Sunday, January 11, 2009

January is LSD Myth Month!

"The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on the truth."
-Edith Sitwell

LSD Myth Month!

LSD month! Woohoo! The rumors about this particular drug are endless, so that's why we're starting here.

LSD is the one drug that seems to evoke more legends, myths and folk tales than any other. It might even be safe to say that most of the "common" information average people know about this drug is inaccurate. Many of these little gems were collected over the years by asking the college students in my classes just what they had heard about LSD. Many said they heard these things from friends and siblings. Others said this misinformation came to them from the newspaper, teachers, and even textbooks. This is by no means an exhaustive listing of LSD misinformation, certainly there is much more, or there will be.

LSD is a hallucinogenic drug. Its primary action is to create visual, auditory and tactile distortions for the user. It is a Schedule I drug which means it currently has no recognized medical uses. There is some limited research being conducted on the efficacy of using hallucinogens to treat post-traumatic stress and other anxiety and fear disorders. There is also research that explores the use of LSD and similar chemicals to treat migraine headaches. Conclusive results have not yet been published.

LSD is inexpensive, costing less that $10 a hit, or trip. It is generally manufactured as a liquid and then put onto blotter paper that the user then sucks on or eats. In the past, LSD was put onto sugar cubes - an image that still sometimes shows up in the movies.

There are a few themes that occur throughout the vast misinformation about LSD. "Accidentally" ingesting LSD seems high on our list of fears, as does the belief that LSD users are interested in recruiting newbies into their ranks.

"Tripping forever" is also a common theme in many of the myths and general misinformation surrounding hallucinogens. I've heard this from students for years. They told me that they had actually seen the eternal tripper interviewed on 60 Minutes or 20/20.  As luck would have it, I eventually saw the eternal tripper on a news show with my own eyes. He is an unfortunate soul who appears to have triggered some schizophrenic or otherwise psychotic condition through his use of hallucinogens. He is not tripping forever, he has a mental illness.

Hopefully, after reading through all of these LSD horror stories, you will have a better idea of what this drug is really about, and what it is not about as well.