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1978 Description of LSD
from the Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health
Commentary by Erowid, original text by Miller - Keane
v1.0 1978
The following text is both very good and very bad for 1978. It does a decent job of edging around some of the issues and makes a snide referral to "semiscientific investigators". There are several errors, including the statement that the FDA regulated LSD, which it did not after it became illegal to possess without authorization from the law enforcement agencies, with the DEA taking supreme control in 1971 with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act. Also, the section ends with the completely wrong suggestion that chromosomal damage was still a scientifically valid concern for users of LSD. By 1978, that question had flatly been resolved as a moral panic in the medical literature with no serious investigator believing it after it was debunked in the early 1970s.

LSD - a hallucinogenic compound (lysergic acid diethylamide), derived from lysergic acid, a constituent of ergot alkaloids; called also lysergide. LSD has consciousness-expanding effects and is capable of producing a state of mind in which there is false sense perception (hallucination). (See also HALLUCINOGEN.) The perceptual changes brought about by LSD in normal persons are extremely variable and depend on factors such as age, personality, education, physical make-up, and state of health. The danger of the drug lies in the fact that it loosens control over impulsive behavior and may lead to a full-blown psychosis or less serious mental disorder in persons with latent mental illness. LSD is an experimental drug to be used only under the direct supervision of reliable, authorized scientists. Its distribution is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration of the federal government.

LSD was first developed in 1938 and was believed to be potentially useful in the treatment of mental illness. This theory was based on the belief that the drug could produce a schizophrenic syndrome and that psychiatrists and other persons concerned with mental illness could observe the manifestations of a psychosis under controlled conditions. However, competent investigators have shown that the effect of LSD is more closely related to a toxic psychosis such as that produced by fever, stress, or drugs of many kinds and is of doubtful use in understanding the mechanism of a true psychosis resulting from severe personality disorder. Authorities are hopeful that LSD may eventually prove useful in the investigation of brain function and the mechanism of mental disease but are not in agreement as to how this will come about.

Abuse of LSD by semiscientific investigators and lay persons has led to much publicity, with the result that a black market now operates to make the drug available to those who wish to "increase their awareness" or attain a state of euphoria. Although LSD is not addictive, the greatest number of persons abusing the drug also have been found to be users of marijuana, amphetamines, and barbiturates, and are extremely likely to develop a drug dependence. They apparently use the drug to escape reality than for the purpose of helping themselves cope with reality.

The controversy concerning chromosomal damage caused by LSD is yet to be resolved.