Erowid References Database
“LSD and chromosomes”.
British Medical Journal. 1967;4:124-125.
Despite the use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) both for therapy and for illicit self-administration our knowledge of its toxic effects is incomplete. In addition to the drug's acute and unpredictable hallucinogenic actions-leading in some instances to permanent mental damage-it has now been suggested that LSD has powerful cytogenetic effects. The great majority of people who take the drug are young, so that information on this action is needed with special urgency. Is LSD as dangerous as thalidomide, and, if so, what is the evidence? The first reports of genetic effects appeared earlier this year in Science. M.M. Cohen and his co-workers in Buffalo added LSD to cultured human lymphocytes in doses varying from 100 mg/ml. to as little as 0.001 mg/ml for periods varying from 4 to 48 hours. The doses of 100 and 50 mg/ml killed the cells and arrested mitoses. All other treatments (with the exception of that with 0.001 mg/ml for four hours) resulted in at least a twofold increase in chromosome breakage compared with controls. The types of chomosome aberrations seen included dicentric and acentric fragments, chromatid exchanges, and chromatid breaks. Cohen's team showed similar damage to chromosomes in a patient who had been given LSD 15 times between 1960 and 1966 in doses varying from 80 to 200 mg. The study was carried out eight months after the last treatment.
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