & Burning Man as well as on various Dark Net markets. There will likely always be a fond place for this substance in the hearts of the drug culture. Neither a tryptamine nor a phenethylamine (but containing features of both in its molecular structure), LSD is a unique psychedelic with a long history of human use & a well-documented safety profile. It's been enjoyed by the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Susan Sarandon & will continue to be used by many others who want to expand their inner vistas. It's been sold in every imaginable form over the years, from windowpane squares to microdots to pure crystal, each generation having their own fond memories of the form they liked best.
With the rise of research chemicals like 25i-NBOMe & Bromo-DragonFLY, taking LSD has become a more risky proposition. A lot of these chemicals can be put on a blotter and sold as "acid" but are far more potent & dangerous at the same dose, making it very important to know & trust your source.
Would love to hear your most interesting LSD story in the comments.
|LSD blotter squares|
|LSD microdot & blotter vs. other substances|