Friday, January 16, 2009

LSD Leaves Crystals in Your Spine

The Legend: Using LSD leaves crystals in your spine, which can reactivate and cause the user to experience flashbacks.

Status: False

  • LSD leaves bubbles in your spine.

This is one of many, many LSD legends that pop up with some regularity. As has been discussed elsewhere, LSD, a water-soluble hallucinogen taken in microgram quantities, has a half-life of about 4 hours. There is no research that indicates that any is left behind in the body, or that the residue will form semi-permanent "crystals" in a user's body, or spine.

The most interesting thing about this particular rumor is its connection to the Church of Scientology. One of L. Ron Hubbard's programs was Narconon and the New Life Detoxification Program. This program has undergone recent scrutiny and the few doctors that support it are, themselves, Scientologists. Narconon and the New Life Detoxification Program have no real credibility in the medical or scientific community. That has not slowed the celebrity endorsements.

In his book, Purification: An Illustrated Answer to Drugs, Hubbard claims that he has made the discovery that LSD flashbacks, themselves hotly debated in the drug using and treatment communities, are caused by LSD that has been trapped in the body as crystals and can be restimulated at a later date. In fact, according to Hubbard, it's not just LSD that is trapped and restimulated, it's all illegal drugs, medicines, chemicals, preservatives, pesticides and even radiation and x-rays. He never says how he made this discovery. Naturally there is no scientific evidence to support his claims. While it is true that some things, like dioxins, metals some medication and vitamins, really will build up in the body over time, LSD is not on that list.

The New Life Detoxification Program involves weeks of extended sauna sessions that are supposed to release all of these stored toxins as patients sweat them out. Certainly this is good for your pores, but the "sweating it out" process has no basis in real science as a detoxification procedure for drug users.

So, are L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology's New Life Detoxification Program responsible for the widely held belief that LSD crystals remain in the body indefinitely, posing a risk of being restimulated at a later date? If not responsible for starting this rumor, they certainly are embracing it and making $15,000 from each person who believes it and seeks out their program for treatment.